Inner peace and world peace

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Part I: Discourses


Peace. Peace is love unmistakably realised. Peace is joy unreservedly shared. Peace is oneness soulfully expanded. Peace is fulness permanently founded.

The animal consciousness is completely unaware of peace. The human consciousness is rarely aware of peace. The divine consciousness is constantly and lovingly aware of peace. The supreme Consciousness is constantly, lovingly and blessingfully aware of peace.

Peace is the inner man’s inner goodness. Peace is the outer man’s outer greatness.

Goodness proceeds. Goodness loves. Goodness serves. Goodness proceeds along Eternity’s Road. Goodness loves God the Creator. Goodness serves God the creation.

Greatness succeeds. Greatness sings. Greatness dances. Greatness succeeds in the battlefield of life. Greatness sings the real victory-song. Greatness dances the real freedom-dance.

Goodness reveals God the Silence-Creator. Greatness fulfils God the sound-creation.

The inner peace and the outer peace are interdependent. The inner peace grows. The outer peace glows. The inner peace feeds. The outer peace leads. The inner peace grows with Infinity. The outer peace glows with Eternity. The inner peace feeds the divine in us. The outer peace leads the human in us.

The inner peace reveals God the transcendental Beauty. The outer peace fulfils God the universal Duty. The inner peace constantly awakens us to a higher and supreme reality.

Peace. The nations that seek peace more than anything else are divinely excellent. The individuals who seek peace more than anything else are divinely excellent. The nations and the individuals that have peace, both inner and outer, are supremely perfect.

The outer world hungers for power. What else is power, if not peace? The outer world hungers for satisfaction. What else is satisfaction, if not peace? Peace-power illumines the earth-consciousness. Peace-satisfaction fulfils the Heaven-reality.

Man hungers for world-dominion. Man thinks that world-dominion will give him satisfaction. To his wide surprise, he finds that world-dominion is nothing short of sense-slavery. World-dominion is another name for shameless treachery. Not world-dominion, but world-union; not world-conquest, but truth-quest: this should be our aim.

Peace is self-mastery. Peace is God-discovery. The inner man who is fully awakened knows that self-mastery and God-discovery are of paramount importance. God-discovery is God’s Satisfaction in man. Self-mastery is the perfection of man in God. Man’s perfection in God and God’s Satisfaction in man can change the face of today’s world. Today’s world can be transformed into God’s Perfection-Dream, which is flooded with Light and Delight, only when we the seekers cry for peace - peace alone.

University of Vermont Burlington, Vermont 19 January 1980

Inner peace and world peace

What is peace? Peace is satisfaction. This satisfaction can be achieved in the body, in the vital, in the mind and in the heart. Again, the satisfaction that the body will have may not or need not satisfy the vital, the mind or the heart. The body gets satisfaction when it sleeps or rests, whereas the vital gets satisfaction only when it is active and dynamic. The mind gets satisfaction when it can house a progressive, illumining and fulfilling thought, a thought that embodies vastness. The heart gets satisfaction when it feels closeness with an inner reality or a higher reality. So we see that each member of our inner family gets satisfaction only when it achieves something of its own, and this satisfaction is nothing other than peace.

In the ordinary human life, we feel that if we can multiply our earthly riches, then we can have satisfaction. But when we multiply our possessions, we see that multiplication is not the answer. Then we try to achieve satisfaction with addition. We try to add a few things to our lives. We feel that this is the way we will be able to achieve satisfaction, which is peace, fulfilling peace. Then, when addition fails, we try to see what division can do. We divide our realities here, there and elsewhere. When division fails to give us satisfaction, which is abiding peace, then we try subtraction. But there also we fail.

Multiplication does not help, addition does not help, division does not help, subtraction does not help. No! We think that, in order to get peace, either possession or renunciation is needed. If we are sincere in our inner life, we will see that by possessing, we can never be happy. From one car we will go to two cars, from one house we will go to two houses. Even if we are satisfied with the house that we live in, if we possess it and claim it as ours, still we are lost. The moment we claim a thing, we are possessed by that thing. While possessing, we are possessed; and satisfaction is nowhere to be found.

Again, by renouncing we can never be happy either. Today we renounce material wealth; tomorrow we shall renounce our mental faculties, vital faculties or physical faculties. We can renounce even the entire body. But then how are we going to get satisfaction? Satisfaction is delight and delight is God. If we say that the body is not aspiring, that the vital is not aspiring, that the mind is not aspiring, that even the heart is not aspiring, we can renounce them one by one. But will this give us peace, lasting peace? Will this give us satisfaction? No! So renunciation is not the answer either.

Possession is not the answer. Renunciation is not the answer. Addition, multiplication, division, subtraction — these are not the answers either. Then how can we have the satisfaction that we call peace? We can have peace only by accepting God’s Will. All the time we are praying fervently for God’s Peace, Light and Bliss. But right after our prayer, instead of getting peace, light and bliss, let us say, we are more agitated, more frustrated, more angry, more disappointed. Let us say that all the hostile forces have attacked us, and we have become perfect victims to wrong forces.

At this point, we may want to give up. We want peace from mankind, but we do not get peace. We pray to God for peace, but instead of peace, we get all wrong forces, destructive forces and so forth. But if we are true seekers, we shall not give up. Only, the results that we get we shall place cheerfully at the Feet of God. If we can place all the wrong forces that have attacked us cheerfully at the Feet of the Supreme and not find fault with Him, then only will we get peace.

Otherwise, at every moment we are acting like beggars. We are begging for something, and whoever is in the position to give us what we want may or may not give it to us. Or, he may give us something, but not in the quantity that we want. If it is a material thing, an earthly thing that we are praying for, then there will never be any happiness. If we ask for spiritual things and we are not surrendered to God’s Will, then again we may not be satisfied. But if we are sincere seekers, then whatever we get from God — even if it is just an iota of peace — we feel is more than enough. For we know that this iota of peace God Himself has given to us. We also know that He is watching us to see if we are using it soulfully, devotedly, cheerfully and unreservedly for a special cause, or whether we are just misusing it. If we can have this kind of surrendered attitude, then satisfaction will be ours. If our surrender to God’s Will is complete, and if we can make ourselves feel that God thinks of us infinitely more than we can ever think of ourselves, then whatever God gives us will bring us satisfaction. For we know that the higher oneness, the deeper oneness, the more illumining oneness are all His responsibility. So we will leave it up to Him.

There is also another way to have satisfaction or peace, and that is to have the faith of a child. A child, knowing that his father is a multi-millionaire, can ask his father for a million dollars. For his father to give him a million dollars is nothing, since the father is a multi-millionaire. But the father knows that the child is not in a position to spend the money properly. He knows that if he gives the child more than ten dollars, the child will just misuse it. So the father does not give the child more than he knows how to handle properly. It is not that the father is insecure; it is not that he thinks, “Oh, if I give him all my money, then he will be in a position to challenge me.” No, it is the father’s wisdom that is operating. Just because the father has inner wisdom, he does not give his son more than ten dollars. The son is not sad that his father is not giving him a million dollars. He knows that what the father is doing is for his own good, and he knows that one day his father will give him all his wealth. So, he is satisfied to wait.

In the spiritual life also, many times it happens that a seeker asks for infinite peace, but his inner vessel, his receptivity, is not big enough to hold this infinite peace. Also, the seeker does not even know what he is asking for. ‘Infinite’ is a vague term. The mind is saying “infinite”, but what do we know about Infinity and Eternity? It is all a vague conception in our mind. But if we can feel that we are children, and that God, our eternal Father and Mother, is watching over us, then all our problems are solved. If a little child cries a few times during the day, what does the mother do? The entire day the mother looks after the child. Here also, from time immemorial God has been looking after earth. He is taking care of us in His inimitable way, with His infinite Compassion, Love, Light and Bliss.

If we can have this kind of faith, then we are satisfied with whatever God gives us, for we know He is preparing us to receive His Infinity and Eternity. We may pray for years and not get an iota of peace, or we may get an iota of peace, but feel that that is not enough. We want peace in abundant measure, if not in boundless measure. But if we have receptivity, then God will give us His infinite wealth. God our eternal Father will give us abundant peace and abundant light when we have the receptivity to receive it.

God and man must have mutual faith and confidence in one another. The seeker in us must have confidence that God, at His choice Hour, will grant us without fail infinite peace. Our role is only to pray and meditate soulfully, devotedly and unconditionally. God has taken it as His bounden Duty to help His seeker children, to guide them, mould them and shape them into His very Image. But He has His own choice Hour which unfortunately may not tally with our hour. If we have faith in God, that He will do everything for us, and if God has faith that we can be His perfect emissaries, His perfect representatives and instruments on earth, then perfection is bound to dawn. Only in perfection does satisfaction abide. Again, satisfaction is nothing short of peace. So peace is satisfaction; satisfaction is perfection.

When we think of perfection, we have to know that perfection does not have a fixed standard. We can never say that this is the final product, that there cannot be anything better or more illumining than this. No! Today’s conception of perfection will not and cannot be tomorrow’s conception of perfection. Since perfection is satisfaction, perfection has to be transcendence.

Today’s satisfaction is to get a high school diploma, and if we get it, that is our satisfaction and perfection. Tomorrow, we will think of a university degree and that will be our satisfaction and perfection. Then, after getting our university degree, we will see that we are still not satisfied, because we know that infinite wisdom abides in God’s universe. At that time, when we look at ourselves or dive deep within, we will see how helpless and hopeless we are in terms of infinite wisdom. Then, we will try to cultivate more wisdom so that we can achieve real satisfaction.

There is no end to the inner knowledge and inner peace that we can achieve, and there is no end to the satisfaction that we can get. Each moment, Infinity is transcending its own infinite Reality. Each time we achieve something new, that is our satisfaction and perfection. But at the same time, a new hunger elevates us to a higher reality. This hunger is an inner hunger to receive more peace, more light, more bliss from Above so that we can be better instruments of higher realities.

In the ordinary human life, when we ask for things, we feel that these things will give us satisfaction, which is peace. But in the spiritual life, when we pray for peace, light and bliss, we are asking for these things not for our own satisfaction, but for the satisfaction of our Inner Pilot. We shall ask, and while asking we shall say: “If it is Your Will, God, grant me peace, light and bliss in infinite measure, so that I can be Your perfect instrument.” But in the ordinary, unaspiring life, when we ask for something we shall never say, “If it is Your Will, then give me two buildings or give me millions of dollars.” No! When we ask for something from the desire-world, we will never say, “If it is Your Will.” We will only die for the things that we need and want.

But when we ask for something from the aspiration-world, and when we are living in the aspiration-world, we will always say, “If it is Your Will, please give me peace, light and bliss. We do not know what is good for us or what is bad for us. If such is Your Will, then give us what we need so that we can serve You more devotedly, more soulfully.” Here the prayer is totally different, and God listens to our soulful prayer with a loving Heart.

Here we are all seekers. At every moment we shall ask our Beloved Supreme for things divine and supreme. When we pray to God unconditionally for three boons — God-realisation, God-manifestation and God-satisfaction — then we are bound to be blessed by our Beloved Supreme. But while praying, while meditating, we have to keep or bring to the fore one sublime wish, one illumining goal: Him to please in His own Way.

We are praying for peace, inner peace, at His choice Hour. Once we have this inner peace, world peace can be achieved in the twinkling of an eye. Inside, if we feel a good thought, an illumining and fulfilling thought, then that very thought we will express and offer to our friends and dear ones. Our illumining, soulful, fulfilling thoughts will enter into our dear ones and then they, too, will have peace. So when we have inner peace, automatically it expresses itself. It spreads its qualities or capacities throughout the length and breadth of the world.

If we can prepare ourselves for God-realisation, God-manifestation and God-satisfaction in God’s own Way, then at every moment we will be inundated with inner peace. And this inner peace will spontaneously inundate the outer world. At that time, what we have within is bound to become part and parcel of our outer life.

A seeker is he who dives deep within in order to bring to the fore the reality that he has within. While bringing it to the fore, he discovers that his aspiration and his realisation are not two different things, but the same thing. He is bringing to the fore his infinite peace from within, and while bringing it forward he discovers, to his utter surprise, that he is peace itself; eternally he is peace. Peace is nothing other than his own inner existence.

One can talk for hours on peace. The curious mind may get some satisfaction, but the crying heart cannot get any help from talks. The crying heart is the real reality within us, and that crying heart gets inner peace, everlasting peace, only through prayerful silence and soulful meditation. Only prayerful meditation and soulful prayer can bring about peace. If at every moment we can think that we are growing into a prayerful meditation and a soulful prayer, then peace eternal will be ours.

University of Stuttgart Stuttgart, Germany 20 June 1980

Part II: Interview on Wbab-Fm's "Long Island Spectrum"

Interview with Joel Martin3

Joel Martin: Sri Chinmoy, I welcome you. It is a pleasure to see you — a man of peace and love — and ask you many questions on behalf of my listeners. Perhaps the first thing to ask you about is meditation. You are a Master of meditation and understand very well what that means. How do we begin to understand what meditation is, the nature of meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: At the very outset, I wish to tell you that meditation is not a thing to be understood. We understand a thing with our mind. But proper meditation we do with our heart, with our soul. It is very difficult for us to have a free access to our soul, but at least we can feel the presence of our heart. So we meditate in the inmost depth of our heart. The heart feels; the heart does not think. When it is a matter of understanding something, we use the mind, but pure meditation is far beyond the realm of the mind.

In our meditation we try to achieve an inseparable union with our Inner Pilot, the Supreme. Right now, all of us believe that there is a Creator, unless we are atheists. If we believe in the existence of God, then we have to go one step further. We will try to see Him face to face; we will try to have a free access to His inner Reality; we will try to communicate with Him. Meditation is the way to have communion with God in a most perfect manner.

3. These excerpts are from an interview with talk show host Joel Martin, broadcast on 21 May 1977.

Joel Martin: When one wants to learn meditation, must a spiritual Master teach it to you? If so, how does he do it?

Sri Chinmoy: If one wants to learn how to drive, is it not advisable for him to take at least a few lessons from someone who knows how to drive? Otherwise, he will be given the car and immediately he will have an accident and return to God in Heaven before he realises God here on earth. In spirituality also one can make deplorable mistakes if one does not know what one is doing. Spirituality is not an easy thing. If one wants to learn it well, one should take help. You went to college and university to get your highest diploma; then you gave up your studies and started your own life.

In life you take some help for everything. In order to become a singer, dancer or anything in life, you take some help. Then when you become well acquainted with that subject, you stop going to the teacher. When it is a matter of spirituality, sometimes I hear people say that they do not want to take lessons, or that they feel they do not need a teacher. But usually they are making a mistake. True, there are some exceptions. Every rule admits of some exceptions. There are a few individuals, like Tagore and a few others, who have not gone to school. You know that Tagore became an extraordinary writer. But how many Tagores are there on earth? Most human beings have to go to school in order to get help. If they do not take help from the teachers, they may run into difficulty.

In the spiritual life also, if the seeker does not take help, then he may have some difficulties, some serious doubts about his own spiritual life, and then he will give up. He will think that it is impossible for him to practise spirituality, since there are so many doubts and so many wrong things in his life. But if there is a spiritual Master, the Master will always encourage him and help him. The spiritual Master is not actually a teacher; he is a tutor. The teacher examines you, and he will either pass you in the examination or he will fail you, according to your merit. But the business of a tutor is to help you so that you can pass your examination in the school. A real spiritual Master is a private tutor; he is always trying to help you out.

Joel Martin: Let us talk about your spiritual path. Perhaps you can explain to us exactly what your path is?

Sri Chinmoy: Mine is the path of the heart. It is founded upon divine love, divine devotion and divine surrender. Here I am using the word ‘divine’. In the case of human love, we finally come to realise that it eventually ends in total frustration. Human devotion is nothing short of attachment. And human surrender is done under compulsion. We are compelled to offer our surrender to our superiors.

But divine love is something totally different. It grows within us like a flower; petal by petal it blossoms. It is like a river that is flowing into the sea. Divine devotion is our inner urge to do something with utmost sincerity, purity and divinity. There is a supreme cause, and we have to fulfil it on the strength of our divine devotion towards the cause itself. Then, divine surrender is the surrender that we make to our own highest part. Each individual has two realities: the higher reality and the lower reality. The lower reality is still unlit, obscure, impure; whereas the higher reality is all divine, all perfection. So we consciously try to bring our lower reality into the higher one for its illumination. This surrender is not made to somebody else, to a third person. No, this surrender is made to one’s own highest self.

Joel Martin: In your writings you talk about reconciling the inner world of silence and the outer life of action. Something that troubles me is the idea of putting your ideas and theories into practice in our day to day lives.

Sri Chinmoy: Theory and practice must go together. When we pray and meditate, we develop or acquire peace of mind, let us say. When we have peace of mind, then we can come into the outer world to solve our problems. The outer world is full of problems, but our inner world is inundated with peace. How can we get in touch with this inner peace? That we do on the strength of our prayer and meditation.

The inner life is not the life of isolation. The real spiritual life, the real inner life, will never tell us to leave society and enter into the Himalayan caves; far from it! We dive deep within early in the morning. Then, when we enter the outer world, we bring forward what we have received from within and we try to offer this to the world at large.

Early in the morning we pray and meditate to acquire some inner wealth: peace, joy and bliss. Then, we go out to our respective offices and mix with our friends or colleagues. Perhaps they did not meditate or pray, and they are totally lost in the hustle and bustle of life. When they see right in front of them life’s multifarious activities, they are simply lost. But because we pray and meditate, no matter what happens or what we do, we remain unperturbed; we remain calm and quiet. The inner life we practise through our prayer and meditation, and the outer life we practise through our dedication to the cause of humanity.

Joel Martin: Can I strive for material wealth in my outer life and still be at peace in my inner life?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly, but we have to know how much material wealth we require. It has to be in proportion to our need. If we want to become the richest person on earth, for that also we can pray and meditate. But we have to know where this prayer is leading us. If we become the richest man by virtue of our prayer, will we be happy? Our prayer and meditation tell us only one thing: God is all joy. If we pray to God to make us the richest person on earth, God may listen to our prayer, but happiness is something totally different. In this world, when God gives us material power, we see that this money-power is not what we really need. Love-power, oneness-power, is what we need.

We may be a millionaire, a billionaire, but when we see that people do not love us, our hearts will break. Like beggars, we will cry for love from others. But our material power, our money-power, is not going to win their love. Only our love-power, our oneness-power, is going to win their love. So when we pray to God, we should ask only for one thing: “Let Thy Will be done.” If it is God’s Will to make an individual the richest person, then God will do it. But if God’s Will is something different, then God will act in a different way. We can pray to God for material power, but we have to be sincere to our cause. Do we want real happiness in life? If we want real happiness in life, then we have to know that material power can be an obstacle to our God-discovery.

Joel Martin: You have offered meditations at the United Nations, and you have a fine reputation for that. So let me ask you some questions about problems of world conflict. Why do we see so much strife around us in the world? Why are many nations in conflict with each other, and why do people not get along because of different religions or races or economic points of view?

Sri Chinmoy: It is because we are swimming in the sea of ignorance. Each individual has limitations, each individual has darkness, each individual has obscurity and impurity. Each individual feels that by becoming superior to others he will derive happiness. Each individual feels a sense of separation. Each individual feels that so long as he can maintain his individuality, he will remain happy. But this is absurd. Happiness comes from oneness. You and I must become inseparably one in order to become happy. But the world does not believe in that kind of happiness. The world wants separation, although separation ends in frustration, and frustration ends in destruction.

It is very difficult to achieve oneness. Even in our own being there is often conflict. Sometimes the mind wants to do something and the physical revolts or the vital revolts. The heart wants to do something and the other parts of our being revolt. In our own personal existence we have no harmony, so how can we expect to have peace on earth?

Again, if we pray and meditate, God is bound to listen to our prayer. He is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, and He is all Love. He will grant us His boundless Love and, on the strength of His boundless Love, we will be able to see the whole world and each individual in the world as our own, very own.

It is lack of prayer and meditation that causes this problem of separativity. If we pray soulfully and meditate soulfully, then this problem can easily be solved. At that time there will be a world without conflict, without war, without misunderstanding. There will be a world of oneness, satisfaction and perfection. This world of oneness, satisfaction and perfection can dawn only when we want to go to the Source and become part and parcel of the Source.

Joel Martin: May we talk, Sri Chinmoy, about you personally, where you come from, where you were born, your childhood, your special visions and how you came to the United States?

Sri Chinmoy: I was born in Bengal, India. At the age of twelve I went to Pondicherry, South India, and there I practised Yoga for twenty years seriously, devotedly, unreservedly and unconditionally. Then I got a message, an inner command, to come to the West to serve the seekers here. My Inner Pilot commanded me to come to the West, especially America, and be of service to Him inside the seekers here. Therefore, I am here trying to abide by the command that I received from my Inner Pilot, my Beloved Supreme.

Joel Martin: Why would your Inner Pilot have directed you to come to the United States? Is it because we need help in many ways?

Sri Chinmoy: He alone knows. Since He is the Creator, He is all-pervading. For Him there is no barrier between India and America. It is all His creation. India and America are like two houses. The father has every right to ask his son to go from one house to another to live there and mix with his new brothers and sisters. My Father has asked me to come here to be of service to Him by serving my new brothers and sisters. Geographically, India is at one place and America is at another place. But when it is a matter of the heart, there is no such thing as India and America; it is all oneness. Here we sing the song of oneness.

Joel Martin: Westerners sometimes have difficulty with some of the Indian concepts — for example, a spiritual Master or Guru. So perhaps the divisions between East and West are very evident.

Sri Chinmoy: In my case, my students do not have any difficulty, precisely because I tell them that the real Master is God Himself. I am only His representative for those who have accepted our path. The real Master, the real Guru, the real Teacher, is God Himself. For my students, my disciples, I happen to be an older brother. Just because I am their elder brother, I know a little more than they do. I know where the Father is and what the Father is doing. So I tell my younger brothers and sisters, “Come, I shall show you where the Father is.” Once I have shown them, once they can go and talk to the Father, then my role is over.

The eldest member in the family is expected to know more about the Father in the beginning. When he brings the younger ones to the Father, who is their Father as well as his, then his role is over. I never claim to be the Father. I am the friend, the elder brother. It is my bounden duty to serve the Supreme in my disciples, to serve the Father in them and to help them to approach the Father.

Joel Martin: How do your disciples reflect the fruits of the meditation that they practise with you?

Sri Chinmoy: I tell my disciples that they have to lead a very spiritual life, a life of simplicity, a life of sincerity and a life of purity. I tell them that they must pay utmost attention to the inner cry that is inside the very depth of their hearts. And I tell them to unlearn most of the things that their minds have taught them. The intellectual mind, sophisticated mind, doubtful mind, suspicious mind, has stored many, many things, and these things must be unlearned. If one can unlearn quite a few things that have been taught by the mind, then one can make very, very fast progress. Doubt, jealousy, anxiety, worry, suspicion and all the undivine qualities are like heavy loads, heavy burdens on our shoulders. So we try to simplify our lives by unlearning and freeing the mind from these so-called friends.

Joel Martin: When you play music as a spiritual Master, a Guru, your music is therefore spiritual. But if I did not know you were a Guru, how would I know if your music were spiritual?

Sri Chinmoy: We all have a heart. You have a heart, I have a heart. Spirituality means softness, sweetness, kindness, sympathy and the feeling of oneness. If anybody plays or sings a spiritual song, there will be something inside the heart that is bound to feel an inner connection with the music. The individual does not have to see the singer or the musician. But the music immediately establishes a kind of friendship with the person because the heart has already become receptive to the music. So you do not have to know what the music represents, as long as you can become one with the essence of the music. You do not have to know which language it belongs to, no. If you can establish oneness with the music, then you will derive immense joy, light and delight from it.

Joel Martin: How do you feel when you play the music?

Sri Chinmoy: When I play the music, I personally feel an inner adoration for my Beloved Supreme. I become like a flower. A flower is meant for worship. This flower we place at the Feet of our Master, the Supreme. I feel that I have become an object of devotion, a flower. The petals are fully blossomed and now they are ready to be placed at the Feet of the Lord Supreme.

Joel Martin: If I wanted to, how could I make my music spiritual or help create a more spiritual kind of music?

Sri Chinmoy: If we enter into a new place, a new home, and we see something totally new, then we try to bring that very thing into our system. If we pray and practise meditation, then our whole nature will become spiritual. If we did not pray and meditate, then our consciousness would have been totally different. Spirituality is something that we can practise. Meditation is something that we can practise. If we practise meditation soulfully, and if we become part and parcel of this soulful meditation, then naturally we are bound to be helped in our outer life, whether we are becoming a musician or something else.

The inner life has to accept spirituality first. Then the outer life will become an expression of the inner life. So if we pray and meditate and become spiritual, and then start playing music, then naturally we shall express the things that we have received from our prayer and meditation. Before we play, if we can meditate for even two or three minutes and acquire an iota of peace or bliss, then this peace and bliss will definitely enter into our music, into our instrument, into our voice. Then our music will automatically become spiritual and divine.

Joel Martin: When we think about music, of course, we think about sound. And when we think about meditation, we think about that inner world of peace, of silence. Is there any conflict between music and silence?

Sri Chinmoy: There is no conflict at all, for our Creator Himself is at one with silence and sound. He is the Possessor of cosmic Silence and cosmic Sound. Within is His Silence; without is His Sound. In the beginning, He was all Silence. He was His own transcendental Silence. At that time He was one. Then, He wanted to become many, so He transformed Himself into the universal sound. Previously, before the creation, He was the transcendental Silence. Once He created the universe, He became the universal sound. There can be no conflict between the Creator and the creation. The creation is the sound and the Creator within us is the Silence.

Joel Martin: Sri Chinmoy, as well as being a musician and songwriter, I know that you are a prolific writer and poet. How are you able to create so many thousands of poems?

Sri Chinmoy: I myself am the first person to doubt this achievement. If I say that I create, then it will be a mistake; it will be a falsehood. But if I say that I become an instrument of my Inner Pilot, this is absolutely true. I am just executing the Will of my Lord Supreme by becoming a humble instrument of His. He executes His Will in and through me. At that time there is no such thing as impossibility. Of course, I pray to Him and meditate on Him. But it is not I who create. It is He who creates in and through me, and on the strength of my own receptivity, I offer His creation to the world at large. But the creation that we see is actually done by the Lord Supreme within me. I am not the creator; I am just a mere instrument of His.

Joel Martin: I notice that when I ask a question, you look at me and your eyes are open. Yet when you answer a question, your eyes are closed, as if you are, well, in meditation, or in a restful state. Is there some reason for that?

Sri Chinmoy: This is a most interesting question. I do not actually close my eyes totally. I keep them half-closed and half-open. I try to communicate with two worlds at once. When you ask me a question, first I dive deep within in order to get the answer immediately. But again, I have to live here on earth; I have to communicate with you on the physical plane; therefore, I keep my eyes a little open. I must have a free access to both worlds — the inner world and the outer world. When you ask me a question, immediately I dive deep within to get the answer, and when I give the answer, I keep my eyes just a little open. This is the way I operate. In my case, this is the easiest and, at the same time, the most effective way to answer soulfully and adequately the questions that are asked.

Joel Martin: There are many people who believe in ESP and mental telepathy and similar things. Do you believe in some of these things?

Sri Chinmoy: I do believe in them, but at the same time I do not encourage my students to indulge in these kinds of things, for they take the sincere seeker away from Truth. If the seeker is at all sincere, then he will depend only on his own inner cry. These other things only fascinate us and arouse our curiosity. Out of curiosity we want to see many things, but God-realisation is not a matter of curiosity; it is a matter of sincere inspiration, dedication and surrender to God’s Will. Many people waste time indulging in these kinds of psychic phenomena.

I tell my students only to pray and meditate and reach the Highest. If you have a goal, then reach the goal. Do not stop along the way. If you are on a road that has beautiful trees and flowers, if you start appreciating the trees and the flowers and sitting at the foot of each tree, then you will never reach your destination. These psychic phenomena will fascinate you and, at the same time, puzzle you; whereas if you are earnest and sincere, you will run fast, faster, fastest towards your goal.

Joel Martin: How many of us can strive to become as disciplined as you are in your spiritual life? Is that a realistic goal?

Sri Chinmoy: Spirituality is not the sole monopoly of any individual. God is our Father. We are His children. If we are sincere, then He is bound to grant us inner peace, inner love and inner joy in boundless measure. If I say that only I am entitled to reach the Highest, and that you are not entitled to reach the Highest, that will be the height of my stupidity. If you have a sincere cry — which you have — and if you utilise this sincere cry, then like a flame mounting high, higher, highest, eventually you also will reach the Highest.

Joel Martin: Because you are an artist, I want to ask you a question about art. Are there different forms of art — higher forms of art?

Sri Chinmoy: Just as there are many planes of consciousness, so in the artistic world also there are many worlds. On the strength of our inner inspiration and aspiration, we enter into these worlds. If you have deeper inspiration, then naturally you will enter into a higher plane, a higher artistic world.

Joel Martin: How many paintings do you do a day? Is that okay to ask, or it doesn't work that way?

Sri Chinmoy: It does not work in that way. I paint only when I am inspired. Recently I have not painted at all; I am paying attention to music. Otherwise, sometimes I have done a few thousand paintings in a day. On one particular day last year, I did over 16,000 in 24 hours.

Joel Martin: I am curious as to what inspired you on that day. What did you feel like when that happened?

Sri Chinmoy: I became an instrument. As I told you before, there is no such thing as impossibility when the Supreme guides the seeker. It is He who painted in and through me, and according to my inner receptivity, I tried to offer my dedication to the world.

Joel Martin: But admittedly, there are days when you are not as creative as other days?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, yes, it is absolutely true. It is because I do not get the inner inspiration and, at the same time, I have quite a few responsibilities. I have to think of my spiritual students.

Joel Martin: What about healing? Do you have the power to heal?

Sri Chinmoy: I do have the power of healing, but in my case I do not heal people the way a healer does. I leave it up to the Will of God. If it is God’s Will, if God wants me to be of service to a sick person, then I do help that person spiritually and occultly. But not the way a healer does.

Joel Martin: I understand about reincarnation and this earthly world, but what will happen to your disciples when you leave this earth?

Sri Chinmoy: If they are sincere and devoted, then they will not have any difficulty, for they know that I have an inner connection with them. I have the capacity to guide them inwardly. Right now I have students, disciples, all over the world. Some of them only see me on the physical plane once or twice a year. But they have an inner connection with me. So they can easily maintain the same inner connection when I leave the body.

There are many spiritual Masters who have left the body, but their disciples are still living on earth. They do communicate. How do they communicate? On the strength of their concern. The Masters have concern and the disciples have aspiration. If the disciples maintain their inner aspiration, and if the Masters maintain their concern for the disciples, then naturally they will feel each other’s presence.

Joel Martin: What about the phenomenon of karma? Will what we do on this plane somehow be reflected when we come back in another incarnation?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. We often say, “as we sow, so we reap.” If an individual has done quite a few undivine things, then he has to pay the penalty. But again, there is something called Grace, divine Grace. Divine Grace can easily nullify the misdeeds of an individual. A child has done something wrong and he is to be punished. But then his father will come to his rescue. So the divine Grace serves the purpose of the father. If the father wants to protect the son, he can.

Joel Martin: Do you believe we will ever reach the goal we are striving for?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely we shall reach the goal, for the One who has created the goal is also with us and within us. It is He who is at the goal and, at the same time, He is with us in our inner journey. He is inside us to guide us and lead us to our destination.

Joel Martin: Thank you, Sri Chinmoy.

Part III: Questions and answers

These following questions were asked at the New Jersey Centre on 13 July 1976.

Question: How far away is my constant aspiration?

Sri Chinmoy: Your constant aspiration is the distance between your doubting mind and your all-giving and all-loving heart. If that distance can be covered, you will get constant aspiration.

Question: What is a violation of the Cosmic Law?

Sri Chinmoy: Everything that is unprogressive, everything that stands in the way of harmony and peace, is a violation of the Cosmic Law.

Question: What is the highest offering that I can give to you?

Sri Chinmoy: Your highest offering is constant gratitude to the Inner Pilot.

Question: How can I embody both true humility and divine self-confidence?

Sri Chinmoy: There is no difference between true humility and divine self-confidence. What is true humility? True humility is the constant awareness of what the highest part is and what the lowest part is.

Question: Although I am all light, why is there darkness?

Sri Chinmoy: Your inner being is all light, but your outer self is dark — just as a house may be beautiful on the inside while the outside is not at all beautiful. You have to bring your inner light to the fore to illumine your outer darkness. Your inner light is the soul, the true self.

Question: What will inspire me not to love sleep?

Sri Chinmoy: Constant awareness of the highest divinity will always inspire you not to indulge in unnecessary sleep. You get joy from sleep; but you will get greater joy from the highest awareness. We all long for happiness. If something gives us more happiness, then we will pursue it.

Question: How can I make faster spiritual progress?

Sri Chinmoy: Just love the spiritual life more than you love inner and outer sleep.

Question: How can I remain vigilant over my thoughts?

Sri Chinmoy: You can remain vigilant over your thoughts by exercising your will-power, your adamantine and indomitable will-power. When you exercise your will-power, your thoughts will be transformed, illumined and perfected.

Question: Why have I never felt part of humanity?

Sri Chinmoy: If you do not feel that you are a part of humanity, then your heart is not large enough. Each heart must become magnanimous. If it does not expand, it will not feel a part of humanity.

Question: How can I patiently await God's chosen Hour?

Sri Chinmoy: In order to wait for God’s chosen Hour, you have to feel that God is thinking of you more than you are thinking of Him. But instead, your mind turns to other things. You become jealous, insecure or frightened. When you get time to think, you think of yourself or you think of others with all your jealousy, envy and hatred. At that time, God is not your God but someone else’s, and it is your friends or enemies who claim all your attention. That is why patience does not enter into your life.

Question: How can I invoke spiritual power to radically transform my life?

Sri Chinmoy: You can invoke spiritual power by invoking purity in your body, peace in your mind and joy in your heart.

Question: How can I overcome the feeling of repression and understand true freedom?

Sri Chinmoy: True freedom is not an isolated or independent thing. True freedom is oneness with the Infinite. It cannot operate in isolation, as a separate thing. God is both universal and individual, both unity and multiplicity. Just because we do not feel oneness with others, we do not have true freedom.

Question: How can we distinguish between the different inner voices?

Sri Chinmoy: You can distinguish between the different inner voices only when you become spiritually great. You have to be a spiritual expert, a Yogi of the highest order.

Question: Will humanity ever fully accept the Light of the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely, humanity is bound to accept the Light of the Supreme. And when humanity is consciously aspiring, then the Light of the Supreme will manifest here on earth.

Question: How can I become receptive to God's Love and Compassion?

Sri Chinmoy: You can become more receptive to God’s Love and Compassion if you can feel your eyes inside your heart and your heart inside your eyes. If you look in your heart, what you see is not humanity but the Heart of the Supreme. When you try to feed humanity, try to feed it with your cosmic vision, your all-seeing eye. Then you will see God’s Love and Compassion.

Question: How can I more soulfully give and accept help from others?

Sri Chinmoy: If you can think that others are your own arms, your own legs and part and parcel of your own reality, then you will not have any problems. If the right hand offers the left hand a gift, the left hand gladly takes the gift. It does not feel that to receive the gift is beneath its dignity, because the right hand and the left hand are one. When you can see others as part of your own existence, this will be easy for you.

Question: If God loves everything, does He love ignorance?

Sri Chinmoy: God does love ignorance, because He loves you. If God loves you, then He is bound to love ignorance. Again, you have to know that what we call ignorance is not totally dark in God’s Eye. It will someday grow into God’s all-illumining and all-fulfilling Light. For us, seeing ignorance is like standing in front of a mirror. When we look in a mirror, we see only the outside of things. But God can easily see the inner existence as well. For Him, the inner existence and the outer existence go together.

Question: Why has God not revealed and manifested Himself before humanity?

Sri Chinmoy: God has revealed and manifested Himself through great spiritual Masters and through each individual, but we are blind. God is right in front of us all the time, but we are not aware of it.

Question: How can I overcome fear of other people?

Sri Chinmoy: You can overcome fear of other people the moment you think that other people are just extensions of your own existence. In your life, you pay attention not only to your eyes, but also to your nose and other parts of your being. But, in this case, you give importance only to your personal existence, and you do not feel that other people are part and parcel of your existence. The moment you cherish a feeling of separativity, then you are afraid.

Question: How can we tell when we are sincerely aspiring and when we are just exploiting God's Compassion?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are sincerely aspiring, you will never expect anything from God, even in your imagination. Your sincere aspiration will tell you that God loves you infinitely more than you can understand, and that God, out of His infinite Love and Compassion, has already provided you with everything. If you go deep within, you will see that God has already done everything for you.

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