The hunger of darkness and the feast of light, part 1

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Part I: The hunger of darkness and the feast of light

Perfection-progress, achievement-experience

In the world of light
I fly from peak to peak.
Indeed, this is my perfection-progress.

In the world of night
I stumble from frustration-window
To destruction-door.
Indeed, this is my achievement-experience.

Question: How can I win the battle that is going on inside me between the light and the darkness?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us take light and darkness as two inner beings. When we act in accordance with the will of light we may be discouraged by lack of appreciation and so forth. At the same time, the other being, which we call darkness, accuses us of doing the wrong thing. Now why does this happen? We have to realise that we have not yet reached perfect Perfection; we are still far away from that goal.

In our inner existence we are constantly fighting with truth and falsehood. Many times it happens that in spite of knowing the truth, we do not follow the truth, because we feel that to follow it would be extremely difficult; while something which is not true may be more convenient to our current outer needs. At that time we commit the greatest blunder.

If we take falsehood as our very own, what happens? Truth remains silent. But if we are eager to follow the truth, then falsehood comes and strikes us, insults us, discourages us. At the same time, truth is not extremely eager to have us as its very own because it has seen how many times we have touched its feet and promised that we would listen to it, but time and again this has been all false promises and idle talk. We say that we will follow the path of truth, but the next moment we go and listen to falsehood because we get more pleasure there. Truth has heard our false promises hundreds and thousands of times.

When we really do try to fulfil the promise that we made to truth, we may feel falsehood pulling at our mind. "Where are you going?" it says. "You promised me that you would always remain with me." But if the day comes when truth sees that we are absolutely sincere, at that time it fights most powerfully against falsehood. And if we become totally one with the truth, we will see that all dark forces inside us and around us have no choice but to surrender.

A supreme test is going on between purity and impurity in our nature. Water is water, but some water may make us sick if we drink it while other water refreshes and energises us. Truth sees whether the seeker wants the purest water or not. When it is fully convinced that our promise is absolutely sincere, that even if we don't get the inner light immediately, we won't go back to falsehood, that our choice is light and nothing else, it will dispossess falsehood totally.

Again, some people cry for light sincerely, but without satisfactory results, simply because God's destined Hour has not yet arrived. If a farmer feels that on the very day that he starts working very hard to cultivate his land he should get a bumper crop, he will get disgusted and abandon the field when he sees no result after a few weeks of sincere effort. But although sincerity is important, time is still a great factor. The field can only produce satisfactory fruit at God's own time. Our timing and God's timing need not be, and very often are not, the same. Then there is the question of surrender. If we are one hundred per cent surrendered, we will feel that if we are not getting the satisfactory results, we will wait forever for God's Hour. But if we are not surrendered, we will not accept God's Will. We will become depressed and disheartened and give up the battle. We will not want to wait for God's Hour, and we will certainly be the losers.

What we sincerely need is light. But if light does not come, we must be ready to wait an Eternity for infinite Light to surcharge our inner and outer being. Falsehood will immediately feel that we are ready to wait for millions of years in order to bathe in the sea of Light, and it will lose its interest in us. If God wants to, He can give us what we want at once, but if He feels that this is not the appropriate time, we have to wait. Then if we have patience, which itself is the extension of light or of consciousness, we can feel that we are increasing the light that we have and the light that is entering into us.

So let us have infinite patience and boundless courage in our quest for the inner light. And if light does not come let us not compromise at all with darkness and falsehood. We must be prepared to sacrifice our life for our goal of divine light. Then truth will win the battle against falsehood permanently.

Question: Sometimes I feel I am doing well in my spiritual life, and at other times I hear a voice telling me how awful I am, how impatient I am and so on.

Sri Chinmoy: You have two beings inside you. One encourages you, "Go forward, march on! You are doing the right thing." The other one discourages you. It says that you have to become much more spiritual, more sincere and more devoted because right now you are very bad. Do not take the voice that encourages you as your ego. It is your conscience, your inner being, telling you that you are doing the right thing. When you are meditating it is like a mother encouraging her child. The child is trying to do something and the mother says, "Come on, my child, you are doing the right thing. You are doing well. Go on, continue. Go as fast as you can." This encouragement and inspiration give the child a tremendous push forward.

But there is another being inside you that is constantly making you feel miserable by telling that you are doing everything wrong; that you are not sincere. It is always pointing out defects and imperfections in your nature. Do not think that that particular being is telling you the truth. No, it is only trying to discourage you by throwing cold water on your efforts and destroying your self-confidence while it pretends to be impartial. By telling you constantly that what you are doing, saying and feeling is wrong, it is not helping you in any way to go faster towards your goal. By telling you that you are very bad, I cannot help you in any way. On the contrary, if you have just a little possibility, I am killing it. So feel that the voice that is encouraging you is the divine being, and the one that is discouraging you is the undivine being in you.

As for your impatience, if you remain in the light of your aspiration, you will not be impatient. You will see constantly that you are gradually going up high, higher, highest. When you meditate soulfully you will get such joy that your very patience will say, "Look! Now I have brought you up to here. You started climbing only yesterday and you have come so far!"

Question: Once you said something about evil following in the footsteps of good. Would you explain this?

Sri Chinmoy: In one of my aphorisms I said evil will follow good. What is evil? Evil is darkness. What is darkness? Darkness is nothing but very limited light. If you really enter into the inner world, you will see that in darkness also there is a very small, subtle light. Even inside blackness there is some light, infinitesimal light, because God is everywhere. If He is omnipresent, how can He not be inside even the most abysmal darkness? He is there, but He is manifested there to a very limited extent. So, evil, which is very insignificant light, will gradually, in the bosom of Infinity and Eternity, be illumined and grow into light.

Question: How is it that the spiritual force is so strong, yet the world seems to be such a disastrous place?

Sri Chinmoy: The spiritual force is strong, but how many people are accepting it? How many people want it? Out of all the millions of people in New York how many are aspiring? Unaspiring people are infinitely more in number than those who are aspiring. Only when the divine force is accepted and embraced by the majority will the undivine forces in the world begin to diminish. Most of us have accepted darkness as natural and normal, which is absolutely wrong. We should try to feel that Light is normal and natural, and that the unlit forces, the physical forces and the vital forces that we employ, are the abnormal and unnatural ones.

Part II: Obstructions on the road to eternity

"No more problems"

I shall not create more problems
By longing for solutions.
With my unconscious imagination-power
I shall not create any more problems.
The questioning mind loses its very existence
In tranquillity’s heart
Where all problems
Have lost their identity.

Question: How can I get rid of my weaknesses?

Sri Chinmoy: Before you go to sleep, write down on a piece of paper all your weaknesses. Then cross them out mercilessly. If you have jealousy, write down “jealousy” on the piece of paper. Then write down all your other undivine qualities. Then cross them out as mercilessly as possible. In this way psychologically and also intuitively you will weaken these undivine forces. Just make your mind conscious that these are your enemies. This is an occult operation, but anyone can do it.

Question: How can we transform our sexual desires?

Sri Chinmoy: When you have received some light from your meditation, concentrate on your heart and feel that there is a magnet, a spiritual magnet, there. When you can feel that magnet, use it to pull all the lower vital sex forces from the navel centre up into the heart. Then feel that there is another magnet inside your heart which is facing in the opposite direction. With this magnet you will pull everything that is inside your mind down into the heart. Then feel that there is a third magnet in the crown centre, which is constantly taking everything within you beyond, beyond the physical consciousness. This third magnet will release all these undivine forces from the heart. When the vital is purified, sex forces will be transformed into dynamic energy, fulfilling and eternal strength, and you will get all kinds of divine power.

Question: I have had a few incredible experiences. It seemed as if I was entering a different world, a totally different consciousness. But when I try to analyse them they seem so unreal that I think it must all be hallucination.

Sri Chinmoy: I feel that your experiences are of a very high order, but these experiences have to make a living factor in your day-to-day life. You are getting these experiences from your soul, but your mind is not one with the soul. Your soul can give you the experience of existence beyond death, of oneness with the cosmic nature, but if the mind wants to reduce or negate these experiences and if you identify with the mind, you will only convince yourself that they are unreal. Then you will be the real loser. These experiences must be abiding in you if you want to make lasting progress in your inner life.

You want to realise God, but it is through aspiration that you have to realise God, and not through self-analysis. If one expects to go to God through analysis he will be on a very long, tortuous, almost impossible path. The mind is constantly protecting itself by its human logic. If the mind says today, "This is the truth," tomorrow it will say that that very thing is falsehood. The mind contradicts itself at every moment, and when you become one with the mind you just enter into a sea of confusion. But aspiration comes directly from the Source. When you aspire, the heart, the mind and the vital become one with the soul's aspiration. If it has not entered the mind or the vital or the physical, then that aspiration is not complete.

I feel that you get your experiences from the soul, but unfortunately your mind is too active. There are many forces operating in your mind which consciously try to negate the soul's spontaneous truth. These high experiences have indicated to you that you should follow a spiritual path, but my path demands that you go beyond the mind. This doesn't mean that you will not use the mind, that you will act like an animal. But you will try to illumine your unlit mind. And while you are illumining the unlit mind you have to consciously remain in the heart and in the soul. Then you will be able to see constant reality in you and around you.

The experiences that you are getting are not due to your proper meditation. Right now it is due to the Grace of the Supreme that your soul is able to offer you these major experiences. But when your soul gives you the experiences, you have to know that one day you have not only to be worthy of these experiences, but you have to be in a position to have them at your command. Now you cannot have these experiences when you want, because you have not actually earned them on the strength of your inner aspiration. It is through aspiration, meditation and contemplation that we can have all our highest experiences at our command. Otherwise, we will always be at the mercy of either the soul or the divine Grace.

Question: Sometimes I just feel a kind of void inside myself. I start saying, "just give me a little drop of sweetness, or let me feel some love or something," but I don't feel anything.

Sri Chinmoy: The feeling of a void that you are getting is a good feeling, but unfortunately you don't realise this. You feel that if there is no light, it cannot be good. Let me give you a piece of advice. Please try to feel a white column coming up from your heart centre. Imagine that this white column of light has pierced the top of your head and is stationed three inches above you. Now you can start meditating. After a while try to feel that you are nothing other than that light. Feel that it is absolutely your own existence. When you feel it as your own existence, all your problems will be unmistakably solved.

When you can't meditate well, do not push or pull. Most of you feel that if you can't meditate well for one, two or three days, the whole world will collapse. You feel that if you don't meditate well for one week, then Guru will be seriously displeased with you. You are wrong. I am not so inconsiderate. I am more responsible to God for your inner progress than you are. Do you know why? Because I have made a double commitment — one to God and one to you. You have accepted the Supreme in me as your Guru, and your part is over. In my case, I have made a promise to you that I will take you to your goal, and I have also promised God that I will take you to Him. After I give you the signal to start running in your inner race, I run ahead; I take the lead to inspire whoever is behind me. Wherever I see you in the inner world, I run a little ahead or alongside. I become the observer and, at the same time, the inspirer.

Since you are sincere you should always feel that I am responsible for your realisation. You are bound to feel God's Love and Joy in boundless measure in the course of time while you are walking, marching and running along the road to Eternity. If insincere people think I am responsible for them, they are mistaken. I am responsible for the realisation of only those who sincerely try to meditate in spite of tremendous obstructions on the way. Again, I wish to say that you are a very sincere seeker. The Supreme in me will do anything to make you supremely happy. Just wait and see.

Question: Would you please explain what fear is and what causes it?

Sri Chinmoy: What is fear? Fear is something that does not allow us to enter into infinite Freedom. It is something that constantly binds us. It is something that constantly tells us that we are entirely different than or separate from others, that our existence is only for ourselves. Fear can exist in all parts of our being: our body, vital, mind and heart.

Physical fear cannot be conquered until psychic fear is conquered. When we have fear in the physical body and in the physical mind, it manifests as our need for some kind of immediate relief or release. Fear comes in like a thief and we cry for protection.

But this physical fear is not the only fear: there are other fears as well. If one has fear in the heart or the vital, he then has to overcome this fear or transform this fear into strength with the soul's light. Otherwise, fear will kill its victim like slow poison.

Why do we fear? We fear because we have separated ourselves from God's Love and we are apt to think of God the Omnipotent, not God the All-Love. But even the omnipotent God is not a God that threatens or strikes us with an iron rod every time we make a mistake. Our conception of God is so peculiar. We feel that God is like a primary school teacher, who is ready to beat us black and blue if we deviate an inch from the path of truth. But that conception of God is absurd. There is no such being as God the tyrant. There is only one God, and that God is God the Love. This God does not punish us. This God is constantly shaping us in His own Way. It is He who is the Doer, it is He who is the Action and it is He who is the Enjoyer, both in the action and in the result. But we feel that we are the doers, and that if we do something wrong, God will punish us mercilessly. But this is not so. It is God's Dream that each individual embodies. It is God's Reality that each individual has to manifest here on earth. It is in each human being that God's Reality lives.

Question: While meditating recently, I was overcome by some negative things that I know belong to the past. They suddenly became very real and they stayed with me all day. Is that normal?

Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately, you entered into the subconscious plane. You have two rooms in your consciousness right now. One room is very clean, tidy and full of light. The other room is dark, dirty and messy. One room you have kept very clean and pure; that is your heart. The other room you have kept full of unimportant, negative experiences; that is your vital. Right now please do not try to enter into that room at all. For the time being, forget about your mind, vital and physical consciousness. Just live in the purity and light of your heart and soul room. If anything from your past will inspire you for tomorrow's existence, you can remember it. Anything that won't help you, just forget.

If these forces from your past life stayed with you all day, that means you were cherishing them. You are the person who has allowed these forces to enter. If you feel these things are your friends, then you let them in. If a stranger or an enemy comes, then you don't let him in. If you have let these forces into your heart and your conscious mind, then you have to use the fire of aspiration to burn them to ashes. You need purification. Burn these negative forces with your aspiration-flame.

Question: When I try to meditate, I very often feel that although I want to, some part of me resists and doesn't let me meditate well.

Sri Chinmoy: The part of you that wants to meditate is your soul, and the part that wants to stand in the way of your meditation is your vital. One reason that the vital does not want you to meditate is that it feels that it will lose you. The vital always wants to possess you and utilise you for its own purpose. It does not want the light, luminosity and delight of the soul. The soul makes you feel that light and delight are the only things that can fulfil you and give you a sense of satisfaction, but the vital makes you feel that these things are foreign and strange. Either it makes you feel that peace, light and bliss do not exist and that you are just wasting your time, or it tries to create a sense of fear in your unconscious mind. It may tell you that meditation will take you away from the members of your family and from your near and dear ones, or it may tell you that the world will mock and reject you.

So when you meditate, ask your soul, "Why do I have to meditate?" Let the soul give you the reason. It will tell you that if you meditate, it is for your own good. By meditating you will receive peace, light and bliss, so that you will always feel some meaning in your life. Otherwise, you will be totally lost. Your soul will show you that the reasons the vital gives you for not meditating are baseless and meaningless.

Part III: Sorrow and joy


Dogs get joy
By barking and biting.

Men get joy
By fighting and stabbing.

Earth gets joy
By struggling and suffering.

Heaven gets joy
By dreaming and smiling.

Seekers get joy
By loving and surrendering.

God gets joy
By illumining and fulfilling.

Question: If we are constantly going through different moods, how can we conquer depression?

Sri Chinmoy: In your case, it is not all depression. You may be thirty per cent depressed, thirty per cent angry and also have fear, doubt, jealousy and other things. But the strength of the soul's will is far greater than the strength of these undivine forces. If you can bring forward even one per cent of your soul's will-power, with that you will be able to conquer your depression. Although you suffer for half an hour with depression, with the power of the soul's will, you can easily nullify your depression. If you can bring your will-power forward, your depression will be over in one second.

Question: I know that in the spiritual life I should always feel optimistic, but at times I feel frustrated or sad. When I feel like this, have I failed in some way?

Sri Chinmoy: This experience is not necessarily a failure in God's Eyes, but a delay in our spiritual journey. We should always see light in us, with us and around us because it is in light that consciousness performs its role most satisfactorily. When we are cheerful, when we are optimistic, light can enter into us to stay.

It is true that if suffering and pain are around us and inside us it is very difficult to see the bright side. But I have seen in my own life and in my disciples' lives that the deeper we go, the easier it is for us to remain in light. Suffering, failure and depression do not disturb us when we are in light. If they do appear, we should see them as experiences, not as enemies that want to take us away from the path of realisation. Most of us get a kind of subtle pleasure in suffering and pain. Sometimes we even unconsciously invite suffering in the inner plane. Then, when that suffering manifests on the outer level, we curse God, crying, "Why do I have to suffer so much?" But actually we enjoy our sufferings in a subtle way.

Frustration and depression can never, never help us. When we cry, it must not be from frustration and depression. We must cry from our inmost hearts, with the intense mounting flame of aspiration. This is the cry that takes us to the Highest. Spiritual people must be optimistic because they must have faith in God's Light. We must try to remain in light and not in night or darkness. If we remain in light, then there can be no sense of failure and no frustration.

Life itself is light, but we do not know how to look at life in the right way. The moment we look at life we think that it is something transitory, giving us an experience of frustration. We feel it is like a dream. But if we look at life from a correct angle, we will feel that it is part of the Life eternal. Before birth there is life; in birth, in creation, there is life. After death there is also life, eternal Life. When we feel that there is eternal Life, and that this life on earth is a mere portion of the continuity of eternal Life, then we can have no sense of failure and depression.

It is easy for us to see what is happening in the physical or in the vital. But it is difficult for us to see what is happening in the heart or in the soul. Once we can see this, we see that it is all delight. From delight we came into existence; in delight we grow; and into delight we retire at the end of our life's journey. If we can take our mind off our vital suffering and throw it into the sea of the soul, we shall see there is no more frustration, no more sadness and no more defeat.

Question: I feel that I have no inner joy. Could you tell me what I am doing wrong? How can I obtain joy?

Sri Chinmoy: In the outer life when we talk to people, mix with people, exchange ideas, we get a kind of joy. But this is not real joy; this is only a kind of vital pleasure. Real joy is something very deep, profound and fulfilling. Inner joy is always a rarity because people are not crying for this inner joy in their lives. Most of us are living in the world of desire. We have no time to go deep within. Out of twenty-four hours each day we feel we don't have the time, not even one single minute, to go deep within to get this inner joy. There is a vast field inside us. Like a farmer, we have to plough this inner field, and after we have ploughed it, we have to sow the seed of our aspiration, the seed of our concern for the inner life. When we sincerely accept the inner life, after a few months or a year or so, we will begin to get real inner joy.

Inner joy is something which is all around us. We use the Sanskrit term amrita, which means “nectar”. The gods drink nectar and that is why they are immortal. But when we go deep within, we may actually drink this divine nectar ourselves. Once we taste real inner joy, we are transported into Heaven for the time being. If we drink this nectar just for a fleeting second, we feel that our consciousness is immortalised. But it is such a rare thing to drink this amrita that during a lifetime many spiritual figures do not drink it more than twice. Some spiritual saints, swamis and even yogis who are not completely realised or not of the highest calibre, may drink this nectar only once in a lifetime. Inner joy, on the very rare occasions when we get it, immediately expands our consciousness and makes us feel that we are really divine. When we get this inner joy even for a fleeting second, we feel that liberation is our birthright.

We human beings are constantly confusing joy and pleasure. What we are longing for and what we are running after is pleasure and not joy. But joy, once attained, grows like a fragrant flower, blooming petal by petal, whereas pleasure leads one to inevitable destruction. There is no such thing as joy in the outer world. What we call joy is only a form of pleasure. What gives us joy in the outer world? Only the fulfilment of desire. Now I want to have a house, but as soon as I get it I will want to have two houses, and when I get them, still I will not be satisfied. Each time a desire in the outer life is fulfilled, we become victims to a greater and more destructive or binding desire. There is no end to desire. Desire is fulfilling for only a second, but in the next moment another desire comes with ten-fold power.

Real joy sustains us; real joy liberates us. But pleasure in the outer life binds us mercilessly. Yesterday in our meditation we read:

"My sweet Lord, please tell me the difference between You and me.
My child, the difference is very small. You are possessed by your little possessions and I am released by My infinite Possessions.1"

We constantly cry to increase our earthly possessions, and there can never be any fulfilment in never-ending desire.

As long as we have desire, we will try to possess something no matter whether it is a human being or God or light or peace. The very nature of desire is to possess. If we see something beautiful, immediately our desire wants to grab it; but the ultimate result is that we destroy it. Even when we see a spiritual person who has light and other divine qualities, we try to possess that spiritual person with our desire. We don't want that spiritual person to act in his own way with his inner light, with his inner joy, with his inner compassion. No, we want to possess him and to regulate his outer and inner life.

As long as we remain in the outer world and are taking part in the game of desire, at each moment we are opening ourselves to desire. Then desire, the thief, enters into our heart and steals away our faith in God, our love for God, our dedication to God, our surrender to God. We will get no real joy from the outer life, until the day when our inner life and our outer life become one and we lay them consciously at the Feet of God.

Now the outer life and inner life are like the North Pole and South Pole. They cannot meet together. Granted, our inner life has more light than the outer life, but this light may not be enough to transform the outer life, which is like a stubborn child. In spite of knowing the fact that the inner life has more light, the outer life does not want to surrender to it or abide by the dictates of the inner life. It does not even want to co-operate with the inner life. The one has abundant light which can only shine forth on very rare occasions and the other has practically no light, but it dominates us almost constantly.

Yet the outer life and the inner life have to become one. They have to feel the necessity of their oneness with each other and with God. The younger brother is the outer life and the older brother is the inner life, because inside the inner life is the soul, which has all wisdom. In order for our outer life to be totally transformed, our inner life must constantly aspire to be one with the infinite Wisdom-Light of God. If the inner life listens to the dictates of the soul and if the outer life listens to the dictates of the inner life, then the soul as the conscious representative of God will lead the inner and the outer life speedily and safely to God's Heart's Door. At that moment we will have abiding joy, everlasting joy, here on earth and there in Heaven.

When we are one with God, our will becomes one with God's Will which is His Concern for humanity, His Love for humanity and His necessity for the perfection of humanity. When our desire is purified and transformed, we can at last sit at the Feet of God.

When we establish our oneness with God's Will, we feel a constant flow of Joy from God's Vision, God's Reality and God's Divinity, from God the Creator and God the creation. When we have established our oneness with God, we get joy, but not the ultimate Joy. We become one with God's Will, but humanity as a whole is still separate from God's Will. God has created millions of people and each one has his own will. When all ideas and ideals attain conscious oneness with the Source and are again given the opportunity to flourish in multiple form, then we will get the ultimate joy. When humanity as a whole enters into conscious oneness with God, we will feel that the entire multiplicity of God is getting the same Joy as the unity of God. Then Joy immeasurable will exist on earth.

The highest Joy we get in absolute oneness with God, but if God does not want us to lose our experience of multiplicity which is also God's creation, He can enjoy Himself in millions of forms. Both the Joy of multiplicity and the Joy of unity we must have. When we become one with humanity and go up together we will get the Joy of multiplicity, and when we go directly to God alone we will get the Joy of unity. Again, if we want to enter into multiplicity from our place in God's unity, we will also get true Joy. Either by taking everyone together or by going directly up and bringing God down, we will someday get this boundless inner and outer Joy.

  1. HD 14,4. From My Lord’s Secrets Revealed, by Sri Chinmoy, © 1971, Herder & Herder, N.Y.

Part IV: Insecurity and self-confidence


A word to the surrendered heart
Is sufficient.
A million words to the searching mind
Are sufficient.
A billion words to the striving vital
Are sufficient.
A trillion words to the sleeping body
Are NOT sufficient.
A sleeping body, what is it?
Doubt, man’s doubt:
His teeming doubts,
His brooding doubts.

I am a genius

I am a dependent genius.
I depend on the world’s appreciation.
I am happy.

I am a dependable genius.
The world depends on me.
I am really miserable.
I have no holidays.

I am an independent genius.
I am really happy
I don’t depend on the world’s appreciation
The world does not depend on my genius.
The world is free to bark.
I am free to bray.

Question: Guru, what is my worst enemy in my spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: Your worst enemy is your tremendous sense of insecurity. Your conception of security is an achievement or a possession on the physical plane, vital plane or mental plane. But an abiding sense of security can never come from possession or from achievement. Impossible! Even the President of the United States who has the top position, who has everything, can be blown away at any second like a trembling leaf. Security comes only when you have established your constant oneness with your soul or with my soul. Since I am your spiritual Master, if you can identify yourself with my soul, security will come to you. Otherwise, this moment I may smile at you and extol you to the skies because you have done something very good, very great, but next moment, before you have taken two steps, you may think, "Oh, this time I have escaped. I did something wrong, but he did not catch me. He only saw one side of me, the side that is very bright and he has appreciated it like anything, but the other side, the mistake I made yesterday, he has not noticed. But tomorrow, if I don't please him with some great achievement, he will discover my mistake and scold me instead of praising me."

But if you had established your constant oneness with my soul you would feel that your life is an open book to me, but that I am a most compassionate reader. You will feel, "All right, this time he has appreciated me, but the thing that I have done wrong he also knows. If he scolds me, that is his duty; it is his bounden duty to perfect me." If you feel this, then insecurity goes away. A child is not insecure even if he knows that he is dirty. After all, it is the duty of his mother to look after him. Even if you have done something wrong, you have to feel that Guru will clean you; he will really illumine you. But if you feel that I won't do it, that you will have to take the responsibility of perfecting yourself, then you will always be insecure.

Another enemy of yours is your aggressive vital. Truth can be seen from three levels. You can see it from below, from above and from its own level. If you want to see the truth in your life, not anybody else's life, the best way is through your prayer, meditation and contemplation. Go above the truth, go one inch higher and see it from there. If you are on the top of the tree then it is very easy for you to see what is on the branches and what is below, on the ground. You can also come to a particular branch where you will have quite a good view of the top and the bottom of the tree and there you can also be satisfied to some extent. But if you remain at the bottom of the tree, you will not be able to see the top and you will not get any real satisfaction.

If you are at the top of the tree, it is up to you to come down and eat the fruit whenever you want to. When you are in the tree, at the level of the fruit, you can also enjoy it whenever you want to. But in your case what actually happens is that you do not climb up into the tree, not to speak of going to the top of the tree, and at the same time you want to possess the fruits. Without trying to make real inner progress, without trying to climb the tree from below you are trying to grab the fruits. Your main difficulty as I see it is that you just look at the fruit and you want to pull it down through your aggressive vital, by hook or by crook. But the fruit has its own height. It will not come down to you, and you will not climb up to it, so you are frustrated. Then eventually you say that it is useless to try to get it; it is not necessary or worthwhile. Then you don't even think of these divine fruits any more. You just lead your own undivine life.

Question: How can I try to make myself believe that I'm good?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, if you really think that you are bad and you are only trying to make yourself believe that you are good, your mind will tell you that you are only fooling yourself. If you feel that you are bad because ten years ago you did something wrong, or yesterday you did something undivine, then you are creating a problem for yourself with your own mind. You need to change your basic way of thinking about yourself and instead say, "I am God's child. How can I be really bad?"

I am not saying that when you do something wrong you should fool yourself by saying that you have done everything right. But by thinking, "Oh, I have done wrong, I have done wrong! God will never let me reach my goal. I will just go on and on doing the same wrong thing," you cannot make any progress. If you constantly think of your wrong actions, can this possibly lead you in the right direction?

If you were supposed to meditate early in the morning at 6:30, but you didn't get up on time, just by thinking, "I didn't meditate, I am a worthless fellow," you only make yourself angry and depressed. If you have missed one opportunity, then say, "Tomorrow I will get another opportunity. Let me try again most sincerely." Today is not the last day of your life. You can try again tomorrow. But if you tell yourself, "Oh, yesterday I worked very late so today I could not get up. God has to forgive me," then first you have done the wrong thing and then, by justifying it, you have added strength to your wrong action. You must forget about your wrong actions after resolving not to repeat them. But do not justify them in order to make yourself feel that you are not so bad.

Now today has come and again you have a golden opportunity. If you take it and do the right thing today, you will feel that you have really made some progress. Then, during the day and when you go to bed at night and when you wake up the next morning, think of the good things that you did and try to remember the joy they gave you. This is not a fabrication of the mind. It is the living reality that you consciously created by your right action. Now it is like a luminous child that is growing in you. Or think of your right action as a seed that you sowed in the morning. Now this seed has germinated. A tiny plant is growing, continuously growing. When you can see the growth of that tiny plant throughout the day, you will naturally get satisfaction. This little divine plant that is growing inside you will give you inspiration once again, and you will be able to do something else good and divine. And when you meditate soulfully every day and nourish this divine plant inside you, you will soon see that this tiny plant is growing and growing into a huge banyan tree.

When you have done something wrong, consider that it is over. “The past is dust” is my philosophy. Let us avail ourselves of tomorrow's golden opportunity to do the right thing. Let us build our foundation on a solid rock. Let us grow from light to more light, to abundant light, to infinite Light. Light is our Source, and from Light we can grow. But if we feed on darkness of negativity we won't be able to grow at all.

Question: How do you deal with guilt if you have been brought up with the feeling that God will punish you if you do wrong?

Sri Chinmoy: In the Western world, unfortunately, the feeling of guilt is widespread. Where does the feeling of guilt come from? It comes from ignorance.

First we do something wrong out of ignorance and then we have a guilty conscience because of our wrongdoing. Instead, the first thing that should come to our mind immediately is, "If I have the power to do something wrong, then God has the power to forgive me." When we have done something very bad we must not feel that there is no power in the universe to obliterate our wrong deeds. We have done something wrong, granted, but God is infinitely stronger than we are, and we should remember that He is all Compassion. Whenever we meditate we should feel that God is all Love. He is not going to punish us. With His infinite Compassion He is going to transform us. But if we cherish a feeling of guilt, God will not be able to come to our rescue.

Eventually the sincere seeker will recognise the fact that guilt comes from bondage. If we meditate daily, we are trying to be freed from our ignorance and limitations and it is this inner freedom, not the outer freedom, that will free us from guilt. We don't know how to utilise the outer freedom properly and we make mistakes because we are afraid of going deep within to secure our real inner freedom. But once we can use our inner freedom there will be a constant effulgence of light in our life. Then how can we do anything wrong?

I always say the past is dust. By thinking of it and brooding over it we cannot change the past or free ourselves from guilt. If we have done something wrong, it is past. Let us think of the immediate future and allow it to grow into the immediacy of today. Our aspiration, which wants to go forward, upward and inward, will bring the divine wealth from the immediate future and place it right in front of the door which we call the past. Then, when the past wants to come in to us it will find that we have blocked the door. Let us not consciously cherish our mistakes. The past is dust because it has not given you realisation. If it had, you would not have come to me for light. But you are crying for illumination, liberation, realisation, and not just to be freed from guilt. Since that is your aim, you must run towards your goal. Then you will see the things that do not help you towards realisation falling behind you in the race because they cannot bear the effulgence of light.

If you have a guilty conscience about anything, please discard it like an old rag. When you aspire you have to put on new clothes. Old and dirty clothes will destroy your inspiration, and the Divine will not care to mix with you. Always try to be in the light and for the light and you will see that darkness in the form of guilt will have to leave you.

Question: Guru, at times in my meditation I get a feeling of great strength rising from my heart, clear and bright like a sword, and I feel great confidence and assurance. How can I grow more into this feeling?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to know from where this confidence is coming. Is it confidence from the vital, or from the heart and the soul? If you have confidence in your vital before the heart is totally purified and illumined, it will amount to destructive aggression. Many people have confidence: the boxer has confidence, the wrestler has confidence. But in their case their confidence is in their physical and vital power. Their ultimate aim is to injure their opponent. This is not the kind of confidence a spiritual aspirant should have, but it is what happens in the vital. When you draw strength from the vital it is very tricky. The heart is in the chest and the vital is right near the navel. Sometimes strength comes forward from the navel or a little above, and we feel that it is all from the heart, but actually it is coming from the vital.

Thousands of seekers, unfortunately, are victims of attacks from the vital. This vital is the emotional vital. Emotion is around the heart, inside the heart, around the vital and inside the vital. But the emotion inside the heart is pure emotion of infinite and boundless strength, while the emotion around the navel is aggression and attachment. Destructive power is there.

What should we do to purify the vital? We should bring the power of the heart into the navel. Power that comes from the heart or from the soul through the heart can only be used for illumination. Many of you are strong, energetic, dynamic; but this strength that you have is not from the heart. If it were from the heart, you would feel that the whole world, the whole universe was your own. There cannot be any greater power than to feel that the entire universe is yours. But when you get the feeling that you can crush everyone, or that you can fly, or that you can control the world, then you should feel that this power is not from the heart but from the vital.

When some people get a little confidence in their spiritual life, they develop a feeling of superiority which comes from the vital. But when strength comes directly from the heart, it is good. You have to be very careful. If you get strength from the heart, you will immediately feel each individual in God's multiplicity as your own. God is One; again, He is many. When you think of Him as One, He is all yours; when you think of Him as many, in the spread of Infinity, He is also yours. But when strength and power come from the vital, at that time you become the one, and the many are at your feet. When you are in the heart, you may feel that you are the one who is giving the commands, but at the same time you will feel that you are the many who are obeying. You will see that the strength of commanding and the strength of obeying are equally one.

Gradually you have to bring light into the vital. This light can be increased daily like the strength of a muscle. If you feel your Guru's presence and his Compassion, Concern and Pride, then your inner strength and confidence are bound to increase at every moment. Each time you get strength, you have to feel that you have enlarged yourself more into your Guru's liberated, illumined consciousness and feel that you are expanding, spreading, flying like a bird. You must feel strength as the expansion of illumination, not as the power of surpassing others. When confidence comes from the heart, your larger self is expanding and becoming infinite.

You can increase your feeling of confidence and assurance by feeling that I am there, around you, before you, within you, with all these qualities. When you feel infinite Compassion, infinite Love, infinite Joy and infinite Gratitude, your inner strength will increase at every moment.

Part V: Undivine and unruly thoughts


The whisper of temptation
Took him to hell.
There he saw his animal face.

The whisper of aspiration
Took him to Heaven.
There he saw his God-Face.

The whisper of realisation
Took him to the World of Silence.
There he became the Endless Race.


Jealousy burns you
You fan it.

Fear tears you
You welcome it.

Doubt devours you
You treasure it.

Question: What is the best way to get rid of undivine thoughts?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, you must feel that the undivine forces are not yours, that they do not belong to you, that you cannot claim them and that they cannot claim you as their own. If you say constantly, "I am a stranger to you," and if you cherish the divine forces and divine thoughts, these forces will claim you as their own and give you shelter when undivine thoughts attack you.

Question: When we are meditating, if we are aware of idle thoughts and inconscience in the mind, how can we combat them?

Sri Chinmoy: If it is a good thought, keep it; if it is a bad thought, discard it. If you have a good thought, feel that you are an express train racing on and on, or a bird flying up. If you have a divine idea, just run with it to your destination. But if wrong, false, undivine thoughts come, do not stay with them. Please discard them immediately.

Question: You often say that we are cherishing undivine things, consciously or unconsciously. If we are cherishing them unconsciously, how can we know it?

Sri Chinmoy: When you are cherishing undivine things consciously, when you stop, automatically the force that you have applied for a negative purpose is free and can be used for a divine purpose. The force you had been using for a negative purpose can immediately be used positively. But how can you conquer unconsciously cherished undivine forces? Every day when the morning starts, try to feel that you are in a very high state of consciousness, and that I am also in a very high state of consciousness; or feel that you are in an ordinary consciousness, but that I am observing you like an impartial judge who will give you a grade. Pretend at every moment that you are sitting for an examination. You know that there are millions of things which you would not do in front of me. When these things come to your mind, say to yourself, "This thing I can't say, I can't feel, I can't think, I can't do in front of Guru."

If you are conscious at each moment that there is a judge in front of you, you will not be careless. If you see me for five minutes a day, you will be on your best behaviour during those five minutes, but the rest of the day you may be in a most deplorable consciousness. Very often you want to be the best disciple only when you are in front of me. It is not that you want to show off, but your aspiration is not strong enough to make you care to be the best disciple for twenty-four hours a day. But you should have the conscious desire to be the best disciple, not only when I am in front of you, but always.

When we aspire we can never say that we are unconscious. When we aspire we do the right thing consciously at every moment. When we don't aspire, that is when we are unconscious. So whenever you are sincerely aspiring feel that you are conscious. When you are not sincerely aspiring, you are unconscious. When you are unconscious, how will you conquer the undivine forces? So let us always aspire. It is in our aspiration that we can be always conscious. Aspiration and our conscious awareness always go together. When we are consciously aspiring, we cannot be unconsciously cherishing undivine thoughts.

Question: When I see other people's defects and imperfections I keep mulling them over in my critical mind.

Sri Chinmoy: If you are really generous, you can say, "Whatever little capacity I have right now, let me use to help those people." If you sincerely sympathise with them because they have these defects, immediately the power that you have to do the right thing, to do the divine thing, will go to them as an additional help to their own capacity. If you sympathise, you are doing absolutely the right thing. Sympathy is nothing but expansion of your consciousness-light.

But if you enjoy thinking of others' imperfections, you will have an extra load to carry on your own shoulders. If you cherish the thought of their imperfections, then you are inviting and welcoming these things into your own nature. Already you have at least a little imperfection, but your load becomes even heavier if you think of the imperfections of others. If you remain neutral, if you say, "I have enough problems of my own. These are their responsibility," then automatically they will have to carry their own loads.

Question: Why do you tell us not to let any bad thoughts enter the mind while we are meditating?

Sri Chinmoy: During ordinary activity if an evil thought enters into you, you are not so disturbed, since the power of that thought is not very intense. But during meditation if a wrong thought comes, then it is like an arrow entering and piercing your inner life. Indian sadhus say to be very careful during meditation. If silly ideas enter our normal life we don't have to be disturbed. But if they enter during meditation we should try to kill them immediately because the meditation will only intensify them. If you have good thoughts, divine thoughts, during meditation, these same divine and unique qualities will be intensified. Good thoughts, when they enter, are just as intense as bad thoughts, but bad thoughts kill and good thoughts give new life. So at the time of meditation please feel that each divine thought will take you to God and each undivine thought will take you to death.

Editor's introduction to the first edition

The opposing forces of darkness and light are locked in a fierce battle for world-domination. In spite of the innumerable millions of earth’s inhabitants who take the side of darkness consciously or unconsciously, and in spite of the relative few who fight in the army of light, the earth has not yet succumbed to the hostile forces. Yet for the countless soldiers in the army of night, life is a sad affair. Placing their hopes in the fulfilment of desires, they are disappointed in their expectations again and again.

Most of earth’s millions travel the road of frustration from birth to death without ever considering embarking upon a more fulfilling journey. But a few do stop and try another route. Their road is more difficult, but also more beautiful. Their road is harder to follow but also more fulfilling. On their road they are often attacked by the hunger of darkness. But at the end of their journey they sit down with God to the Feast of Light.

Translations of this page: Russian
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