Meditation: man's choice and God's Voice, part 1

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Author's preface

Spirituality has a secret key to open the Door of the Divine. This key is meditation. Meditation simplifies our outer life and energises our inner life. Meditation gives us a natural and spontaneous life, a life that becomes so natural and spontaneous that we cannot breathe without being conscious of our own divinity.

Meditation is a divine gift. It is the direct approach that leads the aspirant to the One from whom he has descended. Meditation tells the aspirant that his human life is a secret and sacred thing, and it affirms his divine heritage. Meditation gives him a new eye to see God, a new ear to hear the Voice of God and a new heart to feel the Presence of God.

When you live

When you live
In the room of your thought,
Your life is a mighty, fruitless plan.

When you live
In the house of your will,
Your life is a solid splendid achievement.

When you live
In the palace of God-love,
Your life is a flood of glowing, illumining ecstasy.

Father, tell me

Father, what is the thing You like most
In my life?

Daughter, in your life I love most
Your wisdom-cry.

Father, in the near or distant future
What thing would You like most
In my life?

Daughter, in the near future
I shall love most
Your perfection-smile.

Do you need happiness?

"Do you need happiness?
Then do just three things:
Meditate regularly.
Smile soulfully.
Love untiringly."

Question: How can one make meditation practical?

Sri Chinmoy: How can we make meditation practical? First of all we have to know whether we are practical or not. We say somebody is practical only when we see that in the outer life he does the right thing at the right moment. He thinks and acts in a specific way so that he will not be deceived by others, and so that his outer life will run smoothly, without any major catastrophes. But no matter how clever we are, how sincere we are, how conscious we are, we see that at times we are at a loss in the outer life. We do not know what to say. We do not know what to do. We do not know how to behave. Or, despite our saying and doing the right thing, everything goes wrong. We do not know how to cope with our outer existence; we cannot manage our lives. We sincerely want to do something or become something, but we cannot do it.

Why does this happen? It happens because our outer capacity is always bound by something, and that something is our inner awareness. If we are practical in the inner life, if we are doing the right thing in the inner world, we will not be bound by anything, because we will have inner awareness. One who has inner awareness has free access to infinite Truth and everlasting Joy, and he will be able to control his outer life. What gives us inner awareness? Meditation. We are practical in our inner life, we are doing the right thing in our inner life, when we pray and meditate. A practical thing must always be natural, and what can be more natural, more spontaneous, than seeking to fulfil God? How do we fulfil God? Through meditation.

The inner life constantly carries the message of Love, Truth and God. The outer life does not do this. Where the Truth is, there is a seed. Let us allow the seed to germinate, to grow into a plant, to become a tree. When the tree bears fruit, we can eat it. And while we are eating we will know that this fruit belongs to the outer world although its source is the inner world. We will see the capacity of the inner world being manifested in the outer world. We always grow from within, not from without. It is from the seed under the ground that a plant grows. From inside we grow out.

No matter how many hours we work, no matter how many hours we talk, no matter what we do or say, we are not nearing the Truth-Light. But if we meditate first, and afterwards act and speak, then we are doing the right thing and becoming the right thing. The inner life, the inner practicality, must guide the outer life, and not the other way around. It is not that the outer life will have a separate existence. No! The life-breath of the outer life has to come from the inner life. The inner practicality must enter into the outer life of each individual seeker on earth. Only then can he be really practical in the outer life.

The inner life of unaspiring people is never practical; it is all imagination. Naturally, they don't want to enter into the world of imagination, for they think that this imagination is going to end in frustration. But he who is brave enough to enter into the inner life and see whether it is all imagination or not, will see that the inner world is practical, real, natural. Our human way of thinking of Truth, God and Light is not the correct way. That is why the things that are normal seem abnormal to us. The divinely normal things are Love, Light, Peace. And these normal things are also eternal. Let us be brave. Let us enter into the inner world and bring forward to the outer world the things that the inner world can offer. Then the outer world will also become divinely normal, practical and fulfilling.

Question: How can I see divine Light? Aside from concentration and meditation, what concrete or practical things can I do to see the divine Light? Also, during concentration and meditation, what kind of practical things can I do to see Light?

Sri Chinmoy: You are, using the word "practical." Here I wish to say that concentration is practical; meditation is practical. We have to know that God, who is all Light, is natural. Only what is natural can be practical plus practicable. So from now on please feel that concentration is something natural in your life. Meditation is also something natural in your life. Feel that when you do not meditate, you are doing something unnatural, abnormal, unusual, because inside you is God and the effulgence of divine Light.

You are trying either to enter into the vastness of this Light or you are trying to bring to the fore the Light that you already have. This Light that you are referring to comes when the aspirant is ready. You want to see the Light. You say you are not afraid of Light. Wonderful! But there are many people who are afraid of Light. You have relatives, friends, neighbours, who say, "Yes, we want Light." But the moment Light comes to them, they feel that they are going to be exposed. People feel that if they can hide themselves in a dark room, from inside they will be able to see the whole world, appreciate or criticise or do anything. They think that they will be in a position to see the world and pass judgement, but that nobody will be able to see them. This is their hope. So their darkness, they feel, is a kind of safety, security. When Light comes and is ready to enter into them, they feel that all their weaknesses and limitations, all their negative ideas and negative thoughts, will be exposed. But the very function of Light is to illumine, not to expose; to transform our negative and destructive thoughts into positive and affirmative thoughts.

You want to know how you can receive Light or how you can bring Light to the fore. For that you need preparation, and what is that preparation? The preparation is your pure concentration, your pure meditation. When you start your meditation or concentration, try to feel that you have come from Light and you are inside Light. This is not your imagination; this is not your mental hallucination. Far from it! When you start meditating, just feel what you are. It is a real, solid, concrete truth that you embody Light and that you are Light itself. You will see that there is a spontaneous flow of Light from within. First you will feel it inside your heart. Then you will feel it in your forehead, in the third eye; and finally you will feel it all over.

There is another way of seeing Light. While breathing, when you draw in the breath, please feel that you are breathing in something that is purifying all that has to be purified inside you and, at the same time, energising all that is unfed. In the beginning, there are quite a few things inside you that have to be purified. There are quite a few things which are hungry. So when you feel that you are feeding, energising and at the same time purifying them, then you will see that Light becomes absolutely natural.

There is another way of seeing Light. Since you have accepted our path, please look at my forehead in my transcendental picture. Then you will be able to see your Light inside me, or my Light. You will see Light and that Light you will feel inside you also, because there is only one Light, and that is God. He is operating inside me, inside you, inside everyone. But in my case I can consciously see it and make others feel it. So if you concentrate on my transcendental picture and soulfully repeat the word "Light" fifty, sixty, one hundred times, then I assure you that you are bound to see Light — either blue or white or gold or red or green — because from my transcendental consciousness I am ready to offer Light to anybody who sincerely wants it. This is the secret that I am telling you.

On Thursday at the New York Centre, when you sit in front of me, you can concentrate on my forehead when I am in deep meditation. Take your time and say the word "Light" silently, and while you are saying it, try to feel that you have formed a bridge between yourself and me. Then you will feel continually that you are entering into me and that I am entering into you. You don't have to meditate for four hours or ten hours. No. In a matter of a few minutes, if you have a soulful feeling of oneness with me, you are bound to see Light. This I will be able to do for you, and for other sincere seekers who are my students and disciples. But for others I will not be able to do this because they have not accepted me as their own.

It is not at all a difficult thing for a sincere seeker to see Light. But those who want to see Light out of curiosity may be denied by God because they only want to see, and not to grow into, Light. However, if God wants me to show them Light, in spite of their unwillingness, in spite of their disbelief in God, I can show them. But that is God's way of acting. I cannot interfere in God's operation. It is God who knows what is best for us. In your case, today you will see the Light and tomorrow you will aspire to grow into it. This is what a seeker does: today he sees the Goal, tomorrow he reaches the Goal, and the day after tomorrow he grows into the Goal. So you try; I shall help you.

Question: In trying to lead the spiritual life, I am beset by evil forces. How can I protect myself?

Sri Chinmoy: While you are following the spiritual life, if you are attacked by undivine, hostile forces or if you feel that your aspiration is not as it should be, never give up the spiritual life. Every day you cannot eat most delicious food but still you eat every day. You eat every day, you keep your body fit — so you can go to work, go to school, do normal activities. In the spiritual life, when we meditate what do we actually do? We feed the soul, our inner being. Now, if we cannot every day feed the soul properly, say in the best way, it is better to feed the soul something than to allow it to starve. So never give up; always try to meditate.

Now the road is long. Sometimes while walking along the road you will see beautiful trees with flowers, foliage and fruits. Again, sometimes you will feel it is only a road, and there are no trees on either side. Sometimes you may feel the road is a barren desert. The goal is still a far cry. So what do you do? Since you are aiming at a goal, you have to walk, walk, walk.

We have to feel that we are all divine farmers. The seeker of the infinite Truth must feel that he is a farmer. A farmer ploughs the field and cultivates; then he has to wait for the rain. After some time the seed germinates and starts to grow into a tiny plant. Similarly, in the spiritual life also, our personal effort is needed. That is to say, we have to practise meditation. Then we have to feel the necessity of God's Grace like rain. When God's Grace descends and our human effort ascends, we come to a point where we can meditate at our sweet will. Advanced spiritual seekers can meditate at any moment, at any time, at any place.

To come back to your question, first try to meditate with your own individual effort and God's Grace. And if you are attacked by hostile forces, undivine forces, and you cannot meditate, then offer your present achievement soulfully and devotedly at the Feet of the Supreme, at the Feet of God: "This is what I have now. I have become a victim to these forces. These are my possessions right now, unwanted possessions, and I am offering them to you. I place them at Your Feet." In that way, if you can offer your existence to the Supreme, then you will see that your daily meditation will become most fruitful.

Question: I have recently felt quite distinctly a force that people throw around themselves for protection, or when they don't want to speak to someone. I have felt it like a solid object, like a wall. I would like to know how it is built. Is it built consciously or unconsciously?

Sri Chinmoy: Usually it is built consciously. Some seekers feel that when they are around unaspiring people they need protection to maintain their high consciousness. They are afraid they will be attacked by unaspiring people who will enter into them like arrows and destroy their aspiration, so they consciously build a wall around themselves. Sometimes ordinary people who are not aspiring have a tremendous insecurity. They are afraid that others will take away whatever little wealth they have. And spiritual Masters may build this wall to protect themselves from the attacks of the consciousness of the world around them. Some people come into the presence of a spiritual Master and feel that once they have come that is more than enough. They do not want to accept anything. The moment the Master wants to give them Peace or Light, they attack him inwardly. Or people come to a Master without knowing what they want, and when Peace is offered, they feel that it is something strange. When Light is offered or Bliss is offered, they feel it is something strange. They feel that they are not being given what they want, so they come and attack. Or they come and bother the Master, saying "Give me, give me, give me!" Then when it is given they don't take it. At that time the Master creates an aura for self-protection.

Each individual has a special aura, of which he is not conscious. That aura, the most important aura, goes around the person from head to foot. It consciously protects the person. When you meditate you may see that there is an aura constantly revolving around you. Other auras you may also see, behind pictures of the Buddha or Christ, for example, but usually these do not revolve or move. But this aura that we all have is constantly moving around us. But we have to know that this aura is not all-powerful. It is only a strong protection on the physical, vital and mental level. It does not protect the whole being. This aura becomes all-powerful only through our prayer and meditation. Each day when we pray and meditate this aura is strengthened; it moves faster, very, very fast. And when the movement becomes extremely fast, the aura acquires tremendous strength, enough to protect the entire being.

Question: Why can't we get rid of all our undivine and negative forces permanently? Why can't we do it, why don't we do it?

Sri Chinmoy: You don't do it because you are unconsciously cherishing these negative thoughts. You still feel that they are fulfilling for your outer life, your vital life.

Question: Can one overcome one's fears through meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Meditation is the only way to overcome fear. There is no other way. No matter how many injections we take from the doctors, our fear will not leave us. Why does meditation help us to overcome our fear? In meditation we identify ourselves with the Vast, with the Absolute. When we are afraid of someone or something, we are afraid because we do not feel that particular person or thing is a part of us. But when we have established conscious oneness with the Absolute, with the infinite Vast, then everything included there is part of us. And how can we be afraid of ourselves?

The very purpose of meditation is to unite, expand, enlighten and immortalise our consciousness. When we meditate, we enter into our own Divinity. When we talk to our friends or move around, we are not consciously aware of our Divinity. But when we are meditating, we are consciously trying to be aware of our inmost Divinity. Divinity is not afraid of humanity. Far from it, because Divinity has infinite Power. Humanity, in comparison with Divinity, has no power. When we have free access to Divinity, when our entire existence, inner and outer, is surcharged with Divinity's boundless and infinite Power, how can we be afraid of humanity? It is impossible!

Through meditation, outer fear and inner fear are bound to leave us. Inner fear is infinitely more difficult to cast aside. But with the help of meditation our inner fear has to leave. Now you are afraid of fear. You have become a victim to fear because you do not know how to expand your consciousness. That is why at every moment you are at the mercy of fear. But when you take refuge in Divinity, with the help of meditation, then fear has to leave you, for fear feels that it is knocking at the wrong door. Now you are helpless, but fear will be helpless the moment it sees that through meditation you are in touch with something powerful, most powerful.

Now, if we want to conquer fear in the vital, then we should concentrate on our own inner being. But this is difficult for beginners. So I tell them that if they want to conquer fear in the vital, they should try to expand the real vital in themselves. We have two types of vital. One vital is aggressive and the other vital is dynamic. We use the aggressive vital, with its fighting quality, daily. But the dynamic vital wants to create something sooner than at once in a divine way, in an illumined way. So if we can concentrate or focus our attention on that vital, the dynamic vital, then we will expand our consciousness there. Then there can be no fear in the vital.

If we want to conquer fear in the unaspiring heart, we have to take help directly from the soul. How many of us have seen the soul or felt it? When you meditate here, directly on the heart centre, you have to know if you are really and truly meditating on the heart centre proper. Then, try to feel at every moment, or, let us say, every time you breathe in, that you are digging inside. This is not violent digging. No! It is only a divinely intensified feeling that you have inside your heart that you are going deep, deep, deep within. Each time you breathe in, feel that you are going deeper within. And then, a few days or a few months later, you are bound to feel a tingle; you will hear a very tiny sound. When you hear the sound, try to see if the sound is caused by something or not. Normally when we hear a sound, it is because two hands are clapped together or two objects are struck together. But this sound in the soul is not the result of anything. It is spontaneous. So, when you feel that sound inside, like a celestial gong, then you are bound to conquer fear in your aspiring heart.

Question: Can we conquer the fear of death through meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: I wish to say that through meditation we can conquer the fear of death. When we meditate, we enter into the endless Life. But just by entering into the endless Life, we do not possess that Life. It is only by meditating and meditating that we can grow into that endless Life.

Question: How can one contact one's dear ones in the other world?

Sri Chinmoy: There are a few ways to contact dear ones who are not in this world. The easiest way, the way that you hear about all the time, is to go to a medium. The medium will tell you many stories about your relatives who are in Heaven. Unfortunately, very often these stories have nothing to do with reality. Only rarely do mediums bring real inner messages from the soul. You have to know that when a person has left the body only a few days or a few months ago, or a year or two ago, then there is a possibility that the soul is still in the vital world. At that time it is easier for the medium to bring down true messages. But when the soul enters into the mental world, the intuitive world, the psychic world or the soul's own proper world, which is infinitely higher than the vital world, at that time the messages that you get from the medium are all untrue.

Another way is to go to a real spiritual Master. If I go to the owner of a shop, a big shop, and ask him to do something, if he is pleased with me he will immediately do me the favour. But if I go to just a messenger boy or an ordinary clerk, I will see that their capacity is very, very limited. In the spiritual world, when one goes to a real Master, one finds that his capacity is unlimited. He is like the owner of the shop. He knows what he has, he knows where it is, and he can given anything he wants to anybody. But a medium is just like a clerk or messenger boy. He has very little power to give you what you want. When a spiritual Master takes or brings the message, he enters into the soul of the person who is asking him for this favour, because this person's soul will know where the soul of his relative is right now. His mind does not know, his heart does not know, his vital does not know, his body does not know where the soul of the dear one has gone. But the soul knows. However, spiritual Masters usually do not like to carry this kind of message, because they feel it is all curiosity.

If a person has a sincere cry rather than just curiosity, he does not have to go to anybody if he wants to send a message to a departed friend or relative. His sincere prayer is infinitely more safe and sure than accepting someone else as his messenger. If he offers his message to God with his heart of prayer and his heart of meditation, God can easily carry his message to the person it is meant for. The heart that wants to pray immediately becomes one with God's Compassion. The heart that wants to meditate immediately becomes one with God's Light. If we contact God's Light and God's Compassion, then without fail our prayer, our meditation will reach the right person.

Now how do we know whether the person has received our message or not? We have to have faith. We go to a medium because we have faith in the medium. We go to a spiritual Master because we have faith in him. Why should we not also have faith in our own prayer? If we have no faith in the medium, even if the message is correct, we will not believe it. If we have no faith in the Master, even if he does everything right in front of us, we will say that it is all hallucination. If we have faith in our own prayer, our prayer has the capacity to become a pure child who will run lovingly towards his Father to get something. The moment the Father sees that His child has come running to Him with such love and faith, the Father immediately gives him everything.

If we cannot pray or meditate, if we do not care for a spiritual Master and have very little or no faith in a medium, then there is one practical way to send messages to our departed ones. We should note down seven incidents in our life that have to do with that person. The incidents should be most soulful and intimate, anything that is still living in our heart. When we have seven incidents which are most intimate, most soulful, we must place them before ourselves one by one. Then we must take each incident and enter into it with our present life and present concern. Each incident is like a tiny dot. When we enter into it with our present life-breath, we see that from a dot it becomes a big round circle. The intensity, the capacity of our life-breath immediately makes it bigger. The life-breath of that Reality will enter into the universal Reality and become one with the universal Reality. When we clearly see that this is the universal Reality, the face of the person in subtle physical form is bound to appear. If we are ordinary men, we will not be able to touch this subtle physical; if we are spiritual people, the subtle physical will be palpable, solid. Here we have to be very practical. We have to have confidence in the world which is right in front of us. When we look into the universal Reality and see the person's face, we will be able to offer our message. But we have to feel that those intimate moments are the only moments that existed between ourselves and our loved one. If any disturbance or any action which displeased us enters into our feeling for this person, then immediately we are ruined. We have to have the feeling that we would be willing to give our life for that person, and that he would also be willing to give his life for us. When we can feel that each one is ready to give his life for the other, at that time we can become consciously one with that person's life, and we can easily give or receive a message.

Question: When meditating, inside I feel very strong and outside I feel very soft. But as I go deeper, I start expanding.

Sri Chinmoy: That is wonderful. You feel strong inside because you are bringing down divine Peace, Bliss and Light into you. The more you consciously and devotedly bring down these divine forces from above, the stronger you become inwardly. You will feel that these things from above are helping you to expand your consciousness.

Now outwardly you are feeling soft, you say. It is not actually softness. It is the inner peace and inner confidence that are growing in your outer being. One who is outwardly strong, like a great boxer or a great sovereign, has inside him infinite confidence and great peace, because he fears no one. Inside his confidence he is totally relaxed. In great power there is quietude. But if a person is not very strong, he clenches his fists and gets ready to defend himself because he feels that his enemy is right in front of him. He has to show that he can fight. But when one has boundless inner strength, one does not have to display it outwardly. He doesn't have to clench his fists. He is relaxed because his inner strength has given him inner confidence. He is like a divine hero. At any moment, he can defeat the enemy or surmount any obstruction outside him. The more inner confidence one has, the more he can outwardly relax.

God is proud of him

He is devoted;
God's Heart of Love
God's Soul of Light
Are fond of him.

He is concentrated;
God the Creator
God the creation
Are exceedingly proud of him.

Question: I am constantly bothered by thoughts during my meditation. Is there any way I can punish the mind so that it will behave?

Sri Chinmoy: If the mind becomes restless, that does not mean that we have to punish the mind all the time. What we should do is always be conscious of the mind. If the master of the house comes to learn that his long-time faithful servant has recently formed the habit of stealing, he does not immediately dismiss the servant. The servant's past sincerity and dedication are still fresh in his mind. He waits and observes unnoticed and unconcerned, feeling that his servant will turn over a new leaf. In the meantime, the servant becomes aware that his master has come to know of his conduct. He stops stealing. He goes one step further; to please his master, he works even more sincerely and more devotedly than he did before. Similarly, when we become aware of the mind's restless activities and its tricks, we have to be silent for some time and observe the mind quite unconcerned. Before long, we shall see that our mind, the thief, will feel ashamed of its conduct. We must not forget that during that time we have to think of ourselves as the soul and not as the body, for the soul alone can be the master of the mind. At the appointed hour, the mind will start to listen to the dictates of the soul.

Question: I have an experience at some of your lectures which I never am aware of at your other talks. I have a feeling that I am falling asleep, yet I hear what you are saying. I try very hard to keep awake but it almost seems an impossibility. Could you explain whether I am doing something wrong?

Sri Chinmoy: You are not doing anything wrong. When I give talks I bring down Peace, and this Peace is something tangible for the seekers. When the seeker is eager to swim in the sea of Peace, he or she is allowed by the Supreme to do so. During this experience, the mind does not operate; only the heart operates. The activity of the mind is totally silenced, and the heart has started functioning in its place. The function of the heart is to identify with anything that is around it or before it or inside it. Your heart is identifying with Peace and this Peace is silencing the mind. It is not inertia; it is not an experience of useless futility or something bad. No, in this Peace you cultivate the inner truth and grow into the Light which illumines the darkness that you faced or the ignorance that you cherished before you entered into meditation.

I bring down Peace, Light and Bliss in boundless measure, and according to his receptivity each seeker receives this Peace, Light and Bliss. This Peace is not an unconscious way of putting you to sleep. No, this Peace silences the outgoing energy of the mind and, at the same time, illumines the inflow of the heart. And when you are in the heart, the aspiring heart, you become one with the Peace that sustains the divine Reality in you.

Question: While meditating, I feel some forces in the ajna chakra (third eye) and in the heart centre that transform my face and my physical. What are these forces?

Sri Chinmoy: These are the divine forces that are trying to transform your physical nature and your physical outlook. When you meditate seriously, the ajna chakra is activated by the Eye of Vision. There the divine forces are working to bring into the body the vision of the luminous future, the Reality of the Beyond. And when you are concentrating on the heart centre, the anahata, these divine forces are trying to make you identify yourself with the vision of Reality which is knocking at your door. This Reality embraces the divine luminosity, divine power and divine consciousness which is your soul's birthright.

Question: Master, during my meditation, I see a triangle of pure, white light behind you that covers your head. What does this mean?

Sri Chinmoy: When you see this light, it is a very good experience. The triangle here represents three of my inner qualities in the form of light. You are seeing my Consciousness in the form of light, my Bliss in the form of light and my Power in the form of light: Consciousness, Delight and Power in the form of a luminous triangle.

Question: When I meditate, I sometimes feel a kind of pressure pushing in my mind.

Sri Chinmoy: In your mind, if you feel a kind of pressure, it means that your heart is invoking something which the mind feels is beyond its capacity to receive. The heart invokes, and the mind allows the reality or divinity to descend into the heart to some extent. But when it has not become totally one with the heart, the mind after a while resists the entrance of the higher Light. First try with aspiration to bring everything into the heart from Above. If there is resistance or pressure or pain in the head, all of which are caused by resistance in the mind, just think of the mind as an unruly, undivine, violent, cruel and hostile member of your family, and grab it and pull it into the heart. When you bring the mind to the heart, the divine heart, the soul will keep the mind in the prison cell of love, where there will be all protection.

It is very good from time to time to feel that the mind is inside the heart. A day will come when you will see that there is no mind at all, that it is all an illumined instrument. As the heart is the illumined instrument of God, so also you will find that what you call the mind has become a devoted instrument, an illumined instrument of the Supreme.

Question: When I am meditating, I feel my head expanding and I feel that something is pounding the top of my head.

Sri Chinmoy: Two seemingly contradictory things are happening. On the one hand, you say that your head is expanding; this is the purified consciousness that is expanding in your mind. On the other hand, your impure thoughts, impure consciousness, want to pull down Light from above by force and when they do so, they feel a heavy pressure. When the pure forces in us want to pull down some thing from Above, there is no pressure. Why? Because when our little divinity looks up and invites the highest Divinity to enter, it sees its oneness with the Highest. It is like a child who sees its father. The child is not afraid, because he knows that it is his own father that he sees. He calls his father and his father comes to him. But if he invites in someone else's father, he may be afraid of that person. He may fear that that man will show him an angry face and say, "Why did you call me?" This fear comes because the father and the son are not of the same origin. The son sees someone unfamiliar, so he experiences a kind of uneasiness and fear.

Now similarly, when impure thoughts invite the highest Divinity to descend, the Divinity is ready to come; but the impure thoughts are afraid because they think they will be crushed. They do not get any familiar feeling. Observing that the Divine is foreign and strange, the undivine feels uneasy and experiences a severe pressure on the head. But our divine thoughts, our pure thoughts, do get a familiar feeling when they see the Divinity coming down in abundant measure. It is the undivine in us that is always afraid of the Divine even though at times it wants to see the Divine.

Question: At times during meditation, I feel that the physical heart stops for a few seconds and then it resumes beating.

Sri Chinmoy: When you feel that the physical heart stops, this is a very good experience, but you must not be afraid of it. You won't die at all. In the spiritual life, many Masters, in order to enter into the higher regions during meditation, have consciously stopped their heart beat.

When I was a boy of fourteen or fifteen, I first tried this at the foot of a mango tree. In front of our dining hall was a garden, and in that garden there was a mango tree, where I used to go and meditate. One day, while meditating, I said to myself, "The Yogis are able to stop their hearts. Let me see if I can do it. I may suffer a little or I may die. If I suffer or die, no harm." I stopped my heart and then went on meditating for another twenty minutes or half hour. Nothing happened.

But only Yogis and spiritual Masters can do this. Out of His infinite Compassion, God has given you a glimpse of this experience. You should be very happy and proud. Then when you become a Yogi, it is up to you to stop your heartbeat and then meditate. What it means is that the physical has totally ceased and the spiritual is reigning supreme. At that moment, you do not need the physical. At the present time, the physical being is ruling the spiritual. But when the heart is stopped, it is the spiritual which is ruling the physical and at that time, we become consciously one with God.

Question: You talk about spiritual practices, either elaborate or very simple. When we, as ordinary people, listen to a piece of music or see a very great piece of art, we feel a certain kind of joy. Is the joy you achieve after many years of spiritual practice the same as the joy we achieve momentarily, or is it greater?

Sri Chinmoy: It is something different. When you hear a piece of music, you are temporarily transported to a realm of ecstasy. Then, after five or ten minutes, the music goes away and the joy disappears. When you make something, you experience the joy of creation. You are in ecstasy for fifteen minutes or half an hour, or for a day or two. Then your joy vanishes. Why? Because the joy that you get from your creation or from somebody else's creation is limited by the capacity of that creation. Your creation may have the capacity to give joy for five or ten minutes. Then it stops. This is because you have not created something infinite or eternal. But when you have meditated for fifteen or twenty years, eight or ten hours a day, you will have a free access to something boundless, infinite.

When you meditate, you enter into the Vast — the vast sea, or the vast sky, or infinite Light. When you enter into the Vast, you become, by God's Grace, a channel which flows endlessly, like the Ganges flowing down from the Himalayas. So when you meditate, you get a continuous flow of inner joy. The joy which you get from some earthly creation lasts for a short time, because both the creator and the creation are bound. But by meditating, you enter into boundlessness. Then your joy is really spontaneous and permanent.

When a spiritual Master says that he has inner Peace, inner Joy, inner Bliss, he has these permanently. They flow constantly from within because he has grown into the Source. This Joy is infinitely greater and more fulfilling than the fleeting joy which an ordinary human being may experience.

Question: I am not very sure that I understand what you mean by inner peace or keeping the mind quiet during meditation. When I am very close to nature, I get a feeling of peace. But I am not sure if this is inner peace or whether it is just the atmosphere of the place that gives me this peaceful feeling.

Sri Chinmoy: Your peaceful feeling is altogether a different experience from the inner peace I was speaking of. What is actually happening is that you are identifying your outer mind with Nature. Nature has its own rhythm, its own harmony, its own peace and joy. When you are identified, consciously or unconsciously, with universal Nature, it is all vastness and immensity. There you lose your own outer existence, the feeling that you are separate from other persons. In that state of unified oneness, you become totally one with universal Nature; you become part and parcel of the Vast and the Infinite. You forget your ordinary life, which is your physical frame, your name and your outer existence. In that state, you do not have to make your mind calm and quiet, for the mind is not functioning; you have already become identified with the treasure of universal Nature's consciousness. You are seeing the trees, you are seeing the ocean, but actually you are not functioning mentally. You have identified yourself with these natural things and now what they represent, what they have, is being mirrored in your own outer life

But this experience is entirely different from the experience that I was speaking about. I was speaking about inner peace, which most seekers at the beginning do not have. They have constant attacks of worry, anxiety, doubt, along with constant normal thoughts. Even when their minds are shut and they are not talking to anybody, their minds are still responding. But, in your experience, your mind is not responding to any of the disturbances of the outer world. Your soul has become one with universal Nature. The things which are encompassed by universal Nature are representing themselves before your mental vision as your very own. At the same time, you have become the witness, totally detached, observing things but not responding. This is a very good experience, a very high experience, but it is different from the experience that I was referring to.

My life

My desire-life
Was the song of nothingness.

My aspiration-life
Is the dance of progress.

My realisation-life
Shall be the Heart of God.

Question: When I meditate, I enter into the inner world and if certain good vibrations help me, I see things which materialise in the outer world after a few months. Should I try to transcend this?

Sri Chinmoy: You actually enter into the soul's world and see things which materialise a few months later. No, you don't have to transcend this. There is no necessity. However, you should be aware whether or not you are crying to know these things. If you are meditating with a view to finding out what is going to happen in the future, then you do have to transcend this. If you say during your meditation, "Oh God, tell me what is going to happen to my husband or my son," then it is a mistake. But if you are not curious and if your aim is always to go deep within to have a serious, profound meditation, then I can say that God wants to show you these things for a divine purpose. He wants to show you the future; He wants to give you these experiences. You must not try to transcend these experiences because, in this case, it is God's Will that you are fulfilling and not your own desire.

Love is a flower

Love is a flower
That grows in every

Doubt is a flower
That grows in every

Progress is a flower
That grows in every

God is a flower
That grows in every

Question: During my meditation there is a very strong sound and within that sound, there are thousands of sounds.

Sri Chinmoy: Here you have to know that this sound you hear is the sound of inner Divinity and inside this Divinity, all the time, Infinity is growing. The first sound is the Source, the cosmic sound. Inside that is the infinite manifestation of sound. The first sound is the cosmic vibration, the soundless sound. We call it anahata. Then inside this sound, you will hear an infinite number of sounds because from the divine one, many have come.

God was One. He wanted to divinely divide Himself up and thus enjoy Himself in multiple forms. That is why we are now here on earth.

Now this soundless sound that you hear within contains within itself the creation. That is why there are other sounds that you hear inside it. Those inner sounds are the sounds of identification with the universe, with the manifestation. The first sound is the Source of realisation, the Highest. The other ones are the sounds of the infinite manifestation.

Question: Sometimes after meditation I touch things and find that they are not solid; they are fluid. They seem to lose their solid state.

Sri Chinmoy: Actually they do not lose their solid state. After your deep meditation, you touch a wall or some other solid object and you feel that it is soft and that you can even bend it. You have to know what has happened to your consciousness at that time. After meditation you are totally relaxed and very peaceful. Your identification with the consciousness of the wall has also become most intense and intimate. Because your own consciousness is soft and yielding, you feel that the wall is also bending. Your own consciousness, in fact, has entered into the solid wall. As your consciousness is very light and relaxed, naturally, anything it touches will get its vibration.

To give you an analogy, when I touch someone from my highest consciousness, that person may not be in his highest consciousness. His mind may be roaming here or there. But if I consciously identify myself with that person, immediately he gets my consciousness even though, one minute before that, he was like a solid wall spiritually. On the strength of my identification with him, that person receives my own divine consciousness. I touch him and give him Peace, Light and Bliss.

So when you have come out of a deep meditation and touch something, you will feel your own consciousness is that solid thing. You will see that the solid object is accepting you, embracing you. It has opened its heart's door to become one with you.

Question: Sometimes in my meditations, I come to think about Eternity. This feeling, instead of giving me joy, on the contrary causes me great anguish. I feel that I am all alone, I feel that by the power of my mind I have destroyed the world and am all alone by myself. Please tell me if I am taking the wrong track.

Sri Chinmoy: In your meditation, when you feel that you are alone, it is not actually the loneliness of a human being that you feel. At that time you have got a glimpse of the Soul, which pervades all. What you feel is a sense of your unconscious oneness with the Absolute Oneness. You see the Reality; you are the One pervading everything.

But when the physical, the vital and the mind are not transformed to a considerable degree, they are afraid of this loneliness. What is actually happening in your meditation is that your aspiration ceases before it reaches its Goal or finds its abode in the Goal. Your heart's mounting flame rises upward, but there are a few stops and breaks. If there were an uninterrupted and continuous flight, then you would not feel the loneliness at the lower levels of your consciousness. Please try to keep your aspiration uninterrupted at all times. The inner runner must complete his race divine.

Question: When I meditate, I see within and without that everything is alive and has millions of patterns. I see something like a living presence in everything.

Sri Chinmoy: This is a very high kind of meditation because inside everything is God. And where God is, life is bound to be found. Life and God can never be separated. Where there is life, there is God and where there is God, there is life. It is a wonderful experience.

Now you see infinite patterns. Inside one thing you are seeing many varieties. Here the One is being expressed in many forms and many patterns. Look at a lotus flower. It is one flower, but it is expressed or manifested by many petals, by leaves, by the stem and the pollen. In one lotus you see the manifestation of reality through various forms. You touch one particular part of the lotus, the leaf, for example, and you say "This is the lotus." Then you touch another part, the stem, and again you say, "This is the lotus." God is there in all parts of the flower; that is why you feel that each part is the whole. God is present wherever life exists. God is endless in expression. He is endless in manifestation.

Question: Very frequently when I start my meditation, I feel a vibration as if I were a motor. This vibration starts going up into the head and then my head more or less falls, as though I am falling asleep. Then I try to wake up, and then the vibration starts up again.

Sri Chinmoy: When you are meditating you have to feel that energy is coming from your heart centre right into your mind. And then, when it comes up into your mind, you must feel that you are not falling down or falling into sleep. At that time, your soul's Light is coming forward and touching the mind. The soul is urging and compelling the mind to surrender to the soul's Light. In your case, when the soul enters into the mind and convinces it to surrender to the divine Light, your mind actually does surrender for a short period of time. The mind is convinced of the reality of the Light that the soul has given it. But what happens is that, unfortunately, you bring the mind forward again. That means that you don't want to keep your surrender to the soul's Light constant. First the mind bows to the soul's Light and then, after a few minutes, the mind wants to regain its supremacy. If the surrender were complete, the mind would remain silent in a divine way. And that is what the soul wants for the time being.

Later, when you find that you are getting boundless joy, the soul will tell you to come back to the mind's original plane. But this time, because the soul has been pumping Light, Light, Light into the mind, the mind will be surcharged and flooded with the soul's effulgence. At that time, if the soul tells you to do something or I tell you to do something, immediately your mind will jump to do it. At the present time, the mind does not jump and run at the soul's command, because it sees the higher Light for only ten minutes and for two hours it wants its own limited knowledge. But if you remain in the soul during your meditation as long as your soul wants, then the mind will be surcharged with Light. And after a while the soul will say to the mind: "Now you can go back to your own plane. You are now well-protected, you are now illumined, you are now safe. You are safe because you feel that you are from the divine Light and for the divine Light. You can use the mind divinely whenever you want to."

Question: Sometimes, even though I concentrate on my heart, my head pulls down energy and I can't seem to stop it, and I just end up with a headache and a stiff neck, and I lose my meditation. Is there any way I can get out of that and still get back to the heart?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. The easiest thing to do, when you feel that you are getting a tremendous pull or pain in your head, is to feel that that pain is the result of resistance. It is like this: the heart is receiving through the mind. Something is coming from Above and is trying to enter into the heart, but the mind is not allowing the heart to receive with its utmost capacity. The mind has allowed the heart to receive to some extent; that is why the force is coming through the mind. But then the mind becomes jealous of the heart. It feels that this heart is becoming more powerful, more soulful and more fulfilling. That is why resistance is coming from the mind.

So what will you do at that time? You will try to feel that inside the heart there is something which is infinitely more powerful than the mind. Feel the soul, and bring the soul forward from the heart. Feel that there is intense power inside the soul. You may not see the soul, but bring forward your inner strength and then grab the mind. Say to the mind, "You allowed me to remain quiet for a few minutes, and I am grateful. But I am still praying and meditating, still crying for Peace, Light and Bliss, and now you are not allowing me to continue." Just grab the mind and put it into the flood of the heart. As long as it allows you to meditate, you don't have to worry. But when it starts bothering you, when it starts creating pain, that means it is resisting. It is not allowing you to receive more Peace and Light from Above.

Just grab the mind and feel that it is like a naughty child. Before, it was asleep and allowed the mother to remain silent or pray to God. But now the child is up and it wants to cause mischief. It does not want to allow the mother to aspire any further, to achieve more Peace, Light and Bliss. So what will the mother do? The mother will threaten the child and say, "I am still praying, I am meditating. You must not bother me, you must not disturb me, or I will punish you."

The mother gives a smart slap to the child and says, "Now you sit here in my lap and let me go on with my own work." After getting a slap, the child will sleep in his mother's lap, and the mother will go on with her own work, praying and meditating.

Question: Could you please explain the difference between taking drugs and meditation? What is your opinion on using drugs?

Sri Chinmoy: If somebody feels that by taking drugs he will get inner experiences or high experiences, then that is his business. Perhaps he will say that I am not the judge or authority, since I have not taken drugs. But I have meditated, and I have realised the Highest. Since you are asking me my opinion, on the strength of my own highest realisation I wish to say that the use of drugs is not proper. Those who take drugs are damaging their inner spiritual faculties which are of paramount importance in order to enter God's Kingdom.

If you throw me into the sea, immerse me forcibly in the water, not allowing me to come to the surface, then what will happen? Just before I lose consciousness I will see all blank, all white. This is the kind of experience that those who have taken drugs get. They get an experience, but it is dangerous, unnatural, forced. But when one prays, when one meditates, when one contemplates, one enters into the living Consciousness of God. One knows the real Truth, feels the real Ecstasy, sees the real Light. This is the positive and natural way of entering into God. By taking drugs and using artificial means, people are unconsciously, if not deliberately, negating the real Truth.

I have a few hundred disciples in the United States and in other places. About thirty or forty of them, who are now my close disciples, used to take drugs and according to their own understanding and realisation at that time, they had very high, lofty experiences. But somehow they were not quite satisfied by these experiences. They came to me with the idea of seeing the difference between the experiences that they had had with drugs and the experiences they could get from meditation with me. After a while they began to get real spiritual experiences from their meditation. They say that the difference between drug experiences and meditation experiences is like the difference between sitting in a bathtub and swimming in the vast ocean. When you examine them properly, you see that one experience expands and liberates, while the other binds and limits. To my deepest joy and pride, all these disciples gladly continue to do without drugs. They are surely in a position to judge, since they have had experiences of both kinds.

They enjoy

My earth-life enjoys
Infant slumber,
Infant cry.

My Heaven-life enjoys
Infant awakening,
Infant smile,

My God-life enjoys
Infant song,
Infant love.

Editor's preface to the first edition

Many people in the West have begun to discover in meditation a way to find their true inner nature. In these volumes, a God-realised spiritual Master answers a wide range of questions about the meaning of different meditation experiences, ways to make meditation practical and the value of meditation.

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