Justice-light and satisfaction-delight
Question: Does the Supreme have a preferred set of laws for each society, which it is our duty to try to discover?Sri Chinmoy: Everything depends on the standard of the particular society. If a certain society is more advanced, infinitely more advanced, than other societies — inwardly, outwardly and in every possible way — then we can safely say that the Supreme has a special set of laws for that society. These laws are composed of Self-giving Reality and Oneness-Divinity, and they seek to bring about perfection of the individual and the collective, both within and without. The higher the standard of a particular society, the greater is the satisfaction of the Supreme when that society fulfils its duties. The seeker in us must try to discover that kind of society here on earth.
Question: Does the idea of having to follow a precedent help the law to serve mankind or hinder the law?Sri Chinmoy: It entirely depends on the precedent. If a certain precedent is wanting in light, then it need not be followed; but if the precedent is illumining, then it should be followed. Again, in the march of evolution, we have to know that even an illumining precedent can become more illumined, more perfected. So the greatness of the past ought to be followed, provided it embodies spirituality and divinity in boundless measure. Otherwise, we are the children of new dawns, new promises and new fulfilments.
Question: When people suffer misfortune, sometimes they seek compensation through the law. Does this interfere with the working of karma?Sri Chinmoy: If someone suffers misfortune and seeks compensation through the law, then he is undoubtedly doing the right thing. Whether this will interfere with the working of his future karma or his past karma is of no consequence. If someone has been a victim of injustice, then he has every right to take shelter in the force of law. Otherwise, he will always remain a victim of the undivine forces.
Question: Is it right for a lawyer to accept a case in which the client is definitely guilty and then try to save the client from going to jail?Sri Chinmoy: If a lawyer accepts a particular case, then naturally his duty is to try to save the client, no matter how bad the client is. From the highest spiritual point of view, the guilty person is less illumined, infinitely less illumined, than the one who has not committed a crime. But here on earth, if a lawyer has to defend a client for his livelihood, then what can he do? This is the vocation that he has chosen, and if the physical does not eat, then it cannot stay on earth. So, for someone who does not care for the higher life or God-life, for someone who does not care for spirituality, if he feels it is necessary to defend undivine people in order to live, then he should do it. Then, after twenty or fifty years, light may enter into him and he will try to follow the path of truth.
Now, if someone is a seeker, then always he should try to follow the path of truth. If he adopts a wrong method just to make money, then he is making a serious mistake. If he is a seeker, then he has to be very careful. Again, he also has to eat. And in certain cases it may be necessary for him to defend a person whom he feels is guilty in order to maintain his physical existence. If this happens, then he has to do one thing. He has to pray to the Supreme for forgiveness, for illumination. You may say that it is a funny game if you do this, telling lies and then praying to God for forgiveness. Many times a lawyer will defend the right cause and always he will try to get a case where his client is innocent. But it may not be always possible for a lawyer to get a case where he is on the right side. Still, he has every right to pray and meditate. In order to support himself, he has done something wrong, he has entered into darkness. But God gives him the opportunity to return to light through his soulful prayer.
His soulful prayer for forgiveness can easily nullify the mistakes that he has committed by defending a wrong party.
There are some lawyers who don't mind mixing with falsehood. Their conscience is not awakened, and for them, telling lies is like drinking water. Again, there are some lawyers who will not take any case if they feel that their clients are guilty. They are spiritual seekers, seeker-lawyers, and they feel that is better to starve than to defend a guilty person. I have seen some lawyers in India who have not taken any cases because of this. They were starving, but they refused to accept a client who had committed a crime.
Question: Is God's Law always the same as His Compassion?Sri Chinmoy: In God's case, His Law and His Compassion are one and the same. Our demanding vital will call something God's Law, whereas our aspiring heart calls that very thing God's Compassion. God's Compassion-Light and God's Justice-Might are the same. It all depends on who receives it. If it is the aspiring heart, then we call it God's Compassion-Light. But if it is the demanding vital, the constricting vital, then we call it God's adamantine Law.
Question: When someone is convicted under the law and is punished, does this reduce the amount of suffering he will have to do to work out his karma?Sri Chinmoy: If somebody is convicted of a crime and the law has punished him then he has already paid the penalty. The karmic law has already been satisfied. But if the punishment is more than he deserves, then God's Compassion will come forward, and the next time he is doing something good, God will expedite his progress. Again, if his punishment here on earth is not enough, then God's Justice will come to the fore and his progress may be delayed by the Cosmic Law.
Question: How can you best distinguish between morality and the Supreme's Will under the law in a given situation?Sri Chinmoy: We can easily distinguish between morality and the Supreme's Will. When the mind tries to judge a particular situation after finding out the pros and the cons, that is morality speaking. Morality is always in the mind. But the Supreme's Will we hear in the innermost recesses of our heart and not in the mind proper. When we hear something in the mind, the intellectual mind or the doubting mind, it will immediately be contradicted. One moment the mind will say that this is good and the next moment the same mind will come and contradict it. When this happens, we know that morality is coming into play. Morality is very good. If it were not for morality, we would all have remained animals or we would all now go back to the animal kingdom. But infinitely higher than morality is the Will of the Supreme, and this we can know directly from the voice that we hear inside the very depth of our heart.
Question: Does the Supreme feel that capital punishment is cruel and unusual punishment?Sri Chinmoy: For the Supreme, there is no such thing as capital punishment. On the one hand, it is He who receives the punishment in and through His creations. He is infinitely kinder than any human being. On the other hand, it is always He who dispenses Justice-Light in particular cases, for there is no other way to bring about a better society. "As you sow, so you reap": the Supreme believes in this particular theory. If somebody has done something extremely bad, then he has to meet with the punishment which comes as a consequence of his actions. Cause and effect must go together.
Question: How may we tell a good law from a bad law?Sri Chinmoy: The law that encourages inspiration and hope, the law that energises us to move forward and look upward, is a good law. The law that binds us and strangles us and constantly makes us feel that we are its slave is a bad law.
Question: In every law case, is there always a right side and a wrong side, or sometimes is neither side right or wrong?Sri Chinmoy: In most cases there will be a right side and a wrong side. Or you can say that one party embodies an iota more truth or more light than the other party. But in some cases, both sides are equally wrong or equally right. So, at that time, the judge has to be extremely careful. If the judge can be absolutely impartial, then God's Message will act in and through him.
Question: How can man's law best be used as an instrument of God's Justice?Sri Chinmoy: Man's law can best be used as an instrument of God's Justice when man's law surrenders to God's Justice. Man's law and God's Justice are two different things. Man's law will have the power of a dictator; always man's law makes us feel that it is superior to the reality in which we are living. But God's Justice does not do that. God's Justice is oneness based upon impartiality. Here it is not a question of superiority or inferiority, but only of oneness, inseparable, universal oneness. But in the case of man's law, it is always one inch higher than the life that we live, so there is a sense of separativity. If man's law wants to do the right thing and become a perfect instrument, then man's law has to act like God's Justice. It has to have inseparable oneness with the Reality that we are living, without being partial.
Question: Was there ever a time when the Cosmic Law was the same as the human law?Sri Chinmoy: Now, unfortunately the Cosmic Law and the human law have never been one. Only it is the bounden duty of the human law to see the light in the Cosmic Law. First it has to see infinite light in the Cosmic Law and then it has to consciously allow itself to be guided and illumined by the Cosmic Law. The Cosmic Law is nothing but God's ever-transcending Vision and God's ever-fulfilling Manifestation.
Question: What does the Supreme do if a country enacts a law that is against His Will?Sri Chinmoy: When the human law contradicts God's Will, at times God uses His Force in the inner world to change the law and at times He uses His immediate, most powerful Willpower to smash the power of the law. But it is done mostly in the inner world. Therefore, sometimes He finds it very difficult for His Will to take effect on the outer plane. But on rare occasions He uses His adamantine Willpower and corrects and perfects the outer law, the human law.
Question: Is there any way of punishing criminals that is more effective than putting them into jail so that they won't repeat their crimes?Sri Chinmoy: Many people have tried and are trying to change the consciousness of criminals by not putting them into jail. There are many methods that have been applied, but no method will be of any avail unless and until the spiritual method is fully applied. The spiritual method is prayer and meditation. If prayer and meditation can reign supreme on earth, then there will be no necessity for putting anybody in jail or taking any outer measure to correct or perfect anybody. Prayer and meditation are the most effective ways to put an end to all crimes.
Question: What are God's Laws like in Heaven?Sri Chinmoy: God's Laws are very simple in Heaven. God says to the souls, "Use as much as possible of My Light. Drink in as much as possible of My Peace. If you want to take part in My Cosmic Game, then you will promise to enter into the world for My Manifestation. And if you don't want to enter into the Cosmic Game, then remain in Heaven in perfect peace and from there help the brave soldiers who want to fight for My Manifestation on earth." These are God's requests, which you can call Laws.
Question: Should a seeker use his compassion-power rather than his justice-power?Sri Chinmoy: Naturally, if the individual is a seeker, then he has to use his compassion-power and not his justice-power. But again, from the highest point of view, there is no difference between compassion-power and justice-power. Because of his compassion, the genuine seeker does not regard society or other individuals as totally different from his own existence: he feels his oneness with them. Again, if necessity demands, he will try to perfect a situation by using his justice-power. At that time it is not a punishment; it is a supreme necessity for his own total and integral perfection. He claims society and other individuals as his own, very own. So unless and until they are perfect, he feels that perfection is also lacking in his own life.
Question: If a judge believes that an innocent person is guilty and sentences him to death, does the judge suffer?Sri Chinmoy: According to his understanding, according to his wisdom, according to his illumination and light, if he is one hundred per cent sure that he has done the right thing, then he will not be severely punished. If sincerity looms large in his decision, if he is convinced that he is doing the right thing from the moral point of view, then he will not suffer much because of his mistake. If he is using his own standard of morality as his inner guide, if he is following what he considers to be the voice of his conscience, this may not be the real conscience; but it is the truth that he has so far achieved and embodied. He has not received or become the highest truth, but he is trying to reveal the truth according to his own capacity and his own standard. So, from the Cosmic Law he will have some retribution, but he may not even be aware of it. In his future incarnation he will try to do something and his progress will be hampered; but the punishment or retribution will be very limited. But if he knows that he is not doing the right thing, if he is sentencing the person to die because of outer pressure or because of some other forces, then naturally his punishment in this life or in his next life will be extremely severe. If he deliberately does something that he knows is wrong, then the punishment, without fail, will be very severe.
Question: Is man's conscience more important than the outer law?Sri Chinmoy: From the strict spiritual point of view, conscience is always infinitely more important than the outer law or manmade law because conscience represents the Light from above. And this Light was already operating long before the outer life came into existence.
Question: What happens to the soul of a person who is executed but was innocent?Sri Chinmoy: The soul will not feel sorry the way a human being feels sorry. It will feel sorry in a divine way. It will feel that an opportunity has been lost on earth. It will feel sorry that it did not get the opportunity to manifest the Divine the way it was supposed to manifest the Divine. But there will not be an iota of worry, anxiety, impatience or grievance, for that is not the way the soul acts. The human vital is always doomed to disappointment when something goes wrong, but the soul embodies patience-light. The soul deals with Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. It knows that it will come back in six years or twenty years or thirty years. Twenty or thirty years, in the soul's case, is like a second. So the soul can wait. It says, "All right, the ignorance-force has destroyed my house, the body. But I am dealing with Eternity."
This is true only if the soul is very mature and if the soul has inner wisdom in boundless measure. But if the soul is not fully mature, and if the soul mixes with the strangling vital, the frustrated vital, then the soul will also suffer. So, you have to know how far away the soul is from the vital, the vital that likes to struggle and fight, the vital that likes the chaos of life. If the soul is very advanced, then it will not be sad, for it knows that in the twinkling of an eye the Supreme will grant it another opportunity. The soul knows that here on earth there are many, many undivine and hostile forces which can act through the judge.
If the world were totally perfect, then the soul would not have this attitude. If the soul saw that everybody was crying for perfection or that everybody had some perfection, then it would say, "Why am I not becoming totally perfect?" But when the soul sees that imperfection looms large everywhere, what can the soul expect? The soul says, "The best thing is to go slowly and steadily, as the human life progresses towards the light."
Question: Does a person have the right to ask to be killed?Sri Chinmoy: If he wants to be killed, he has the right in his own way to commit suicide. From the highest point of view, suicide is the worst possible crime. If someone has done something wrong, he has to be very brave. He has to face the consequences and try to illumine himself so that he does not make the same blunder again. That is absolutely the right thing in order to work for perfection. But by killing himself, what is he accomplishing? He will come back in his next incarnation with the same standard, the same attitude towards life, and his perfection will remain a far cry. When someone has done something wrong, he should let the judge decide what is his punishment. He should not take the matter into his own hands and ask for execution. Then, when the punishment is over, let him try to turn over a new leaf so that he can make progress and become a better member of society.
Question: Does the personal Supreme ever intercede on a person's behalf during a trial?Sri Chinmoy: The personal Supreme usually does not interfere. He lets His Justice-Light operate in and through the law. He has already given His Justice-Light to the earth-consciousness, and if He has to interfere, then He is breaking His own Law. On very rare occasions, when He sees that the ignorance-force inside the law or inside the judge is predominant, this may be done. Otherwise, His impersonal aspect, which takes the form of His Justice, is allowed to operate.
Question: When a case in question gets all the way to the Supreme Court, how can the few judges who have to make the decision bring some spirituality into the case?Sri Chinmoy: One does not have to take the case to the Supreme Court to find spirituality. Spirituality can easily be found in the lower courts or in the hands of the lawyers and the judges. Again, we have to know that unspiritual people and a lack of spirituality will always be there at the present stage of evolution.
Spirituality has to start with the individuals who have made the laws and who are going to pronounce the verdict. It is the individual lawyer and judge who have to see the true spirituality inside the case itself. If truth is lacking at the very start of the case, if judges have no light, no wisdom, in the lower court, then it is almost impossible to bring light into the legal system. Only if the root has truth will the trunk and the topmost boughs also have truth. If the roots are lacking in truth, then it is almost impossible to see truth and light in the topmost branches of the reality-tree.
Question: Are there laws which hinder a country's progress?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, unfortunately there are many laws which hinder a country's progress. Although all the laws are man-made, some are derived from a higher source or from conscience, while others come from unillumined minds, from people who cherish brutal autocracy.
Question: How can our legal system embody spiritual principles?Sri Chinmoy: Our legal system can embody spiritual principles provided people who are in the legal profession take spirituality as the only saving, illumining factor in life.
Question: From the spiritual point of view, when is a person justified in disobeying the law?Sri Chinmoy: From the spiritual point of view, a person is justified in disobeying the law only when he is in direct contact with the Will of the Absolute Supreme. If the Supreme in a particular case sees that a particular man-made law is standing against the inner growth of a sincere seeker, then the Supreme may give His supreme Message to that seeker. At that time, the seeker will undoubtedly abide by the Supreme's Message, which is nothing but the Supreme's own Will.
Question: Has any one nation developed a legal system that is superior to others?Sri Chinmoy: We cannot safely say that one nation is by far the best in its legal system, but we can safely say that some nations have contributed more to man's legal system than others. America's Constitution is undoubtedly one of the topmost legal systems that the world can value and treasure.
Question: Who is the greatest lawgiver?Sri Chinmoy: For an ordinary human being, morality is the greatest lawgiver. For a sincere seeker of the highest truth, spirituality is the greatest lawgiver. It entirely depends on your own standard. The sooner you reach some spiritual height, the sooner you get a new lawgiver who illumines you and fulfils you.
Question: If we are ever members of a jury, how should we best judge whether a person is innocent or guilty?Sri Chinmoy: You can best judge whether a person is innocent or guilty only by praying soulfully to the Supreme and meditating on the Light of the Supreme before you pronounce your verdict. There is no other way for a seeker of the Absolute Supreme.
Question: When children reach adolescence, should they still follow their parents' "law"?Sri Chinmoy: In various countries, especially in India, when children reach the age of thirteen or so, the parents see and feel the functioning of the mind in their children. Before that they saw only the vital impulse and the children made no regular, concentrated effort toward any particular project. But now, although the mind has begun to function in their children, these parents right to the end try to advise, shape and mould their children's lives. They feel that just because they are parents, they have more earthly knowledge than their children. Again, when the children obey their parents, in most cases they don't lose their freedom, for freedom in the ultimate sense is joy. If by obeying their parents they get satisfaction, then that joy is infinitely more valuable than the so-called freedom that is enjoyed by the juvenile world in the West. Here the parents give their children license to do whatever they want to do. But the freedom-joy that some juveniles enjoy is bound to be followed by frustration, which is a common story.
Question: How did the Supreme feel about John Adams when he defended the English captain who fired on Boston citizens during the Boston Tea Parry?Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme felt extremely proud of John Adams at that time, for John Adams triumphantly transcended the barriers of nationalism and entered into the free world of internationalism. In this world, the individual has to be given a full chance to defend himself and fulfil himself according to the light that he embodies.
Question: Is there one main reason why people usually break the law?Sri Chinmoy: People usually break the law because they don't want to be under any law. This is the outer reason. The inner reason is that, after all, it is not they who have made the laws. If they had made the laws, they would have defended these laws like anything. Again, there are spiritual people who break man-made laws because they have received a higher message. From the spiritual point of view, by listening to a higher law, they are doing what they are supposed to do in the world of aspiration.
Question: What is your feeling about the jury system?Sri Chinmoy: On the one hand, each person has his own way of seeing the truth, feeling the truth and becoming the truth. There are many minds, many ways, and there is no basic oneness. On the other hand, two heads are better than one. So the jury system gives us the opportunity to combine the wisdom of many, to unite the wisdom of many, instead of singing the song of separativity and individual supremacy. If the members of the jury believe, as they should, in combining their respective wisdom, then naturally the jury system is an asset.
Question: What did our founding fathers invoke when they wrote the Constitution?Sri Chinmoy: They invoked the Blessings and the Grace of the Almighty Father so that the very dawn of America could grow into the most glowing, most powerful and ever-lasting noon.
Question: Is it important to obey all the laws of the country in which we live, including traffic laws?Sri Chinmoy: In general, it is good and important to obey all the laws of the country in which we live, including traffic laws. If we do not obey traffic laws, then eventually either we will send someone to God or someone will send us to God. At that time, the poor medical world will not be able to show us its medicine-power.
Sometimes we do not know which law is important and which is not important. Such being the case, it is good to consider all the laws important unless some laws are obviously ridiculous and stupid.
Question: Are there certain spiritual guidelines which an average lawyer or lawmaker could use to make proper earthly law?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, there are certain simple spiritual guidelines that can help an average lawyer or lawmaker. He should try to be as sincere and as simple as possible and he should try to bring to the fore the loving heart rather than the demanding vital. Our point of view may be no better than others' point of view. If that is the case, then a heart of compromise is undoubtedly the best spiritual guideline.
Question: How can lawyers as a whole become more spiritual?Sri Chinmoy: Lawyers can become spiritual, more spiritual, most spiritual, provided they can soulfully feel that God Himself is the law, God himself is the lawgiver, God Himself is the verdict and God experiences Himself in and through the different realities in life. Each experience is a fulfilling and illumining lesson for Mother Earth.
Question: What should we feel about the laws in this country that limit the things that certain people may do?Sri Chinmoy: The laws that limit and stifle the possibilities of certain people are undoubtedly not God-made laws. These laws do not come from a higher source. These laws are made by people who want to maintain their supremacy and violently prevent others from running abreast with them. All should be given the same chance; each individual should be allowed to shine according to his merit, his inner receptivity and his outer capacity. In a race, all the runners start from the same starting point. Then we notice that some are superior runners, while others are not. But if we do not give everyone the same chance, if everyone does not start from the same spot, then how are we going to know who is the champion? An equal chance must be given to all and sundry, and then the Divine in us will see who wins.
Life is nothing but a game. From the spiritual point of view, the loser and the winner can have true joy and satisfaction only by placing the result-experiences, whether they come in the form of victory or defeat, with equal joy at the Feet of the Supreme.