The inner journey

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Part I — The inner journey

Question: Why is it easier to approach God through a Guru?

Sri Chinmoy: Right now, the Supreme who is operating in and through you is only a vague idea to you. When you think of God, you may think that He is in beautiful trees or on top of mountains, or perhaps you will say that God is inside a cave or inside the ocean. If you think of God in this way, at any moment He may disappear and you will wonder where He has gone. When you think of me, that question does not arise. You know that I am in this house or at the store or at some familiar place. But when you think of God, you try to imagine whether He is in Heaven or hell and at the same time you have no idea what He actually looks like. But you know what I look like; I am something tangible. You can easily see me because I am on the physical plane. Immediately you can visualise me.

That is why they say that if you can go through the Master, you will be sure to reach the right place. It is much easier and safer to allow the Guru to go to God and bring God to you than to go to the Guru through God. If you try to go to God, the mind will doubt. If you make direct contact, you will misunderstand, but if you go through a Guru who can reassure you and convince you, you will believe it. Otherwise you will be full of doubt.

Question: In this incarnation I have accepted you as my Guru. Will I have you as my Guru in my next incarnation?

Sri Chinmoy: This is an absolutely personal question, so I wish to tell you that in your case your soul has made a very, very, very close connection with my soul. I can assure you with all my soul's love, blessings and concern that I will be your Guru. But this is not so for everyone. The students have every right to change their teacher. Already I have ex-disciples here and there who belong to different groups and follow different teachers. I have no grudge against their new teachers; I am not jealous of them. So long as they are taking my former spiritual children to God, I am happy.

I also have disciples who have belonged to other Gurus in this incarnation. They have come to me for spiritual fulfilment. Sometimes their Gurus come to them during their meditation or during their sleep to tell them that they should come to me. So these seekers become my disciples. If the disciples that I have now want to change to another Guru in their next incarnation, I will have no objection. It depends on the disciple. If the disciple sincerely says, "I want to remain with you throughout Eternity," I will give him my assurance that I shall remain his Master. I say, "I shall take care of you, of your heart and soul, for all time." This has to be a mutual acceptance and a mutual promise. When the disciple makes the promise: "I want this Guru always to be my Guru," at that time the Guru may say: "Yes, I will keep you always as my close and dear disciple."

I have disciples already in Heaven. Do you think that because I am here on earth, I do not help them? Every day I help them. I have disciples, I have relatives, I have friends, I have my own parents there. A realised soul can enter any world and help any person in that world. Those who want this help, need this help, the Master is bound to help because he lives only to serve others.

Many people have started with a Guru and then their Guru has left the physical body. When a real spiritual Master leaves the body, he is not like an ordinary man who is "out of sight, out of mind". For him it is as if there is a wall between him and his disciples. He lives on one side of the wall and the disciples who are in the physical body live on the other side. The Guru sees his disciples because he has made a very big hole in the wall with his consciousness. An ordinary person does not see that hole; he only sees a solid wall.

In your case, since your promise to me is from your soul, you will get me in all your incarnations until you realise God. When you realise God, at that time you will not need me any more, because you will also be in the infinite Consciousness. But until then, even if I do not come back into this world in the human body, I will be able to guide you from the other world as I am now helping people in the other worlds from earth.

Question: Do you agree with other spiritual Masters about the purpose of life?

Sri Chinmoy: It is not a matter of my disagreeing or agreeing. I do not want to enter into any controversy with other spiritual Masters. I wish only to tell you what I feel. Life is creation. It is created by God. If there were no purpose, then God would not have created life as such.

Question: Can your teachings be received by any person, or are there any qualifications that one must have?

Sri Chinmoy: In order to become a disciple of mine one has first of all to be very sincere and earnest. One has to feel that the spiritual life is not the life of pleasure and enjoyment; it is the life of sincerity, simplicity and perfection. Any seeker who is sincere is meant for the spiritual life. But a person may be extremely sincere and, at the same time, he may not be meant for our path.

Our path is the path of love, devotion and surrender. We do not say that because he is not following our path he is not fit for the spiritual life. Millions of people on earth are really fit for the spiritual life, but they are not meant for our path precisely because they do not care so much for the love, devotion and surrender that we want to practise in our lives. But they will be suitable for many other spiritual Masters and other spiritual paths.

Choosing a path is like choosing a college. Two colleges may be of an equally high standard, but one will be more suited to a particular student than another. Yet both are serving mankind with knowledge. In a similar way, ours is only one path, not the only path. It is one path that leads to the Goal. If you follow another path, definitely you will also reach your destination. The destination is always the same.

Question: Can you tell when someone is ready to receive the highest instruction from you?

Sri Chinmoy: I can easily tell if a person is ready for me, if a person is meant for me. Even if the person is not meant for me, I can tell if the person is sincere or not. When somebody is sincere but not meant to be my disciple, I tell the person to go to somebody else, because I know that another Master will be of infinitely greater help to him than I will be.

Question: Would you be willing to give instruction to those who are interested in your path?

Sri Chinmoy: If there are people interested in following my path, then I will see them and, if I feel that they are accepting me sincerely and that I can also accept them sincerely, then naturally I will accept them. It has to be a mutual acceptance. There are people whom I consider nice and sincere, but who do not care for my path. And again, there are people who are willing to follow my path but whom I unfortunately will not be able to accept. Even for these, however, I can be of some help. I have come to inspire people, and if there are people who see something in me, then they will benefit from my presence and my instruction.

Question: Do the bad forces leave seekers immediately when they accept your path?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes yes and sometimes no. People come to us and say they are victims of occult forces, but they themselves practised occultism or black magic. They don't have the power to control these powerful forces, so when the forces they are invoking come and attack them, they cry to me to save them. We have one disciple who said that her husband had hired a witch to attack her with an evil force. But actually she herself also used to practise witchcraft.

Question: Could a person who is spiritually developed be a witch?

Sri Chinmoy: It is very unfortunate but true that a developed soul can be a witch. Somebody can be developed in purity, humility, or some other good qualities, but if he does not develop wisdom, then the danger is there. If a bad person invites someone who has purity and aspiration but no wisdom to come visit him, the other person may go and perhaps he will also become bad. So if wisdom is lacking, no matter how pure he was, he may do all kinds of undivine things. If a person is pure, that pure soul will become a better witch.

Question: Since I came to your path, without asking for anything, all kinds of things have been flowing in. Is that normal?

Sri Chinmoy: The things that we need will definitely be given to us by the Supreme. Only we have to know that there are things that we really need, and there are things that we only demand, or want. The things that we actually need, that the soul needs, or the heart needs, will always be granted. These real needs do not come from us; they come from the Source into us as an inspiration. Then, when this inspiration tries to manifest itself, it becomes our creation, our realisation, our achievement. But the very need comes to us in the form of inspiration from the Source. Your inner needs will definitely be fulfilled. But things that you want, if they are all fulfilled, will cause you great difficulty. By fulfilling our vital demands or desires, we only increase our difficulties.

Your experience is encouraging and inspiring. Here we come to know that God thinks of us more, infinitely more, than we think of ourselves. Sometimes we believe that we think of God more than He thinks of us, but this is absurd. Sometimes we believe that we think of ourselves more than God thinks of us. This is also absurd. We say, "God has created the whole creation. He has to think of infinite beings, and I am only a tiny particle. How can He think of me, or why should He think of me?" But, it is not like that in this case. God has the capacity to create infinite beings, and He also has the capacity to think of each and every one of them in His inimitable Way. We have to realise that He thinks of us infinitely more than we think of ourselves. After all, we are His instruments; God is not our instrument. We are His instruments, so naturally He has to think of us and care for us if He wants to perfect us.

Question: I don't understand your relationship with God and with your disciples.

Sri Chinmoy: My relationship with the disciples is that of a teacher and a student. I am the teacher, and those who have come here have come to learn something from me. But when it is a matter of who is the real Master or Guru, I always say it is the Supreme. I am not the Guru. The Supreme is the only Guru. But here I am the leader, the representative for my disciples, for those who follow my path. I am the boatman, the captain. These are the students who want to learn from me. Whatever I get from the Supreme I offer to them.

Question: Guru, when can I get my spiritual name?

Sri Chinmoy: Here is a most difficult question. When can you get your name? When you are ready. When will you be ready? I will give you the name only when you are ready to feel that the name you get is the only name that will give you joy. The other day I was told a story about the five-year-old daughter of one of my disciples. Her mother and father still called her by her old name. Finally she said to her parents, "If you call me that old name once more I will get out of the house and stay out." Look at the joy this little girl gets from her soul's name.

Your name I will give you with joy and pride, but unfortunately the time has not come. If the time comes tomorrow, I will give you your name then. When your time comes I can even give you your name on the phone. For your brother, I did this. Now that you have asked me for your name, you do not have to tell me any more. It may take two months, it may take one year or it may take three days. When God tells me to give you your name, I will definitely do it. You will be waiting for that day and you will be happy when you get it.

Part II — Devotion to the Master

Question: How can I serve the Supreme in you more consciously?

Sri Chinmoy: In order to serve the Supreme in me more consciously, you have to remember one word all the time. That word is "expectation". If you expect something from me in your own way, if you think, "If I pray to Guru today most sincerely, tomorrow he may smile at me or say nice things about me to my sisters and brothers," then you will not be serving the Supreme in me. Never expect anything from me in your own way. This will be the very beginning of your most soulful service.

Most of you, if not all, make that deplorable mistake. Everybody expects something from me in his or her own way. You can expect something from me because after all you are giving me something in your aspiration. I will definitely give you something in return, but I will give in my own way. A God-realised person cannot be miserly, he cannot be mean, he cannot be indifferent. But if you think that just because you meditated two hours, that I will say something nice about you to somebody, or I will speak highly of you, then you are expecting something from me in your own way. You have to know that this is a mistake.

God wants to see how sincerely you want to dive into my spiritual path. Have you come here for recognition that you have meditated early in the morning or have gone out into the city to put up posters and all that? If recognition is wanted by you, then service is gone. Real service will die the moment it cries for recognition. In the very act of real service, inner recognition is there. The moment you do something soulfully for the Supreme, immediately my soul's tears of gratitude flow towards you. Even before you actually act, if you are just determined to do something for the Supreme, my gratitude comes. In action it may take you six months or six years to do it, but the very fact that you are determined to do something for God makes me more than happy, because there are billions of people on earth who do not consciously want to do anything for God.

From now on, whenever you do something, do not expect anything from me in your own way. If you do not expect anything at all, it is best, but it is usually impossible for human beings not to expect. You will say, "Why shouldn't he give to us, if we give to him?" But if a person has established an inner connection, inner oneness, then he need not expect anything. It is a spiritual Master's bounden duty to be of constant service to his disciples. You play your role with your aspiration; that is your service. The Master plays his role with his concern, compassion and feeling of oneness which will uplift your consciousness. Conscious service, if it is soulful, devoted and unconditional, does not need any recognition. The very fact that you are able to serve your Master consciously is your deepest joy and pride. But if it is difficult for you not to expect anything, then I wish to say that your expectation should be this: "Whatever he feels is best for me, he will give me in his own way, according to his own inner vision. I have played my part by giving him what I have — my aspiration. He will play his part by giving his realisation to me in God's own Way at God's Hour."

You do hundreds of things in the course of each day. When you get up early in the morning, before you leave your bed, you can take just one second to say, "Oh Supreme, make me unconditionally devoted to You so that I can serve You in Your own Way." Then, before you brush your teeth, before you take your shower, before you meditate, before you eat, you can repeat this. And as soon as you are through with each action you can do the same. Before and after every action if you consciously pray to serve the Supreme most devotedly and unconditionally, you will see that daily at least one hundred times you will be able to say this. Once you start offering this prayer, you will see all the different activities in your life before which you can repeat it. You can even do it after each different idea that comes into your mind. If an idea has come to you that you have to go to the Centre, you should say, "I must go there to be fully dedicated to my Master." If that idea comes to your mind before you enter the Centre, before you enter the meditation hall, then you will see your own progress. Each time you go to the Centre, if you think that you are going to see your Guru or to see your friends, then that is useless. Going to the Centre is necessary, but something is more necessary than just going to the Centre. Immediately you have to ask, "Why am I going there?" And your answer must be, "To realise God, to serve God, to serve my Master."

Each time you are about to do something, try to bring forward the reason why you are doing it. If you are studying, you should not think that perhaps I will ask you to teach somewhere. What you should feel is that when the time comes I will tell you. You should feel that your purpose for studying is to serve the Supreme in other human beings. If that idea comes into your mind, that you are studying to serve me, then you are doing the right thing. If you are studying only to secure high marks so that you will be able to teach at some college, that is not good. The high grades you are getting in your examinations should be so that you can serve the Supreme in me.

Before each action takes place, try to keep the ideal before your mind's eye. And what is that ideal? Your ideal is to realise God. What is your next ideal? Your next ideal is to serve God here on earth. Right from the morning, whenever you do something, you have to place before you the highest ideal. The highest ideal is to realise the Supreme, and after realisation to manifest Him. Each individual daily thinks of either God, themselves, their friends, or their enemies. These are the four things we think of. By enemies I do not necessarily mean any individual being. Your enemies are fear, doubt, anxiety, jealousy, and so on. These are all members of our family. We either meditate on God or we meditate on ourselves — our joys and sufferings — or we meditate on our friends, seeing that they are happy; or we think of the undivine, destructive and unlit qualities of others. But before doing anything, before meditating on your enemies, on your friends, or even on your Guru, think only of God. Then you will see that undivine thoughts and ideas cannot come. When any wrong idea comes into your mind, immediately think, "Oh, a thief is entering!" Then think of God, think of the divine soldier inside you that is God, and let Him protect you.

How can you serve the Supreme in me more consciously? Every second feel that I am observing. This is my last answer. Every moment I am observing you, not physically, but spiritually. The things that you would do in front of me to please me, like showing me your aspiration, your inner cry and your love for God, you will do. The things that you would not do in front of me, like telling lies, being jealous of someone, or cherishing doubt, you will not do. These undivine things you would not do right in front of me when I am looking at you, because you would feel — Guru is seeing my doubt, Guru is seeing my jealousy, Guru is seeing my fear. Always be conscious and aware of my inner guidance, and then you will be able to serve the Supreme in me most consciously.

Question: How can I best please you, Guru?

Sri Chinmoy: You can best please me by not doing the things that stand in the way of your pleasing me. If you are angry with your sister, feel that naturally this anger will enter into your Guru's heart. Think that this anger will immediately have a painful effect on my heart. Then immediately you will conquer your anger. Always do the thing that will not hurt me or harm me. You will please me most by not doing the wrong thing.

Question: Guru, if a disciple of yours has love and devotion for you but is in a bad consciousness, if you see him, do you see right through his bad consciousness to his love and devotion? That is, if he is feeling love and devotion and one hour later you see him, but he is in a low consciousness, do you see his good qualities too?

Sri Chinmoy: Your bad consciousness is in your mind and your vital, and your love and devotion are in your heart and soul. Let us say you have a five-room apartment. In the heart and soul rooms you have all good qualities. Now, if you have a fire in one of the other rooms — in the body, vital or mind — then you should take water from the heart and soul rooms to put out the fire.

When I see you, I see all five rooms. I see the good qualities in your heart and soul and I see the unillumined rooms as well.

Question: How can we become more surrendered to you, Guru?

Sri Chinmoy: Here you have to know that you are not trying to surrender to me. Kindly try to surrender to the Supreme in me. It is by offering gratitude daily to the Supreme that you can increase your surrender to the Supreme. This is the fastest and most effective way. Every seeker has to give to the Supreme what is best in him. Gratitude is by far the best quality that you and others have as seekers. So if you give to the Supreme your best quality, your best possession, naturally He will give you something which will expedite your journey, increase your speed towards God-realisation, towards your own self-discovery. If you give what is best in you, He will offer you something which will immediately help you to run the fastest to achieve your ultimate Goal, and that is surrender. The Supreme will increase your surrender provided you give Him your best quality, which is gratitude.

Question: How can we love you but not make demands on you?

Sri Chinmoy: When a child stands in front of his father and the father starts counting his money, the father tells the child, "This is all your money, only if you get it now, you won't be able to use it for any proper purpose." But the child is satisfied with one cent, or a nickel, which he gets from his father. Demand comes only when we feel that we will not get the thing that we want or need, that it will go to somebody else. A child knows that his father will eventually give him all his possessions when the proper time comes. When the father holds on to his money, the child does not make any demands. When he comes to hear that it is all his money, he is satisfied with the nickel that he has.

I am your spiritual father, and I am giving you boundless Peace, Light and Bliss. You make demands because you feel that everything is going to somebody else, that somebody else will grab my spiritual wealth. But a spiritual Master, if he is really a spiritual Master, will have Peace, Light and Bliss in boundless measure. These things can never decrease no matter how much he gives to somebody else. You have to feel that the very spiritual qualities that you want, you will definitely get when the time comes.

If you try to pull and push, you are making a serious mistake. By pulling and pushing you cannot expedite God's Hour. You will do your best; you will aspire as sincerely as you can, but the hour of your fulfilment will be fixed by God and not by you or me. We cannot fix the hour. If God wants to give you realisation tomorrow, then you will get it tomorrow. But if He wants you to have realisation four years later, then you have to wait for it. Just because somebody else has attained God-realisation does not mean that you can get it immediately. You will definitely get everything eventually, but if you demand from God, this only delays your progress. You can have perfect trust in the Supreme that when the time comes, you will get everything. If you want to expedite the hour with your personal vital demands, I am sorry to say, that will be total failure. At that time you will become responsible for your life. When you do not make demands, God is responsible for your life.

Question: How can I know whether I am doing my will or your will?

Sri Chinmoy: People are under the impression that if they are exercising their own will, everything is all right, and if they do not use their will, then they are useless people. But spiritual surrender is not like that. A spiritual Master is not like a boss; he is the highest part of yourself. Your head and your feet are both part of you, but you know that your mind is more developed than your feet, so you follow the dictates of your mind, not your feet. But in the spiritual life you are going far beyond the domain of the mind. Your existence comes from the highest triple Consciousness. This finite existence comes from sat-chit-ananda, infinite Truth, infinite Consciousness and infinite Delight. You are part and parcel of that. You have to feel that I am your highest part, and not a separate individual. I am a human being, agreed, but if you want to be totally merged into my divine consciousness then you have to make yourself feel as empty as possible. If you can leave your vessel empty, then only can my will enter and fill you to the brim. If you are already filled with your individual dispositions, propensities, etc., then I am lost.

So every day make it a point to have no will of your own. Consciously try to feel that my will is your will. When the Christ said, "Let Thy Will be done," this was the highest realisation expressed by a human tongue. You can also feel the necessity for your will to be totally and indivisibly one with my will. Early in the morning, the first thing you must do is to pray to the Supreme like this: "I offer my will to my Guru. Let his light flow in and through me." My will represents the Will of the Supreme.

I wish to tell you that it is infinitely easier to go to the Highest through me than to enter into the Supreme directly. You may feel that there is no necessity for a spiritual Master, but how are you going to reach the Goal? There are many rungs on the spiritual ladder, and if you do not climb up them, then how are you going to get to the top? So early in the morning, every day, try to surrender your will and, at the same time, try to feel that my will is your will in a divinised form. Then you will see that there can be no problem in your life of aspiration and realisation.

Question: What exercises would you recommend to me so that I can remember your presence during your physical absence?

Sri Chinmoy: When you are in my physical presence, please try to feel one thing: that the divine within me, not the human in me, is all love for you. Feel that there is nothing that the divine within me will not do for you. You have to feel that you have a free access to my soul. If you have to go from your living room to your bedroom, there may be some obstruction in between the two rooms. But if you want to go from your existence and enter into my divine existence, there will be no resistance. If you want to enter into my spiritual heart, the heart which has been serving the Supreme in you and in everyone, then you will find no difficulty in entering there. There will be no obstruction whatsoever between your aspiration and my illumination. If you can remember this, then you will be able to remember my presence.

If you try to run from one room to another room in your house, you may bump into something and break your leg. But in the case of the divine in me, the faster you run to it, the sooner you will get it. And the sooner you get it, the better for you, for me and for everyone.

Question: It seems that the Supreme loves you more than He loves Himself.

Sri Chinmoy: If you consider God on the physical plane, vital plane, mental plane or psychic plane — on any plane except His own highest plane — then He will have more love for me than for Himself. Where there is a sense of separativity between God and me, and I am one inch lower than Him, then He will have more love for me, because I am His child. A mother has more love for her son than for herself. He is her own creation; therefore, the mother has more love for the son than for herself. The creator has more love for the creation than for himself.

But if the Creator feels that there is no difference between His creation and Himself, that they are one and inseparable, at that time who is loving whom more? The Supreme loves me more than Himself when I pray to my highest Consciousness. But when I enter into my highest Consciousness, at that time there is no difference between the Supreme and me. We are totally one.

Question: How can I realise your spiritual height?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, try to remain near the tree, then try to remain always at the foot of the tree and not at a distance. Once you are at the foot of the tree, try to look up and see how far your vision can go. If I see that you are really trying to heighten your vision, then Grace will descend from the Supreme, who is your Guru, my Guru, everybody's Guru. This Grace is like a magnet; but, the magnet will operate only when it sees that you are anxious to be pulled by it. So, if you go to the foot of the tree and then look up towards the top of the tree, the Grace-magnet will come and pull you up. This is the only way a disciple can reach the height of the Master. Grace will only descend after you have made your own contribution by coming and touching the foot of the aspiration-tree.

Part III — Meditation and the Master's presence

Question: Why do you ask your disciples to meditate on your picture?

Sri Chinmoy: I do not require it. My disciples can meditate on the sky or the sea. Our path is the path of love. I tell my disciples to meditate on anything that they love, as long as it is something vast. So since they love my vast consciousness, I tell them to meditate on me. The spiritual life is nothing but the expansion of love. I do not say that the disciples have to look at me. I only want people to realise God, whether they meditate on my picture or on something else. But I see clearly that my disciples see and feel something in me. Naturally if they see something in me and feel something in me, then it is best for them to meditate on me. The power of their meditation is entering into the Supreme in me. I am not deceiving them.

The real object of love, who is God, is inside my heart and inside your heart equally. The only thing is that you do not have enough faith in yourselves. Otherwise I would have told each person to meditate on himself. But if I tell my disciples to meditate on themselves, only their egos will be fed. Their egos will come forward; they will say, "I am Brahma, I am God." Then, when their mind comes forward with a little doubt, they will simply be engulfed in a sea of doubt and frustration.

That is why I do not advise my disciples to meditate on themselves. I tell them, "Be humble. Concentrate on a flower or a flame and inspire yourself." In India I have seen many people who say, "I am Shiva, I am Brahma, I am Krishna." And eventually they just became insane.

Question: Should we look at you with our hands folded while we meditate?

Sri Chinmoy: You do not have to look at me. If your eyes are hurting from tension, then keep them closed for a minute or two, but not indefinitely. If you keep your eyes half or a quarter open, I will be very grateful. Otherwise in most of the cases, the disciple just enters into a relaxed consciousness. He enters into the world of sleep and he is unaware of it. He thinks he has meditated but he has only slept. Unconscious is the right word.

When you keep your eyes open, it is called the lion's meditation. On the one hand you are aware of what is happening around you and, at the same time, you are in touch with the inner worlds. You are keeping full mastery of both the inner world and the outer world. But don't strain your eyes. If necessity demands, close your eyes for a moment.

If you look at me with folded hands, you will receive much more than otherwise. When you fold your hands, the Supreme in me receives devotion from you. At that time your entire body becomes a burning flame of aspiration and prayer. The entire body-consciousness aspires. If you fold your hands and you are in a cheerful frame of mind, your prayer will be infinitely more soulful than otherwise. At that time, even the gross physical tries to offer itself to God, and it receives what God wants to give in a most soulful manner.

So if you can look at me in a very cheerful and soulful mood when you fold your hands, you will be able to increase your humility, devotion and other divine qualities. The significance of folding one's hands is to bow down to the Inner Pilot who is guiding me and who is guiding you. With folded hands you show devotion to the Supreme in you and to the Supreme in me.

Question: Sometimes when you look around at us during meditation, when you start coming close to looking at me, I become frightened, and I don't know why.

Sri Chinmoy: You are afraid of me because you feel that you will be exposed. Unconsciously you may think, "In the morning I was jealous, I doubted my spiritual life or I did something else wrong." Immediately the mind thinks of something, and you become afraid. But if you feel at that moment, "No, I am not the mind, I am the heart," then you will not be afraid. When a child sees his mother or his father coming close to him, if he knows that he has done something wrong, he will be afraid. If he has not done anything wrong, then he will not be afraid. But if he has a very kind and loving father, then even if the child has done something wrong, he will not be afraid, because he knows that his father will not give him a slap or scold him. It is his father's concern to perfect him that he sees.

The moment you have faith in your Master, you feel, "It is my concern to be good, and it is his concern to make me good." Then you will have no fear. The moment you think that you have done something wrong, either in your mind or in your actions, feel that my concern to make you perfect is infinitely greater than your concern to perfect yourself. Then there will be no fear. Fear comes because you feel that you will be exposed by my light. Instead, if you can feel that it is not with your effort but with my power, with my compassion that you will be able to change, then you will not be afraid. First you have to feel that ninety-nine per cent will be done by my concern and compassion, and one per cent will be done by your own power. Later, you will feel that that one per cent was also my effort. In this way, there can be no fear, no matter how close or penetrating the light is.

Feel that you are the heart. If you feel that your heart has the capacity to identify with my compassion, forgiveness, concern, love and blessing, if you can identify yourself with my positive qualities, then your negative qualities — fear, doubt, anxiety and worries — will automatically go away.

Question: When I first became a disciple it was a joy to meditate and follow the path. More recently I feel that I don't have that joy, so I don't meditate regularly.

Sri Chinmoy: Do you meditate every day?

Disciple: About fifteen minutes.

Sri Chinmoy: Very strange. You meditate for only fifteen minutes a day and you find it difficult to meditate regularly. Please pray to the Supreme to give you more capacity, because I will not be able to tell you that you are losing your joy because you are pulling beyond your capacity. A seeker has to meditate at least an hour daily — half an hour in the morning and in the evening — no matter what his standard is. Those who have accepted our path must make it a point to meditate for at least an hour, even if you meditate sincerely for only five minutes, and then your mind starts roaming. I feel that this is something absolutely necessary. One hour of meditation is expected from all those who are following our path.

You may say that you cannot meditate daily, or you do not meditate well, but please try. Every day you do not eat the most delicious food, but you do eat something, because you feel the necessity of food to keep the body going. In the spiritual life also, please feel the necessity of the soul's nourishment, the inner being's nourishment. If you do not have a profound meditation every day, that does not mean that you will not meditate any more. In the inner life please try to feel the inner necessity of your soul. Please meditate every day even if you feel a desert inside your heart on certain days. All seekers on our path should meditate at least an hour a day. It can be divided into fifteen minutes four times a day or half an hour in the morning and in the evening. Otherwise one cannot make much progress.

Question: Guru, should we meditate while driving?

Sri Chinmoy: When I used to run the one hundred metre dash, in a matter of ten or eleven seconds, God knows how many times I meditated on Him. I stood first in the running race, yet while standing first my mind was on God. You may say, "How could you be thinking of God so devotedly? If your mind is on God, you will change lanes on the track and be disqualified." But no, I did it. So if you have developed the power of meditation and you are an expert in meditation, then you are in a position to do meditation while driving. Everything depends on the development. If you are in a position to meditate while driving, you are not doing anything wrong. But if a beginner in the spiritual life tries to meditate while driving, then he will have an accident.

Part IV — Sri Chinmoy: a personal glimpse

Question: What is your personal definition of God?

Sri Chinmoy: Before I give my personal definition of God I wish to say that everybody's definition of God is always correct. It is not that a spiritual Master alone will be able to give a definition of God. No, even a child can give an adequate definition of God. He will give it according to his understanding, his capacity, his inner awakening. Each individual, irrespective of age, irrespective of standard, can give an answer to this question according to his inner awakening and inner illumination. Some spiritual Masters say that God is Light. Others say that God is Consciousness. Still others say that God is Power. A fourth group will say that God is a personal Being. Everybody's definition of God is right in its own way, because in that particular way God has come to them: as Love, as Consciousness, as Power, as Delight, as a Being with personal attributes, and so forth. When we criticise others, saying, "No, your definition is wrong; mine is right," this is absurd. He is right because he speaks on the strength of his inner realisation. What you are saying is right on the strength of your realisation. I am right on the strength of my realisation.

According to my realisation, my personal definition of God is Love. God is all Love. He is dearest to me because in Him I see infinite Love. I see that He is both the eternal Lover and the eternal Beloved. In the individual seeker before he realises the Highest, God is the lover. To the seeker who is aspiring for the Highest, God is the Beloved Himself. Eventually the lover and the Beloved become totally one. Man and God are eternally one. Man is God yet to be realised fully, consciously and integrally. And God is man yet to be manifested on earth totally.

Question: Is there a specific form of the Supreme that you like best?

Sri Chinmoy: I have seen the Supreme in many forms, but the form I appreciate or admire the most, and the form He Himself likes best for me, is a very brilliant one, all golden, shining and very, very tall. In just a second, like pressing a button, I can see Him in this form, so high that you cannot conceive of it, infinitely immense and brilliant. That is the form I enjoy the most.

Question: Do you also take different forms?

Sri Chinmoy: Every day we wear different clothes and assume different duties in our lives, but we are still the same person. For us there are many different things to do; for God there is all Delight. God is constantly playing a game of hide-and-seek with us. It is His divine, Cosmic Game. Sometimes He takes the form of a great-grandfather and just plays with His great-grandchildren. If He takes the form of a child, what else can you expect? He is eternally playing. God knows that we will win the Game, so He can always enjoy Himself. If you know that you will lose at a game, then you become lazy; you will not participate wholeheartedly. But in the Supreme's case, He gets tremendous joy in the Game itself, not in the result. He does not feel any different when He wins or loses the race.

I have taken many hundreds and thousands of forms, but my disciples have never caught me. Sometimes if I want to show my inner capacities, I show them in dreams or meditation. A Yogi can take any form in the subtle planes. When I show you my capacity in a dream, you get joy. But the following morning, your mind comes forward and doubts it. If I advise you in a dream, you will be thrilled, overjoyed. Then, after a few hours, you say, "He has given me such bad advice!" First you get joy from my advice, then the mind comes forward and the joy is lost. I become a stranger to you. If a stranger gives you advice, naturally you will be furious. But if I can enter into your heart and make you feel it is your own discovery, your own realisation, the following morning you will say that you have discovered something divine. When this discovery remains inside you, for days and months you will cherish it.

So real spiritual Masters try to do everything like a thief. They let the disciple feel that he himself has discovered something very special. Likewise, God is always playing the Cosmic Game of hide-and-seek with us, becoming whatever is necessary in order to offer us Peace, Light, Bliss and Power.

Question: Guru, why is it that during interviews you sound formal, and when you talk to us you sound informal?

Sri Chinmoy: From a spiritual person people have to get all the things that he has to offer. To the disciples I wish to offer one thing. During my talks I offer something different. I should be given the opportunity to offer what I want to offer. Here I am sociable, but at other times, when I am supposed to remain in my highest, if I have to come down to an ordinary person's level, it will be a mistake. I want to lift them up to my level.

When I meditate at the Centre, you have to come upstairs and be in a meditative mood. Only then will you be able to receive. If you stay downstairs and talk or eat, thinking that just because you are in the church, it is enough, that will be a mistake. You have to go upstairs, raise your consciousness and meditate. When I mix with you people on your own level, it is not that I am coming down. When somebody is drowning, I offer my hand to save him; but he also has to offer his hand and hold on to mine. If I remain always on the distant shore, how am I going to lift him? At that time I have to come near him, and he has to stretch out his hand so that I can save him.

Question: How long did it take you to climb the spiritual ladder?

Sri Chinmoy: In this incarnation it took me twenty years to climb the spiritual ladder, even after I had climbed to the top in previous incarnations. I know about my past incarnations. Even in my previous incarnations I attained God-realisation. It is up to others to believe this or not. After attaining the height of nirvikalpa samadhi in this incarnation, I had to practise meditation most vigorously for twenty years, from the age of twelve to thirty-two. This subject is most difficult, and one has to practise daily for eight, ten, twelve hours or more if one really wants to reach the Highest. This eight hours also has to be done most sincerely and most devotedly. It is a very arduous task.

Question: How much does your outer life reflect your inner life?

Sri Chinmoy: For spiritual Masters, their inner life is like an ocean; their outer life is only a tiny drop. But that tiny drop the disciples and the seekers have to be satisfied with, for that drop is more than enough for them to receive. It is sometimes too much for them, beyond their capacity.

You may see that every evening I am here, there, everywhere, but I know how many things are happening inside me. I may be enjoying someone's performance; it may be giving me real joy. But at the same time I am dealing with many other things. I am smiling, laughing, enjoying, but inside me arrows of suffering are coming from the disciples, from Centres and also from people whom I do not know at all. I do not know their names or anything, but they have seen that there is a place where the heart is a little big, so they send their suffering. If you ask me who they are, I will not be able to tell you, but they are coming to me inwardly.

Question: When you say " Aum," do you contact the Infinite?

Sri Chinmoy: Aum is the name of God, God in His three major aspects. "A" represents God the Creator, "U" represents God the Preserver, and "M" represents God the Transformer. When I chant Aum, I enter into my highest consciousness. When I am in real meditation, at that time if I chant Aum once, I enter into my highest transcendental Consciousness, where Infinity, Eternity and Immortality play together. But if I am giving a talk, and during the talk I say the word Aum, that does not mean that I am entering into my highest consciousness or contacting the Infinite. At that time my purpose is different: it is just to throw light on the aspiring souls. If they want to go deeper inside my consciousness or into their own highest consciousness, then they have to meditate. Then if we chant Aum together at the end of meditation, we can enter into the highest worlds.

Question: In your book on astrology you talk about fighting with vital beings. In one place you talk about seven beings coming and attacking you, fighting with you. How do you actually fight with these beings?

Sri Chinmoy: These beings are fought with occult power. They do not have physical force, but they can manifest physically. For instance, they can damage the legs of chairs. We fought with occult and vital power, subtle vital power, not on the physical plane. We fought entirely with energy. Yet, people heard the sound for several blocks. No human being could produce that sound — only vital beings. They are beings without physical form, but subtly they can take any form they want. They do not have human appearance, but they do have a subtle appearance.

Question: Will you ever write your autobiography?

Sri Chinmoy: When a person becomes great, then millions of stories are fabricated about him. I have concentrated on many so-called great men as well as on some who are really great men. Since they are great, there are thousands of stories connected with them, yet most of these stories actually have nothing to do with that person. There are millions of things attributed to them that did not happen in their lives. People just create from rumour and then, afterwards, when it is found in their biographies, it becomes fact. But there is no authenticity. It is just that somebody wanted to say something about a certain great person. Many times people are inspired and get emotionally carried away, so what they say may also be of no value. So it is always better if one has been lucky enough to write down what he wants to say about himself.

Right now I do not want to take the time to write down stories about my past, my childhood; they will not help you at all in your God-realisation. I always discourage my disciples from looking at my past, because I am what I am now. True, sometimes when I am inspired, I tell you of my childhood and adolescence, but I know these juicy stories will not help you even an iota in your God-realisation. Twenty years ago, everything was inside me — spiritual Master, Yogi, everything — but I was not a Yogi for the world. In the Bible when Mary asked Jesus to turn water into wine at the wedding, he said it was not yet time for him to do this kind of thing. In my case, when I was a youth, it was not the right time for me to have disciples. Right now is the time. When the hour strikes, at that time the seekers must derive all benefit.

What I have been doing since I came to America is of real importance. Other things are not important. In the life of the Christ only three years are important. What he did before he was thirty years old, God alone knows. What do we see or get from his life before thirty? Nothing! But during the years from thirty to thirty-three he did things which are immortal. The earth-consciousness is still treasuring the things which he did; it is still treasuring his love and compassion.

If you people feel: "Oh, if I could only know something about the Christ before he was thirty, then I would be saved," I will say, "No, the less you know of the personal aspect, the unimportant aspect, the better. Just pay all attention to the goal itself." On the mango tree there are many branches and thousands and thousands of leaves. But what you need is the mango. If you know where the mango is, you have everything. Why do you want to know how many leaves there are on the tree? If you are hungry and thirsty, the mango alone will fulfil you, not the leaves. So you should eat your mango and be satisfied.

When one becomes a real Master and he is in a position to offer Light, the Light is the mango. If you want to get the mango too soon, before it is ripe, you will see only the leaves. So now I am the mango, the Light. This is the time to look at the mango — my present — and not at the leaves, which represent my past.

Part V — The Golden Boat

The Golden Boat1

Dear children, the Golden Boat is not mine. This Boat belongs to the Supreme. We are all passengers on this Boat. You may say that I am an experienced passenger because I have been on this Boat for a longer time than you have been. But I wish to say that this Boat belongs to the Supreme. Right now He has only a few hundred passengers on this Boat, but a day will dawn when he will have seven thousand passengers or even more. And in the near or distant future the Boat of the Supreme, where we are all now seated, will carry not only seven hundred or seven thousand individuals, but the whole of humanity to the Golden Shores of the Beyond. The Transcendental Supreme in His Golden Boat will carry all of us to the Golden Shores of the ever-transcending Beyond.

If the human in me has been blessed by the Supreme with the capacity to write 208 poems in one day, then I pray to the Supreme in me to grant me the capacity to offer you, my sweet children, my heart's deepest blessingful gratitude twenty million times. You are my inspiration, and in you is my Goal. By manifesting the Supreme in each of you I fulfil my God-appointed task. With you I have started my journey, and with you I will eternally continue in the Boat of the Supreme Pilot. Our journey will never come to an end. There will be no journey's close for our Supreme Pilot, the eternal Guru, the only Guru here on earth and there in Heaven.

The human in me will write many more poems. It may happen that the human in me will exceed the number that we already have offered to the world at large in one day. But I wish to tell you again, as I have always been telling you, that it is not a matter of quantity versus quality. The Supreme in me commands me to write poems, and I assure you that He also gives me the capacity to achieve quality. The Supreme in me and the poet in me go together. The Supreme is at once my inner vision and my outer judgement together.

Many men may write hundreds or thousands of poems. I too shall write thousands if so is the Will of the Supreme. But the divine in me invokes the Supreme to grant me only one boon, and that is gratitude to you, my children, for what you have done for me and for what you will do for me throughout Eternity. This feeling of gratitude I wish to place around the neck of each seeker of the transcendental Truth, for each seeker deserves it.

Again, I wish to say that this is not my boat; it is the Boat of the Supreme. I am an experienced or advanced member in the Boat. As I always tell you, I am one of you; I am a brother of yours. Our Father is somebody else. I was born into this spiritual family a few years before you were born, so naturally I am expected to have made a little more progress than you have. Now I am in a position to tell you about the Supreme, who is our eternal Father, eternal Mother, eternal Friend, eternal Beloved. I try to teach you how to grow into His very Image. I show you where our Father is, and then my role is over.

The Supreme is always in the process of transcending His own evolving Consciousness. At every second He is transcending the limits of His own Transcendence. That is why we say that He is in the process of ever-transcending Reality, Divinity and Immortality. Today I pray to the Supreme Pilot to grant me the opportunity and the capacity to offer my blessingful gratitude countless times to each of you, for each disciple, each seeker, has given me the opportunity to be of service to the Supreme in him. It is not you who should be proud of your so-called leader on earth; it is I who should at every moment be proud of you and offer you my most soulful gratitude. It is you who have given me the opportunity and it is you who have chosen me to be of dedicated and devoted service to you all.

IJ 35. On 5 February 1974, Sri Chinmoy's disciples celebrated the Master's completion of 208 poems on that day. After appreciating a huge boat filled with gifts from his spiritual children, Sri Chinmoy spoke about his Golden Boat.