Live in the eternal Now
Editor's note/This is the 1,594th book written by Sri Chinmoy after he came to the West in 1964. His first book, Meditations: Food for the Soul, was published in 1970.
Book title as well as chapter titles selected by Sri Chinmoy Centre Publications New York./
My sweet childrenLong twenty-three years ago, my Beloved Absolute Supreme brought me to America, to the West, to be of most soulful service to Him in the West. He blessed me with His infinite Hope, infinite Inspiration and infinite Aspiration to serve Him in the West.
You are my sweet children. You are my service-plants. You will one day become huge banyan trees. I am not only helping you; I will make you realise the Absolute Supreme, and I will manifest Him in and through you at His choice Hour. You are my choice children. Together we shall strive for the perfection of humanity’s heart and life.
Love the Supreme in me more, infinitely more. Be devoted to the Supreme in me infinitely more. Lo, yours will be the sleepless joy and breathless satisfaction. Yours will be the perfection, complete perfection, that humanity has been longing for, for centuries and centuries.
I shall not accept defeatYesterday on the bus we had an intuition contest. I wrote down three lines, and I invited the disciples to use their intuition about what I had written. Three disciples were the winners. They did not say exactly what I had written, but the words were to some extent correct.
Today I wanted to have another intuition contest, but while I was writing down the message, a very short message, it became too important. Since it was such a significant message, I did not want you to enter into an intuition contest. Now I am telling you the message:
I shall not accept defeat, no matter how strong the forces of ignorance are here on earth. I shall not accept defeat, I shall not accept defeat. I shall manifest the Supreme. The Supreme I have realised in the Supreme’s own Way. I will never, never manifest the Supreme in the human way. In the divine way, in the way that I have realised Him, that will be the way that I manifest Him. I have realised Him with utmost sincerity and dedication. In the same way, with my chosen instruments, I shall have to manifest Him before I leave this earth.
Mine is not the way to accept defeat from the ignorance that sometimes captures and conquers my disciples. When I see the so-called good ones or close ones at times enjoying ignorance, I feel that I have every right to become more strict with my life to fulfil my mission on earth. Defeat is not in my life. In the battle against ignorance, I will never accept defeat. When my disciples defeat me in ping-pong or some other game, I accept my defeat with greatest joy because they are my dearest spiritual children. But when it is a matter of ignorance, I will never accept defeat.
Dear ones, some of you say that when I exercise my divine authority and tell you who I am, at that time you believe me. But I wish to tell you that you do not have to know who I am. As a matter of fact, nobody will ever know who I am. No matter how sincerely you try, you will never, never know.
Do not try to know me. It is trying to do the impossible. Only try to do the right thing, the thing that I have always asked you to do both in the inner world and in the outer world. If you can do what I have asked you to do, that is more than enough for you to reach the highest and become one with the highest. But if you want to know me in your own way, with your mind or your vital, then you will know me only as another human being. All the limitations that you have, you will ascribe to me also.
If you want to exercise your imagination, naturally you will discover millions of defects in my inner life and my outer life. Human beings are apt to discover defects. Since you are seeing not with my eyes, but always with your own eyes, naturally you will never, never, never — never is the right word — realise me. But if you do the right thing in the inner world and the outer world, then you will realise the highest that is meant for you.
Your highest and my highest are not the same. When a child jumps up, he reaches a certain height. That is his highest height. Then if somebody who is taller than the tallest jumps up, and if he has the capacity, he will reach the ever-transcending height. His height and the child’s height are not the same. Similarly, you will reach the highest according to your capacity and with my boundless love and compassion, and that is more than enough.
I know in the inner world what I have to do. In the outer world also, when the hour strikes, I will do the needful — if it is not with your help, then it can be with somebody else’s help. You may not be the supremely chosen instrument, but a third person will arrive out of the blue. Instruments are needed. Without instruments, we cannot do anything. Since God gave me a mission and all the necessary instruments may not be in view, out of nowhere they will arrive. I shall achieve the Supreme’s Victory with you, or with new instruments, if needed.
Live in the eternal NowI wish to tell all of you something. If you have accepted the spiritual life sincerely, then never think of the future, the so-called outer future. When you think of the outer future — what you are going to do, what you are going to become, what the world will say about you, what you will tell the world — you are placing on your poor human shoulders the weight of ten elephants — not one, but ten elephants. Then what happens, you know. If ten elephants are put on your shoulders, you will immediately be crushed.
Live in the eternal Now, today. Only try to become absolutely devoted to God’s Will and try to please God in God’s own Way. If you want to possess God, you will become a beggar. But if you want to be God’s prince, then allow Him to possess you in His own Way.
Every morning, when the day dawns, only think of that day. Think of how many ways you can make yourself happy, really happy: by doing this and by not doing that; by doing that and by not doing this. By doing and not doing, you have to make your life happy today. Do not think of tomorrow.
I do not think of tomorrow. In my universal and transcendental vision, I know many, many things, countless things, that will happen in the future. But I live in the Eternal Now. Today’s problems, the problems that will come in the next second, can be enough to make an individual insane. In one second I read a personal or important letter and immediately I am inundated with problems. Again, in the inner world also, problems come. If I have to think of you all in ten years — what you will become, what you will do, whether you will become much more spiritual or you will desert your spiritual life, whether you will become a truly unconditional disciple or you will disappear as others have disappeared — if I have to think of all those things, positive and negative, then I will not be able to live on earth even for five minutes.
The way I am going forward is that each second I am trying to offer my blessings, my blessingful light, to humanity, so that this light will illumine humanity. In what you want to do, in what you do not want to do; in what you want to become, in what you do not want to become — your illumination will come from the light that I am offering.
Most of the disciples, if not all, not only here but everywhere, are thinking so much of the future, future, future. There is no such thing as the future. Every second, every minute is the future. But if you think of what is going to happen in ten or fifteen years, if you think, “Let me start accumulating money-power” or “Let me save my earthly possessions,” these thoughts are only elephants that you are inviting to be on your shoulders.
If you have genuine aspiration, then grow at every moment with your aspiration. And inside your aspiration-light, you will see what God wants you to be, what God wants you to be for Him. If you want to live for yourself, you are bound to be frustrated. No matter what you become or what you were or what you are, you are bound to be frustrated. But if you become what God wants you to be, then there is no happiness that can ever be denied you, for God’s infinite Joy and Pride you will then become.
The divine runner inspires the human runnerIn the morning, I had a dream about my running. There were two runners: the human runner and the divine runner, my human runner and my divine runner. I was at once the human runner and the divine runner. These two runners had a race, a 100-metre dash.
When the race started, the human runner took the lead. For the first twenty metres, the divine runner was behind the human runner. Then the divine runner, while running, put his right palm on the human runner and said, “Bless you.” The divine runner went so fast! By the time the human runner had gone another ten metres, the divine runner had finished the race. Then the divine runner came back and blessed the human runner.
The human runner said, “I am so grateful to you, the divine runner, for allowing me to run with you.”
The divine runner said, “I am so proud of you for taking the lead! And, at the same time, I am grateful to you because you inspired me. I was behind you. It was your own human aspiration that brought me, the divine runner, forward to show my capacity. Otherwise, if you had not run, if you had not wanted to run, if you had not inspired me to run, I would not have run. I do not have to run on the physical plane. But you wanted me to run on the physical plane, so I ran. I am very proud of you because you went ahead of me for twenty metres, and I am grateful to you that you inspired me to run on the physical plane. Otherwise, being a divine runner, I would not have run. I do not have to run on the physical plane.”
There were many divine judges. Now, the judges were confused and puzzled. The judges said, “If we accept this timing, then there will be no hope for human runners on earth. If we accept the divine runner’s timing, others will say he is like those runners who take help from drugs.”
In my case, the divine runner in me is receiving divine things from within, not undivine help from outside. But if earth’s receptivity or earth’s standard is so far behind, then who will accept the divine runner’s achievements on the physical plane? The divine runner has to achieve significant things on the spiritual plane because he is the divine runner. Again, if the divine runner does not inspire the human runner, if he does not work on the physical plane, then human beings will not make progress. Divinity has to walk side by side with humanity. Otherwise, if there is any race between divinity and humanity, divinity will always win. If divinity cares for humanity, then divinity has to come down and walk side by side with humanity, to raise its standard.
To come back to the story, the judges were saying that they would take ten days in order to make their final decision as to whether the divine runner’s timing would be accepted as legitimate. They were all divine judges. Divine judges have so much compassion for the evolution of earth. If evolution is too fast on earth, if it takes place too fast on the physical plane because of the speed of the divine runner, it may confuse the human runner. He may give up if the judges accept the timing of the divine runner.
If somebody does something miraculous, we may think, “What is the use of trying?” If I have to play tennis with a champion like Ivan Lendl, then before I even start, I will give up. But if Lendl is kind, he will say, “No, let us play. I want to make your standard better.”
If somebody is infinitely better than me in anything, and if he does not come down to my level, then what good is it? Take the case of a professor. He has to come down to the level of the student to teach him. If he remains on his own level, with his lofty wisdom, the student will not receive anything. When a teacher teaches a little child the ABCs, he knows that he himself has read thousands of books, but he comes down to the ignorance-level or, you can say, the very limited capacity of the child who has to learn the ABCs. At the same time, the teacher maintains the knowledge and wisdom that he has gained from reading so many books. If he does not come down to the level of the ABCs for the little child, then how will the little child learn the alphabet and eventually read books for himself?
The divine judges were very pleased with the divine runner. The human runner also was pleased that he had inspired the divine runner to participate in a race on the physical plane, the earthly plane.
What does it mean? If you tell this dream to a dream analyst, he will give a nice explanation. But the question is, this kind of sweet dream if you have, will it manifest itself, or will it remain a dream? If such dreams are manifested, then the evolution of this world, the progress of this world, will be unimaginable.
You have the golden chanceMy dear children, this is my most and most blessingful request to each and every one present here. Each night before you go to sleep, while seated on your bed, only for three to five minutes please pray and meditate. Also, please sing or recite the new song, Bhulite diyona. This is the translation:
My Lord Absolute Supreme,
Do not allow me to forget Your Feet.
Do not allow me to forget Your Eye.
Do not allow me to forget Your Message.
Do not allow me to forget Your Dream.
In my life and in my death,
O Lord of my heart,
Do accept my prayerful obeisance.
My Lord, do not allow me to forget You.
Do not allow me to forget You, do not.
Those who have learnt the song and those who are good singers can sing the song, and others can just recite it.
Once more I am making my most blessingful request to each of you. At six o’clock in the morning, please meditate for ten minutes. Only wash your eyes, face, nose and especially your ears. When we meditate, at that time the cosmic sound reverberates in the depths of our aspiration-heart, so our earthly ears may get some benefit from the cosmic sound AUM, the soundless sound.
Then at night, whenever you go to bed — at ten-thirty, eleven-thirty or midnight — please meditate for three minutes at least while seated on your bed.
My dear children, my sweet children, what I am saying applies also to those who are not physically here. This year either we will be able to offer our supreme victory to our Lord Beloved Supreme, our Eternity’s only Goal, or we will offer Him the worst possible defeat. Remember, it is up to you to offer Him the worst possible spiritual defeat or your supremely glorious victory.
Please remember this poem:
I never want to count
My heart’s aspiration-moments.
I just want to multiply
My life’s dedication-hours.1
Your life’s dedication-hours please multiply this year. Make yourself worthy of your inner life, your spiritual life. Dear ones, it is up to you. Take every moment seriously.
When I came to America, when I came to the West, the Supreme in me did expect to have supremely chosen instruments to manifest His Victory here, there and everywhere. My oneness with your heart, my oneness with your life, I shall never be able to make you feel — never, never. But if you yourself dare to feel my oneness with your heart and with your life, then you are bound to feel that your victory is my victory, and your defeat is my defeat, for I am one with you, inseparably and eternally. Because I have accepted each of you, your defeat is my defeat, and your victory is my victory.
You have the golden chance to be the pioneers of this divine vision that I embody, the divine vision that I have entrusted you to spread all over the world. I am extremely, extremely fortunate to have your souls — such beautiful, such loving, such self-giving souls — for my supreme cause. There is not a single soul that is not one hundred per cent sleeplessly for me. All your souls, according to their individual development, are here on earth only to love the Supreme in me, only to serve the Supreme in me, only to fulfil the Supreme in me. If you can dive deep within and if you can get just a glimpse of your soul for a brief moment, then you will see the inseparable connection and oneness that your soul has established with me to manifest the Light, the Peace and the Divinity of our Lord Beloved Supreme. I want that Light, that Peace and that Divinity to manifest in and through your lives.
I beg of you, I beg of you, I beg of you not to fail yourselves, not to fail your souls. Make me the happiest person both on earth and in Heaven by pleasing me and fulfilling me here on earth, for I am your own highest. Your absolute highest is your Master, Sri Chinmoy. If you have faith in me, you have faith in your soul. If you have faith in your soul, you have faith in me. We are inseparable.
Swami Vivekananda gave his Inspired Talks at Thousand Island Park in 1895. The West may not have accepted, or could not accept his light, but I know that millions and millions of Indians received boundless inspiration, boundless encouragement and boundless enthusiasm from his Inspired Talks. Over the years, I have also given many, many, many inspired talks. I know that those talks have helped you enormously in your inner life of aspiration and in your outer life of dedication. Again I am telling you now, please take your life of aspiration and your life of dedication as supremely important. I am begging you to dedicate more of your life. If you have the capacity, then give talks, here, there and everywhere. Give classes and, in as many ways as possible, inspire people. Work together, work together.
A great Indian figure happened to be a disciple of a spiritual Master of the highest order. Once, at a time when this particular disciple was suffering from one of the worst possible attacks of doubt — doubting his Master, doubting himself and doubting the spiritual life — he was asked by a seeker to talk about his Master. He spoke so soulfully, so powerfully and so profoundly that, while speaking, he brought his own tears of gratitude to the fore.
Then the disciple wrote to his Master, “I have been doubting you, Master, so much. I have been doubting my spiritual life. I have been doubting the whole world. Even a few hours ago, my existence had no value; everything was negative. But in speaking about you, Master, I have made everything positive, and I have made myself happy. How can it be? Surely I am the world’s worst possible insincere person. I am a hypocrite!”
The Master replied, “My child, how proud I am of you! While you were speaking about me, your soul got the opportunity to come to the fore and manifest your own divinity and your own light in the heart of that sincere aspirant. When you feel that you are doomed to disappointment, when all the negative forces are coming to you, at that time if you speak highly of your Master, highly of your spiritual life, highly of your path, do not think that you are a hypocrite, that you are fooling yourself or fooling the sincere seekers—far from it! During your mind’s darkest hour or your life’s darkest hour, your soul, on the strength of its inseparable oneness with the Supreme and with your Master, got the golden opportunity to convince your mind, which was either in the barren desert or in the thick forest. Your soul was able to grab your body, vital and mind and bring them into your own heart-garden to see how beautiful you are and how fragrant you are.”
These are my interpretations. The Master did not use these exact words, but I know what that particular Master actually meant. I am telling you all this because I see that some of you are at times sad and depressed; you may have all kinds of vital and mental problems. The golden way to overcome these problems is to talk to people about the spiritual life. If you feel that your consciousness has descended, then sing my spiritual songs or talk to your friends about the spiritual life.
Like today’s song, Bhulite diyona, all my soulful songs are bound to help you. If you want your own light to come to the fore, sing a few songs or listen to a tape of my voice. My voice has a very special connection with your soul and with your heart. No matter whether I am singing well or not, my singing voice has a very, very, very special connection with your soul, with the divine in you. Please listen to my voice or my flute or some other instrument of mine that you like.
This is God’s universal Game. When we play a game, who wants to accept defeat? We will do our very best to be the winners. In this case, who is our opponent? It is the undivine, unlit, destructive forces that are trying to threaten us and devour us. We call them hostile forces. Again, the Supreme has kept inside each human being a roaring lion. We must bring to the fore the roaring lion in us, and roar and roar to manifest the divine light that we already have. The more we can be of service to mankind, even if we only offer an iota of light to an individual, the more the Supreme is bound to bless us with His abundant Light. And when we offer our abundant light to others, then He will be able to give us infinite Light.
In my heart-garden I have employed you with my boundless love, boundless affection and boundless fondness. You are my helpers, and I want each of you to bring a few more plants with your aspiration, with your dedication. Try to make our heart-garden as vast as possible, as beautiful as possible, as fragrant as possible. My children, you have the capacity and you are the capacity. I want each one of you to offer the supreme success, supreme glory and supreme victory to our Lord Beloved Supreme.
I do not mind if you are not proud of me, but in all sincerity, I want to tell you how proud I am of your souls, for they know who I am and they know what I stand for. Their soul-lives and soul-breaths at every moment are for me, for me, for me. Your outer life may not be for me. It may be for yourself, for other human beings, for your career or something else. But your soul has a breath, Eternity’s Breath. Your soul’s breath is for me, for me, for me, only for me. Therefore, how grateful I am to your souls, how proud I am of your souls, you cannot imagine. It is far beyond your imagination the love, devotion and surrender that your souls have for me, for they know who I am and who they are. They are my supremely chosen instruments. In your souls is my life-breath.
I am begging each and every one of you to give me the opportunity and to give me the assurance to be inside your life-breath at every moment. I have you inside my heart. Unfortunately, some of you do not have me inside your heart. If you see me and feel me, my living presence, inside your heart, you will not be able to do even one thing wrong, discouraging or displeasing. The moment you do not feel my living presence or my nectar-smile, the moment you fail to see me inside your heart, alas, alas, you fall victim to self-doubt, lack of faith, frustration and other undivine forces.
I am telling you, I see inside you the living Presence of my Lord Beloved Supreme. Him I see and Him I feel at every moment inside you. Therefore, at every moment I am dealing with my own Guru inside your heart. Please feel my smile, my tears, my gratitude, my pride in you.
How many good things you have done for me over the years! I will not be able to count how many good things you have done for me. I am requesting all of you only to think of how many good things you have done for me, not how many good things I have done for you. I am begging all of you to think of how many good things you have done for me since you joined the path. Think of how many ways you have pleased me, how many ways you have loved me, how many ways you have served me, how many ways you have fulfilled me over the years. You will be so proud of yourself. Right from the day you joined our path, try to remember the special ways you have offered your love, devotion and surrender. Think of my oneness-divinity with your heart, with your life, with your soul. Then any discouraging forces that have now become part and parcel of your life are bound to disappear, for your golden moments are the most pleasing fragrance-perfume in your life and in my life. Forget about how many good things I have done for you. I am only telling you to remember and to count in how many ways you have pleased me over the years. Then all your divine qualities once more will come forward.
Do not think, even for a second, about whether you have disappointed me in any way inwardly or outwardly. I am begging you to take the positive side. Think in how many hundreds and thousands of ways you have pleased me with your love, devotion and surrender. Only remember where, when and how. I assure you, you will be inundated with your own divinity. It is you who are going to prove that you are, without fail, my supremely chosen instruments. You are not only for yourselves; you are for the entire Creation of our Lord Beloved Supreme. God the Creator is inside you, and He wants you to serve and fulfil God the Creation around you.
My dear ones, I am inspired and I shall remain inspired. I do hope my inspiration-light, which I have just now brought down from the highest Heaven to offer to you, has entered into you, and you have become a totally different person from this moment. I am a beggar for your smiling heart radiating on your face and from your eyes. The eternal beggar in me wants you to be happy, divinely happy, supremely happy, so that your happiness radiates on your face and from your eyes. From your outer life, it has to radiate all over the world to illumine the world.
I know who I am. Unfortunately, I cannot make you see and make you feel who you truly are, who you are to me, who you are to the Supreme. But if we work together, then I shall definitely be able to make you feel who you are to me and who I am to you. We need each other. I need you for the manifestation of the Supreme here on earth. You need me for the highest realisation. I will be known as the tree, and you will be known as the flowers and fruits. Immortality’s flowers and Immortality’s fruits I want to dedicate to aspiring humanity. Again, I am the bird and you are the wings.
Whatever I have said has gone very, very far, because it has entered into the Universal Consciousness. These words I get from the Transcendental Consciousness and I offer them to the Universal Consciousness. You are part and parcel of the Universal Consciousness, plus you are nearer than the nearest to me.
The most important thing I have said is for you to think of how many good things you have done for me. Only remember in how many ways you have shown your love, devotion and surrender to the Supreme in me. Think how readily, happily, cheerfully, willingly and eagerly you have pleased me over the years. You will be so proud of yourself. Just try to remember those golden moments. It will take a few months to count them! All your depression, frustration, feelings of uselessness and other negative qualities will disappear. Any kinds of spiritual fevers that you may have now, which are making you absolutely miserable and paralysed in the spiritual life, will disappear. You will no longer remain inside the dry, barren mental desert that you have been walking through, or the thick forest that you have created for yourself. You will come back again to your own heart-garden. Again you will be able to run faster than the fastest.
And also try to feel my presence. The way I feel your presence inside me, inside my heart, I want you to feel my presence inside your heart at every moment.
By remembering how many good things you have done for me, I shed tears of gratitude. I swim in the sea of my gratitude-tears. In how many countless ways you have served the Supreme in me, loved the Supreme in me and fulfilled the Supreme in me! Those are your possessions, your own divinity-manifestations.
LEN 5,6. Sri Chinmoy, I Am My Life’s God-Hunger-Heart, Part 2, no. 16. New York: Agni Press, 1994.↩
The Invocation is our life-breathIf you take me as your spiritual Master, please consider The Invocation as my life-breath and your life-breath. The Invocation is the living Presence of our real Guru, our Beloved Supreme. In the morning, start with The Invocation. At that time sing The Invocation, before you go to work, before you leave for your job. If you cannot sing, please recite the words.
Then, during the day, whenever you sing Jiban debata and Bhulite diyona, please sing Jiban debata first. Kindly throw your soul, heart, mind, vital and body into the songs when you sing or recite them.
There is a million and billion-mile gap between The Invocation and other songs, including Jiban debata and Bhulite diyona. The Invocation is not just a song; it is infinitely more meaningful and fruitful. No song of mine can be compared with The Invocation. Each thought, each line and each word is from my aspiration-heart and realisation-breath, so we cannot put The Invocation on the same footing as any other song of mine. It will remain immortal inside my aspiration and inside my realisation throughout Eternity.
Again, I have composed quite a few songs, at least fifty, which will definitely remain immortal. Among them, these two — Jiban debata and Bhulite diyona — will be considered by aspiring humanity as most precious spiritual jewels. The old Bhulite diyona is also very nice: “My Lord, allow me not to forget you.”
Good singers, as many years as you have been on earth, you should sing every day that many songs to please your soul. It does not have to be done all at once, but whatever your age is, you should sing that many songs. I have done many things, and even now I do many things secretly — I do not want to say what they are — according to how many years I have been on earth. Every year I increase the number according to my age.
With regard to singing, every day after The Invocation I sing ten or twelve songs, including Jiban debata and Bhulite diyona, as well as songs on Mother Kali and Lord Krishna. Daily I sing with my synthesizer at least fifteen songs. The Invocation I sing before I come down from upstairs. Sometimes it is four o’clock or four-thirty in the morning when I sing these songs. I turn the volume down on my synthesizer so that the neighbours do not make complaints. In all sincerity I sing these songs, so you also can do it. This is your life-breath; this is your shrine.
I am telling the good singers, for each year of your earthly existence, you should sing that number of songs. Already you have received God’s special Blessings to be good singers, so you should sing. At least a few hundred of my songs are nice! Of those, fifty or sixty songs have really got the stamp of immortality. Jiban debata, Bhulite diyona and Tomare rakhibo are among those. One day I can make a list of those songs according to my taste, not your taste. If I am very, very strict, let us see how many I can get.
I am so grateful to some of the singing groups who have dug deep or dived deep to find songs that have been completely forgotten. How kind of you to sing those songs so beautifully and so soulfully.
Yesterday, how soulfully and carefully the boys were singing the Sri Aurobindo song! Many years ago I used to meditate in Sri Aurobindo’s room early in the morning. It started with two minutes, and from two minutes it went up to two hours. When the boys were singing, I took my body, vital, mind, heart and soul to Sri Aurobindo’s room. Inwardly I was seated in his room meditating while hearing my spiritual children sing the song which I composed on Sri Aurobindo. How soulfully you were singing! I am your worst critic; always I scold and insult you if you do not sing well. But when you were singing this time, absolutely I entered into the sea of ecstasy. I was so proud of my children and so deeply moved.
When I sing juga Avatar in that song, sometimes I use the word nami and sometimes I do not use it. Both ways are correct. From time to time you will find that very sacred and soulful songs have a few extra words, in parentheses. They are not metrically wrong; they are correct.
Dear ones, you are the pioneers in learning my songs. You are with me, in me and for me while I am in the land of the living. You are extremely fortunate to have me, and I am extremely fortunate to have you.
The incarnation of golden opportunityLet me say something about reincarnation. I do hope all of you believe in reincarnation — or perhaps it is just a word for some of you. Whether I was a lion in my last animal incarnation, or whether I was a great spiritual figure in my previous human incarnation, the past is dust. Who we were, God knows. But we have to become something in the future. In my case, in all sincerity and with utmost authenticity, I can say that I will have no more incarnations. This is the very end of my earthly sojourn. But, unfortunately or fortunately, there is nobody here who will not take any more incarnations. Everybody has to come back. Everybody will have to reincarnate on earth to work either for God or for himself. All of you will definitely have to take many, many incarnations before you realise God, whether you want to or not. That is not up to you.
You are seeing that this God-realised soul is suffering so much in the hands of humanity. Perhaps you will say, “Who wants God-realisation? Guru is suffering so much!” True, I am suffering; but God will not allow anybody to remain unrealised.
Now the question is, how much opportunity can you get in one incarnation to make progress? All the spiritual Masters have said that if you get a God-realised soul as your spiritual Master in any human incarnation, then you get the utmost opportunity — not only to run the fastest in that incarnation, but also to reduce the number of your future incarnations.
If you can please your Master in every sphere of your life, then your future incarnations will be smoother, more illumining and more fulfilling. If you would have taken fifty, sixty or even two hundred more incarnations to realise God, you can do it perhaps in ten, twenty or thirty incarnations. But, rest assured, there is nobody here who can say, “I will not take any more incarnations” or “I do not care for God-realisation; I do not need God.” God will not allow anybody to remain unrealised. You have to come back again and again and again.
For my disciples I wish to say that, if in this incarnation you are not taking advantage of your association with me, if you are not properly utilising your inner and outer connection with me, then you are making a Himalayan mistake. Each time you come back to earth, you will see how difficult it is to make progress. It is impossible to fathom the suffering that each human being goes through on earth. You feel that your suffering is unbearable, but you have no idea how much more those who are not following any spiritual path suffer. You are fortunate in that you are following the spiritual life.
Eventually each and every person must enter into the spiritual life. It does not have to be a path, as such. As my disciples, you have a path; but many other spiritual seekers and Masters of the highest order did not follow any particular path. Lord Buddha and Sri Krishna did not follow a path. They realised God by virtue of their own aspiration and meditation.
When you follow a spiritual Master, however, you have an added advantage. Sri Ramakrishna used to say that a cow yields milk, and this milk is not in the tail or the nose or the ear of the cow. There is a special place. When you press the udder, then you get milk. Similarly, when the spiritual Master comes, it is from the Master’s third eye or from his heart that you can get illumination. The third eye is difficult to see, but the heart you can see and feel.
I am coming back to the subject of future incarnations. Each incarnation gives us experiences. You can call them healthy or unhealthy, but these experiences are leading us to a special goal. Some human beings have acquired spiritual wealth — peace, light and bliss — from their previous incarnations. From their former aspiration, they have received some divine qualities. Definitely, definitely, God will give them back these divine qualities when they start their journey again. And then He will tell them to increase and increase their divine qualities. Again, there are millions of people on earth who will be starting their new incarnation, new life, without any divine peace, divine light or divine bliss.
When you join a spiritual path, you have so many opportunities to make progress. It is like entering into a most beautiful garden. Thousands of flowers are there and each one has fragrance and beauty. You can pluck whichever flower gives you joy. You can have many inner experiences and collect the fragrance inside your heart, inside your inner life. And you can bring back these experiences each time you take incarnation.
The most important thing for those people who are following a spiritual path is how seriously they take their spiritual life, how much they value their spiritual life, how much they want to keep their inner connection with their Inner Pilot, with the Supreme.
It may happen, and it is happening, that some of my disciples took the spiritual life far more seriously when they first joined the path. If the connection that they established with the Supreme when they first took the spiritual life seriously has diminished, if the same spirit is not there, if the same eagerness is not there, if the same willingness, love, devotion and surrender are not there, then naturally their feeling for the inner life will not be there. If this connection or oneness or depth is no longer there, if the heart’s mounting cry is no longer there or the flame is almost extinguished, then no matter what happens, no matter how many years they spend on the path, how can they ever hope that in their future incarnations they will be able to lead a spiritual life from the very beginning? No, it is just their wishful thinking.
When you are in the boat, when you are on the path, the question is whether you want to make the fastest progress or you want to go at the speed of an Indian bullock cart. You can do either. Once you enter Eternity’s marathon in the inner life, you can stop, you can even lie down, but you cannot leave the race. Once you start, you have to finish. Even if you do not enter the race today, you have to start at some time in the future. There will be endless marathons, and you will have to participate. Today you may say, “I am not ready. I do not care for it.” But tomorrow or the day after tomorrow you will be compelled to enter into this inner race, inner marathon. Again, some runners run the fastest, while others do not. But still, these runners go on and slowly, steadily, they have to reach their destination.
Many spiritual Masters, when they realise God, promise that they are going to come back to earth, but I assure you, among the spiritual Masters of the highest order, nobody has come back and nobody will come back. Their emanation or something like that may come, but the realised souls of the highest order do not come back. Once Sri Ramakrishna pointed out a certain place on the map and said he would come back there. That place happened to be Russia. Has he taken birth in Russia? No, he has not.
I am going off the track, so let me come back to the subject. This incarnation is the incarnation of golden opportunity. Revive your aspiration! Revive your dedication! Revive, revive everything! Follow the path of love, devotion, surrender and oneness. If these divine qualities are deserting you, or if you are deliberately not valuing them, or if you feel that there is nothing in the spiritual life, then you can go and try the other life; we call it the outer life. You will see that the outer life is infinitely, infinitely more difficult. While you are on the path, the opportunities that you can get from your aspiration, dedication, love, devotion and surrender, and through your regular spiritual discipline, you are not going to get if you do not follow the spiritual life.
Again, just because you have been leading a spiritual life for many years does not mean that you can now go in your own way — no! The inner connection is of supreme importance. By virtue of your inner connection — tight, tighter, tightest — you make the fastest progress. The moment you see that the inner connection is slackening, if you see that it is not as strong as before, rest assured that you are going far, farther, farthest from your own spiritual life, which is the real life. You may think that you will be happy in the outer life, but you have to know that you are fooling yourself.
From the real spiritual life, nobody can escape forever. You can escape for ten years, twenty years, thirty years, forty years. But God will compel you once again to accept the spiritual life either in this incarnation or in a future incarnation, because without the spiritual life, nobody will be able to realise God. In the end, there will not be a single human being who will say, “I do not want God-realisation.” You may now say that you do not want to realise God, but you will be compelled, you will be compelled. By whom? By God Himself. If your aspiration has decreased, that does not mean that God will allow you to remain in the outer life indefinitely and do anything you like. He may allow you for a short time, but He will one day pull the string so hard! Why do you want to wait to be compelled to do something, if you know that it is something good — not only for yourself, but for the entire humanity?
In the spiritual life, the hour comes and goes. Once you misuse the hour, God’s Hour, the next time the hour comes, it becomes more strict. It is like the airport. Before the final call to board the plane, there will be three or four announcements. But when the final call comes, if you do not run and enter into the plane, the plane is not going to wait. You will miss your flight, and who knows when you will get another one. In the spiritual life, it is exactly the same. You want to go from one plane of consciousness to another. You are being called. If you do not take advantage of the opportunity now, if you do not pay any attention when you are called to take the flight, then you become the loser.
Each time we run a marathon, we take an oath that we will never run another one. Then, the following day, what happens? We go out for practice! During the race, everywhere our body is full of pain, pain, pain; but the next day we are inspired to train for the marathon again. The inner marathon does not have fixed mileage. It does not end after twenty-six miles. The inner race is, fortunately or unfortunately, a very, very long journey. If you do not complete your outer marathon, no harm, although some people may laugh at you. Your colleagues may say, “He is useless; he could not complete it.” Or perhaps they will sympathise with you. Then it is up to you whether you wish to try again. But the inner marathon you have to accept. Somebody may say, “Oh, I do not have to run this inner marathon.” But I wish to tell you that the hour will come.
Again, there are some people who have started the inner marathon and then, for some reason, they think they can stop. But in this marathon you cannot quit altogether. For a few days, a few months, a few years or even a few incarnations perhaps you can enjoy rest, but then you will be compelled to start again. Unfortunately, each time you become relaxed in your aspiration, in your eagerness, readiness and willingness, you are only making it more difficult for yourself. If a top sprinter wallows in the pleasures of idleness, then when he goes back to the track it becomes much more difficult for him to bring back his own standard. If today a champion athlete gives up running, who cares? He may say, “I have done enough.” But in the inner life, a spiritual seeker will not be able to stop running. Once he has started the inner race, he will not be able to give up. He will run until the race is won. Here, to win means to realise God.
Your eagerness to go to the goal is of supreme necessity. Each individual has to remember that the race is compulsory, but those who are wise and know they have to run will say, “The sooner the better!” Others may feel that their time has not yet come, so they are lucky.
In a family, let us say that there is a younger brother and an older brother. When the little brother sees his older brother going to school, he may say, “I want to be as great and as wise as my older brother. Now I also have to go to school.” His older brother started perhaps at the age of seven, and he is eager to start at the age of four. Look how wise he is!
In the spiritual life also, we see that some saints, some spiritual Masters and some Yogis are like older brothers. If we are wise, we know that their life we also shall have to accept, not in terms of their garments or their outer appearance, but in terms of their heart’s inner cry.
In the outer marathon, once you run twenty-six miles, it is over. Then, after a long time, perhaps three months or six years, you may run another marathon. But in the spiritual life, it is not like that. Once you reach a certain goal, it is the beginning of the journey to another goal, a higher goal. If you conquer a little weakness — some insecurity, jealousy, impurity or lower vital problems — another one comes. But gradually, gradually, no matter how strong the weakness is, you can conquer it.
The branches of my life-treeI have been a poet all my life. At the age of four or five, I started trying to rhyme in Bengali. Then, at the age of seven, I was able to dictate poems to my brother Chitta.
A seer-poet is one who has a vision of the whole universe. I have expressed some of my highest realisations through poetry. But although I have said lofty, loftier, loftiest things in The Absolute, in Revelation and in other poems, the highest realisations cannot be expressed on this plane of consciousness. When we try to express these realisations in words, we come down considerably.
In Revelation I have written:
My Form I have known and realised.
The Supreme and I are one; all we outlast.
Again, Immortality begins:
I feel in all my limbs His boundless Grace.
If I could express all these lofty realisations on a plane infinitely higher than the English language or the Bengali language, then only I would do justice to them. But when we try to express the highest truth on the earthly or material plane, we can only do it according to the receptivity that we have at the moment or according to the receptivity that the world has. We try to offer the highest vision, but the higher worlds that we express through poetry or songs can never reveal the highest worlds that we have envisioned or become.
My spirituality was inside my poetry long before I became a serious artist, long before I was a musician, long before I took up weightlifting, long before I wrote so many books of philosophy. There was a time when I wrote:
A sea of Peace and Joy and Light
Beyond my reach I know...
And God knows how many times I have recited my poem The Absolute:
No mind, no form, I only exist;
Now ceased all will and thought;
The final end of Nature’s dance,
I am It whom I have sought...
Now that I am in America, I write different kinds of poems. In India, I would not have appreciated the kind of poetry that I now write — not because it is not rhymed, but because it is more modern. But I have not gone so far as the Japanese Haiku poets. They leave so much to the imagination.
Many, many of my poems will touch the inmost depths of your aspiring heart. If you can dive deep within the heart of my poetry, you will see that you can get so much out of three or four words. Just one line of my poetry, in some cases, can give you such unimaginable joy — much more than ten pages of my prose. And this joy may last for a few hours, whereas a whole book of my prose may give you joy or a kind of confidence that may last for only fifteen or twenty minutes. If you want to get inner experiences very fast, then it will help to read my poems.
Prose comes as power, but poetry comes as sweetness, tenderness, softness, soulfulness. A philosopher and a poet may be saying the same thing, but when the poet speaks, his words will not only attract the attention of many people, but also will give them tremendous joy. On the other hand, when the philosopher or prose writer says the same thing in different words, it may be more difficult for some people to get joy.
In Indian tradition, there is a saying that can be translated, “In front of you is a piece of wood.” A prose writer or philosopher will simply say: “In front of me is dry wood.” But the poet will see that same piece of wood in his imagination as a huge tree. He will say, very sympathetically, “In front of me there is a tree that right now, unfortunately, does not have any sap.” When the poet speaks about the sapless tree, everyone’s heart melts.
I do not deny that many prose writers produce very great works. But most of the time their writings are in the mental world, whereas poetry, most of the time, is in the psychic or heart-world.
Poetry just runs towards the goal like a deer, whereas prose walks towards the goal like an elephant. If you want to march towards the goal with confidence, then read my prose. Again, if you want to just run towards the goal, faster than the fastest, while your entire being is flooded with softness and tenderness, then you can read my poetry.
Whether it is my poetry or my prose, I am begging my disciples to read my writings for at least half an hour daily. Two hours I do not expect, and fifteen minutes is too short. But if you read my writings for half an hour, definitely you will get joy. In my writings I have touched on practically every subject. Since you are all seekers, my writings are bound to give you abundant inspiration.
Each individual’s life-tree has many branches. In my case, my absolutely highest branch is my God-realisation. Some people will be satisfied with the poet, the artist, the musician or the singer in me, but the aspiring world will be satisfied only with my God-realisation, which I received from God. It was His Gift, and this Gift I can offer and I am offering to mankind. My poetry, my music, my art, my philosophy and even my spirituality will not be eclipsed but will be far, far surpassed by my oneness with God.
Again, my art-world, my music-world, my poetry-world, my philosophy-world and all my other worlds are also branches of my life-tree, and each of these branches has produced many leaves, flowers and fruits. A tree that has many branches will be able to offer more to mankind than a tree that has only one branch. A God-realised person cannot express or manifest his God-realisation from the highest branch, because most people cannot climb high enough to see, feel and realise it. According to their capacity and aspiration, people are able to climb up to some extent. That is why spiritual seekers will derive much more benefit from the realisation of a spiritual Master than ordinary people. But even seekers of the highest order will not be able to reach the highest flowers and fruits of the topmost branch. They will only be able to reach some of the lower branches, and from these they will derive considerable spiritual benefit. Again, if someone is not aspiring at all, he will hardly get any benefit, no matter how many times he reads my writings or sings my songs.
It is my wish that some disciples of mine should devote themselves to different branches of my life-tree. These various branches can feed abundantly your aspiring hearts. I will be so happy if some disciples can distribute to the world at large some light from my poetry, music, art and weightlifting worlds. My God-realisation, which has reached the highest, is more than enough. It alone will cover the length and breadth of the world. Again, if all my branches can be utilised, then their leaves, flowers and fruits will offer much benefit to the aspiring world.
Some disciples should come forward and write things about my poetry, my artwork and my other activities. Also, you can read out my poems and stories to the public. You may not be able to tell others about my God-realisation, but when you read out my poems and stories to the public, you are not only helping the listeners, but you are getting tremendous spiritual benefit yourself.
You should also write and express yourself. At the moment, you are expressing yourself through your aspiration, through your prayer and meditation. Now I am saying that you should also express your other qualities and capacities. At the Sri Aurobindo Ashram there used to be people who wrote excellent poems. Among my disciples, those who write poems can invite their friends to listen to their poems. Your friends may not be poets; they may not have the capacity to write poems, or their laziness may not be permitting them to write poems. But listening to your poems will definitely, definitely help them. And those who have the enthusiasm to write poems and share them with others will definitely benefit. This also applies to those who want to write songs and sing them for their friends.
You all have plenty of time, especially in the evenings. If you want to watch television for half an hour or an hour to get relaxation, that is all right. But if you are watching television for hours and hours, then you are only delaying your spiritual progress. It will be infinitely better if you can express the poet or artist or singer inside yourself and share your achievements with others. And if others are wise enough — not kind enough, but wise enough — to listen to these poets, singers and writers, I will be very happy. If your host or hostess has time and energy to compose and write, he or she can also spend a little time and money-power to offer some refreshments. And if the host cannot give the guests refreshments, then those who come to listen can bring something or share in the expense.
In this way you can form some secret and sacred clubs where you can share your poems and music with each other.
No retirement for you, my child!The conclusion of Twenty-seven thousand aspiration-plants
On this trip, in spite of my physical illness and so many inner and outer problems, we have accomplished two most significant things. We have completed our Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants and two million bird drawings. From the literary and artistic point of view, this trip will be our most significant offering to the Absolute Supreme. To complete Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants is something in our aspiration-life that is greater than the greatest and better than the best.
My Twenty-Seven Thousand
My Lord Beloved Absolute Supreme
Has given me to give you
Of His Heart.
My Twenty-Seven Thousand
You have given humanity
A sleepless God-thirst
A breathless God-hunger.2
My Supreme’s absolute Command
In the small hours of this morning, my soul was in my transcendental consciousness and my heart was in my universal consciousness.
My Supreme, my Supreme, my Supreme stood in front of me and said to me, “No retirement, no retirement, no retirement for you, My child!”
I said to my Supreme, “What more do You want from me, what more?”
He said to me, “Seventy-seven thousand.”
Immediately I said to Him, “Is it Your Wish, is it Your Request, is it Your Will or is it Your absolute Command?”
He said, “It is My absolute Command.”
Then I said to Him, “I do not think I am going to live on earth that long.”
He said to me, “My child, I command you to start. I command you to start. You know and I know how long you are going to be on earth, but I want you to start. This is My absolute Command.”
“My Supreme, my Supreme, I shall obey Your Command, I shall.”
About Seventy-seven thousand service-trees
My problem is only to start. By the time I stop, how many new disciples will come and join our boat, and how many will disappear out of our boat? Only the Supreme knows how many will come and how many will go, and how many will reach Heaven. That only the Supreme knows. But before I complete 77,000, I will reach Heaven.
LEN 9,2. Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 270, poem 27,000. New York: Agni Press, 1998.↩
To have a sweet familyOnce you make unconditional surrender to God’s Will, if you want to enter into God’s Manifestation-Game, or Lila, then you cannot come out of it. I am swimming in the sea of sorrows and tears. Each spiritual Master sings in the same vein. There is no spiritual Master who does not suffer ruthlessly at the hands of humanity. There is not a single spiritual Master who has not suffered from humanity, so I cannot be an exception. Again, you suffer, I suffer; we all suffer. There is not a single person, either realised or unrealised, who does not suffer.
Many, many, many times I said to the Supreme, “To realise You is a Herculean task.” It takes countless incarnations to realise God. It is not that God-realisation is like drinking water. We cannot get it for the asking. No, we do not get it for an easy price. It demands many, many incarnations, inner preparations, outer preparations and the mounting flame of aspiration. But always there is hope. God’s own Hope is keeping His Universe alive. If He loses Hope, then the Game is over.
Here I am with you. Ours is a very small world. But again, I have the whole world. When a spiritual Master comes into this world, he gets a few hundred or a few thousand disciples. But in the inner world, he has to work for the entire humanity. Outwardly, he has to take care of a few hundred or a few thousand; but his inner commitment to God is such that he has to work for the whole world.
When you pray most sincerely and meditate very well, you must realise that your prayers and meditations are entering into the soul and heart of the universe. There you are helping, helping, helping those who are crying for light, love and bliss from God.
On our path, the outer manifestation is very beautiful and powerful. We are manifesting here, there and everywhere. But the inner manifestation is oneness, oneness, oneness with God’s Will. At every moment we have to offer God our love, devotion and surrender. At every moment we have to offer Him our loving, cheerful and self-giving obedience. If we neglect to offer these things to God, what can poor God do? He needs us for His Manifestation; we need Him for our realisation. If I am not a good instrument, then He chooses you. And if you are not a good instrument, He chooses somebody else. In exactly the same way, if I am a good instrument of His, then as many years as He wants me to continue His Mission, I must.
A spiritual Master comes into the world to expedite the evolution of mankind. In order to do this, he needs constant, constant, constant co-operation from humanity. Spiritual life is a one-way street, but we have forgotten, or we deliberately forget, and we make it into a two-way street. And what happens if it is really one-way? Then if we try to make it two-way and turn around, there is only collision, collision and nothing else.
Many disciples started very well, with utmost sincerity. There is not a single disciple who joined the path out of curiosity. Each and every one joined with utmost sincerity, according to his capacity, according to her capacity. Then over the years, in some cases, sincerity disappeared, eagerness disappeared, willingness disappeared. In this way some have become indulgent to their own unaspiring life.
I came of a very insignificant village, smaller than the smallest. Shakpura is even smaller than Briarwood. Look at God’s miracle-power! From there I came into existence. Then I lost my dearest ones, my father and mother. But everything happened in accordance with God’s Plan, and I entered into a spiritual community. You people are lucky. Some of you have brought your children to the path. Again, some of you saw something in me, and you felt that I would be able to play the role of your parents. I have tried my best, and you have also tried your best.
In my case, my eldest brother brought me and our whole family to the path. Our mother’s heart and soul were all for the spiritual life, but she was concerned about her children’s higher education. After God took my parents away, the whole family entered into the spiritual life with a spiritual Master.
Again, speed, speed, speed is always a factor. I was the youngest in the family, but I ran very fast. When I think of my eldest brother, in terms of praying and meditating for hours and spending time in the spiritual life, he far, far surpassed me. Long before I came to the Ashram, he spent many, many hours in prayer and meditation. Again, all my brothers were under the guidance of spiritual Masters of the highest order in their previous incarnations. Some were Jesus Christ’s disciples, some were Sri Ramakrishna’s, one was Sri Chaitanya’s and some were Sri Ramachandra’s direct, direct disciples.
One day, when you realise God — which you should, you must and you will — you will be able to tell the whole world that you were once also my direct disciples. You will also be able to claim that you were with me; you were then my contemporaries; you were then my disciples.
I have had millions of sufferings and millions of failures, inner failures, with regard to the disciples. But He who has created me, He who has created you, will not suffer failures eternally. If that were the case, then God would not have created this world — never. Either in the near future or in the distant future or in one of your future incarnations, you will realise God. I will be at that time in Heaven. God is very, very kind to me. Definitely this is my last incarnation. From Heaven I will be able to see you, help you and fulfil my vision in and through you.
My last and only request to you is this: always think that spirituality is a one-way street, not a two-way street. You may go slowly at times if you are tired, but do not turn around, do not turn back. Please remember it is a one-way street.
I do hope that one day you will be the ones who will transform my sorrows into an ocean of delight. You have come into the world to manifest me, but this manifestation can take place only on the strength of your oneness, oneness, oneness with my will. You have to go beyond and beyond and beyond all the barriers, physical, vital, mental, psychic, spiritual — all, all, all. You have to go beyond all earthly bondage. You have to conquer all the forces that are standing in your way. All our enemies are inside us, not outside us. They come in the form of doubt, suspicion, disobedience, fear, jealousy and insecurity. These inner enemies are obstructions on our way.
I have not given up, and I beg of you all not to give up. Let us continue. Let me continue having faith in you all, and I expect the same from you. Let us have mutual faith. I shall give you what the Supreme in me wants me to give you. You will also give me what the Supreme in you wants you to give me. He wants me to give you my compassion, my love, my affection, my divine sweetness, fondness and constant concern to make you happy. At the same time, He expects you to give me your constant readiness, willingness and eagerness in the form of love, devotion, surrender and cheerful obedience at every moment.
What I am supposed to give, I shall definitely, definitely, definitely give, as I am giving. What you are supposed to give, some of you give and then withdraw. For one day you give and then, for months and months, you take rest, you take vacation. But I do hope we can have a good family. To have a sweet family, the father has to give what he is supposed to give and the children have to give what they are supposed to give. Let us turn this family into a very sweet, very illumining, very fulfilling and very satisfying family.
Excruciating pangs let us forget, completely forget. Let us only grow into sweetness, peace, light and bliss.
No expectationWe are born with expectation. If I cry, my mother will come and give me milk. If I cry, my father will take me to the town. But Lord Krishna said, “You have the right to action, but not to the fruits thereof.”
Yes, we take it as our right to do something; but we have no right to expect the fruits of our action. In our case, we expect the action and the result to go together. If we touch a drum, we expect that there will be a sound. But why should there be a sound? We are expecting the sound while we are touching the drum. But while touching the drum we must not think of the sound. Our job is only to strike the drum. The sound we have to keep separate from the striking.
The trouble is that most of the time, as soon as we do something, we want the results. But we should say, “If the result comes and it is good, then it will please me. But if it does not come, I must not be disturbed.” But we do not always do that. At every second, we have expectation.
As soon as we come out of the house, our expectation is that there will be a soothing breeze. The cool morning breeze will be blowing: that is what we expect. If we come out of the house and, instead of a cool breeze, we find that a very hot wind is blowing, then we are doomed to disappointment. But if we say, “I will come out, no matter what kind of weather it is, because I feel from within it is good to go out,” then we shall not be disappointed.
Unfortunately, we do not say that. Before we perform an action, we try to get the result. We have to come to the point where we can say, “I will act, but I will not care for the results.” That is when we make progress. Otherwise, even before doing something, we are expecting the results. Even before we touch the drum, we expect the sound to come.
Where does unconditional surrender come into the picture? While crying for God, do we say, “God, I am crying for You. If it is Your Will, come. But if it is not Your Will, do not come. I want to please You in Your own Way”? How many people every day repeat, “I want to please You, God, in Your own Way”? More than ten times if we say it, we become sick of hearing our own voice! Then we change our prayer: “I will please You only when I feel like it, and I do not mind even if You do not please me, as long as we can please each other once in a blue moon.”
Now let me tell a story about unconditional surrender.
Today I was looking at some old family pictures. When I saw a picture of my cousin, Nirmala-di, I immediately started shedding tears. She was so close to our family. She died while plucking flowers. She was standing on the roof of her house at the Ashram. To one side was a protection-flower tree. The Mother gave that particular flower the name “Protection.” My cousin was plucking those flowers and somehow she fell on her head on the street below. She died then and there. My sister Lily was passing by. She heard the sound, but she did not see what had happened. She was just walking along the street, and she went home. In five minutes she received the message that this had happened, and she came running.
This was the cousin who was responsible for my getting the job for Nolini-da. She said I must work there, I must. She was the one who said I must give Nolini-da a gift. My gift was one of his prose articles which I had turned into poetry, English blank verse.
But the most important thing happened when I came to the Ashram at the age of one year and three months. How kind was Nirmala-di! She was so fond of my mother. For one month, whenever my mother wanted to spend time in the main Ashram building or go to see the Divine Mother on the balcony or elsewhere, this cousin made the sacrifice of looking after me. And how I used to cry, cry, cry and scream for my mother! The sound would cover quite a few blocks! To my own sisters, this cousin of mine said, “You people go. I will take care of him.” Even though she herself had only been in the Ashram for two months when I was brought there — she came at the same time as my brother Hriday — she made this sacrifice. She wanted my mother to spend as much time as possible in the main building and to see the Divine Mother. This was my cousin. She was so fond of us. At every second she would scold us. She was older than my sisters. If you are older, you have every right to scold the younger ones.
Coming back to the point, what did Nirmala-di expect from her service? She could have said to my mother, “You brought your child here. He is your responsibility. Why are you not asking one of your daughters or one of your sons to take care of him? You have four or five other children who can easily take care of him. Let them do it.” But she did not do that. Instead she said, “I have been here for two months. You will be going away in a month, so let me make this sacrifice.” It was all because of her love for my mother. This kind of unconditional surrender she made.
How many of you have tried — sincerely tried — to see everything in my own way? Will it be my fate not to have one single disciple like that? In some cases, year after year disciples have not tried to please me because they have blocked their inner door and outer door completely. I cannot open their outer door, and I cannot open their inner door. I do not exist inside them. I am outside, outside, outside. I am neither in their mind, nor in their heart; I am not in their existence.
Nobody can dare to tell me, “I do everything in your own way.” Again, nobody will be able to say, “I always try to do everything in your own way.” Someone may try to do everything in my own way for one week or for one month, but then that person becomes tired. He simply says, “I tried so hard to please Guru for one month. Now he should please me at least for one day or two days or three days.” This kind of surrender is only a joke. It creates suffering for me.
A disciple may try to please me for two days, and then he expects me to please him for ten days — not even the other way round. And people sometimes say, “Since Guru has the capacity, since he is stronger than I am spiritually, he should please me more in my own way.” But this is not the correct philosophy. The disciples should say, “Since Guru has more capacity, let me become one with him. Then I will have his capacity.” That attitude people should adopt.
For a few weeks or a few months, you try to please me. Then you bring expectation forward. When your expectation is not fulfilled, you say, “Oh, our philosophy is not to expect,” and once more you start trying. But you do not forget to use your expectation once again. You say, “Who knows, next time Guru may fulfil my expectation.”
From today you can start trying to serve without expectation. Better late than never! We always make promises in our lives, like my brother Mantu. Every morning he makes a resolution not to read any newspaper. Then one of his friends will come and say, “Mantu Babu, Mantu Babu, have you read about such-and-such? Do you know?”
“What? What?” says Mantu.
Then his friend will say, “I do not want to tell you. I do not want to take away your joy. There is something most significant in the newspaper. Go, go immediately and read it for yourself!”
Mantu’s resolution lasts perhaps for another twenty minutes. Then he goes as fast as possible to the library to read the article.
In your case, you can make a resolution right from today to sincerely try to see everything and do everything in my own way. Just repeat, “Cheerful obedience, cheerful obedience, cheerful obedience.” Then you can say, “No expectation, no expectation, no expectation!” and also, “Fastest progress, fastest progress, fastest progress!” If you can repeat those words like japa, if they are engraved on the tablet of your heart, then definitely you will be able to make the fastest progress.
Man proposes, God disposes“Man proposes, God disposes.” This famous proverb can easily be applied to my family, especially when it comes to the subject of university degrees. Ours are such funny, funny stories.
It all began with my eldest brother, Hriday. He was a great philosopher. By the age of sixteen or seventeen, he had studied all the European philosophers. For a Chittagong village boy, that was really something. Then, by the age of twenty, he had studied in tremendous depth the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. He was preparing for his BA at Chittagong University. The other students used to call him ‘scholar’, and his professor used to call him ‘professor’ or ‘great scholar’. After receiving his BA, Hriday was planning to go on and study for higher degrees.
But, in the meantime, something happened. Six months before he sat for the final examination to get his BA, he heard Sri Aurobindo’s name. Then studying was finished for him. The very name ‘Sri Aurobindo’ was enough for my brother. After hearing it, he only wanted to go and lead a spiritual life. He lost all inclination to study, and he gave up his formal studies completely.
I had the same experience. When I was four or five years old, I heard the name ‘Sri Aurobindo’ and something happened. I felt such joy, sweetness and love inside the name. At that time, I had not heard anything about the Mother. Even Sri Aurobindo’s picture I had not seen. I only heard the words ‘Sri Aurobindo’. That was enough. Inside my heart, something happened. Afterwards, when I was seven, I saw a huge picture of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. But, in the beginning, the name ‘Sri Aurobindo’ was enough.
When Hriday gave up his studies, it was such a blow for my father. Somehow my brother managed to sit for the examination, but he did not wait for the results. Without telling my parents, he took the train to Pondicherry to be with Sri Aurobindo.
My father was so upset. How could his eldest son do this? My mother immediately wanted to go to Pondicherry and bring him back. She said to my father, “I have to go and bring him back. Otherwise, I will not eat.”
My father said, “I am not going to take you to Pondicherry.”
My mother was prepared to fast unto death! For one whole day she did not eat. Then, halfway through the second day, my father’s heart melted. He said, “This fasting has to stop. You must eat. I will take you to Pondicherry to bring him home.”
My father wrote to the Ashram and received permission for everybody to come for a short visit. Because of my father’s job as chief inspector on the Assam-Bengal Railway Line, we were able to travel all the way to Pondicherry free of charge. This is the story of how we all came to the Ashram for the very first time. I was only one year and three months old.
When we arrived, as soon as my mother saw my brother Hriday, she cried and cried and cried. She cried so much that finally he agreed to return home with us. He said, “All right. I do not need the spiritual life right now. When the time comes, I will come back.”
Then my physical mother had to take permission from the Divine Mother for Hriday to leave. She went to see the Ashram Mother. The Ashram Mother did not speak Bengali, and my mother did not speak proper Bengali. She spoke only in our Chittagong dialect. My sisters were there to translate her request into proper Bengali, and Nolini-da, the General Secretary of the Ashram, translated everything into English for the Mother.
My mother was crying and crying. She had been planning to say to the Divine Mother that she would be so grateful if the Divine Mother would allow Hriday to go back home. Instead of that, my mother said to the Ashram Mother, “I am so grateful that you have taken full responsibility for my eldest son. Please promise me that you will take care of all my children. They have come here with me. Will you take care of them? Now I am leaving behind my eldest one. Let him stay with you, and these little ones will go back with me. I want them to get higher education. Once they get higher education, will you promise to take them back?”
The Divine Mother immediately said, “Yes, I shall allow you. This one can remain here and the rest you will keep for a few years. Let them have higher education. I promise I will keep them after that.”
Look what happened! My mother had gone to the Ashram only to take her son back. Instead of that, she begged the Divine Mother to take care of the rest of her children when they were grown up.
When my mother and sisters came back to the house where we were staying, my mother said, “Look what I did! I went to take my eldest son back home. Instead of that, I offered all my children to the Mother.”
Everybody laughed and laughed. And again, everybody was so deeply moved. Even my father was deeply moved that his wife was so devoted to the Mother. This was how Hriday remained in the Ashram and we all went back to Chittagong with my mother and father. Even though Hriday had given up his studies, my parents were still hopeful that the rest of us would go on and receive degrees.
The next one to disappoint them was my middle brother, Chitta. When Hriday left, Chitta was doing his intermediate studies — we call it matriculation. After finishing his intermediate studies, Chitta was supposed to study for his BA. Then one day he announced that he would not study any more because he also wanted to go to the Ashram. My father had to beg him to stay. My father said to him, “If you do not want to study, at least work for me in our bank. When the time comes, you can definitely join your brother in the Ashram.” So Chitta went to work for my father in the town.
Next came my sister Ahana. Ahana was a very, very brilliant student. She passed her matriculation and was in her first year of college life. By that time, my father had passed away and my mother was suffering from goitre. Nowadays they can easily cure goitre. Here in America they do not even take it seriously. But for two years my mother suffered so much from goitre and then she died. She died not even six months after my father.
When my father passed away, Hriday took leave from the Ashram to come home and take care of the family while my mother was dying. He had made a promise to my mother that at the time of her passing he would return from the Ashram. He took the Ashram Mother’s permission, saying, “Mother, I made this promise to go to see my physical mother.” The Sri Aurobindo Ashram Mother said, “You may go.” So Hriday came back to be with us.
That was the time when Chitta said to my mother, “Now I wish to take Hriday’s place in the Ashram. You do not need two of us here.” Then Chitta went to Pondicherry.
The day my mother died, I was at my maternal uncle’s house. The message was delivered and I came running home, even though it was quite a few miles away. When I entered into my mother’s room, her life could be measured in seconds. I stood beside her and she took my hand. Then I knew what she was going to do. She put my hand in the hand of my eldest brother, Hriday. In her own way, she was asking him to take full responsibility for me. My eldest brother immediately said, “Yes, I will take responsibility for Madal.”
Then my mother gave me a smile, her last smile, and in a few seconds she passed away.
All this was happening in our home in Chittagong, but on the same day something very significant happened at the Ashram. Sri Aurobindo had two or three secretaries. The main one, Nirodbaran, came from Chittagong. He had been a medical doctor. On that day he said to Sri Aurobindo, “Hriday’s mother is suffering so much. Can you not do something to cure her?”
Nirodbaran knew that Sri Aurobindo had such affection for my brother. Even if Hriday had a headache, Sri Aurobindo used to make enquiries. Sometimes Sri Aurobindo used to make fun of Hriday and call him “our philosopher-disciple” because Hriday used to ask so many questions about the Vedas and the Upanishads. Sri Aurobindo used to enjoy his questions because there were very few people who were so deeply interested in the Vedas and the Upanishads. Hundreds of letters my brother received from Sri Aurobindo in his own handwriting.
Sri Aurobindo all along had a very compassionate feeling for our family. When Nirodbaran brought up the subject of my mother’s suffering, Sri Aurobindo immediately said, “You want me to cure her? What can I do? Her time has come. It is God’s Will for her children to come here.”
Sri Aurobindo said this in Pondicherry around noontime. In two hours’ time, the telegram came from Chittagong. Hriday had sent Chitta the message. As soon as he saw it, Chitta said, “I do not have to open it. I know what it is.” Before he received the telegram, Nirod-da had told him that Sri Aurobindo had said, “Her time has come.”
My mother’s only wish had been that everybody would get degrees. This is how all mothers feel. But Sri Aurobindo did not want us to delay any longer. Degrees were not meant for us. So, our whole family’s studies ended with my mother’s passing. My sister Ahana gave up her studies at the college. Mantu had only three months remaining before matriculation. He would have easily passed. I was only twelve years old.
We all disappeared from Chittagong and came to Pondicherry. The Divine Mother kept her promise and took our whole family. Not only did our whole family go, but our relatives also wanted to come with us. They had never cared for the spiritual life, but because they were so attached to us they came. The Mother gave them permission. We had decided that we would remain permanently, but my maternal uncle and aunt came with us in the hope that eventually they would be able to take us back to Chittagong. They were not successful, and after some time they returned.
In the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, there was a school where Mantu and I studied. Our whole family were excellent students, but when it came to Mantu, he studied for one year and then he gave up because the Ashram did not give any degrees. I continued to study at that school for quite a few years, but in mathematics I was unbearably bad.
The Divine Mother wanted me to get a degree. I also wanted to get a degree in French from a place outside the Ashram. It was called Calve College, in Pondicherry. My maternal uncle was so excited that I wanted to get a degree. At that time I was fully ready for class 10, which was matriculation. But they said that I had to take an examination and be in class 9 first, so I went to that college for the examination. Just before the examination, the inspector of schools for the entire Pondicherry, who happened to be a Frenchman, said that more than forty-five students were not allowed in a classroom, so they would not accept me in that class. They said, “Now you have to go to class 8.” I was so shocked.
My French teacher from the Ashram had accompanied me on that day. His name was Benjamin. He was so kind to us, but we used to make fun of him and call him Bon jamais.3 He took me to class 8. When we arrived, the teachers told us that the inspector was coming and two or three students would have to leave secretly. I said, “I am going.” This was how I descended and descended — before the examination had even begun! They were putting me back far below my standard.
The funniest thing is that many, many years later I gave a talk in France. There is a French organisation where important people come and give talks. I saw that just one day before me, that same inspector had given a talk at that place.
Anyway, that was the end of my degree. I was so sad and disgusted that I returned home with Benjamin. I did not stay to see if I would get a ‘promotion’ from class 8. That night the Mother asked for me. I used to go to her three times a day at least, and sometimes four times. I went to her and I started wonderfully crying. I told the Mother, “I do not want to study.”
She said to me, “Why did you have to take Benjamin? Why did you not take Pavitra, the director of our school?” Pavitra was the Mother’s secretary. He was a Frenchman and he was very highly respected. Before joining the Ashram, he had been an engineer and a chemist. The Mother said, “Tomorrow you will go with Pavitra. He will speak to them and they will definitely allow you.”
By that time, I was so upset that I said to the Mother, “I am not going to sit for their examination. I am giving up.”
The Mother asked me, “Then what do you want to do?”
I said, “I only want to learn English. I do not want to learn any other subject any more — only English.”
For the Mother to hear that I wanted to learn English and give up French! She only gave importance to French in the Ashram. At the Ashram school, five days a week we studied French; English, two days; and Bengali, my mother tongue, only once a week. Even then, by the time I was fifteen years old I had become almost an authority on Bengali literature. Our Ashram library had hundreds and hundreds of Bengali books. I used to go and study privately. At the Ashram school, sometimes we had to study history and geography in French, and even mathematics in French. How difficult mathematics was! Of all the subjects, mathematics was my hostile enemy!
That was how my formal education ended. I have to confess that many times afterwards, I felt sorry. Then I started writing in English and some scholars and professors started appreciating my articles, my English poems and so forth, so I was consoled. My suffering ended a few years later. But the suffering of my sisters and brothers did not end. My eldest sister, Arpita, cried and cried when I gave up the Ashram school. Then she was so delighted and excited to hear that I would be going to Calve College. But her happiness did not last. Now, whenever I go to Pondicherry and pass by that College, I get such a nostalgic feeling. The whole building is in very poor condition, but when I look at it, I think, “That is where I was supposed to get a degree.”
Many years later, when the Ashram school started giving degrees and diplomas, my sisters literally begged me to go back to school. I said, “I left school so many years ago.”
All the time, man makes proposals. In our case it was to get degrees. Then God comes and says, “No, no, no!” We are tempted or inspired and then, when we move in that direction, God stops us. It is like my little dog Chela. When he is on the leash, we allow him to go forward to some extent and then we pull him back. It was not destined in our family that we get degrees. My mother’s prayer could not be fulfilled. We studied and studied, but degrees all went away. At least my brother Hriday got one degree, but he could have gone much further.
I am so grateful to my eldest brother. If he had not joined the Ashram, God knows what would have been my fate. It would have been totally different. I would have gone to Chittagong University, got a degree, this and that. But the Divine Mother allowed our whole family to come to the Ashram. In those days they did not make anybody permanent until one or two years had passed. Then they would see what kind of people you were. Our family came in March 1944. In three weeks’ time the Mother said, “The whole family is permanent.”
I am telling you this because some of you wanted to get degrees, but it was not destined. Your Guru wanted degrees, but God said no. Then God gave me inner degrees. Now so many professors at universities value me. Why? Because they see something spiritual inside me. When it comes to my weightlifting, there are bodybuilders with enormous muscles. But because the world sees that I am of a different type, it appreciates what I have done. It sees that I am a spiritual man who is all for peace. I do not need any other degree.
LEN 12. Bon jamais means “never good” in French.↩
The power of a happiness-smileToday I am seeing that two disciples are really miserable and one is half-miserable. This is my fate — even on Father’s Day they have to remain miserable! Miserable people are no good, no good, no good! I beg of them, on Father’s Day, to become happy, happy, happy.
How can I make everybody happy? It is an impossible task. But please try to be happy, happy, happy. If you are from time to time displeased with me, at least try to forgive me and be pleased today. I am pleased with everybody today. I have no complaints against you today. And if you have complaints against yourself, then get rid of them. At least forgive yourself today. If you do not forgive yourself, nobody is going to forgive you. If you are angry with yourself, forgive yourself wisely. And if you are angry with me, forgive me and be happy, be happy. It pains me when my spiritual children are not happy. Be happy, be happy. Smile, smile, smile! The power of a happiness-smile can never be measured.
Once there was a mathematician who was deeply absorbed in his mathematics. His little son approached and stood in front of him. The father paid no attention to his son for a long time. The father thought that he would go away. He thought that it would be boring for the child to watch him, and so the child would disappear. Five minutes, ten minutes passed and the child remained standing there.
Finally the father said to himself, “Let me give him a dime. Perhaps he has come for money.”
So the father gave his son a dime, but the little boy still remained standing there. Then the father said to himself, “Let me give him a quarter.” Still the child remained standing. Then the father gave him a dollar. Nothing worked.
Eventually the father thought, “Oh, he does not need money; he needs candy.” So he opened up a drawer in his desk and gave the child a large quantity of candies. It was a big handful. Even then his son did not move.
The father was becoming irritated. He said, “What is the matter with you? I gave you money, I gave you candies. Even then, you are not going away. What do you actually want?”
His son replied, “Until you give me what I want, I am not going to leave you.”
The father got annoyed. “Now you are talking like a philosopher,” he said. “What do you want that I cannot give you?”
The son said, “I have come here only to have a smile from you.”
“You silly fellow!” exclaimed his father. “Just to have a smile from me you are waiting?”
So the father gave his son a broad smile, and the son also reciprocated and gave his father a smile. Then the child ran away. When the child ran away, the father felt that something inside him had disappeared. And what was that thing? The whole day he had been depressed and frustrated. He had not been able to solve some complex mathematical problems. But when the father gave one smile to his son, all of a sudden a wave of inspiration and divine Grace descended and he was able to solve his mathematical problems. Previously the father had been wasting so much time. First he was unable to solve the problems and then, when he saw his son, he was only getting more and more irritated, wondering why the son was not going away in spite of getting a larger and larger amount of money. And candies also did not work! What did work? A little smile that he gave to his son, and the smile that he received from his son in return.
God entered into the man’s son and made his son an instrument to ask the father to smile. All the depression and frustration-poison that the father had been carrying disappeared when he gave a little smile to his son and when the son reciprocated. Then the father got everything. All his problems were solved. This is the miracle-power of two smiles.
Here, when I smile at you, if you also smile, then you are perfect and I am perfect. When I smile at you, I am perfect; but when you do not smile at me, you are imperfect. Again, when you smile at me and I do not smile, then I am imperfect. But I must say that most of the time I am perfect in the sense that I smile at you no matter what is happening inside me. But you do not always do that when you are depressed, frustrated and angry with yourself or angry with me. Most of the time, I take the better approach because I smile, smile, smile. When I am in deep meditation, at that time I am serious. But otherwise, when you are passing by me or taking prasad, I smile and smile at you.
When it comes to smiling, I have smiled at you infinitely, infinitely, infinitely more than you have smiled at me. Here I have won the race! If you want to win the race, you can do it by smiling, smiling, smiling. If you smile, the depression and frustration-poison that you carry deep inside yourself will disappear and it will be replaced by my love, my affection, my pride and my gratitude. Once you empty yourself of your depression and frustration, once you give me a smile, you will get so many things from me in return.
The master walks the earthThe Master comes, he walks the earth and disappears. Either you will be awakened to the value of the Master’s life on earth, or you will continue your ignorance-sleep.
The mischievous monkey in your life must surrender to the poise of your soul. If you do not have respect for your own meditation-life, then how shall I have respect for you? When it is the time for prayer and meditation, why do you have to indulge in talking?
Sri Aurobindo was my Master. Now my Master is the Supreme, and I always say that everybody’s Master is the Supreme. Every human being who has taken incarnation has only one Guru, according to me, and that Guru is our Lord Supreme. My Guru, your Guru, everybody’s Guru is the Supreme.
Now let me say something about my Guru, Sri Aurobindo. Four times a year we were able to see him: in February, April, August and November. Each time I do not think it was for more than three seconds. Five seconds I do not think we got. Four times a year we saw him. There was a long queue. And if you stayed a little too long in front of him, then there would be two bodyguards to come and do you a big ‘favour’ by moving you away.
The very first time I went to see Sri Aurobindo, the Mother was introducing me to him. Alas, I could not hear everything, but she said, “Chinmoy, Hriday’s youngest brother.” Then she said something else. Two bodyguards grabbed me, and it was all over! Now both of those bodyguards are extremely, extremely kind and dear to me.
That was our Ashram life. And how many years did it last? I became a permanent member of the Ashram in 1944. Most of you had not yet been born. In 1950 Sri Aurobindo left his earthly sheath, his earthly body, his earthly frame. For six years, this was how I saw my Master.
Here I have disciples who have been with me for over thirty-three years. For so many hours they have seen me! Some days, if I am kind enough to come to Aspiration-Ground and if they are good enough to be there, they can see me for hours. Countless hours all of you have spent with your Master. Here I am the representative of the Supreme for you, not for others. The Supreme is my Guru, your Guru, everybody’s Guru. Out of His infinite Bounty, He has chosen me to be His representative — only for you, not for others. Others have their own Gurus, who deal with them in their own way.
If you are enjoying your indulgence-life, then your progress-speed will be worse than India’s bullock cart speed. Again, Indian bullock carts do go forwards. But in the spiritual life, when you do not pray and meditate, when you do not do the needful on a regular basis, you are forced, literally forced, to walk backwards, which unfortunately, many of you are doing. Many of you, to my greatest sorrow, are walking backwards. You may not realise it, you may not believe it, but I see it clearly.
Many of you left your dear ones, your relatives, the members of your immediate family for this path. If you do not value your spiritual life, nobody can and nobody will force you. But if you have the inner urge to make progress, how fast you can go!
Every day, a fresh attemptOn the spiritual path, we know we have covered hundreds of miles, or thousands of miles, or millions of miles, or billions of miles, or even trillions of miles. Some people have covered many, many miles over the years. They have had many, many incarnations. Again, some people in the spiritual life have covered only ten miles, twenty miles, thirty miles or forty miles.
But no matter how many miles we have completed, we have to forget about the distance we have covered over the years on the strength of our prayer and meditation. Every morning we have to make a new attempt, a fresh attempt, to fly a little higher, to dive a little deeper, to go forward a little farther. Whatever our height is, we shall make an absolutely new attempt. Early in the morning, when we look at a flower, we get so much joy. Then in the late afternoon or evening, we may see that the flower has become wilted. But every day we have to feel that a new flower is blossoming.
Early in the morning, while you are the most beautiful flower, the freshest flower, at that time when you pray, absolutely develop your adamantine will power. Feel that it is just you and your inner existence, you and God. There is no outer world, good or bad; no third person with good news or sad news — no! There is only you, and right in front of you is your own Highest, your own Highest.
If it is difficult to imagine your own Highest, my Transcendental picture you can take as your Highest. When I go to the other world, I will be able to say that if I have given to this world one thing, that is my Transcendental picture. Again, quite a few years ago I went beyond that height. I always say that the Supreme Himself is making progress. That idea is unbelievable to the mind. He is infinite, He is eternal and He is immortal. But still, in His Infinity, Eternity and Immortality, He is progressing, progressing. Who am I in comparison?
I always say that imagination is a reality in itself. Now it is veiled, but it will become unveiled in the future. If it is difficult for you to imagine your own Highest, once more I wish to say that my Transcendental picture is enough. Take the Transcendental as your own Highest. The more you can think of my Transcendental as your own Highest, the stronger you will be in your spiritual life. That is your ultimate Goal: to reach that consciousness. Again, if you find it difficult to identify yourself completely with my Transcendental, then think of yourself, where you are right now, and go one step forward, one step upward, one step inward.
Never take spirituality as something old. Our difficulty is that as soon as we take spirituality as an old subject, as soon as we say, “Oh, we have studied it,” our joy goes away. If I say that I have studied English, for example, for forty years, then what more do I have to know? That is the end for me; I will not make any more progress in the English language. But in my case, I do not think that way. Even now, why do I take the trouble to learn a few difficult words? It is because I am an eternal student.
In the spiritual life, it is exactly the same. Every day make a fresh attempt. You know that you have advanced along the spiritual path. For so many years you have made progress. But do not think all the time of what you have achieved. Only be in your Highest. Look at my picture and dive deep within.
While you are looking at my Transcendental picture, either smile from your soul or cry from your heart. These are the two things you can do. If you can feel at that time that you are the soul — not the body, not the vital, not the mind — then smile at the Transcendental. But if you feel that you are the heart, then cry. Cry, cry, cry as soulfully and as helplessly as possible. If you are in the soul, then smile at the Highest, at the Supreme. If you are in the heart, then cry like an infant. These are the two ways to reach the Highest.
Aspiration and dedication: two wingsThere are two kinds of spiritual Masters. One kind will say, “Aspire, aspire, aspire. First realise God. Then be of service to mankind. God-realisation first, and then service to humankind.”
Again, there are some spiritual Masters who feel that aspiration and dedication must go together. They see that a bird has two wings. An aeroplane also has two wings. With one wing the plane cannot fly. Similarly, a bird needs two wings to fly. In our case, we feel exactly the same way. When aspiration-wings and dedication-wings go together, our spiritual life is normal, natural and most effective. Over the years I have said many, many times that we must aspire and we must serve at the same time.
Even now, to my great sorrow, some disciples are ready only to aspire, to pray and meditate. They are fully satisfied with their aspiration. They do not pay any attention whatsoever to dedication. But if you are in my boat, I feel that it is necessary on your part to listen to your Master. I realised God long, long ago. At that time, there was no such thing as manifestation. My life was all in the Himalayan caves. What can you do there? You live in a cave and come out for fruits and milk and other things. But that was long, long ago.
Now, in the twenty-first century, we are living in a world of newness, oneness and fulness. In newness, we aspire. While aspiring, we have to have the feeling of oneness. Throughout the length and breadth of the world, we have to establish our oneness with our fellow human beings. They are all our fellow citizens of the world. We start with something new. Inside the new, we have to feel our oneness. And then, when we feel our oneness, we enter into fulness, the complete fulness of God-aspiration, God-realisation and God-manifestation. There are many, many disciples here, there and elsewhere who may feel that they do not have the capacity to serve mankind, but they can do many, many things to serve the Supreme in me. This dedication of theirs leads to manifestation, God-manifestation.
Outwardly, your mind may say that my weightlifting is silly, sillier, silliest. Outwardly I fully subscribe to your view. But inwardly I know, divinely I know, spiritually I know, that it is not silly, not at all. This is a unique service that I am offering to mankind. Nothing is as important as inspiration. We start our journey from inspiration; then aspiration and realisation follow. The Supreme in me tries to inspire human beings. Old people, on principle, may give up hope. They may only wait for the day when God will summon them. They have no inner joy, the joy that gives us progress. They do not believe in progress. They are only withdrawing money from their life-bank and, when the day dawns that it is all withdrawn, they will disappear from the earthly scene.
I am seventy-four years old. This is a ripe old age, especially for an Indian. And there are many, many countries where people do not live past the age of forty-five or fifty. America has good luck. But then again, what do Americans do in their old age? Do they pray? Do they meditate? Do they serve mankind? If you care to discover the percentage, it will be a shocking experience, a shocking experience. Inspiration is gone. Aspiration is no longer alive. Dedication is an old, forgotten story. All their achievements are now buried in oblivion.
Until we breathe our last, let us aspire, and let us inspire others. They do not have to do weightlifting — far from it! They have their own forms of exercise to do. Those things if they do, diligently, regularly and self-givingly, then they will have physical fitness. Inside the body is the soul. The body is the temple; the soul is the shrine. They need each other. If there is only a temple and no shrine inside, nobody is going to come. Again, if one wants to see the shrine, it cannot be left in the street. The shrine will be destroyed by cats and dogs and other animals. The temple and the shrine both have a special way to inspire humankind.
Please, please do not think that you are superior to others because you aspire. No, they may be superior to you! If they aspire and also serve, undoubtedly they are superior to you because they are doing both things. People who dedicate themselves to the manifestation of God’s Light here on earth are infinitely superior to those who think that aspiration is the only way.
You have two wings. You should aspire and you should serve. Manifestation comes from service. And if you serve soulfully, self-givingly, that is the proper manifestation of God’s Light on earth. Recently I said that it is a great privilege, which is given to very few, to do manifestation-work:
I have come to learn
Something very new:
God gives to very few.4
Manifestation is a reality that blossoms from dedication. Again, there are some disciples who work so hard outwardly. They throw themselves into manifestation projects. But afterwards, they go home and watch television or sleep for eight or ten hours. In their case, God-realisation will wait indefinitely.
If you are already paying equal attention to both aspiration and dedication, I am very, very happy and very proud. But if you are not taking both of them together as one unit, as seriously as possible, then you are making a Himalayan blunder, a Himalayan blunder. Those are my real disciples who can do both the inner work and the outer work together.
LEN 16,9. Sri Chinmoy, My God-Hunger-Cry, poem for 24 February 2006. New York: Agni Press, 2009.↩
The beauty and purity of gratitudeThere are three hundred and sixty-five days in a year. There are twelve months. Each month has four weeks, and a little more. There are seven days in a week. I wonder, is there anybody amongst us here who has offered seven times unconditional gratitude to our Lord Beloved Supreme — unconditional gratitude, seven times, with utmost soulfulness? I doubt if anybody has passed that examination.
There are some disciples who have been with us for many, many, many years and perhaps will remain to the end. In some cases I do not think they have offered even once unconditional gratitude to the Will of the Supreme.
Gratitude we offer when we do something great. Quite often we express our gratitude to the Supreme in front of others. While expressing our gratitude, we know that there is not even an iota of sincerity in our feeling; but while telling others, we make them feel that we are offering genuine gratitude. But we know in the depths of our heart that our expression is not sincere, and we do feel that it is our personal effort that has enabled us to accomplish something great.
If gratitude is sincere, genuine, soulful and pure, then it lasts; it has a long life. But if it is not sincere, then from the start it has no life. This moment we offer gratitude because we feel, or we try to make ourselves feel, that some higher forces have acted in and through us. But in five minutes we somehow manage to forget that those higher forces played the most significant role in and through us. We feel that it is we who have done it, and then and there our heart’s gratitude-flower, gratitude-fragrance, gratitude-beauty dies. Everything, everything dies and disappears.
Some disciples who have been with us for many years have not offered gratitude and perhaps will never offer gratitude to the Supreme. Sometimes they feel they made a Himalayan mistake in joining the path. Sometimes they blame their deplorable fate. But do they ever care to think of their life in a different way, a divine way? If they had not joined the path, what would have happened? For a few seconds during their meditation if they want to identify themselves with their friends, dear ones and colleagues who have not accepted the spiritual life, then they will come to know whether their previous friends are happier than they are. God will definitely make them feel that they themselves are infinitely happier.
You may be a drop, but you are a conscious drop from the heart of the infinite ocean. And because you are conscious, one day definitely you are going to throw yourself into the vastness of the ocean. Then you will become the ocean itself. Others are not conscious that their source is the infinite ocean. You are one step ahead, because you are conscious. People who are conscious are definitely one step ahead of the unconscious ones.
Now, you may say that it is very difficult to express unconditional gratitude, and you may say that you do not even know what unconditional gratitude is. The meaning of the dictionary word “unconditional” you do know: without any condition. But the question is, how to practise it in your day-to-day life? I wish you to think of only one thing: joy. Try to imagine joy in your life. I always say imagination is a reality in itself, on another plane of consciousness. We have only to bring it down. Early in the morning, while you are getting up, just utter the Name “Supreme, Supreme” a few times. Inside your mantra “Supreme,” try to feel joy. Imagine at that time that you are drinking something sweet. You are repeating the Name of the Supreme, who is the Source of your life, who is your All. While uttering “Supreme,” please try to feel that you are drinking something very sweet and delicious.
When you have sweetness and joy in your mind and in your heart, it becomes easier to offer something unconditionally. Look at a child. He has a beautiful flower in his hand. And what does he do? He comes running towards you and gives you the flower. In return he does not expect anything from you. But why does he come to you? He comes to you because he is happy. There is happiness inside him, spontaneous happiness, and he wants to share that inner happiness with you. But he does not expect anything from you in return — not even a smile. Like that, if we have spontaneous inner happiness, we can offer gratitude to the Supreme.
If we make spiritual progress, then at every moment we can see that there are quite a few divine things we have been doing for years and years. These very things we have been doing precisely because Somebody has been inspiring us. If there is nobody to inspire us deep within, then every day, every hour and every minute we will invite death. But Somebody is inspiring us, Somebody is hoping in and through us, Somebody is promising to Himself inside us to transform the world. That Somebody is our Lord Supreme. He is inspiring us, He is hoping to create a new world with our dedicated service, and He is promising to Himself at every moment that with our service He will definitely create a new world. He will transform today’s world into a world of boundless love, joy and peace.
If even once you have felt the beauty, the purity, the divinity and the reality of gratitude, then definitely something immortal you will feel in yourself. If five years ago you were able to offer gratitude, unconditional gratitude, that very day and time, that very incident, try to imagine.
In our human life there can be nothing as valuable as gratitude. God’s greatest Power is His Forgiveness, and our greatest power is our gratitude. God has His Forgiveness as His supreme Power; we have our gratitude as our supreme power. God has divided Himself into two. We human beings are His representatives on earth. In the match, in the game, there are two equal players: God the man and man the God. God the man is at every moment using His Forgiveness-Power, and man the God should at every moment use his gratitude-power. Then God’s Game will be perfect.
Once more I wish to tell you that nothing can be more meaningful or more fruitful than gratitude in our human life. All our bad qualities, all our undivine qualities can be washed away and will be washed away by our soulful gratitude. There is no crime in the inner world that cannot be excused by God when He sees that we are offering Him gratitude, most soulful gratitude, for what we are now. We could have been infinitely, infinitely, infinitely worse! And if we offer Him sincere gratitude, then sooner or later, at His choice Hour, He will make us infinitely, infinitely, infinitely better. Only by virtue of our gratitude we will be able to illumine or remove all our dark qualities.
Gratitude is the safest way for us to reach the supreme destination. The moment we offer our gratitude to the Supreme, many, many undivine forces leave us. Our complaints against the path, against other human beings, even against the Supreme Himself disappear. Our gratitude is infinitely, infinitely more powerful than all the negative forces that either consciously or unconsciously we cherish.
So, dear ones, if you want to get rid of your undivine qualities, you do have to pray and meditate. But along with your prayer and meditation, there is a supreme secret, the secret of secrets, to conquer the undivine qualities that you consciously or unconsciously cherish. You may be displeased with some human beings, displeased with the path, displeased with the Master, even displeased with God Himself. But if you want to make yourself happy, sincerely happy, if you want to grow into happiness, then right from this moment only offer gratitude, gratitude, gratitude to the Supreme, for you are on the path and you are doing the right thing by offering gratitude. Many, many times you sincerely want to be free from worries, anxieties, jealousies, frustrations and other undivine qualities, but you do not know how you can accomplish this task. I wish to say that sooner than the soonest you can free yourself from those negative forces just by offering gratitude to the Supreme. While offering gratitude to the Supreme, just look around. Where you saw a thick forest, where you saw thorns, there you will see a garden, there you will see flowers.
Dear ones, you give me your best quality, gratitude, and I shall also give you my best quality, gratitude. Let us together use our best quality to make our Source, the Supreme, happy.
NotesMy sweet children: Sri Chinmoy offered this message at Aspiration-Ground in New York on 13 April 1987, the anniversary of his arrival in the USA in 1964.
I shall not accept defeat: Sri Chinmoy gave this talk on 23 December 1976 to his disciples who had gathered in Miami, Florida, for their Christmas Trip.
Live in the eternal Now: Sri Chinmoy gave this talk on 23 November 1989 at his home in Jamaica, New York.
The divine runner inspires the human runner: Sri Chinmoy narrated this personal experience on 12 March 1990.
You have the golden chance: Sri Chinmoy offered this talk about the New Year on 24 January 1994 after returning to New York from his annual Christmas Trip with his disciples.
The Invocation is our life-breath: Sri Chinmoy offered these remarks about The Invocation and other special songs on 19 April 1994 at P.S. 86 in Jamaica, Queens.
The incarnation of golden opportunity: Sri Chinmoy offered this talk on 11 January 1996 in a gathering with his students at the Summerstrand Holiday Inn, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, during their annual Christmas Trip.
The branches of my life-tree: Sri Chinmoy offered this talk on 19 January 1997 to his disciples who were gathered at the Sun Royal Hotel, Kagoshima, Japan, during their annual Christmas Trip.
No retirement for you, my child!: On 23 January 1998, in Cancún, Mexico, Sri Chinmoy completed his poetic series Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants. The very next morning, he received an inner Command from the Supreme to embark on a new venture. This time it was to write Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees. In these reflections, Sri Chinmoy describes the birth of this vast epic.
To have a sweet family: Sri Chinmoy gave this talk on 20 June 1998, the night before Father’s Day, at P.S. 117 in Jamaica, New York.
No expectation: Sri Chinmoy gave this talk at his home in Jamaica, Queens, on 10 July 1998.
Man proposes, God disposes: Sri Chinmoy offered this talk at his home in Jamaica, New York on 29 March 1999.
The power of a happiness-smile: Sri Chinmoy gave this talk to his disciples on Father’s Day, 17 June 2001, at Aspiration-Ground in New York.
The master walks the earth: Sri Chinmoy made these remarks to his disciples on 5 January 2002 before offering them early morning prayers at the Inter-Continental Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, during their annual Christmas Trip.
Every day, a fresh attempt: During a morning function with his disciples on 13 February 2005, at the Hilton Hotel in Nanjing, China, during their Christmas Trip, Sri Chinmoy offered this message.
Aspiration and dedication: two wings: On 15 November 2005, Sri Chinmoy gave this talk to his disciples at Aspiration-Ground in Jamaica, New York.
The beauty and purity of gratitude: Sri Chinmoy offered this talk to his disciples at Progress-Promise, their meeting place in Jamaica, New York, during the 1980s.