My heart-door I have kept wide open
Part IHDW 1-3. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on 19 June 2003 at P.S. 86 in Jamaica, New York.
Question: Guru, what is more important: inspiration or imagination?Sri Chinmoy: What is more important: inspiration or imagination? Inspiration, from one point of view, is infinitely more important than imagination. Then again, imagination is a reality on another plane of consciousness. On another plane, imagination is absolutely real. You may ask, "Which is more important and more delicious: a mango or a banana?" Some will say the mango is more delicious, while others will say, "No, no — the banana, the banana." They taste totally different, but it is the individual who prefers one to the other.
We have to take inspiration and imagination separately. We have to be inspired first. Then we have to enter into the world of imagination, or the imagination-world has to come to us. We have to know that this imagination should not be our mental hallucination. Many, many times we are enjoying mental hallucination and we think that it is imagination. No, no, no! Imagination is of supreme importance, but mental hallucination is worse than useless. Sometimes we are experiencing mental hallucination, but we take it as imagination.
Without inspiration we cannot achieve anything sublime. This inspiration can come from any world. It can come from the high, higher, highest world. Again, it can come right from nature. Mother Nature embodies inspiration. We can meditate to be inspired. This is one way. Again, we can pray to be inspired. If we look at a tree, we are not begging the tree, "Give me some inspiration." Still, when we look at the tree, there is a communication going on. There is something going on between our soul or our heart and the consciousness of the tree. We may be totally unaware of what is happening, but we are getting inspiration just by looking at the tree. Perhaps our eyes are able to catch a glimpse of a few leaves or branches or fruits. In some way we are getting inspiration.
Let us say you are looking at a river. You are facing the river, but you are not communicating with it. You are not praying to God to give you inspiration, but the river or the sea itself embodies inspiration. A tree or a garden embodies inspiration; Mother Nature embodies inspiration. Let us say Mother Earth embodies inspiration. When you look at nature, inspiration comes to you automatically. You can look at the sky. Even if you look at the birds in the sky, if you observe the flight of the birds, inspiration will come to you.
Sometimes it is very, very difficult to use your imagination. Suppose you want to imagine an Indian God, a Cosmic God or Cosmic Goddess. You are trying so hard to imagine that Cosmic God. But if you keep a picture of a certain Cosmic God or Goddess in front of you, then after half an hour if you are trying to imagine that God or Goddess, immediately, right before your mental vision, you will get it. That particular picture has reality in it, no matter what kind of life the artist lived. The artist prayed and meditated and then got the inspiration and imagination to capture that Cosmic God or Goddess.
If you want to imagine a Cosmic God, let us say, then if you can see the reality in a picture, it is very easy, after one hour or one or two days. But if you do not see the Cosmic God in a picture with your human eyes, it is very difficult to imagine that Cosmic God. And sometimes, even when your imagination is successful, alas, alas, your mind may come and say, "No, no, no, no, that cannot be the Cosmic Goddess. It is my mental hallucination." Definitely it was the blessingful presence of the Cosmic Goddess that you saw or felt, but the mind can interfere and say, "No, it is impossible. What kind of life am I leading? How will the Cosmic Goddess come to me? It is just my mental hallucination."
Here is the problem: imagination can be ruined if it is confused with mental hallucination. But inspiration comes easily. Let us say you are inspired while you are walking or looking at something. Inspiration is very easy to get, but it may not last. Inspiration can be very short-lived. Perhaps you are inspired to write a song, or a melody for a poem. If you do not record it, it goes away. Then afterwards you may say, "I will get a sweeter melody, a more inspiring melody." Your mind is telling you that the new melody will be more inspiring, but the heart will immediately think of the melody that you have forgotten. One melody has already come to you and if you have not recorded it on tape, after half an hour or so another one will come. The mind may say the second one is better, so you can forget about the first one. But the poor heart will say, "Why have I lost the first melody? Why have I lost it? I should have taped it; I should have recorded it."
Spiritual Masters do not have to imagine something. Spiritual Masters of my height do not need to do that. We see reality inside the heart of imagination. We do not have to separate imagination and reality. No, they are absolutely the same. For us, as soon as we imagine something, we see it as reality, no matter which plane it has come from.
When inspiration comes, it does not last. But if you are expert, you have some command of it. I could not have written or dictated thousands and thousands of pages if I had had to wait for inspiration. Sometimes the inspiration-bird is flying away while you are writing. Most people cannot catch the bird, but those who have inner capacities just go and catch it. Even while the bird is flying, they can capture this inspiration-bird. Again, they have the capacity to command the inspiration-bird. You can take inspiration as a dog instead of a bird. The dog is mischievous, but when you become serious, then he surrenders. A naughty child can be very mischievous, but if the father becomes serious, then the child obeys.
Sometimes you have to beg or wait for some time to get a little inspiration. Suppose you want to write a poem. You are sitting and waiting. When will the inspiration descend on you to write one line of poetry? But if, from within, your soul comes to the fore, the soul will give you the inspiration. If you had to wait for inspiration to come, then it would take you perhaps three or four days to write something. But the flow comes when the soul has come to the fore to inspire you.
There are two realities. As I said before, you can compare them to a mango and a banana. How easily can you get these fruits? It depends on the season. You may get a mango in the proper season and a banana in a different season. But if you can have both fruits, both inspiration and imagination, then you can achieve much more. It is better to have both. When you want inspiration, you pray to God for inspiration. When you want to imagine something, imagine it; but you have to know that this imagination itself is a reality. Otherwise, you will not value it.
Many, many people do not value their imagination. But inside imagination is the reality, or you can say that imagination itself is a reality. The higher we go, the clearer it becomes: the higher the imagination we get, the clearer it becomes that this imagination is nothing short of reality.
Swami Vivekananda and other spiritual figures also spoke about imagination. Suppose one is meditating and he is not able to dive deep within or go high, very high, but he continues and continues meditating. Then he can exercise his imagination and remember that ten or twenty years earlier he had a very sublime experience. The seeker is struggling so hard to have a high experience, a most sublime experience, but that experience is not to be found. Then he can try to imagine what happened earlier in his life. He knows he had quite a few experiences, although he may not know the exact date. But what happened ten years earlier, twenty years earlier or thirty years earlier? If he knocks at that door, where he reached that height, he can imagine, imagine, imagine that reality!
Now, you will say that with this kind of imagination you are fooling yourself; this is not reality. No! Imagine the highest experience that you had. Just think of that experience. Again and again and again you can use your will-power or your desire to have that experience once again. If you can spend five or ten minutes or half an hour, definitely that experience you will once again be able to bring down. At that time the experience that you get will not be your mental hallucination; it will be a reality.
One spiritual Master said that before he realised God, he used to have high experiences. Then he wanted to have once again the same experiences, but those experiences he was not getting. Perhaps the divine Grace was not descending, but he was imagining: "O my God, so many years ago I had those experiences." He deeply valued those experiences, so he wanted to have them again. How could he do that? He was only thinking about them and meditating, meditating, meditating on those experiences. Then those experiences again came down and at that time they were absolutely real. It was not his mental hallucination or imagination. Those experiences again became very, very real.
Let us say at this moment your mind is very impure. Then think of what happened ten days ago, or even ten or twenty years ago, when you had the deepest or highest experience of purity. Now you feel that your mind is in the gutter, but think of that time. Again and again think of that particular experience of your own highest, deepest, most powerful purity in your life, in your mind. At that time you saw not even an iota of wrong thought in your mind. There was nothing impure everything was pure, pure, pure, pure. Absolutely your entire being was flooded with purity. If you can think of that purity for just five minutes or ten minutes or fifteen minutes, then you can again bring down the same reality.
But you must not at that time think, "Oh, it is my imagination." No! You have applied your will-power, you have applied your heart's inner cry, so you can easily bring back that reality. At that time think that it is absolutely real — which is so true! It is real. It is not that the previous time it was real and this time it is unreal. No! This time it is just as real as last time.
Let us say ten years ago I had a mango. Now I have the opportunity to have another mango. I shall not say that the previous mango was real and the present one is unreal. The present mango is definitely as real as the previous one.
Very good! I hope I have made it clear to you.
Imagination and inspiration: both are needed, both are needed. Both are of paramount importance.
Question: Guru, do you remember when you gave us the daily prayers,1 you said that you were giving us an approach that was most compatible with the Western mind, which is "I must conquer, I must conquer."Sri Chinmoy: We must conquer fear, doubt, jealousy — everything. Those prayers that I gave a few years ago, alas, alas, many of you do not do. Once again I am sincerely requesting you to offer those prayers on a daily basis.
A Day in the Life of a Sri Chinmoy Disciple. New York: Agni Press, 2008, p. 46.↩
Question: Guru, my question is, does the Supreme have a preference? If I have the approach of "I must conquer," then it is as if I must take charge. But what if I approach a particular prayer with a heart of intense supplication? Does the Supreme have a preference for a more modern approach, for a conquering attitude or a "take-charge" attitude, over an attitude of supplication?Sri Chinmoy: All right, I have understood your question: shall I have a conquering attitude, or supplication? Now, if I take God as my Father, who is Almighty, then I shall say, "My Father is Almighty and I want to be a hero like my Father." At that time I shall say, "I must conquer this, I must conquer this." Why? If I conquer doubt, jealousy, impurity and all the other undivine forces, then I will be able to be as great as my Father. That is why I say, "I will do this, I will do this!" The Father-aspect will always encourage me to say, "I shall conquer."
But if I take the same God as a master and I take myself as a supplicant, then I will have the attitude, "Please, please give me this." The supplicant will beg for something, but the son is not going to beg. The son will say, "I must have it!" "I must conquer" means "I will do it!" That will be your attitude if you take God as your Father. But if you take yourself as a supplicant, then you will approach God begging: "Please, please, please, please, please, please!" The first aspect is that of a hero, a hero supreme: "God is the Absolute Lord and I want to become like Him. How will I become like Him unless I conquer these wrong forces that are within me or surrounding me?"
It depends on the person. If the person feels that he will succeed by touching God's Feet, begging God and kissing the dust of God's Feet, that is one way. Another way is this: "God is right beside me. I am saying that I want to become another God. How will I become another God if I do not conquer those forces?" Again, it entirely depends on the relationship that the seeker wants to establish with God.
One way is to pray and pray. Another way is to challenge the undivine forces. The soul cannot be won by the weakling. Evil forces, undivine forces can be defeated only by the strong, with the strongest power. The first approach is praying, praying, praying: "God, give me this; God, give me this; give me the strength." Again, with supplication I can surrender to God's Will. Without praying, without meditating, when I say, "I surrender to God's Will," what am I surrendering? I am surrendering only my lethargy to God — nothing else. I have become lethargy incarnate and that lethargy I am surrendering. But with personal effort, I am trying, trying, trying so hard. While trying, I have to feel that the effort that I am making is nothing short of God's Grace. God's Grace has descended upon me and I am acting, but my action itself is the Grace of the Supreme.
If we can develop heroic spirit in our life, then wrong forces will not dare to come near us. Right now, let us say, somebody has come to beat me; somebody is about to beat me black and blue. I can have two approaches. One approach is to feel that my father is in front of me and I am hiding behind him. My father is protecting me, because my father is stronger. The other approach is to feel that I am right beside my father. I know my father will protect me. If somebody is going to beat me, I am ready to beat him — tit for tat. I am ready to strike him, knowing perfectly well that my father will take my side because I am his son.
The first way is that if somebody comes to beat me, I will go and hide behind my father. Fear has attacked me, so I am standing behind my father. That approach will be the devotee's approach. The other approach is that of the mighty lion: I am beside my father. If necessity demands, if I am in trouble, my father will come to my rescue and destroy the enemy.
We can take whichever attitude we need. We have to make a choice: do we want to be a hero, or do we want to be a devotee? It is a question of which aspect we want to adopt. But if, by virtue of prayer and meditation, we can conquer something, then we shall have confidence. Otherwise, every time we are attacked, we shall have to knock at God's Door and touch God's Feet. God says, "Instead of touching My Feet all the time, why do you not acquire inner confidence by praying and praying? If somebody comes to attack you, why do you not acquire the necessary power beforehand by thinking of Me and by claiming Me as your own?"
Both aspects are needed. The prayer-aspect is needed and the surrender-aspect is needed. But the surrender-aspect has to come only after we have done something, after we have been ceaselessly trying, trying, trying. Then we can say, "I have been trying my best. Now I am surrendering to Your Will." While praying, we have to feel that the very capacity to pray ceaselessly is nothing short of God's Grace.
Our Indian way is to pray to God while reciting the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. That is absolutely one way to pray, with folded hands. Another way is to try to bring to the fore God's Omnipotence. God's Omnipotence is inside us. "Lead me from untruth to Truth, from darkness to Light, from death to Immortality" — this is one way. Again, there is another way: "Uttisthata jagrata" — "Arise, Awake!" And there is another phrase that spiritual Masters quite often say: "Na bhoy." "Na bhoy" means "Fear not, fear not! Do not fear, do not fear."
In one of Tagore's most important poems, he says, "My prayer to You is not to protect me from danger, but to give me the courage to challenge the danger." This is such an excellent poem. Tagore is saying, "Danger is there. To challenge the danger: for that I am praying to you, not to protect me from danger itself. That is my prayer." [Sri Chinmoy recites the poem in Bengali and continues his spontaneous interpretation.] "When there is a serious crisis, at that time, O God, I do not want to pray to You for protection, but I want to pray to You to give me courage. I must not be intimidated by fear itself. I must not be afraid of fear."
This is a mythological story: A devotee of Lord Shiva was attacked by someone undivine and he was invoking Lord Shiva. In Heaven, Parvati, Lord Shiva's divine consort, said to him, "This is so serious! What are you doing? Your devotee is in serious danger. He is invoking you and you are not paying any attention. Now go and save him!"
Then Lord Shiva descended to earth to save his devotee. In the meantime, this devotee, who had been praying so intensely, got courage from within and challenged the undivine fellow. When the undivine fellow saw the devotee's inner power and inner will, he just ran away.
Lord Shiva went back to Heaven and said, "Parvati, look! Before I could come to his rescue, my devotee solved his problem. He brought to the fore his own inner strength."
Parvati said, "Which approach is better for him: to pray for your assistance, or to find the courage within to solve his own problems?"
Lord Shiva said, "Which one is better? If he feels that he has something within him, why does he not use that capacity? Why does he have to invoke me again? If he does not feel that he has the strength or power within, then let him pray, pray, pray. But if he already has the capacity from within to fight against these wrong forces, then he does not have to invoke me. He can use his power. Again, if he feels that it is impossible for him to fight and conquer or destroy these forces himself, then definitely the devotee has to pray to me."
Again I am thinking of Tagore's poem. [Sri Chinmoy recites the poem in Bengali.] "My prayer to You is not to save me from danger, from the crisis. My prayer to You, O Lord, is to give me indomitable strength so that I will not be afraid of the crisis."
If we do not have inner strength, then naturally we shall have to run, run, run and pray to the Supreme, "Save me, save me, save me!" That way is definitely advisable at that time. But at every moment if we do not develop courage, then there is the risk that we will give up the spiritual life. Some people have a stupid idea about spirituality. Because they continue to be attacked by wrong forces, undivine thoughts, impure thoughts, they surrender. They say, "O my God, for years I have been praying — for thirty years, forty years. Still I am unable to conquer these forces. What is the use?" Look at their stupidity!
Just because I have not conquered the wrong forces, although I have been practising yoga for forty years, will I give up? Some people give up because they say that their weaknesses are still the same, although they have been following the spiritual life for twenty, thirty or forty years. They come to the conclusion, "It is useless, useless, useless. God does not want me to conquer these forces, or God is indifferent to my sufferings." But God is not indifferent. No, no! Everything has its own time.
Again, we have to see how much sincerity is involved when we say that we want to conquer wrong forces or impure lower vital forces. We all want to realise God overnight! We feel that God-realisation is like instant coffee, absolutely. But it is not at all like that. Everything has its own time. People think, "Oh, in one incarnation I prayed for twenty years, thirty years." But how much inner development they attained, we have no idea.
Before he realised the Absolute, Sri Aurobindo had a Guru whose name was Vishnu Bhaskar Lele. Vishnu Bhaskar Lele took seven years, a solid seven years, to establish peace in the mind, to make the mind absolutely calm, to silence the mind. To silence the mind he took seven years and then Sri Aurobindo took only three days. Look at the sincerity of this Master! He said, "I took seven years and you took three days." Now I am coming to the point. He could have given up during those seven years. He could have said, "O God, this is not meant for me. One year, two years, three years — now I am still going on and my mind is not silent." But he continued and then he did silence the mind.
There is another story that I have written about a Master and a disciple. The disciple far surpassed the Master and then the Master begged the disciple, "Now promise, promise that in my next incarnation you will be my Guru. I am ready to have you as my Guru now because you have far surpassed me. If you do not accept me now, in my next incarnation you have to be my Guru." Look at this! How much sincerity he had!
If ordinary Masters see that their disciples have gone beyond them, God knows what will happen. But this Master was so sincere. At that time the Master had tremendous occult power and the disciple did not have any occult power. The Master had occult power and he saw the capacity of the disciple. Without any occult power, the disciple went beyond, far beyond the Master, because he was able to establish his inseparable oneness with the Absolute Supreme. When the Master was longing for occult power and other power, he did get it. Then the Master felt sorry that he had done the wrong thing. He had prayed to God for occult power and all kinds of other powers and he got them. The disciple did not have those things, but the disciple developed inseparable oneness, complete oneness with God's Will. It was too late for the Master, because he was very old, so the Master said, "Please, promise, promise that you will become my Guru in my next incarnation. I want to start with this prayer: Let Thy Will be done."
There is nothing that can be superior to that prayer. But it is not enough just to say, "Let Thy Will be done." It is a joke when we only say, "Let Thy Will be done." One moment we say these words and the next moment we hanker after name, fame, material possessions and everything else. But the Master in this story was so sincere. He said, "In my next incarnation, you have to be my Guru, I really want you to be my Guru." When there is sincerity involved, one can definitely arrive at God's Door.
Part II — 'Comments about Thomas Jefferson'HDW 4. Sri Chinmoy offered these comments about Thomas Jefferson on 10 October 2003 during a conversation with Nripal.
Nripal: We know that spirituality — in the sense that we all understand it, that you taught us to understand it — pervaded the consciousness of so many of the founders of our country and they were able to distinguish between the highest, simplest spirituality and the practice of religion. Jefferson was the champion of the separation of Church and State and yet he was a profoundly spiritual person. People today do not really understand that.Jefferson was able to talk about the Creator, that Being who "doth no wrong," and to use all these wonderful phrases referring to the Supreme Being, in letters and even in public laws and documents. "Almighty God hath created the mind free and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint." That was from his Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Here he was writing in a law, "Almighty God has created the human mind free." What would people think about that today? They would say, "That is a violation of the Bill of Rights. You cannot do that. You are propagating religion." People do not understand that that is not propagating religion; it is recognising where the sacred and undeniable truths come from.
Somehow, someone has to come along in a leadership position in public life who can articulate the difference between spirituality, on the one hand and religion; and the distinction between the common love of God, which all religions share and fostering the establishment of religion and religious dogmas. There is a subtle difference there, but a real difference. We can see that when Jefferson starts using words like 'sacred', he is bringing in the spiritual dimension, but he is not pushing it into the realm of religion. There is a real art to his understanding and expression that has clearly been lost today.
Sri Chinmoy: Spirituality is the mother. Religion is the child. The mother has affection, compassion, sweetness, fondness, vastness — everything. The children quarrel and fight and then they come to their mother for consolation. Each child thinks that he is right, he is right and the poor mother tries to make each one feel that he is right in his own way. Then the mother tells the children, "Only love me, love me, love me. The more you love me, the less you will quarrel, fight and misunderstand each other."
Again, spirituality houses religion. If spirituality goes out of religion, religion cannot last even for a second. But, like children, sometimes religions feel they can live without the mother. Then the mother says, "All right, try in your own way." At some point they come to realise that without their mother's affection and concern they cannot live even for a second.
There is not a single person who is not spiritual. Again, there are degrees of spirituality. My spirituality need not be of the same height and depth as somebody else's spirituality. But spirituality is innate, because spirituality is in God, with God and for God. Spirituality is not made by man, whereas religions are made by men. Religions come from the experiences of human beings. In our hoary past there were some spiritual Masters and religions came from their experiences. But spirituality in its pristine form comes directly from God, from God's Vision. Religion has to learn from spirituality. Religion has to sit at the feet of spirituality, because spirituality embodies the universal, whereas manmade religion is not universal. That is why we talk about love of God. If we have love of God, then we enter into the realm of spirituality. If religion also is only love of God, then the door is open. We can go into the church; we can go into the temple; we can go anywhere we want to go.
Unfortunately, religions are all manmade. Some will say that the Indian religions came from the Vedic Seers; Christians will talk about their religion and others will talk about their religions. Spiritual figures who had a vision or experience gave it to their friends, gave it to their small world or to the vast world. Religion is getting something from within and then giving it. The quality can be excellent; the quantity can also be excellent. But spirituality comes directly from God and inundates our life-breath.
If we have love of God, then religion and spirituality will always remain inseparable. If we have true love for God and love for one religion, there is no problem. But if some religions want to exercise their supremacy, how will they express their supremacy? By trying to bind other religions, by subordinating other religions. That is the wrong process. While they are trying to bind other religions, they themselves are already bound. But once we love God in His own Way, then all the religions, which are like houses or homes, we can claim as our own. Everybody we can claim.
Humanity needs sincere love of God. When we love God, we see there is only one thing and that is spirituality. Spirituality is not a word. It is not a concept. It is not a religion. Spirituality is God's Life-Breath. God's infinite Life-Breath in an infinitesimal way He is keeping inside the heart of Mother-Earth.
I always feel and know that spirituality is the answer. Spirituality is universal. Again, spirituality does not mean only the messages that certain spiritual Masters have offered to the world. Each Master has shown a way to the Goal. Each individual has to walk along a particular road to reach the Goal. Religion will eventually surrender to spirituality. As a matter of fact, it has surrendered, but it does not want to acknowledge the fact. Religion does not want to admit that unconsciously it has surrendered to the will of spirituality.
Religion wants to maintain its separativity. But a day will come when religions, like spirituality, will be all-embracing. Either they will all love God together or, even if they love God in different ways, they will try to harmonise with each other. One religion will not find fault with the ways that other religions approach God.
Part IIIHDW 5-10. These questions were answered by Sri Chinmoy on 29 December 2003 at the Sheraton Mustika hotel in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, during the disciples' annual Christmas Trip with their Master.
Question: When I want to pray for a certain divine quality, I do not know any way to do it other than by repeating the name of the quality over and over again. Does the English word for the quality have any power to bring forward that quality?Sri Chinmoy: When I think of Keats' poem that begins, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever," for me it is like a mantra. You have only to repeat the line soulfully. There are many, many English phrases like this. And Sri Chinmoy has given not hundreds, but thousands and thousands of mantras in his writings! It is only your feeling when you utter the word that matters. For me there is no difference if I say 'purity, purity', or if I say the words "pavitrata' or "pavita'. I tell you, if I say soulfully 'purity,' it is enough. I do not have to search for a Bengali word or a Sanskrit word in order to get a mantric utterance.
We Indians are only rogues if we beat our drums and say we alone have the mantras and only if you repeat the Gayatri mantra will you get illumination. What about the Christian saints who have also got illumination? Did they know the Gayatri mantra, Asato ma sad gamaya and all the other Sanskrit mantras? No! It is how devotedly you say the mantra that matters. English words definitely have mantric qualities. We only fool the world if we say that only if you learn Sanskrit and utter the Sanskrit mantras will you be illumined. Why do you have to learn Sanskrit? If God gave you English as your mother tongue, do you have to learn Sanskrit to get joy? Out of a million Sanskrit pundits, perhaps one will get illumination; whereas a person who does not know a word of Sanskrit but is soulfully saying the words — even if the pronunciation is wrong, everything is wrong — may get illumination. It is the soulfulness of the individual that counts.
Whichever quality you need — courage or purity or faith you can just repeat the English word, if you cannot formulate a line. Only repeat the word. What else is a mantra? It is a matter of repetition, repetition. Mantras can be one single word, two words or three words, or one line or two lines. But your soulfulness is of paramount importance. If you have soulfulness inside you, then you will have a perfect mantric utterance.
Never, never think that you have to learn Sanskrit — the Vedas, the Upanishads and all those works. My brother was a Sanskrit scholar, a real scholar. But am I a scholar? Far from it! My brother repeated the mantras from the Upanishads and the Vedas millions and billions of times. In my case, I know fewer than fifty Sanskrit mantras, but I have realised God.
It is only how devotedly one repeats a mantra that counts. If you use English words, if you say 'purity' or 'courage' or 'faith' soulfully, does God not know English? Does God know only Sanskrit? Do not think that God knows only Sanskrit and English is foreign to Him! God gave you English as your mother tongue. He gave you birth in an English-speaking country and you should use that tongue soulfully, soulfully, soulfully.
When a child cries, is his Bengali or English correct? When a baby cries, the mother understands what the baby wants and she comes running. The child is so sincere in his cry. He desperately needs something from the mother — candy or milk or something else. If we repeat a word with the same soulful sincerity, we will definitely get the most satisfactory result. Again, soulfulness has to be there; sincerity has to be there. Otherwise, we will only say the word like a parrot.
To people who do not know Sanskrit, a Sanskrit scholar may say, "You should practise Asato ma and all the early-morning sunrise mantras." But if Sanskrit were the only language for mantras, then God should have created only India and no other countries! In that case, in God's entire Creation only the Indian subcontinent should exist and other countries and continents would not have to exist since Sanskrit mantras are not available in those countries. That is absurd!
Question: Does everything you do or not do mean something? For example, if somebody takes prasad when there are so many people around, is it of importance if you look at the person or not, or is it sometimes just coincidence?Sri Chinmoy: Not at all! Even if I do not look at you, my heart-door I have kept wide open. If you are wise, you will say, "Oh, Guru does not have to use his human eyes. His third eye is wide open and his heart-door is open." Then you are getting everything from me. But if you come in front of me, right in front of me and I am looking at someone else, then you are finished! You will get zero if you are thinking, "Guru is looking to the other side, so how will I receive anything from him?"
When you take prasad, my heart-door is wide open. Just enter into my heart. I do not have to look at you. How am I going to look at each and every one? It is impossible. But if I keep my heart-door open to all, I do not have to open the door for each individual. With such affection, love, sweetness and fondness I have kept my heart-door open. When you take prasad, you have to feel, "Guru has kept his heart-door wide open for me." Otherwise, if I do not look at you and I look to this side or that side, you will feel, "O God, Guru does not care for me. I am standing right in front of him, but he has no time to think of me." That is not true!
If I see someone has tremendous hunger, then immediately I try to give that specific person attention, unconditionally. I shall give you an example. Recently someone pointed out to me the mother of another disciple. Outwardly I did not know who she was. She was here on the Christmas Trip for some time, for quite a few days. Two or three days ago, while people were coming to take prasad, she was not even looking at me; she was looking at the back of the individual who was ahead of her, or God knows what else she was looking at. Absolutely she was not looking at me and her concentration also was not on me. But my compassion and my love went to bless her. I said to myself, "She does not have to look at me." My unconditional affection and compassion I was pouring and pouring into her.
Unconditional things happen! That lady was not thinking of me deeply at that time. She is a very nice lady, very nice, very nice and I was very happy to have her here. At that particular moment during prasad, when she was passing by, her standard of consciousness was not high or deep, but I wanted to give her something. At a particular time it may happen that someone does not want anything. When the child does not care for something, the mother sometimes forces him to eat. In my case I do not have to force anyone. I can easily enter into the person and feed the soul. Like that I fed her soul, her heart and her entire existence.
In so many ways I can do my work! I do not have to adopt specific ways. I may be looking at you, but at the same time my third eye has the capacity to look at so many other people. My heart also has that capacity. My heart-door opens and immediately I see this one is entering, that one is entering. Again, somebody may be standing in front of me, but his consciousness is not high at all. I am looking at the person and people may think that I am pouring, pouring so much into him. Not at all! It can be totally my compassion that is operating.
Some people definitely receive my blessings when they are standing in front of me. Again, just because you are standing in front of me, it does not mean that you are very receptive. Perhaps somebody is standing in a long queue. Thirty or forty disciples may be ahead of him, but I am getting his receptivity. And the ones who are passing by me at that moment may not be receptive at all. No matter where you are, your receptivity is receiving everything.
If I want to give something inwardly to an individual, whether that person is ready or not ready, unconditionally I will give; at that time I will not wait. You do not want anything? So what? I want to give something to you! And I know that what I am giving you is not poison; it is nectar. It will not do you any harm.
Today is someone's birthday. She was passing by me earlier. She was wearing a sari and I saw her sari, but I did not look at her face. I saw her in the queue, but when she came up to me, I did not pay any attention to her outwardly. I only looked at her sari. I did not look at her face properly, so I gave everything into her sari. This is called occultism. Occultism does not need to enter through the face or eyes or nose. Through her sari, whatever I wanted to give, I gave — my blessings and love. I gave her my occult blessing. When I blessed her, all my love and blessings went into her sari and then immediately they went into her heart. Occultists can do these things. The sari was just an instrument.
Sometimes I look at your feet, but I give immediately to the heart. It may happen that I am looking at your heart, but I am not able to enter into your heart; whereas when I look at your feet, there I am getting more receptivity than from your heart.
When you pass by me, even if you think I am not looking at you, you must try to be as devoted and as receptive as possible. Otherwise, you may receive nothing, nothing, nothing from me! Some receive forty per cent, some sixty per cent, some eighty per cent; but some are not receiving anything. Where is their soulfulness, where is their devotedness as they pass by me? Alas, sometimes I see nothing, nothing, nothing. I must say, usually the girls are more soulful during prasad; but sometimes the boys do better meditation than the girls while the girls are taking prasad.
You will make the fastest progress the day you can feel and believe that I can do many, many things at the same time. Just because you cannot do it, just because you do only one thing at a time, if you think I am also of the same standard, then you are making a mistake. The King of Surakarta saw me inwardly and many others have seen me inwardly while at that very time I have perhaps been with my disciples, chatting away.
If you can feel and know that I can do many things at a time, then you will be more aware of your spiritual life. Otherwise, it is, "out of sight, out of mind." As soon as I am in front of you, you behave so divinely! Then, when I am out of sight, when you do not see me, all your monkey-qualities come to the fore. If you can feel that even while you are fooling around I am there, I am watching or I am enjoying everything, if you can feel that I am enjoying your jokes, then you are safe. But if you have the feeling that I am not present and that is why you can cut jokes and fool around, then you are making a mistake. When you are cutting jokes, if you inwardly feel and see that I am enjoying your jokes, although physically I am not there, then you are safe. But when you do not see me and do not feel me while you are cutting jokes and fooling around, then afterwards you will say, "O my God, I have wasted my time, I have wasted my time!"
Very good question!
Sri Chinmoy spoke about singing "The Invocation."To my great sorrow, there are some disciples who do not sing "The Invocation" in the morning. In my case, the very first thing I do each morning is to play "The Invocation" on the harpsichord. I want everybody to sing, sing, sing "The Invocation" every morning. For me, if "The Invocation" is not a mantra, then what is it? The words are simpler than the simplest. The mind will say they are all simple, but God Himself is so simple. The air is so simple. The sky is so simple. Everything is simple. God loves to live in simplicity, not in complexity.
Dear ones, those of you who are not singing "The Invocation," start from tomorrow! Whenever you get up, if you get up at 7:00, 8:00 or 9:00 — whenever you get up, that is the best time to sing. And you must fold your hands when "The Invocation" is sung or played.
Question: Guru, sometimes we are staying in a room with one or two other people, as we do on the Christmas Trip. If they are still sleeping and we need to leave soon, can we sing "The Invocation" by ourselves while they are asleep?Sri Chinmoy: When somebody is sleeping, what is wrong? Let that person sleep! You do your job. You cannot force someone to wake up and sing with you. That person needs sleep desperately. Will you pinch that person or throw cold water or hot water on her? You do your job: you sing "The Invocation" while others are asleep. Then, whenever the others get up is the best time for them to sing. Otherwise, what can you do? You will have to go out of the room and enter into a wood or forest in order to sing alone.
If you are lucky, you and your roommates can get up at 6:00 or at another fixed time to meditate and sing "The Invocation" together. Then you can go back to sleep and let the others go out and run or do whatever they need to do. Where there is a will, there is a way. If you have mutual sympathy or mutual concern for each other, then can you not get up at 6:00 together?
Question: If you have to leave really early to catch a flight and you would like to sing "The Invocation" before you leave the room, even then do the others have to get up, Guru?Sri Chinmoy: Why should they have to get up? I am saying that the others do not have to get up. If you are leaving the room at an early hour, then you do your spiritual duty first. There are many, many days when disciples staying in the same room are not getting up at the same time. Perhaps one wants to enjoy rest. Fine, fine, fine! But I want everybody to sing "The Invocation" every morning, whenever they get up.
Question: Guru, is it all right if we whisper "The Invocation" so as not to disturb others who are sleeping?Sri Chinmoy: I have said many times that "The Invocation" must never be sung in a whisper. "The Invocation" has to be audible. Other songs you may whisper or say under your breath, but "The Invocation" must be sung aloud so that you can hear it. I am not saying that you have to sing at the top of your voice, but it has to be audible. You can pray in silence; you can meditate in silence. But when you have to invoke, invoke so that you yourself can hear!
Again, even if you are praying, if you can hear what you are saying with your own ears and if you do it soulfully, it is much more effective. While you are praying in silence, you may not have the same intensity and eagerness, or you may fall asleep. But meditation has to be always in silence. There is no other way. Meditation and concentration have to be all in silence.
When we were young boys and young girls — twelve, thirteen or fourteen years old — the Mother of the Ashram received a prayer from Sri Aurobindo. That prayer became compulsory for all the Ashram school students. In each and every class, as soon as the teacher came in, we had to stand up and say that prayer. At that time the boys who were in a monkey-consciousness would never dare to remain in their ordinary consciousness, because Sri Aurobindo had written that prayer. He had written it for one individual, but the Mother wanted us all to recite that prayer. When it was time to say that prayer, how sincerely thirty or thirty-five students recited it! The teacher also, with folded hands, would say the same prayer with the students. In the modern-day world, will a teacher fold his hands? Will the students fold their hands? Of course, in the West, folding hands is not needed. In India it is needed.
That prayer begins, "I pray to be purified from self-will and self-assertion so that I can become docile and obedient…" At the age of twelve or thirteen, what does one know about self-will and self-assertion? Even at an advanced age perhaps some people do not know what self-will is or what self-assertion is. But we used to pray so soulfully. We recited that prayer so soulfully because we had such love, respect and devotion for Sri Aurobindo and we knew that Sri Aurobindo had written the prayer.
Another prayer was inscribed on Sri Aurobindo's Samadhi. The Mother gave it in French and also in English. When I used to bow down at the Samadhi, I would recite that prayer as soulfully as possible: "To Thee who hast been the material envelope of our Master…" With as much soulfulness as I could muster, I recited it.
Soulfulness, soulfulness, soulfulness! Without soulfulness, we are no better than parrots.
Part IVHDW 11. This question was answered by Sri Chinmoy on 14 January 2004 at the Hotel Padma Bali.
Question: Could you speak about your prayer that says, "Even after God-manifestation, God comes with a new Dream"?1Sri Chinmoy: This new Dream is for everybody. In my case, I had to realise God, then manifest God. Then God gave me another Dream. For you, at this point God-realisation and God-manifestation are still just two words. You are saying these big words, but first you have to actually realise God and then manifest God. Then God will come to you and tell you what the next Dream is for you.
I still remember when Nolini-da wrote about me, "A child of the Mother is always a child, even unto the last achievement and fulfilment." The last achievement is God-realisation and fulfilment is God-manifestation. He was saying that after God-manifestation, still you have to remain the Mother's child. Nothing ends. God's Cosmic Game, His Lila, never ends. If we feel, "Oh, my game is over," again a new dream comes and challenges us. It is a new dream, God's Dream for us.
These things are not for the mind of humanity. The Supreme has told me and I know many, many things He cannot disclose to humanity. It does not serve any purpose at this stage. It would only be like wishful thinking, the fulfilment of wishful thinking.
No rest\\ After God-realisation.\\No rest\\ Even after God-manifestation —\\ God comes with a new Dream.\\ Sri Chinmoy, My Christmas-New Year-Vacation- Aspiration-Prayers, Part 28, # 74. New York: Agni Press, 2004.↩
Part VHDW 12-17. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on 3 January 2005 at the Hai Tian Hotel in Qingdao during his Christmas Trip to China with his disciples.
Question: If somebody does something first, does he pave the way in the inner worlds for others to follow? If somebody breaks the four-minute-mile barrier, for example, is it easier for others to follow him?Sri Chinmoy: Definitely, definitely! When a pioneer does something, a new dream blossoms on earth from him. He opens the door for others to come in. Those who come later can also do the same thing, but they have the advantage of knowing that somebody else has already done it. When someone has no predecessor, although others will break his records, he has to be remembered because he has accepted the challenge of doing something very difficult. It is like climbing up the Himalayas. The first individual should always be given credit, special credit. Afterwards, other people will do it more easily. But the first one definitely deserves special credit as the pioneer.
Question: Is there any quick way to get affection and forgiveness from our soul?Sri Chinmoy: Only to shed soulful tears. Imagine your soul — imagine, imagine! Imagination is a reality in itself. You will imagine your soul as a most beautiful, most beautiful, most beautiful child — or whichever way you want to imagine it. If you can shed bitter tears in front of the soul, the soul will rectify all the mistakes that you have made.
Question: When we were listening to your synthesiser the other day, it seemed as though different qualities were coming out in different parts of the performance. I was wondering if you wanted to tell us anything about what was happening inwardly?Sri Chinmoy: It is not a matter of telling; it is a matter of feeling. Somebody will feel that it is thundering. Somebody else will feel that a flute is being played. If you like a thunder-roar, you will appreciate it in that way. If you like the sweet melody of the flute, you will appreciate it in that way.
Question: Guru, when I am back at home working, I try to imagine you as often as possible in person, but sometimes because there is so much happening, it is difficult. But often when I concentrate on my heart, I feel that it is full of light and full of joy and I was wondering if that is enough?Sri Chinmoy: That is quite enough! Only if it is difficult to concentrate, breathe in a few times. Take very, very deep breaths and remember, remember me smiling. Remember my smiling pictures and remember how many times I smiled at people, smiled at you. If that is difficult, immediately look at the Transcendental photograph. The Transcendental everybody always carries. It is either in their wallet or on a chain. The Transcendental will do everything. You may not see the Transcendental smiling, but if you look at the Transcendental and remember one of the pictures where I am smiling, the Transcendental will be able to show you my smiling face. The Transcendental is my highest, but if you need a smile and if you concentrate on my smiling aspect, I assure you, my Transcendental will be able to show you my smiling aspect. In spite of maintaining my highest height, it will be able to show you my smiling face.
The Transcendental has everything and it is everything. If I have given something to the world that the world will forever and forever cherish, then that is my Transcendental picture. Believe it or do not believe it! You will go to Heaven God knows how many times and how many times you will come back from Heaven God knows. But if you keep an inner connection with me, then you will see that millions of miracles the Transcendental will do. Not thousands, but millions and billions of miracles the Transcendental picture will do for mankind.
This is not just a picture; it is my Transcendental consciousness. When you look at that picture, you are definitely concentrating on my Transcendental consciousness — not just on a picture or a piece of paper.
Question: Why is the mind afraid of visiting Heaven?Sri Chinmoy: Why is your mind afraid of visiting Heaven? I am dying to visit Heaven and live there and you are afraid of it! Now, when you use the mind to visit Heaven, immediately the mind reminds you how many bad things you have done — how many bad things, unaspiring things, undivine things. The moment you think of Heaven with your mind, your mind gets frightened because you think that Heaven will immediately ask you, tell you or show you all the things you have done wrong.
But if you use the heart, like a child, it is totally different. A child is not at all afraid of coming to the mother or to the father. The child feels he is an open book to his parents. It is the responsibility of the parents to clean him, to ask him to tell the truth and to be a good person in every way. A child is not afraid. A child comes running even to a flame, a fire. He does not know that fire will burn him. He is always getting joy by coming to a new place. Heaven for a child is a new place.
If you use the heart, you will never be afraid of Heaven. But if you use the mind, immediately all the things you have done wrong will come to your mind and then you will get frightened. If a student has not studied, if he has not done his homework, he will be afraid of coming to school because the teacher will scold him. But if the student knows he has worked very hard, he has done his homework, then he will not be afraid of the teacher, because he knows that he will pass the examination.
Question: During this huge disaster, what kind of spirit would we need to face it?1Sri Chinmoy: We need a spirit of oneness. This disaster has in a very special way helped us to bring the world together. The world of division must go. The world of oneness must come forward. Your Foreign Minister, Li Zhaoxing, has written a most beautiful, soulful and heart-rending poem and I have taken the liberty of setting that particular poem to music. Many, many people have written about this tsunami disaster, but your Foreign Minister's poem I feel should be at the top of the list. He began, "To my distant friends." The world is vast, but on the strength of our oneness, heart's oneness, we can make each and every human being feel that we exist for the improvement of the world.
We human beings have been doing many, many things wrong over the years. Now, I do not wish to use the term 'punishment', but let us say that somebody is trying to illumine us. Mother Nature is illumining us in a very special way. She is saying, "Now wake up, wake up!" This world has to be inundated with peace, joy and harmony. The tsunami is, to me, a blessing in disguise. Many, many people who did not previously care for the world have now brought forward their hearts. They have come together with utmost sympathy and a feeling of oneness. This world belongs to each and every human being. We exist not only for our little family, but for the big family, which is the world.
On the one hand, the tsunami is a great disaster. On the other hand, if we look at it from a different point of view, it has helped immensely to bring about the feeling of oneness. To me, it is a kind of blessing in disguise for the world as a whole. Outwardly, it seems like a severe, severe punishment. Inwardly, we feel it has helped immensely to prove to the world at large that we belong to one family.
On 11 January 2005 at the Beijing York Hotel in Beijing, China, during a function with representatives of the Red Cross, Sri Chinmoy answered a question about the tsunami that had recently devastated South Asia.↩
Part VIHDW 18-19. On 13 February 2005 at the Hilton Hotel in Nanjing, China, Sri Chinmoy addressed an inspired seeker and answered a question from one of his disciples.
Seeker: Guru, a gentleman came from the Beijing Municipal Government. I told him, "Sri Chinmoy has students in more than one hundred countries," and he said, "That is like the United Nations!" Then one of your disciples said, "It is only the United Nations of all the hearts." Please, Guru, in your heart's United Nations, do not leave China out!Sri Chinmoy: My dearest seeker-friend, let me speak most sincerely. You will always remain in my heart of God-realisation. Now, I tell you, each spiritual Master of the highest calibre represents not only the highest Absolute Lord Supreme, but also the spiritual Masters of the past who are no longer in the physical. If you follow a spiritual Master of the highest order, if you are following the path of the Lord Buddha, you will find no difficulty in appreciating our path. Your soul has accepted me and our path, one hundred per cent. Your heart has accepted me one hundred per cent. Many, many, many, many times your soul and your heart have come to me — many, many, many times since I saw you for the first time. That was the time your soul and heart fully accepted me with utmost love and devotion. Now, your mind, your vital and your physical existence need peace, tranquillity.
I have many, many disciples whose heart and soul have accepted me fully, whereas their mind, their vital and their physical existence have not accepted me one hundred per cent. The soul and the heart have accepted me one hundred per cent, but the mind, the vital and the earthly consciousness, the body, may have accepted me only fifty or sixty per cent. Again, their soul's acceptance of me and their heart's acceptance are so strong that they have kept their mind, vital and physical consciousness under control. We have also a few disciples who have accepted me wholeheartedly with their body, vital, mind, heart and soul. The soul, heart, mind, vital and body have accepted me one hundred per cent.
Usually I do not do this, but I am saying in public that your soul has accepted me one hundred per cent and your heart has accepted me one hundred per cent. After having seen me, if you go to different Masters, forgive me to say, you will only make a comparison and you will make your life miserable, most miserable. You may see something nice there, as you have seen something here and the comparison will make your life miserable.
Your soul and heart express their feelings through soulful tears. These are not fake tears; they are not emotional human tears. No, these tears are coming from the very depths of your soul, from the depths of your heart. But right now your mind and vital need a little more poise. If they have poise, if they have peace, then you will be able to accept me in your mind and vital also. I do not want to say that your mind has not accepted me at all — no, no! That would be the height of my insincerity. Your mind has accepted me, but not the way your heart has accepted me. I do not want to give marks, but your mind and vital and your physical, earthly consciousness, have accepted me to some extent, whereas your heart and soul have accepted me wholeheartedly. They have accepted me completely, completely.
Even here there are some disciples who have been with me for many, many years whose soul and heart are one hundred per cent for me, absolutely one hundred per cent, whereas their mind fluctuates. Sometimes the mind has accepted me eighty, ninety or ninety-five per cent. Then again, there are some on the path whose mind has accepted me only seventy per cent or sixty per cent. In some cases, even now, after so many years, their vital and mind have accepted me only thirty to forty per cent.
But there are quite a few who have accepted me whole-heartedly, one hundred per cent, with their aspiration, dedication and self-giving. Their entire existence is only for me, only for me. Their only desire is to manifest my light — which is the Light of the Supreme — here on earth. They do not expect anything from me. There are some disciples in that category. They get boundless joy only by pleasing me and fulfilling me in my own way.
Again, sometimes desire creeps in and when they get this desire, they curse themselves. Why? Each time they have a desire — which may even touch the height of ambition — they become miserable because they feel that they are going away from me. They know that their acceptance of me is complete and whatever decision I make in their outer life or in their inner life is for their good. I do not get any joy by giving orders. I am not a commander. But I have taken them as my own, very own. They are extremely grateful that I have accepted them as my own and I am also extremely grateful that I was able to accept them as my own, very own. I have some disciples like that.
But there are also disciples who are not with me one hundred per cent in every way. The soul and heart are there, but in some cases even the heart at times disappears, because the mind becomes so powerful that it eclipses the heart-sun. There is no guarantee that people who stay on our path for forty or fifty years will be making progress. In some cases, when people were five or ten years old on the path, they made the fastest progress. Now the same people have been on the path for twenty, twenty-five, thirty or thirty-five years and they have descended considerably. Some people feel, after staying for so many years, that they have wasted their life. Some people feel that their mind is fossilised and they cannot go any farther.
I always say that there is no such thing as an age-barrier in the spiritual life. Even until the moment when you breathe your last, you can make progress. If your last breath goes to the Supreme with utmost sincerity, even at that very last moment you can make progress. But some disciples have definitely descended, descended. Some have descended considerably; others, to some extent; and still others, miserably. Again, some have maintained their height and some are continuing to make progress.
On our Christmas Trips, some disciples make so much progress! It is like putting money in the bank. The rest of the year, even if they do not make any progress, they can withdraw money — that is to say, aspiration, dedication and all their good qualities. In three months' time, some people make that kind of extraordinary progress.
In your case, my dear seeker-friend, do not be discouraged. You can dive deep within to see if I am telling the truth. Your soul and your heart have accepted me. You have already been to one or two Masters. Now if you go to other Masters, there will only be serious comparison in your mind. Again, who am I to say these things? But if I have to speak on behalf of the Supreme, your link with my soul and my heart is infinitely stronger, infinitely stronger. I am not flattering you.
My request to all the disciples is not to change boats. Again, if one boat only capsizes time and again and there is no hope for that boat to arrive at the destination, then one has every right to change from that boat to a boat that is sailing fast, very fast and that he feels can fulfil its promise. There are boats like that. If one is fully satisfied with one boat, then my advice is never, never to change. But if one boat enjoys hesitation, then an individual has the right to make the final decision, the faultless decision, to choose another boat.
Some people are in the boat, but they are not active. They are not watching or doing anything. I say that, even if you fall asleep and do not see what is going on around you, no harm; you can remain asleep. Some disciples are not fully committed to the path. They are neither one hundred per cent in the aspiration-world nor one hundred per cent in the dedication-world, but just because they are staying on the path, they are not going downhill. They are holding their spiritual standard.
My friend, my dearest seeker-friend, I am telling you, if it is a matter of your soul, if it is a matter of your heart, then one hundred per cent you have accepted me. But if the other parts of your being are not satisfied, then what can I say? Again, there are people in my boat whose entire being, whose body, vital, mind, heart and soul, still have not accepted me fully.
Every day I tell the secret of secrets: we sing and pray to the Supreme not to give us freedom. Everybody wants freedom, freedom, freedom! Who does not want freedom? But we forget that we misuse freedom one hundred percent. Some countries that advocate freedom are in the vanguard of destruction. Now our philosophy is, "Give me no freedom." I know that, the moment I take freedom from God, I separate myself from Him and I am prone to make mistakes one hundred per cent of the time. If I say, "God, I love You implicitly, unconditionally," then I have no choice of my own. At that time I pray to God, "Give me no freedom." I know if I pray for freedom and if I get freedom, I may make a most deplorable blunder and ruin my whole spiritual life.
I tell God, "Do not give me freedom. Bind me, keep me bound inside Your Heart. I do not need freedom! Real freedom is joy and my joy is to be bound by You." That is my freedom. Freedom means joy. I can enjoy freedom in my life. But again, if I pray to God, "Do not give me freedom," it means, "I want to be absolutely one with You in Your Decisions. Every Decision you make for me is the perfect one." For the last one or two years, I have felt the supreme necessity for the disciples to pray to the Supreme not to give them freedom.
This philosophy is totally different from the philosophy of the outer world. I am praying, "Do not give me freedom." But what does freedom mean? I know my freedom means I will only commit blunders and blunders and blunders, whereas if the Supreme guides me at every moment, is He going to make mistakes? If we feel that He has made a so-called mistake in our life, we will see that we are only climbing up to another height. From one plane of consciousness we may take it as a defeat, but from another plane of consciousness, it is a great achievement.
Sri Aurobindo said, "His failure is not failure whom God leads." God knows the Ultimate Goal because God Himself is the Ultimate Goal. If the disciples take me as their Destination, they will not feel that I have not said the right thing or done the right thing. To those who have accepted me wholeheartedly, I wish to say that your Destination is not somewhere else; it is inside me. It is in my inner existence.
People who are of the highest height, who have reached the most sublime height, represent not only God, the Absolute God, but also their elder brothers — like Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Lord Buddha, Sri Chaitanya, the Saviour Christ, Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo and others. It is all the same light. The highest Supreme sent some supremely chosen individuals to do His Work. Again, the way the Absolute Supreme guided those spiritual figures of the highest order, He will always guide the ones supremely chosen for His Manifestation.
There are many, many Gurus, countless Gurus. Swami Vivekananda once said, "In East Bengal, Gurus grow like mushrooms." He was bothered by so many people from East Bengal. They said, "Please, please come and see my Guru! He is God-realised. He is an Avatar, an Avatar, an Avatar!" That is why Swami Vivekananda said, "In East Bengal, Gurus grow like mushrooms."
Here on earth everybody is not at the same height. With all the sincerity at my command, I wish to say that all spiritual Masters are not of the same height. Again, if we use the term 'representative', each human being is a God-representative — you and I and everyone. Whoever has taken human incarnation is a God-representative, but we have to know that a particular God-representative may have only an iota of God's Divinity to embody and reveal and manifest.
All human beings are God-representatives if they have faith in God, if they are God-believers. And even those who are not God-believers also have faith! I say their "no God" is also my God, because they have faith in their "no God." The most important thing is to have faith. I say, "There is a God, there is a God." My faith is in God. But if you say, "No God, no God," fine! That "no God" is also my God, because you have implicit faith in "no God." If you have faith in "no God," then your faith I accept as God because God is omnipresent, He is omnipotent. But those who believe in God are doing the right thing, absolutely. "No God" is one way of saying the truth. We use the term "Neti, neti" — "Not this, not that" — but I cannot side with those who say "no God."
We do not understand the way the Creation can be threatened by some undivine or hostile forces. These undivine forces are embodied by some individuals. It is something unfathomable and most painful and we shall not go to that side of Creation. We shall try to live with the God of our aspiration, of our dedication. If we think of the destruction of the world by certain forces, by certain individuals, we are totally lost and we shall not be able to find the right way to change the world. We cannot even change our own mind, our own life. How can we change the course of the world? We cannot! So let us not go to the side of the undivine forces.
Again I am saying to all of you, you all are representatives of God. God has given to some individuals the capacity of the infinite ocean. Some are like rivers, some are like ponds, some are like swimming pools, some are like little streams and some are like tiny drops of water. But whatever your capacity, once you take human incarnation, you are definitely a God-representative.
Question: There are roots in the spiritual life that go down deep, deep, deep and I feel they are building our solid life as a spiritual seeker. How can we become more solid and work on our roots in the spiritual life?Sri Chinmoy: On the spiritual path, every morning we know we have covered hundreds of miles or thousands of miles or millions of miles or billions of miles or even trillions of miles. Some people have covered many, many miles over the years. They have had many, many incarnations. Again, some people, let us say, have covered only ten miles, twenty miles, thirty miles or forty miles in the spiritual life.
No matter how many miles we have already covered on the strength of our prayer and meditation, we have to forget about the distance we have covered over the years. Every morning we have to make a new attempt, a fresh attempt, to fly a little higher, to dive a little deeper, to go forward a little farther. These three things we have to do. Whatever height we have reached, every day we have to make a fresh attempt, absolutely new.
Every day a flower is blossoming. Early in the morning when we look at the flower, we get so much joy. In the late afternoon or evening we see it has become wilted. The next day again a new flower is blossoming. While you are the most beautiful and fresh flower early in the morning, at that time when you pray or meditate, develop adamantine will-power so that there will be absolutely no outer world of good and bad — only you and your inner existence, you and God. There is no third person with good news or bad news or sad news — no! There is only you, right in front of your own Highest, your own Highest. You can imagine your own Highest, or if it is difficult, then my Transcendental photograph you can take as your Highest.
If I have given one thing to this world to treasure when I go to the other world, that is my Transcendental. Again, quite a few years ago I went beyond it. I always say that the Supreme Himself is making progress, which is unbelievable to the mind.
Part VIIHDW 20-23. The following questions were answered on 27 November 2005 at Pangkor Island Beach Resort, Malaysia, during Sri Chinmoy's annual Christmas Trip with his disciples.
Question: Suppose somebody dies and they are supposed to go to a lower world. Then you help them inwardly and they go to a higher place. My question is, do you also help their spiritual consciousness so that when they go to that higher place, they actually fit in there, or is that soul like a kindergarten pupil in a high school class?Sri Chinmoy: Very good question! The answer is, I raise their consciousness so that they can fit in. Otherwise, the souls who are in that higher world will say wonderful things about me! I raise their consciousness so that it is of the same standard as the souls who are already there. I have done this for the parents of many of my disciples because I love their children.
Question: In our Centre, we have five or six disciples who would like to run forty-two marathons each by April next year in honour of your forty-two years in the West. We aim to run two or three marathons a month.Sri Chinmoy: If you can do two marathons a month, I will be very happy. But I feel that three is too much. If some people can manage one a month, then I shall love them and adore them. Please make sure it is not one a week. Otherwise, I will be very upset. Your health must come first. Yes, to honour your Guru's anniversary is one thing; but your Guru will not be pleased if you ruin your health. I am saying this from my own personal experience. Look at what I have done to my leg! I used to run early in the morning, at three o'clock or four o'clock, mile after mile. Now I am paying the penalty.
Question: Today you talked about karma. Let us say I have bad karma due to me because I did something wrong. Then somebody hurts me. Cosmically, that was a result of that bad thing I had done at some time in my past, whether in this incarnation or in a previous incarnation. But was the person who hurt me an instrument of the Supreme, or will that person in turn now get bad karma?Sri Chinmoy: I wish to say that the one who made you suffer is not an instrument of the Supreme. It is only that the person's vital or mind or some part of his being was very angry. The Supreme does not believe in "tit for tat." The Supreme is only Compassion. If I hurt you, the Supreme will not tell you, "Go and hurt him. He deserves it." No, the Supreme is not involved in that kind of thing. He deals with His infinite Compassion and Affection. But we allow wrong forces to enter into us and we hurt others. Then they allow wrong forces to enter into them and they do the same. This game practically never ends. But the Supreme is not involved in that kind of thing. He only abides by His Cosmic Law. At a certain point, His Cosmic Law will intervene.
Question: If somebody does something to you and you pray for that person not to be punished, can your prayer affect the Supreme's decision?Sri Chinmoy: If you are developed, like our present Pope, you will pray for God to forgive that person. But how many individuals like the Pope are there on earth? Sometimes, even in a family, we see that the members can hurt each other. People can do wrong things, consciously or unconsciously. Unconsciously if we touch fire, it burns us. But then, with our prayer-life, we can invoke God's Grace. How many millions and billions of times God's Grace and Compassion have descended on earth to save individuals from the results of their wrong actions! Once you accept the spiritual life, God's Compassion descends like torrential rain.
This also applies to those who develop diseases and ailments. In our spiritual family, I know that many people would not have seen more than thirty-five or thirty-eight summers. But they are still alive. Why? Because they have accepted the spiritual life seriously and sincerely and they are doing many good things for God. Otherwise, if the spiritual life had not been in the picture, they would have gone to the other world.
Alas, sometimes the doctors will say the patient has one disease and the following week they will say it is something else. Recently, the doctors diagnosed one of our disciples with lung cancer. Then they said it was tuberculosis. When I heard the word 'tuberculosis' I got such a fright. O my God, tuberculosis was in our family! My sister Ahana died of tuberculosis in 1950. In the Ashram, only my eldest sister Arpita was able to take care of my sister Ahana. The rest of us were kept at a distance of ten or twenty metres. And others who lived in that building all had to leave. The Ashram authorities took those Ashramites away to stay elsewhere. My sister stayed on the first floor and they had been living on the second floor. Only one sister was allowed and she was dying to be of service to her younger sister.
Those who have accepted the spiritual life should be very, very grateful to God and at the same time they should be proud of themselves that there is extra protection for them from Above, from God. It is my bounden duty to be of service to my disciples when they are sick. But at the same time, we were speaking of the law of karma. How much of the law of karma can one nullify?
Part VIIIHDW 24-25. These questions were answered by Sri Chinmoy on 12 January 2006 at the Awana Kijal Golf and Beach Resort, Malaysia.
Question: Guru, you said not too long ago that it has been a very, very long time since you received a sincere smile. My question is this: is there anything at all that we, your disciples, can do to change that?Sri Chinmoy: When we started our mission, I was quite young — 32 years of age. At that time, when there were only a handful of disciples — 50, 60, 70 or let us say even 100 disciples — I had tremendous hope and expectation. Over the years, our numbers have been increasing like mushrooms but, in general, I do not see the same intensity. Now we have got perhaps 7,000 disciples. But what has happened? I have been observing that most of the time the disciples try to branch out, but they do not want to go up, they do not want to go high, they do not want to go deep within.
One way is to go high, another way is to go deep and the third way is to serve God. If we receive something from God by going high or going deep, then we can share it with others. Again, if God asks us to do something, God will give us the capacity. That is also true.
But there are some who need to go up high, higher, highest. Some need to dive deep, deeper, deepest. Then there are others who do not go up; they do not go down. They feel that, of the three, service is easier. But I wish to say that service is not easier. Service demands unconditional surrender. On our path, we have undertaken considerable manifestation work. I have noticed that when my disciples are not successful in their endeavours, they are doomed to disappointment. They criticise themselves unduly.
On the one hand, service is very easy. You just give talks, find someone who may be receptive, this and that. On the other hand, if service is not unconditional, if the results are not placed at the Feet of God equally when you are successful and when you are not successful, then it cannot be called real service.
To come back to your question, the smiles that I receive from my disciples can be ninety per cent sincere or even ninety-nine per cent sincere; but one hundred per cent, I doubt very much. It is all my fault: expectation, expectation! Today it was in my mind to give a prayer on expectation. I had decided that I would never, never go to expectation-world. Time and again it has only pained me. That was the morning message I was planning to give. From the second floor I entered into the elevator to come down to the meditation hall. When I came out of the elevator, my message had changed. This was the message I gave:
I prayerfully and soulfully visit
Two very special worlds:
And God's Forgiveness-Heart-World.1
What a nice prayer! While I was coming towards the elevator, I said in my mind that I shall never visit expectation-world, never! In the elevator, it all changed. Reality always changes. The first message was reality until I entered into the elevator.
Sri Chinmoy, My Early Morning Heart-Climbing Prayers. New York: Agni Press, 2006, #34.↩
Question: In one of your books you say that the really great spiritual Masters have their own worlds in the inner world. For example, you describe Sri Krishna's world as very vast and soulful. Could you describe your world?Sri Chinmoy: Each spiritual Master in the inner world, which you can call Heaven, has a few worlds of his own. They are not like ashrams; they are planes of consciousness. A few of my disciples have passed away. Now, in the inner world, all of them are not on the same level of consciousness. They are placed according to their merit. Some of them are on a very high plane and some of them are on a slightly lower plane.
I have one funny story in this connection. It is funny and painful at the same time. There was one particular disciple in Puerto Rico who used to massage me, sometimes for eight hours a day or even more, when I went there to visit. I was very, very fond of him. He was also very fond of me. Everybody liked him and made fun of him because he was a little bit crazy.
One day I said to him, "No matter what kind of life you have lived in the past, I do have the capacity to keep your soul on a very high plane when you go to the other world. This is called grace, not your merit. I am going to do it." His answer was, "No, Guru, I want to be on a lower plane so that I can come back into this world and enjoy my life."
I wanted to lift him up, to elevate his standard, but he did not want it. I could not believe it! Other souls, when I helped them, were so grateful. Even many, many of the disciples' parents and relatives whom I helped after their passing were so grateful. But this particular disciple only wanted to come back. He did not want to go to the higher planes. He wanted to come down again and enjoy life.
Like that, some disciples are terribly afraid of good things. Can you imagine? They are following the spiritual path because they want peace, love, light, bliss and other divine qualities. But as soon as I try to offer them a little bit of peace, they get frightened, believe it or not. I want to give them something very special, some divine quality, but they feel, "O my God, if I get real peace, real light, then my vital life will suffer!" They are ready to stay in their vital life, emotional life, so they do not accept my offering. While they are in the emotional life, they will pray for peace, light and higher things, deeper things. But when I bring it to them, then they think of their other life and they do not accept what I want to give. It is so painful.
From where to where I am going! But this applies to many who are here also. You are praying and praying to give up your former life. You want something higher and God brings it down in and through me to offer you. Then some of you go back to your old life. You prefer the other life, the life that you are already leading.
Part IXHDW 26-51. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on 19 January 2006 at the Awana Kijal Golf and Beach Resort, Malaysia. The questions were asked by members of P's international singing group.
Question: How can we feel your presence constantly?Sri Chinmoy: You can feel my presence constantly by shedding tears of gratitude more sincerely.
Question: Is the soul's quality always the same?Sri Chinmoy: Each soul can have a different quality.
Question: How can we assimilate beautiful experiences?Sri Chinmoy: You can assimilate all the beautiful experiences only by increasing, deliberately increasing, joy in the heart, joy in the mind, joy in the vital, joy in the physical — always joy, joy, joy! Joy is the answer to help you assimilate.
Question: How can I inspire my Centre?Sri Chinmoy: You have to love your Centre members more than you love them at present. If your love for each individual of your Centre increases, then you will be able to inspire them easily.
Question: Within a family, is there a difference between attachment and love?Sri Chinmoy: Suppose you see that your father is spending lots of time chatting with others here and there and he is not paying any attention to you. If you get angry, that is attachment. But if you love your father, no matter how many hours or how many days he is spending with his friends, you will not get angry. That is love. Where there is attachment, you feel that everything has to be done in your way. But where there is love, you feel that the other person can do things in his own way, if what he is doing is right. Love does not get hurt. Love says, "He is doing the right thing."
Question: How can we be happy always?Sri Chinmoy: We can be happy always by thinking of God, not thinking of ourselves, not thinking of our failures, our sickness and so forth. By thinking of God all the time, we can be very happy.
Question: How can we be more disciplined?Sri Chinmoy: At night, before you go to sleep, pray to God that from tomorrow on you will get up at six o'clock, if not five-thirty. Your prayer will be, "O God, give me the capacity so that I can get up tomorrow at five-thirty." Pray to God for all the things that you are supposed to do the following day. Then, if you can fulfil them, discipline will enter your life. But your prayer has to be offered the previous evening, before you go to bed.
Question: How can we sing really powerfully?Sri Chinmoy: To sing soulfully is the right thing. To sing powerfully is necessary only on rare occasions, but soulfully you have to sing, always soulfully. When you want to sing soulfully, you have to think that you are not the body, you are not the vital, you are not the mind, you are not the heart, even; you are the soul. If you think of the soul, if you feel that you are the soul and nothing else, then you will be able to sing soulfully.
Question: How can I have more intuition?Sri Chinmoy: You can have more intuition only by developing more aspiration. By increasing aspiration, you can get intuition. Aspiration is absolutely needed to develop intuition.
Question: How can I be more yours?Sri Chinmoy: As many times as possible say, "Guru, I love you only. I need you only." The word 'only" has the power. Otherwise, just to say "I love you" or "I need you" is not enough. By using the word 'only", you become one-pointed. 'Only" is just one word, but it has all the power, everything that you need. When you say, "I love you only, I need you only, only, only" — that 'only" becomes so powerful! Then you can feel close, closer, closest to my heart.
Question: How can we keep intensity always?Sri Chinmoy: Daily, at least five times for three or four minutes, each time you breathe in, consciously try to have intensity. Try to feel you are breathing in intensity, intensity, intensity when you pray to the Supreme. Breathe in and breathe out as slowly as possible and then feel that that intensity is coming into you. It has entered into your heart and into all your nerves and muscles.
Question: How can we have more inspiration?Sri Chinmoy: Look at a bird; look at the vast, blue sky; look at a green field or look at the beautiful moon. You can have more inspiration by looking at these things. You can look at the rising sun or anything else that gives you immediate joy. Always find something that inspires you. With your eyes you will look at it and then you can increase your inspiration. Anything that is beautiful, look at that very thing for inspiration.
Question: Where is perfection?Sri Chinmoy: Perfection is in the soul. We have to bring this perfection into our heart, mind, vital and physical and into our life itself. But we have to know that the source of this perfection is in the soul.
Question: How to meditate when we are stressed and exhausted?Sri Chinmoy: When you are stressed and exhausted, it is usually because you have worked very hard. Lie down for four or five minutes and breathe in as slowly as possible. While breathing, you have to feel that peace has descended and entered into your mind. From head to foot it is circulating. Feel that all your nerves are getting nourishment. Breathe as slowly and as quietly as possible, so that even if you put a thread right in front of your nose, the thread would not move to and fro. If the thread moves to this side and that side, it means you are not breathing slowly and quietly. You can use the thread to examine your breathing. If it does not move, that means your breathing is correct. Then, after three or four minutes, you can bring in peace from Above. It will percolate inside your entire body. But correct breathing is absolutely necessary.
Question: How can we be fully forgiven?Sri Chinmoy: Let us say you have done something wrong, so you pray to God to forgive you. Then, after two months or even two days, you may be tempted to do the same thing again. But, even if you are tempted, if you do not repeat the wrong thing that you have done, then you know that you are forgiven. If you can assure God that you will not do it again, then His Forgiveness comes. Otherwise, your misdeed and God's Forgiveness do not automatically go together. God examines you. If He sees that you have not done the same thing a second time, then He forgives you. Otherwise, if God forgives you at once, you will be inclined to do the same thing again after three months.
Let us say you have told a lie. The first time, God gives you a chance. Then you tell another lie. God does not trust you at that time. When you make a promise that you will not do the thing anymore and you keep your promise, then you are forgiven. But if you continue to break your promise, then you are not forgiven. At that time it becomes worse. God becomes His Justice-Light.
Question: How can we better serve our country?Sri Chinmoy: Only think of all the good qualities that your country has. All the good qualities that you can think of that your country has, you will try to keep right in front of your eyes. Then, just feed these qualities with your goodwill, with your love, with your concern. Think of a very young or beautiful child. You are feeding that child. Take the whole country as an individual, one individual and feel that you are feeding that individual with your concern. That is the best way to serve: to think of the country not as countless millions of people, but as only one person, one person. For you, that one person will embody the whole of Russia. In that way, you will be able to do the best for your country.
Question: How to increase my inner oneness with my Master?Sri Chinmoy: Try to count how many times your Master has smiled at you and how many good things you have done for your Master unconditionally. If you think of the good things that you have done in the inner world and in the outer world, unconditionally, then you can increase your inner oneness with your Master. By remembering the good things that the Master has done for you and you have done for the Master, you can increase your inner oneness.
Question: How can we know God's Will?Sri Chinmoy: Meditate for five or ten minutes most sincerely, most sincerely. Do not bring forward your desire. Do not ask, "How will I know God's Will, how will I know?" Forget about your question; do not think of it. Only for ten minutes meditate as deeply as possible, without allowing any thought, good or bad. You will have no good thought, no bad thought for ten minutes. Then something from within will tell you what God's Will is. For ten minutes remain silent. Absolutely do not allow any thought to enter. Then your inner voice will tell you, "This is the right thing, that is the wrong thing."
Question: How many hours do you feel we should spend daily in prayer and meditation?Sri Chinmoy: At this stage if you can do two hours, I will be more than happy, because you work very, very hard. You are an indispensable person in the store where you work, in the Divine Enterprise, so more than two hours is not necessary right now. And if you do not have that kind of time, you can divide it. If you cannot do one hour early in the morning and one hour in the evening, then meditate in four sessions or six sessions. In six sessions, easily you can pray and meditate for two hours.
Question: How can I give true joy to you?Sri Chinmoy: Obedience, obedience! There is nothing more important than obedience. To give me joy, obedience is necessary, constant obedience. Feel that if your Master says, "Do this," you will do this. If your Master says, "Do not do that," you will not do that. When the Master finds cheerful obedience in a disciple, then he gets the whole world.
Question: How to shed constant, soulful tears?Sri Chinmoy: Only repeat God's Name and offer gratitude. You can say, "God, my gratitude to You I am offering" or "God, I am offering my gratitude to You" or even, "God, my gratitude to You. God, my gratitude to You. God, my gratitude to You." If you can repeat these words, then your problems will be solved.
Question: How to increase sincerity, purity and humility?Sri Chinmoy: You have three problems? People are dying with only one problem and you have three problems!
Your question is how to increase sincerity, purity and humility. Let us begin with sincerity. Think of a child who is two or three years old. This child has not started telling lies. When his mind becomes developed, then he will start telling lies. Think of a little child and imagine you have become that child. By nature, a good child cannot tell lies. No matter what he does, he tells the truth. So if you want more sincerity, think of a child.
Next comes humility. If you want to increase your humility, think of a tree. A tree becomes so big, but it starts with humility, with a tiny seed. A tiny seed has to be humble because it is so tiny. Then gradually, gradually it becomes a huge banyan tree. Humility is like that. You have to feel that your origin is next to nothing. If you think of your origin, then you become humble.
I come of an Indian village. If I think of an Indian village, a tinier than the tiniest village, automatically humility comes. Now I have become well known! Thousands of disciples have joined our path. But if I think of my origin, my little family village called Shakpura, then humility comes sooner than at once. Always remember your humble origin. And the more we become successful, the more we have to become humble.
Look at a tree. When it does not give flowers and fruits, it stands straight and tall. But when it bears fruits and flowers, it bends. From the tree we learn that the higher and the greater we become, the more humble we have to be. Like the tree, we have to bend down. When we do something good, instead of feeling pride, we have to think of our origin. From a seed, we become a banyan tree. From a drop, gradually, gradually we can become the ocean. A little Shakpura village boy now is known practically all over the world. If I think of my origin, then I get tremendous joy. From that little seed, I have grown up into a big banyan tree.
Then comes purity. To increase your purity, you can place your hand, right or left, on your head and repeat "purity." Very fast repeat "purity, purity, purity, purity, purity, purity." Then you will feel that your whole being, your entire body, from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head, is only purity, purity, purity. Start with touching your head, your mind, because in the mind is impurity. Usually I say to chant slowly and soulfully, but at certain times you have to do it very fast. If you are angry, for example, as fast as possible you have to pray to God, "peace, peace, peace, peace." You can do it with a marching spirit: "left, right, left, right, left, right." Or you can run in place while chanting, if anger or impurity comes.
Question: Why am I afraid of myself?Sri Chinmoy: You have a lower self and a higher self. Your lower self is afraid of your higher self. Your lower self feels that it is so bad and your higher self is so good. That is why you are afraid. But do not separate your lower self and higher self. Take your life as one self — nothing low, nothing high. Then you will not be afraid. Right now you are separating yourself. One part of you is very low and one part is very high, so you are in between. That is why you are afraid; you are lost. The best thing is to take your lower self and your higher self together as one self. If you are one, then you are not going to be afraid. But if you see yourself as two, the lower and the higher, then you are bound to be afraid. You will feel that you are not safe. Always think of yourself as one reality. Whether you are good or bad, you are only one person. Now you are separating yourself into two persons. Always think of yourself as one. Then you will not be afraid of yourself.
Question: How to increase my inner hunger?Sri Chinmoy: First try to increase your inner thirst. As human beings, we are generally more often thirsty than hungry. We eat three times a day, but we drink, God knows, perhaps twenty times a day. Therefore, first things first: first, increase your inner thirst. Then, automatically, your hunger will follow. How to increase your inner thirst? Only shed tears, helpless tears. If you can offer helpless tears to God, then God will solve all your problems.
Question: What will give me the best meditation?Sri Chinmoy: Think of your soul — not your body, not your vital or mind or anything else. While you are meditating, only feel that you are the soul, you are the soul, you are the soul. Then your soul will give you the best meditation. You do not have to define the soul or see it as a beautiful child. No! Only think of your entire body as the soul. Then the beauty, fragrance, light and delight of the soul will give you the best meditation.
Question: How can I get rid of my fear?Sri Chinmoy: Fear of what? That we have to know. Vastness can give us fear. Height can give us fear. Or, if we have done something wrong, we may be afraid that God will punish us in some way. Which kind of fear do you have?
Question: My fear comes from attachment. When I become attached to things, then I become afraid that one day everything will change and I will lose them.
Sri Chinmoy: When things change, fear does come. Only if we love God in His own Way can we remove this fear. We have to say, "God, You know what is best for me, what is best for the members of my family, what is best for everybody." If you can increase your love for God, then you will see that God is doing everything and will do everything for your good, for your good. The problem is, we always think that everything has to be done in our own way. Fear remains with us because we want to see something in our own way. We do not want to see it in God's Way.
If we become one with God's Way, there is no fear at all because we see God inside every change in our lives. We know He is doing everything for us, for our family, for everybody. Fear comes because we want to get the result in our own way. But when we surrender to God's Will, when God's Way becomes our way, then fear goes away and we become infinitely happier than we were when we wanted to have joy in our own way.
Do not think of fear, but think of your own faith in God, your own love for God. The more you have faith in God, the more you have love for God, the sooner your fear will go away. If we leave everything up to God, then God gives us what is necessary in order for us to make progress. As soon as we separate our individual will from God's universal Will, fear comes because we become responsible for our own desire. We only wonder, "Will my desire be fulfilled? How can it be fulfilled?" These kinds of rubbish questions come into our mind. But if we leave everything to God's Will, He becomes responsible for our aspiration. Then we have only to watch how God is operating in and through our aspiration-life.
You have to place fear itself at God's Feet and not try to deal with it in your own way, with your mind. Right now, you say, "Oh, fear has come into my life! I have to do this, I have to do that." But when you do this or that, you see that still fear is there. You are changing your process to conquer fear, but it does not work. If fear has come into you, very gladly and very powerfully place it at the Feet of God. Then God will take away your fear and replace it with His Light to work in and through your life.
Part XHDW 52-73. These questions were answered by Sri Chinmoy on 20 January 2006 at the Awana Kijal Golf and Beach Resort, Malaysia.
Question: We were listening today to some of your writings that sound like reminiscences and I was wondering if you will release these writings? Are you preparing your own autobiography?Sri Chinmoy: I have said so many things about my life, specially about my outer life. About my inner life I cannot say, because after God-realisation, every day is a big volume in the inner world. Before God-realisation, you can write your autobiography. But once you realise God, every day becomes such a thick volume that nobody will be able to write it down. Every minute, things are happening here, there, everywhere.
The inner biography or autobiography is simply impossible to write. Only a few experiences I have told and in some of my earlier poems, my highest experiences I have tried to describe. Again, the highest spiritual experiences you cannot express in words — never! Nobody has been successful, nobody since the beginning of creation. No matter how great a poet the person is, no matter how great a writer he is, the highest experiences are far beyond the capacity of the human mind to grasp. Even the same person who had the highest realisation cannot grasp it with the mind. And for the hand to write it down is simply impossible, impossible. Higher than the highest experiences can never be described in words. To make an attempt is simply a joke. There are very few inner experiences that the mind can grasp, spiritual Masters say. That is why the highest experiences can never be written down in words.
In Sri Aurobindo's case, his autobiography was gathered from here and there, from his letters and conversations and others gave it the name 'autobiography'. In my case, the things that I have said many, many times will eventually be printed in book form. True, at that time my own words will be there, so it will become an autobiography. But if other writers use their words to describe my life, then it will be a biography.
Question: A few months ago my grandfather died. When he was on his deathbed, I was singing your songs to him. I was just wondering, how much can our family members appreciate our path?Sri Chinmoy: When your grandfather was dying, at that time he was very receptive. It has happened in a number of cases. Recently, the mother of one of my disciples was on her deathbed. She was seeing me all around, everywhere, but her daughter, who was in the same room, could not see me. The one who was dying was seeing me everywhere, but the one who had been praying for years, my disciple, could not see me. Her mother was telling her, "Look here! Your Master is looking at me! I am seeing him."
Question: The other day you told a story about how in the inner world a soul came to you and you said, "Oh, I have not seen you for such a long time!" I always thought that the souls who are close to you are always in your world or your universe and they see you all the time.Sri Chinmoy: I was speaking in an affectionate way. Sometimes, if your daughter does not come to see me every day, if she misses two or three functions, then I say, "For years I have not seen you!" If I see her seat is empty, then when she appears, I say that. In that kind of affectionate way I speak with those who are in my circle.
In the inner world, some souls have a free access to come and see me. But if I do not see them for a week or two weeks, or for a month or so, then I exaggerate the fact by saying that I have not seen them for ages, the way I exaggerate on the physical plane. It is an affectionate way of speaking. It has nothing to do with reality, with the actual facts.
Question: What are souls doing in the inner world?Sri Chinmoy: They have many things to do. In the inner world, the disciples of spiritual Masters pray for the Victory of God, the way they consciously strived for the Victory of God while they were on earth. Ordinary people pray for the fulfilment of their desires. On a daily basis they do not pray for the Victory of God.
Sometimes, when we pray to God for His Victory, our mind will think stupid things. The mind will say, "Since God is omniscient and omnipotent, what can our prayer add to God's Victory?" But God feels, "Here is someone who cares for My Victory." When we pray to God, God will give us a Smile. But when we pray for God, for His Victory on earth, then He is more pleased, infinitely more pleased. When we pray to God, "Give me this," we are caring only for ourselves. But when we pray to God for God's Victory, then God cares for us more, because we are caring for Him.
Question: I was just wondering if you could tell us something about your spiritual vision.Sri Chinmoy: With my physical vision I cannot see who is sitting at the back of the room. That far I cannot see. Physical vision is so limited. But inside the physical vision is the inner vision. When you have inner vision, at that time you can see very far. Clearly you can see the farthest distance and also you can see events that happened in the past.
In my case, my soul sees in and through me. My soul shows me certain things. It is like a telescope. The other day I was fooled! The subtle body of one disciple from Scotland took his physical form. He came and meditated right in front of me. His subtle body I could see so vividly and he did absolutely the best meditation. Alas, when I was asking for him afterwards, I discovered, to my great surprise, that he was not physically here; he was at home in Scotland.
Question: Over the millennia, has God's attitude towards humanity changed in any fundamental way?Sri Chinmoy: God is like a mother. Her son may be dying; it may be a matter of only a few minutes or a few hours, but the mother still cherishes the hope that he will recover. Even until her son's last breath, the mother will say, "My son will be all right, my son will be cured." When we are very upset with the behaviour of human beings, when we are extremely disappointed and disgusted, when we have lost all hope, then we say stupid things. We declare that God has given up hope and God does not care for humanity the way He cared many years ago. Sometimes, when the governments of some countries are bad, we take it as proof that God has given up. But actually, as long as God keeps His Creation here on earth, He maintains the same hope, even to the last moment.
Some spiritual Masters over the years have predicted that there will be another period of destruction. They say the whole world will be destroyed because we are acting so badly. Because of mankind's misdeeds, they say, God has lost all interest in earth, so He will destroy the whole world. In all sincerity, I must disagree with these spiritual Masters. This world of ours is very vast. Even if there are numberless disasters, tsunamis and so forth, the world will not be destroyed.
God keeps hope as long as He keeps His Creation. As I said before, if the son is about to die, even then the mother maintains the hope that he will be all right. As long as God keeps this Creation, this earth planet, He will never give up hope, never give up hope.
It is we who lose hope because we want to see the truth in our way, but, alas, the truth comes and stands before us in a totally different way. We give undue importance to the way we see the future of the world. We feel that it is going to come to an end. But, I assure you, it is not true. As long as God wants to keep this earth planet alive, He will keep the same Hope, because He knows inside His Hope there is His Promise. In our hope, there is no promise. As soon as our hopes are shattered, we are doomed to disappointment. There is no promise inside our hope, but in God's case there is Promise. Promise looms large in His Hope, so He knows what is going to happen.
We do not know what is going to happen in the next moment, whereas God knows what is going to happen even in the distant future. That is why God never, never gives up hope. We human beings give up. If things do not go well in our own way, we lose hope immediately. In God's case, God never gives up Hope. If He had given up His Hope, then we would not exist here on earth.
Question: It almost seems like you have to do your spiritual work all by yourself in the inner world. Is there anyone helping you?Sri Chinmoy: There are many, many who are helping me unconditionally from the inner world. If the inner world had not been helping me on a regular basis, I would have been, by this time, in the inner world myself. I am being very, very frank. I am being helped, supported, by many, many inner beings, plus spiritual Masters of the highest order. They are all helping me, supporting me. Otherwise, this body would not have lasted.
Question: How can we develop a real inner hunger for God's Victory?Sri Chinmoy: It is a matter of necessity. If we are hungry, we eat. Similarly, if you are really hungry for God's Victory, that hunger will be fed by God Himself. Sincerity is involved here. We feel we can be sincere only to some extent and beyond that, it is not within our capacity. But that is not true. Sincerity can have its own intensity. It is not something vague. Everybody wants God's Manifestation, God's Victory, true. But how much intensity is there? How much eagerness is there? Sincerity is just a term, but inside sincerity there should be tremendous willingness and tremendous intensity. When that intensity is there, then automatically we are willing to pray for God's Victory far more than we ever imagined.
Question: Many years ago, when I was extremely ill, I saw you in a different way. I could not see you as my Guru. I only saw your divine form. My question is, was I having that experience because I was partly in the other world, because I was half alive but also half on my way out?Sri Chinmoy: It is very interesting. Some disciples know the Master's height. Even when the Master is relaxed, they go beyond the physical. A few disciples, on the other hand, see only the physical. I cannot believe that, in the case of some of my disciples, when I wear my dhoti, my Indian garment, their devotion increases! But in other cases, no matter what I wear or what I do, even when I scold and insult the disciples, they see my highest height and my deepest depth. In the past, spiritual Masters like Ramana Maharshi and others of the highest order even wore loincloths, but their disciples still saw the divinity in them.
It depends on the attitude of each individual, not on what I wear or what I do or say. To those who accept me implicitly, I do not have to prove my divinity — far from it! They see it immediately. They do not see the imperfection of my outer body, that I am lame and so forth. They see that my divinity has completely percolated through my physical body. It depends on the individual capacity.
To see Infinity inside the physical: that is what some poets have written about. Tagore wrote an excellent poem in which he said, "You are so sweet, Lord, because You are inside the finite. You are the Infinite, but You can stay inside the finite."
Again, some people separate the two. For them, the finite is finite, the Infinite is infinite. How can the Infinite be in the finite? Their mind will not allow it. But if you go beyond the mind, then everything is possible. These are merely terms: Infinite and finite.
Inside the Infinite to see the finite is very easy. But inside the finite to see the Infinite is very difficult. As soon as you see the ocean, you are seeing that it is infinite. Then if you want to see a few drops inside the ocean, it is so easy. But for you to see the ocean inside a tiny drop is impossible. You cannot imagine how the finite will hold the Infinite.
But if you go beyond the mind, you will see that everything is possible. One drop is so big that it can easily embody the Infinite. Beyond the mind, everything is possible. Within the mind, it is very limited. Once you go beyond the mind, it becomes a game, like contemplation. One moment God is there and I am here; the next moment I am there and God is here. Together we play hide-and-seek. One moment I am a human being and the next moment God makes me God and He Himself becomes a finite human being. We exchange our roles. Can you believe it? I am a human being. God has created me; He is God. But in real contemplation, there is an interchange. He tells me to play the role of God and then He becomes the human being. Go beyond the mind; it is all possible.
Question: So many times in classical music the soundless sound is mentioned. You have also written about it. How does what you say relate to what is said in books about classical music?Sri Chinmoy: I cannot say. I can only tell you my personal experience of the soundless sound. Sound is sound and silence is silence; that we all know. But soundless sound the mind cannot understand. If it is sound, then how can it be silence? And if it is silence, how can it be sound? It seems to be contradictory, on the face of it. We can only understand sound and silence when we separate them. But the soundless sound refers to something infinite — infinite in Power, infinite in Light and infinite in Delight. These things the mind cannot imagine, let alone describe. There are millions and billions of things the mind will not be able to believe, will not be able to comprehend. This happens to be one of them. In my case, when I say 'soundless sound', that soundless sound refers to infinite Peace, infinite Light and infinite Bliss.
Question: How can we develop the closest and strongest connection with our Master for this incarnation and all the rest of our incarnations?Sri Chinmoy: Think of this incarnation. Future incarnations forget! Our future incarnations we do not know. There we are dealing with the unknowable. But in this incarnation, prayer and prayer and prayer and prayer is the only answer to your question.
There are so many disciples who made tremendous, tremendous progress right at the very beginning of their spiritual journey. Now they have been enjoying sabbatical leave for years and years and years. Again, there are some who came many years later who far surpassed them. Then they, too, started enjoying vacation.
Then again, there are some newcomers who are going very, very fast, but we do not know what will happen to them after four years or six years or ten years. It is not guaranteed that one person will reach the goal just because that person is running very fast. It is like a 100-metre race. Somebody may be running very, very fast at the front, but an experienced runner may go ahead of him before the end. There is no hard and fast rule in the spiritual life.
Sri Aurobindo's own Guru, Vishnu Bhaskar Lele, took seven full years to make his mind calm and quiet. Sri Aurobindo did it in three days! Who announced it? The Master himself. Look at this! And there have been some cases where the spiritual Master has become old and the Master's only prayer to the disciple is, "I know you will far surpass me in this incarnation. Promise to me that in my next incarnation you will be my Guru." Can you imagine? In this incarnation, the Guru is praying to the disciple, saying, "I can clearly see you will go far, far beyond me. Promise to me that in my next incarnation, you will be my Guru." Now this present disciple is puzzled. When will he surpass his Master? And then, when will he get his own disciples? But the Master knows. The Master knows that the disciple is going to surpass him. Like this, so many curious things happen.
Sri Ramakrishna brought down another spiritual figure, another great giant like Swami Vivekananda. Alas, he could not find him. For Sri Ramakrishna not to find the other soul! Swami Vivekananda accomplished so much, but Sri Ramakrishna said, "Another Naren would have been here, but I could not find him. He is in darkness and ignorance." Sri Ramakrishna could not trace him. Believe it! Sri Ramakrishna begged Swami Vivekananda's soul to come down from Heaven, from the Highest and he came down. Sri Ramakrishna got Naren for only six years, while he was quite young. The other soul he could not even find.
Question: I read in an article about a Japanese scientist who did an experiment on water crystals. He observed the crystals from different environments in the world and he discovered that when water is in a very spiritual environment, the crystals are very beautiful. But when the water comes from a very polluted environment, the crystals change forms to become very ugly. He put 'love' on a glass of water overnight and 'hate' on another glass of water overnight. In the morning, he observed that the crystals with the word 'love' had become very beautiful and those with the word 'hate' had become very ugly. Is there any spiritual significance to this experiment?Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely it happens in the crystals! I have heard it, but I have never practised it. How to interpret the experience? The person who is dealing with the experiment is the right person to do that. I will not be the right person to give an adequate answer because I have never tried it. But it is true, absolutely true, that these things happen.
Question: Nature can be such an inspiration to us. Is there anything we can do to help nature?Sri Chinmoy: If your government does not help, what can you do? If your government wants to destroy nature in order to build factories and other things, it will do so. The only answer is prayer. We have to pray to God for nature's protection. We have to pray to God to change the minds of those in government. After all, God is omnipotent, so if we approach the Omnipotent to preserve the beauty of nature, then at His own Time, He will listen to our prayer. To preserve the beauty of nature, the only way is to pray to God, the way we pray to God for everything else.
Question: It is said that Sri Ramakrishna on a special occasion became the kalpataru , the wish-fulfilling tree, for his disciples. I would like to ask you if you could say something about this state of consciousness when a spiritual Master becomes the kalpataru for his disciples and I would like to ask you if you also have become the kalpataru for your disciples?Sri Chinmoy: No, no, I do not become the kalpataru. The kalpataru is from an Indian mythological story. Some people are so devoted to their Master that they say, "Whatever we wish, Master fulfils it." Their devotion runs riot.
There are millions of desires of the disciples that spiritual Masters cannot fulfil or do not want to fulfil. A real spiritual Master will do only the things that are needed for the progress of the disciples. He will not fulfil all their desires. Otherwise, he will be doing a great disservice to the disciples. He will only be adding to their desire-hunger. If the spiritual Master is wise, he will give the disciples only those things from which they will derive benefit. Otherwise, if kalpatarus fulfil everything, then they will only delay the progress of humanity.
We cannot fulfil somebody else's desires, but God can do so. Why does He not fulfil their desires? Because God is very wise. He knows that by fulfilling one desire he is encouraging the seeker to have a larger desire. Perhaps the seeker desired one car and God granted it. Then the seeker's wish was for two cars and God granted it. Then it became ten cars. The seeker cannot manage even one car, so God knows that if he gets ten cars, it will not help him at all. At that time, God says, "Be satisfied with only the one car."
Question: How do your forgiveness, compassion and protection operate in our present, past and future lives?Sri Chinmoy: I can do nothing. I am nothing. But the Supreme, my Beloved Supreme, who is your Guru, my Guru, everybody's Guru — the Guru of every human being and even the Guru of spiritual Masters — it is He who makes the decision about past, present and future.
We pray to God, "Protect me, protect me!" But then God sees that something is going to happen to us in six years or ten years, so sometimes God offers protection for the future, not only for the present. Most of the time we pray to God to protect us in the present or the immediate future. We never pray to God to protect us against what will happen in twenty years' time. But God, out of His infinite Bounty, can give protection even to prevent something that is going to happen twenty years from now.
When it is a matter of spiritual Masters, I have to say that God is often indulgent to them because they have pleased God to such an extent. Sometimes a spiritual Master may plead with God to alter the fate of a particular person. The ordinary mind will say, "Why are you trying to change God's Will? If you are so surrendered to God, why do you have to pray to God? Whatever He has decided, let it be." Sometimes God scolds the spiritual Master: "Why are you trying to break My Cosmic Law?" But sometimes, because the Master has realised God and has become inseparably one with God, God grants the request.
Question: Three times Sri Ramakrishna told Naren to ask Mother Kali for material things for his family, but Naren did not want gourds and pumpkins. Was that disobedience on the part of Naren, or was it a test, or something else?Sri Chinmoy: No, it was not disobedience on Naren's part. Sri Ramakrishna was clever. Sri Ramakrishna was asking him to make demands of Mother Kali, but inwardly he had told Mother Kali, "Do not fulfil his desire." When Naren was saying, "Give me knowledge, renunciation and discrimination," his soul and his heart were coming to the fore. But Sri Ramakrishna had already answered his prayer in the inner world. Sri Ramakrishna knew what a great soul Naren was.
It all happened because Naren's father had died and people were suing the family, even people whom the father had helped financially. People were saying that Naren had gone to the dogs, that he was mixing with bad people, this and that and he no longer believed in God. Sri Ramakrishna wanted to show that they were wrong, absolutely wrong. His Naren could not fall. His Naren was only for God.
Look how much Naren was suffering financially! So many times he would tell his mother lies: "Today so-and-so has invited me to eat." It was not at all true, but he would come home late without eating because he knew how little food his mother had and he wanted his younger brothers and sisters to eat.
Swami Vivekananda was such a great, great soul. He was like thunder, absolutely like thunder. Sri Ramakrishna wanted to show that Swami Vivekananda's inner life was all for God. Outwardly he was suffering, his mother was suffering, his little, little brothers were suffering. But when it is a question of the human and the divine, the divine will always win. The divine is bound to win.
Look at my physical mother. She came to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram to take my eldest brother, Hriday, back to Chittagong. She came fully prepared, even to the last moment. On the final day, she had an interview with the Mother of the Ashram. My mother was speaking in pure Chittagong dialect and my sister Arpita had to translate it into proper Bengali. Then, from proper Bengali, Nolini had to translate it into English for the Mother.
The first thing my mother said was, "Mother, I am so grateful that you have taken full charge of my eldest son. Please promise to me that you will take care of all my children. I place them at your feet."
Look at this! She came to take her eldest son away. And now she was telling the Mother to take care of all her children. Her mind was dying to take her eldest son away, but her heart was begging the Mother to accept all of us. And the Mother kept her promise. The Mother said, "I will take care of your children." And, when the time came, she took care of us. My mother said something that was completely contradictory to what she had planned to say. This is what happens when the soul is mature.
Once my mother went to see a play about Sri Chaitanya. There Sri Chaitanya was taking sannyasa. The son was leaving the mother and in the audience my mother started crying and crying and crying. Why? What did she have to do with Sri Chaitanya? My brother Chitta said to her, "Mother, do not worry. We will be householders. We are not going to renounce the world."
Then my mother had to tell Chitta, "You fool! I am crying because I want to have children who will do the same. Like Sri Chaitanya, I want my children to devote themselves to God."
When the heart comes to the fore, people say just the opposite of what the mind intended.
Question: Are the gods that appear in all the different world religions all the same, like Quan Yin in China and the ancient Greek gods and the cosmic gods and goddesses of India?Sri Chinmoy: No, no, no. They have their own roles. They have their own separate existence. Indian cosmic gods will not work in and through other gods and goddesses that we hear about. They have their own respective roles. Each one has its own form and its own duty.
Question: When you give us a score for our meditation, I was wondering what the score was mainly based on and how we can all improve the overall score.Sri Chinmoy: Collectively when you pray and meditate, I feel sad that still I have not been able to give one hundred out of one hundred to any group, either to the boys or to the girls. But I do hope one day I will be able to give that mark. The figure that I give is not mine. I ask the Supreme to tell the figure and He tells me. Before that, I never form the idea that I will give eighty-four or eighty-three — no. I only listen to Him. I have that kind of access to Him. And when it is a matter of the individual who does the best meditation, the person whom I choose, I do not actually choose. My Lord Supreme comes and appears before me and tells who has done the best meditation.
Question: I have seen you in different forms, but it is you and I recognise you. When I was in India recently for one month, every evening I climbed a small hill covered with trees. It was all wilderness. Every day I wanted to go there because the very first day, I saw you coming from there, far away. After that, every day whenever it was not raining, if I walked, I saw you many, many times. Was that hallucination, or was I really seeing you?Sri Chinmoy: It is absolutely true! Quite a few times, in the inner world, I went to Bangalore to see you. And it happened that three or four times, I was about to call your husband to ask how you were. Then my inner being reminded me that I have a direct connection with you, so why do I have to ask him how his wife is doing? Since I have the direct line, why to ask him? It was absolutely a true experience that you had.
Like that, whom God wants to show, He can show. Once, at the Ashram, somebody was crying to see Swami Vivekananda and I immediately showed him to that person. Her husband was sitting beside me, in between his wife and me, but the husband did not see Swami Vivekananda. I invoked Swami Vivekananda and then I touched the husband's knee and he touched his wife's knee. His wife immediately saw Swami Vivekananda and she started crying with joy. Afterwards the husband said, "You were touching me. How is it that I did not see him?"
I said, "This experience was not meant for you. She cried for Swami Vivekananda. He is her Guru. Your Guru is Sri Aurobindo."
The husband became the connecting link. If the current was there — I was touching someone, he was touching someone else and that person was able to see — then how is it that the person whom I was touching was not seeing anything? This experience was not meant for him. The spiritual current was between me and the wife, through him; it was not between me and him. He was simply the intermediary.
Question: Both my husband and I have seen you in your previous incarnations with different clothes and different ornaments. It was perhaps a few hundred years back or maybe a thousand years back. Once you were giving a concert. Afterwards, my husband asked me, "Did you see what I saw?" Then I said, "You are talking about Guru's new earrings?" "Yes," he said. "Yes." Then when you came out, when the concert was over, you appeared as normal. But throughout the concert you were wearing a different costume from a different time period. That was amazing.Sri Chinmoy: It is absolutely true!
Question: A lot of times we know in our minds that you love us more than anyone else does. But many times I feel that someone understands me more than you do. What is the problem?Sri Chinmoy: You say that I love you more than anybody else does, but there is somebody else who understands you more than I do. I wish to say that understanding is in the mind. It is on a much lower plane, whereas love is on a much higher plane. Divine Love is on the high, higher, highest plane. Understanding is in the mind, so it is very limited.
Let us say you are suffering for some reason, so you approach someone who is on your level. As the sufferer, you are clearing your mind. The one who sympathises with you is giving you some advice. According to his limited knowledge, he is helping you. This moment you are taking his advice as true. The next moment you will say, "This silly fellow, what does he know? Has he understood me properly?"
My way is in the heart, from the heart to the heart. That is on a much higher level. Divine Love is something infinitely higher and deeper than human understanding. But when it comes to understanding, when one person is suffering, somebody who is on the same level can sometimes be of better help than somebody who is on a much higher level.
Question: When a soul comes to you for blessings, is its appearance similar to the physical form of that person?Sri Chinmoy: No, no, it does not have to be the same. The soul can take the form of a flower or something else. Sometimes the soul comes with the same human face, but it is not at all necessary. Just a few days ago your husband's soul came to me for special blessings and on that very day, a few hours later, I came to learn that his father had just passed away. At that time, your husband's soul did not come with its physical human form. It came as a beautiful flower. As soon as I looked at the flower, I knew that it was his soul.
The outer appearance has nothing to do with the soul's form. Quite often the soul takes the form of the subtle body for us to recognise it, but sometimes the soul does not have to take the human form. It can take any form — a flower or plant or tree or anything, anything. But as soon as you see that form, you recognise the soul. It is like a dress. Whatever a person wears, immediately you recognise that person. The form the soul takes may have nothing to do with the physical form that we have been acquainted with for many years.
Part XIHDW 74-83. These questions were answered by Sri Chinmoy on 1 April 2006 at P.S. 117 in Jamaica, New York.
Question: When I meditate, sometimes I can almost get my mind to stop, but then there will be some song going through my mind. It could be one of your songs or some other song that I knew a long time ago. I wish I knew a way of making that stop.Sri Chinmoy: Why? If you have had a good meditation, the song will only help you. In your case, they are spiritual songs, soulful songs, so you should be very, very happy. You are lucky. They are not vital, emotional songs — no! If you are hearing soulful, inspiring songs, then you should cherish them. Instead of getting rid of them, you should cherish them. That is a very good experience. The thing that is going to help you, you should value. It is very good to cherish the songs.
Question: Two mornings ago, when I woke up, the first thought that came into my mind was, why did God make it necessary for us to sleep?Sri Chinmoy: God wants us to sleep so that we can forget all our sad experiences. All sad experiences we have to forget. Sleep is the only doctor that can cure us for a short time. Again, after some time, that doctor will also fail.
Sleep is of paramount importance for the present physical body. Six hours you should sleep on an ordinary basis; otherwise, five hours. Do not try to sleep less than five hours, because it will tell upon your health. Sleep is absolutely necessary. All the nerves have to be fed only with the help of sleep. Sleep is not only for patients who are sick. If you want to have good health, then sleep, sleep.
But if you cannot sleep six hours at night for some reason, then during the day try to sleep for an hour or so. It is not good to sleep for more than an hour during the day. In India, they say that if you sleep during the day for more than an hour, all the undivine thoughts will enter into your mind and laziness will descend upon you most powerfully. During the day do not sleep for three, four or five hours. It is very bad for you. At night, try to sleep as much as six hours. And, if you cannot get up at six o'clock to meditate, then get up at seven or eight. But if you get up at eight or even later, then happiness will not dawn on you. You will feel miserable. You will feel that you have so many things to do and you have wasted the opportunity. Alas, if you go to bed at three or four o'clock in the morning, what can you do? At that time, you have to sleep during the day.
Sleep is absolutely necessary, absolutely necessary, unless you become a real spiritual Master. Then you can sleep a maximum of two hours or three hours per night. Sometimes spiritual Masters are not allowed to sleep because they have to deal with so many problems. The day before yesterday I could not sleep. It is not that sleep was not attacking me! I wanted to sleep, but I had to deal with a very serious problem in the inner world. To solve that serious problem, it took me more than three hours, so you can imagine there was no sleep for me that night.
Then again, sometimes when we have very serious problems, if we use the mind, that very mind will help us sink. If we use the heart, we find that the heart is not strong enough. But if we use the soul and the heart together, it is possible to solve the problems. Of course, the Grace of the Supreme is there.
Question: Do you value at all what some people call a 'self-fulfilling prophecy'? In other words, if someone says, "I believe that good things are coming now," is there any power of that self-fulfilling prophecy to turn the forces around and make things better?Sri Chinmoy: When a sad thing happens in your life, there are three ways to approach it. One way is to say, "This will pass away, this will pass away. No darkest night lasts forever. This will also pass."
There is another way and that is to say, "It could have been worse, it could have been worse." If you repeat a few times, "It could have been worse" or "This will pass away," you will acquire some inner strength.
The third way is to remember a few happy, happier, happiest days in your life. Always I tell people to write down their highest experiences. Then, when you are doomed to disappointment, you can read your own experiences and remember the joy that you got on certain days. It helps to remember. Keep a diary. There you can write down that on such-and-such date something significant happened in your life and you were absolutely dancing with joy. Then, when everything is going wrong, you can find joy in remembering that experience. Joy is nothing but fragrance. You are carrying a most powerful fragrance with you.
These are the three ways. One way is just to say it will go away. Another way is to say it could have been worse. The third way is to remember your highest experiences. Just glance at the words you have written down. In three or four minutes, you will be inundated with happiness. This is not false happiness. You have every right to remember something that took place in your own life, so remember those happiest days! Then immediately they will give you tremendous joy and the fragrance-beauty of those happy days will conquer the sad experiences when nothing is going right in your life.
Question: Some people believe that you can will something to go better by just saying that good things are coming.Sri Chinmoy: Yes, positive thinking is also good. That is another way. When you are going through all kinds of negative experiences, at that time think positively, think positively.
Question: I wanted to ask if there is a certain spiritual quality that the cello embodies. Recently you gave two concerts on Long Island and I felt a lot of power and intensity when you were playing the cello.Sri Chinmoy: Truth to tell, I am not satisfied with my cello performance. If your consciousness goes high while I am playing the cello, I give all the credit to you, all the credit! When your consciousness goes high, anything that you see in front of you will give you tremendous joy. I give full credit to you, not to the player in me. The higher we go, the better we experience the reality. Do you understand? As a cellist I am not satisfied with my standard. But if you like my cello performance, it is because of your consciousness. I am serious when I say this.
In the cello world, the maestro of maestros is Pablo Casals. In the very evening of his life we met together in Puerto Rico. As soon as he saw me, tears started rolling down his cheeks. They fell on my shoulder. With such joy he was telling me, "You have come at the very evening of my life." Then he played two pieces for me from Bach. His cello playing was sublime.
Another experience I am telling you about my cello. I gave a performance at the Royal Albert Hall in England. Among my disciples, there was someone who could not appreciate my cello performance. As good luck would have it, a member of the audience came up to that person after the concert and said, "How long has Sri Chinmoy been playing?"
The disciple answered, "Three years."
"Three years? I have been playing for seventeen years," that musician said, "but he plays better than I do!"
To that particular disciple who could not appreciate my cello performance, a real cellist came. And he was saying I played better than he did!
Last year I lifted a very famous cellist. His comment was that if I learnt the proper technique, I would enjoy the cello better. To be frank, I only like my cello at one time and that is when I sing my song for Lord Buddha. If my voice is in good condition, that is the only time I like my cello.
Sri Chinmoy: Now I would like to answer one or two questions from the disciples who have been with us over thirty-three years. Over thirty-three years if you have been on the path, if you have any question, quickly ask me and I shall quickly answer.1
These questions were answered by Sri Chinmoy on 14 May 2006 at Aspiration-Ground in Jamaica, New York.↩
Question: On the Christmas Trip you said, if I understood correctly, that even when some of us want to be receptive and are crying to make some progress or crying for light in some way and you try to give it to us, we become frightened or we refuse it. I was wondering if there was something we could do so that we could be more receptive in that way.Sri Chinmoy: There are many ways to create or develop receptivity, many, many ways. Two ways I shall tell you. One way is to imagine inside your heart a most beautiful lotus that is blossoming petal by petal. Then what will you do? You will appreciate the beauty and fragrance of that lotus. While appreciating, first you will see that inside your heart is the lotus. Then, gradually, you will see that your heart is no longer there; your heart has become a lotus. Your heart has disappeared and only a lotus remains. Then try to appreciate the beauty and fragrance of that lotus. That is going to give you enormous receptivity because you have become one with the beauty and fragrance of the lotus. When you become one with the beauty and fragrance of something that is pure, you are bound to develop receptivity.
Another thing is daily to fix a few times when you will recite either "Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme" or "Guru, Guru, Guru," whichever you like. I like "Supreme." He is also our Guru! Three or four times a day, for a few minutes if you recite "Supreme, Supreme, Supreme" or "Guru, Guru, Guru," you can easily develop receptivity.
Sometimes disciples do not receive, sometimes they resist and sometimes they revolt. Again, some disciples who are not as strong as other disciples develop such receptivity during our Christmas Trips! At that time they receive so much from me. To my great joy and astonishment, they make tremendous progress. Then, during the entire year, they do not have to do spiritual work. They can withdraw and withdraw from their spirituality-bank. Again, some excellent disciples receive so much, so much from me during our Christmas Trips. I tell you, it is unimaginable! You have to know which category you belong to.
Question: You have said that sometimes God blesses the world with His Compassion and sometimes with His Justice-Light. Is it possible that God may act in various ways in the same situation?Sri Chinmoy: Let us say that some people are doing something wrong and they are getting God's Compassion, whereas others who are doing the same kind of thing are getting God's Justice-Light. Why? We have to believe in the past and also we have to believe in the future. At what point God may withdraw His Compassion-Height and at what point God will bring down His Justice-Light, we do not know.
The mind will say that somebody has done something wrong and he deserves punishment. Why is God waiting and waiting? Why is He only showing His Compassion-Height and not His Justice-Light? Nobody will be able to escape God's Justice-Light, but God has His own Hour. Our difficulty is that with our minds we try to bind the time, fix the time. We say, "He is such a bad fellow. He should be punished at this very moment, or in a week or in a month or in a year." Unfortunately, God's choice Hour we do not know. That is why it seems that somebody has escaped punishment. But God's Justice-Light nobody will be able to escape — nobody, nobody. It is a matter of time. God has kept a fixed Hour when that person will be punished.
Again, I wish to say that God's Justice itself is a kind of Compassion. If God uses His Justice-Light, it is for our good. When God uses His Justice-Light, it is to illumine an individual, not to destroy him.
Question: Should I feel that my spiritual Master is the highest?Sri Chinmoy: Some spiritual Masters openly declare their God-realisation. Other spiritual Masters secretly tell their choice disciples, very secretly. According to Indian theory, no matter who your Guru is or what his height is, you have to feel that he is the highest.
Do not make the mistake of confusing spiritual power and occult power. Real spirituality has nothing, nothing to do with occult power. Occult power is like some monkeys. They will pinch people this side and that side; they only create a sensation.
While you are on the way to God-realisation, real spiritual powers automatically come. You do not have to beg them. But again, some people pray to God to give them occult power. They want to be satisfied with occult power, not with real spirituality, with God-realisation.
Never be fooled by the display of occult power. When someone shows his occult power, he is surprising all of us. But is there anybody who is really being inspired to go and pray to God either at home or in a church? By the occultist's performances you are excited, you are thrilled, but you are not getting even an iota of inspiration or aspiration to pray and meditate, to increase the power of your prayer-life and meditation-life. But if you go to a spiritual Master, if you go to church, if you have tremendous faith in the Saviour Christ, as you should, then you get so much inner joy, inner feeling.
Never put occult power and real spirituality on the same footing. It will be the height of your stupidity. There are so many spiritual Masters who had tremendous occult power but never used it, never. Again, there are some who did use it. Why? Because God asked them to use it in order to manifest His Light in a special way. But by using occult power, you cannot change anybody's life. Never think that occult power is something needed to make spiritual progress — never, never, never!
Then there is another theory about spiritual Masters. There was a great scholar who was a graduate of Cambridge University. He came to India as a professor of English literature. One day the principal of his university invited the professor to come to his place and eat. O God, as soon as the professor saw the principal's wife, he saw God inside her! She did not pray or meditate, but the professor was a genuine seeker and he recognised her as his Guru. In the beginning, the principal's wife was a little bit embarrassed. Then she started praying and meditating and she went very, very high.
The professor showed such sincere devotion to his Guru that he made tremendous progress. He reached a very high, sublime height. Then this man had to write, "The Guru is higher than God Himself."
How to believe it? The professor explained, "The Guru takes the beating. What is happening inside the real God, if there is a separate God, we do not know. But here we see, when disciples do something wrong — specially close disciples — what kind of beating the Guru gets." He wrote a beautiful article on this theme. Again and again he was justifying his statement that the Guru is higher than God Himself. In one sense, it is ridiculous; but again, the real Guru is God Himself. The God that is inside us and the God that we imagine in Heaven is the same God, the same Guru.
Again and again this professor said, "The one who sees our sufferings and becomes one with our sufferings is higher than God." He did not say whether the God who is upstairs on the highest floor, in Heaven, is suffering or not. He did not want to say, or perhaps he did not even know. But he saw that the Guru in front of him was suffering by becoming one with his suffering, so he felt that this Guru was definitely higher than the Being that we imagine to be God.
Now, let me touch on another point. There are some unfortunate disciples who say, "God knows everything, but my Master does not know everything." By saying that the Guru does not know, if you are a disciple of that type, you are very comfortable. You say, "Oh, I can do all kinds of things because the Master will never know." But who is becoming the loser? The actual loser is you yourself. You are saying, "He does not know, he does not know." Why does the Master even have to know? Why does he have to know what you are doing with your outer life or mental life or vital life? Do whatever you want to, if you have to do it, but do not bring the Master into the picture.
Again, when you do good things you say to yourself, "How I wish the Master knew about it!" At that time, be wise. When you are doing something good, give the credit to the Master by saying, "I am sure the Master has acted in and through me." If you can give the Master or the Supreme the credit, you are doing absolutely the right thing. Just say, "I myself could not have done it. I myself could not have said it. He has acted in and through me. I am only an instrument." Sri Krishna taught us, "Nimitta matram bhava savyasachin" — "Become a mere instrument."
When you pray and meditate, if you pray to the Supreme, I will be the happiest person, believe me, because He is my Guru, He is your Guru. Take Him as the top of the tree and think of me as the foot of the tree. But if you separate me from that tree, you are making a mistake.
The way I have established my oneness with God, unfortunately you have not yet done it. You will also do the same thing, but until you have come to that realisation, always take us as one, take us as one, take us as one. I hope I am making it clear. Pray to the Supreme. I am also praying to the Supreme, but fortunately I have become inseparably one with Him. You will also become inseparably one with Him at God's own Hour, choice Hour. Until that time, try to keep the link, the oneness-link, between me and the Supreme.
Question: In China I saw the Chinese goddess Quan Yin and I really felt something in her. I am wondering, if I feel inspired to sit in front of Quan Yin, is that a good thing?Sri Chinmoy: There is nothing wrong if you look at this Chinese goddess. Four or five times she came to me before I went to China. If you feel inspired by her, I will not be jealous of her! She is a goddess. Similarly, if you meditate on Mother Kali, I will not be jealous, because Mother Kali is my Mother. If you want to do it sometimes, then do it. I will be the last person to prevent you, because when you become one with God, you become one with all Cosmic Gods and Goddesses. But in your heart of hearts, you have to know always that this Indian Guru is enough for you.
Part XIIHDW 84-85. These questions were answered by Sri Chinmoy on 14 September 2006 at Aspiration-Ground in Jamaica, New York.
Question: When I look at the moon, I get a special experience and I believe it is coming through you. I just wanted to ask you, what is your connection to the moon, specially the full moon?Sri Chinmoy: I have a closer than the closest connection with the moon and also with the sun. I have received their blessings, appreciation and admiration in boundless measure. I have received boundless love from both the sun and the moon. Many, many experiences I can tell you. Some of you perhaps know about these. Nothing is new. I have told these experiences over the years.
When I was 14 or 15 years old, I was very fond of the moon. Sometimes for hours I used to look at the moon. Once, my friend was seated beside me. I was looking at the moon and talking to Sri Ramakrishna inside the moon. Sri Ramakrishna was full of love and compassion and we were talking.
That was one experience. Let me tell you another one. Around the moon there are some nymphs. They are beings who can take human form and they are most beautiful, most beautiful, most beautiful. They dance and then they try to ruin the aspiration of the seekers. Once, I was gazing at the moon and I was in my highest. Three or four most beautiful women, celestial beings, were descending to try to tempt me. Then I saw Mother Kali cut them into pieces. She amputated their limbs. This is what my Mother Kali did.
I was only looking at the moon and meditating, but there are always these kinds of beings. In Lord Buddha's case those same undivine forces tried to disturb his meditation and take away his inner wealth. In this way the hostile forces attack many, many spiritual Masters. From around the moon, you can say, those beings were descending. And who cut them into pieces? My Mother Kali. That is one of my very sublime experiences with the moon.
Then I had many, many experiences with the moon relating to Lord Shiva. The moon and specially the full moon — how beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful it is!
In God's entire Creation, at every moment if we can see beauty, we make progress. We try to see the beauty in everybody, in every being, in every flower — in everything. But again, science has come to show us that there is no such thing as perfection. On the moon, the scientists will see some dark spots. Shall we worship the scientists, or shall we love our heart, the heart that sees the moon and loves the moon and becomes so happy, the heart that swims in the sea of ecstasy? We need that heart and not the brain of the scientist who sees something wrong in the moon.
Question: I have checked about your birthday and I found that you were born on a full moon. Is that true? Also, I know of others who were born on a full moon.Sri Chinmoy: Lord Sri Krishna was born on a full moon. Lord Buddha was born on a full moon. Also, his realisation was on a full moon and his departure from earth was on a full moon. In Lord Buddha's case, all three took place on a full moon.