Meditation: God speaks and I listen, part 2

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Question: Could you recommend some books on meditation, concentration, contemplation and aspiration?

Sri Chinmoy: Are you interested in following the path of any particular spiritual Master? Because spirituality is a very vast and varied subject. You have to know whether you want to go on the path of devotion or through pure, abstract ideas. You have to know what path you are going to follow. Then you will be in a position to derive the utmost from a book. Otherwise if you study it may be a waste of time.

If you are interested in Sri Ramakrishna, the great spiritual Master of India, or if you want to study the path of the Vedanta and the Upanishads, then you can study the spiritual writings of Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna's dearest disciple, and some of his other disciples' books. If you want to follow the path of integral Yoga, integral acceptance, then study the works of Sri Aurobindo. If you would like to study from the spiritual point of view, then you can read the books of India's ex-President, Dr. Radhakrishnan. His books will certainly clarify Indian thought and help you to fathom Indian teachings. If you are interested in concentration, contemplation and meditation and you want to know the specific method used hundreds of years ago and the secrets of meditation, you can read the Samkhya Shastra of Kapila and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. There you will get mental information as well as meditation.

Question: If I meditate on a person, can I be with him on the inner plane?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly you can. If you have an intimate friend who is absolutely sympathetic to you and your inner life, you can try this with him: you have to enter into him and you have to breathe simultaneously with him. If two sincere, dedicated, aspiring souls sit together every day and practice breathing together, they will achieve the result. You should count one, two, three, and breathe in at the same time. Then stop counting. When you are breathing in, feel that he is also breathing in. Look at one another and converse through the eyes. If you can develop identification this way with two persons sitting face to face, then you can throw this same power of identification all over the entire world. Even if the person is separated from you, thousands of miles away, you can easily know what he is thinking.

This inner identification is practised by all spiritual Masters. Every day in the morning and in the evening and at other times also, I use this power of identification for my devoted disciples in different parts of the world. Then I see, hear, know everything they do. There are many minor things they do which I do not take into consideration, but when there is something very serious, before it actually touches the physical, I try to destroy it on the mental plane. As far as your question is concerned, this can be done, and I must say, it has to be done by all sincere aspirants and especially by leaders who want to serve and help humanity, no matter in which field, the spiritual field, the political field or any other field.

Question: Is it possible to go directly to the formless Supreme, or do we have to invoke the Supreme with words such as Aum?

Sri Chinmoy: We have to go from the form to the formless. A seeker cannot go from the formless to the form. When we go to church and pray, we utter the name of God or of Christ. We know that Christ came into existence, he descended to earth and took a human form like us so his Truth could be seen. Similarly, when we chant Aum we invoke the Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, that is, the Creator, the Preserver and the Transformer, and these all have form.

Question: But can we use AUM to enter into the formless?

Sri Chinmoy: You not only can, but also must do this. You know that in music you can sense the finite and also the Infinite. The finite, which is the form of the music, is what you use to enter into your music. Once you have entered through the finite, you will feel that the music is taking you to the Infinite. But you are starting with the finite. So also in your spiritual life, if you start with the name of God, it helps a lot. After a few years or so you need no longer utter God's name, you enter into the consciousness itself. When we are in our deepest meditation, we do not utter the name of the Supreme or God or anybody. At that time, we simply exist in our oneness with Him.

In our deepest meditation, God sees our aspiration and at that time we do not have to ask for Peace or Light. We need not utter the name of God, because He knows what we are crying for. As a mother knows what a child is crying for, so also when we are in our deepest meditation, God, who is our Mother and our Father, knows what we need.

Question: How should we meditate on the picture of a spiritual Master?

Sri Chinmoy: When we meditate in front of the picture of a spiritual Master, we should try always to identify ourselves with the consciousness of the spiritual Master which is embodied in the particular picture. If we want to identify ourselves with his consciousness, then the first thing we have to do is to concentrate on the whole picture. Gradually, we should bring our focus of attention to only the face, then to between the eyebrows and a little above, which is where his actual inner, spiritual wealth can be found. This is the third eye, the place of vision, and the moment we can identify ourselves with the vision of inner reality, we shall achieve the greatest success.

If you want to get purity as you look at the picture, imagine that you are breathing in simultaneously with the Master for five minutes before you start your meditation. You should feel that he is also breathing — the Master and disciple must breathe in together for five minutes.

Question: Can you tell us how a beginner can meditate on an aphorism like the one you just read out?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. Today's meditation was:

I need an illumined mind to study God's entire Life.
I need a devoted heart to feel God's immortal Love.
I need a surrendered soul to realise God's infinite Joy.

Now, which are the key words? First, "illumined mind." The sophisticated mind, the intellectual mind, the doubting mind, the frustrated mind we see every day. But I used the term "illumined mind." What is the illumined mind? It is the mind that is surcharged with Light. The moment the mind is surcharged with divine Light, it is illumined. If there is no Light or very little Light in it, then it is merely the sophisticated, intellectual, doubting, frustrated and destructive mind.

The next key phrase is, "to study God's entire Life." Our human life is the short span of sixty, seventy or eighty years. But God's entire Life means Eternity, which has neither beginning nor end. To think of something beginningless and endless we need an illumined mind, for the ordinary mind cannot begin to comprehend these ideas. The ordinary mind cannot think of even two things at a time, not to speak of concentrating on two things at a time. But with the illumined mind, we can think of twenty things at a time.

These phrases have given you an idea of what you should think about — God's entire Life — and what you should strive for — an illumined mind. Allow these thoughts and aspirations to come into you and create a world of their own. Then you will see that you are meditating on something sublime. From reading something soulful and inspiring — this aphorism — you have received a clue about what is worthwhile to think about and also about how you should think about it.

"I need a devoted heart to feel God's immortal Love." Human love we know does not last. It is the experience of a fleeting second. But immortal Love, God's immortal Love, lasts forever and will always fulfil both you and humanity. Everybody's heart is good and pure. Our mind and vital may be bad, and they may obscure the heart. But the heart is always good. Very often we mistake the vital for the heart and say that someone has a bad heart. But this is not true. Everybody has a wonderful heart, but that heart functions properly only when it has devoted qualities, like a mother's heart. A human heart may be pure and sincere, but only when one has a devoted heart will one try to serve God, realise God and fulfil God. There are many people who do not utilise the heart to dedicate and devote themselves to the spiritual life. For these people, real progress is impossible. The heart that is not devoted will be constantly moving from one object to another. Only the heart that is dedicated and devoted can feel God's immortal Love.

"I need a surrendered soul to realise God's infinite Joy." Everybody has a soul, but unfortunately the face of surrender we have not yet seen. For a fleeting moment someone may surrender to somebody else: a wife may surrender to her husband, or a husband may surrender to his wife. But a surrendered soul is one that is totally surrendered, constantly surrendered, for an entire lifetime, if not for Eternity. God has and is all divine qualities, but His most important quality is Joy or Delight. If one wants to see God's infinite Joy, then one has to make complete surrender, total surrender, unconditional surrender. One has to grow into a surrendered soul. Unconditional surrender is not the surrender of a slave to the master. Unconditional surrender is conscious, willing and cheerful surrender. The aspirant surrenders to God's Will because he feels that by surrendering to God's Will, he is becoming one with God Himself. Conscious and unconditional surrender is what God wants from each person on earth. If the seeker can surrender himself entirely to God's Will, then he will feel God's infinite Joy in him.

I have explained this aphorism in my own way, but you can have your own way of interpreting it. After you have read some soulful spiritual writings, or the meditation for the day from one of my books of spiritual aphorisms, please try to meditate on them or allow divine thoughts and ideas to enter into your mind. Pick the key words or ideas, like, 'illumination,' 'God's Life,' 'devoted heart,' 'immortal Love,' 'surrendered soul,' 'infinite Joy,' and so on. Then open your heart and let the thoughts come. If you really focus on these divine ideas, undivine or silly thoughts cannot bother you, because your mind will be in the world of illumination. If you are sincerely thinking of illumination, only illumination can enter into you. If you think of a devoted heart, only devotion will enter into your mind and your consciousness. If you think of a surrendered soul, it is a surrendered consciousness which will enter into you.

Meditation can be done in this way for the beginner. If you are a beginner, at least you have started, so do not worry about your present capacities. No matter where you are, start. This is the first way of entering into meditation. Gradually the time will come when you will have no thoughts, no ideas, no mind during your meditation. Neither divine thoughts nor undivine thoughts will enter into you then. Only Reality, eternal Reality, will grow within you.

Question: How can one have inner peace in the outside world?

Sri Chinmoy: For that one has to meditate regularly. Before you enter into the outer world, you are at home, in your own room. You stay at home and you sleep for five, six or seven hours At that time you are the boss. There is nobody to interfere. There is nobody entering into your mind. If you want to, you lock the door, you bolt it from inside and do not allow anybody to come in. This is in your outer, earthly existence: you have a room and you do not allow anybody to enter into it. Similarly, you can close your inner doors, the doors, let us say, of your senses when you have fully strengthened your inner being. Your inner being can be strengthened as you strengthen your muscles. If every day you take exercise, you will see that your muscles become strong, stronger, strongest. In the spiritual life also, before you enter into the turmoil, the hustle and bustle of life, at home you should meditate regularly for fifteen minutes or half an hour.

Now, each time you meditate, please try to feel that you have gained some strength, inner strength. And this strength is something solid. It is not your mental fabrication. You meditate for ten minutes and then go out. If you see two people who are fighting, your inner peace may not enter into them, because they are now in another world; but your inner peace has enough strength to protect you. You will not be affected. That doesn't mean that you are very cruel or indifferent to them, you are worse than these people who are fighting. It is not that you are not sympathising while they are being hurt. No. They are fighting, they are torturing each other, but you will see it as a scene in a drama or a play. Your inner being, which is the real reality inside you, will not be affected. On the one hand, you will see that they are doing something wrong. On the other hand, you will see that you are not doing the thing yourself. If we do not follow the spiritual life, what will happen is that immediately we will take one side. "This fellow is sincere, this fellow is not the culprit, the other fellow is the real culprit." Or, we will have a kind of undivine quality within us. We will notice that this undivine, aggressive quality is coming forward. We feel that if we also had strength, we would strike somebody. When we see undivine people, if we are not spiritual, or even if we are spiritual, sometimes our undivine qualities come forward. But if we are really spiritual, our own spiritual qualities come forward and these divine qualities, like a thief, want to enter into those who are using undivine qualities, quarrelling and fighting.

When we come out of the house into the world, we have to be well protected. Not with armour. No We will be protected with divine thoughts, divine ideas, a divine Goal. The moment we have a goal, we shall walk only towards the goal. We have a destined goal and we are running towards the goal. There are many people who are watching us, and sometimes they are mocking at us. They say that our speed is not satisfactory, or in various ways they mock at us. This world is like that. If we are not one of them, immediately they will think that we are indifferent or we are insane. But if we know that we have a goal of our own, and we are running towards the destined goal, no matter what they say or what kind of life they are leading, we will not be affected. The divine in us will protect us and at the same time if the divine in us wants to offer a little Light to those who are wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance, they will get some light from us.

But early in the morning we have to meditate. Everybody has to meditate. This early morning meditation is of paramount importance for a spiritual seeker. If we go out without morning meditation, we are bound to feel, if we are conscious, that we are facing a roaring lion. But if we go with a very sound, solid meditation, after we have had a very good meditation, we will feel that a dog is following us, our most faithful dog. Our inner being will be surcharged with indomitable Peace, Light and Power. If we don't go with meditation, the roaring lion is going to devour us. If we go after having a most successful meditation, inwardly we will see that the world of aspiration or even the world of suffering, depression, and despair sees something in us. It tries to follow us, sometimes with reluctance, sometimes with joy, sometimes with greed, but in some way or other it tries to follow us like a dog.

Question: Does one achieve divine experience through meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Through meditation we are bound to get divine experience. Meditation is the means. If one meditates, certainly one will get divine experience. If one doesn't, then one will have only ordinary, human experiences. Meditation is the only answer. Meditation is the key to enter into the divine world.

Question: You said your talk was based on your inner experiences. How did you get these experiences?

Sri Chinmoy: From meditation. From my concentration, meditation and contemplation. I was in a spiritual community for twenty years. Similarly, if you spend fourteen, sixteen, twenty years in spiritual practices, naturally you will also get inner knowledge in abundant measure. From the ages of twelve through thirty-two, I went through rigorous spiritual discipline: concentration, meditation, Yoga. It took me eight hours, ten hours, twelve hours, fourteen hours of meditation daily to achieve what I have right now. When you study in school and get your master's degree, you start offering your knowledge to the world at large. In the inner life, also, when one concentrates, meditates and contemplates, one enters into the world of inner Wisdom, inner Light. From there he can bring to the fore at his sweet will the Light, Bliss and Power that he has achieved and offer it to others.

Question: Should outer experiences be considered transitory?

Sri Chinmoy: Each experience helps us but at the same time we do not remember each experience in detail. We do not keep the whole experience in the outer world; we keep the essence of the experience in the inner world. The experiences you had at the age of twelve are unknown to you now. In your outer life you have totally forgotten them, but in your inner life their essence remains. In the inner world nothing is lost; everything is recorded. In the outer world, an experience is real for a while, and then a few days later it is totally defaced. Before realisation, certainly all is transmuted in the outer life. It does not stay in our day-to-day consciousness. But in the inner life the real essence remains.

Question: Are the little sporadic experiences that we have during meditation part of realisation, or are they small steps to realisation?

Sri Chinmoy: In a sense each experience is taking you to realisation; each experience is a step towards realisation. But again, if instead of walking slowly, one has the capacity to run very fast, then one need not have thousands or millions of experiences before realising God. Each experience certainly helps us; it gives us confidence, it gives us joy. Somebody may say that he wants to eat a mango today, an orange tomorrow and another fruit the day after. Before he gets the fruit that he calls the goal, he will get many little tastes of fruit. But only when he eats the fruit that is his goal does he get full satisfaction. But again, if somebody is absolutely sincere in saying that he does not want anything but realisation, he will say, "I don't want any other fruit. I want only the fruit that is meant for me, the fruit that is my goal, the fruit that will offer me complete satisfaction."

Question: How can I have a transcendental experience in my meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: If you want to have transcendental experiences, you need a special meditation, as well as inner discipline. Just by doing something intensively you will not necessarily get what you are seeking. Suppose you dig at a place where there is no water. You may dig and dig, but if there is no water, what will you do? But, if you dig at a proper spot where there is water, you will get it. Similarly if you have the proper meditation, proper guidance and proper self-discipline then certainly you will have the transcendental experience.

Question: Sometimes while meditating I have the feeling that I am looking everywhere. What does this mean?

Sri Chinmoy: While you are meditating you are looking everywhere. Your consciousness at that time is expanded. You are not only one person among many on earth; you feel that the whole world belongs to you and that you belong to the world. The world can claim you at that time as its very own. Right at this moment you cannot claim the world as your own at all. Your brother, your sister, the rest of your family — these are yours, but that is all. But when you feel that you are seeing everything around you during your meditation, everything is yours, everyone is yours. Inwardly you can claim everything, and everything that is around you can claim you also as its very own. This is a very good experience.

Question: When I meditate, I often feel that my ego gets in my way.

Sri Chinmoy: We have a human ego and a divine ego. The divine ego is called our inseparable oneness with the universal consciousness. In the divine ego our 'I' becomes universal; we become larger than the individual self and establish a feeling of oneness with everyone. When you meditate, if the ego comes forward, then feel that you are the universal 'I' instead of the little 'I'.

Question: Once during meditation I had the experience that I was neither inside nor outside. There was no solidity; there was nothing concrete, objective or real. I didn't know where I was or what was happening.

Sri Chinmoy: This is a good experience. You were neither inside nor outside. Then where were you? When you are not inside, that means you are not inside your highest reality. And when you are not outside, that means you are not in your outgoing energy. The inside has the message of purity and the outside has the message of beauty. You have not entered into the very depths within, where purity looms large, and at the same time you have not entered into the very depths without, where beauty is manifested. When inside becomes purity, then outside becomes beauty. Now this is one way of experiencing the truth. But another way of experiencing this truth is to feel that you are standing somewhere holding the outer world of imperfection and the inner world of perfection. You are the bridge in your life between the outer world and the inner world where you are neither the outer world nor the inner world. You are bringing the inner world into the outer world so that it can manifest itself, and you are taking the outer world into the inner world so that it can realise itself.

Question: A friend of mine who is a pianist had an experience that he told me about. He was playing a passage on the piano, a very fast arpeggio, and suddenly he realised that without reducing the velocity of the passage he could stop and look at every note he was playing. He looked at the notes as though he was looking at what he was doing from another plane where time had not the same dimension as time has here. He was playing very fast and all the time he was looking at what he was doing. There seemed to be no relation to the time concept that we have in this plane. Would you say that this was a case of concentration?

Sri Chinmoy: It was not concentration at that time. His soul was playing and having communication with two worlds. He was not concentrating on anything. His soul was communicating with two worlds and he was just observing it.

Question: When I start to go deep within, I feel sleepy.

Sri Chinmoy: It is not sleep; you are making a mistake there. While you are meditating, your mind is entering into the world of calmness and silence. There you don't have to create any movement or be dynamic. This world of silence is not like ordinary sleep, where one becomes totally unconscious. On the contrary, it is a very good state. Try only to grow into that state with utmost sincerity, humility and devotion.

However, if meditation proper has not yet taken place, if you feel sleepy when you are merely preparing to meditate, it means that inertia and sloth are present. But if it is after a good meditation that this feeling comes, it is not sleep at all. You are entering into the world of silence and mistaking it for sleep.

Question: Sometimes in deep meditation I feel my whole body going completely numb as though it has been anaesthetised. I can move only my eyes.

Sri Chinmoy: This is a very good experience, the experience of silence. The mind has totally surrendered to the heart during your meditation. The heart takes the mind with it, and both surrender to the soul. At that time what you get is a feeling of static silence. Try to stay in that silence; do not be afraid of it. You can stay there for a couple of days or even a month without any fear. And that silence will grow into dynamic silence. You will feel that in the silence itself there is spontaneous creativity, spontaneous movement, spontaneous life — the life of spiritual awakening, spiritual experience and spiritual revelation.

Question: While meditating I sometimes feel that my body is moving rhythmically, but when I open my eyes I see that I am not moving at all.

Sri Chinmoy: This is a very good experience. The movement that you feel is in the inner world, in your subtle body. When you open your eyes you become aware of your physical consciousness. The reality has not yet manifested itself in the physical nor does it need to manifest itself. If you feel that you are flying while you are meditating, you don't have to manifest this movement in the physical. A bird and an aeroplane can both fly, but their consciousness is not higher than yours.

If you feel abundant Peace within you, then immediately try to manifest it in your eyes, in your physical consciousness. If you feel Light, try to manifest it. Very few people have Peace here on earth. If you have Peace, immediately you are solving the problems of the entire world when you bring Peace into the outer world, when you manifest Peace. The world needs Peace, the world needs Love, the world needs Joy, the world needs all divine qualities.

In the subtle body I can fly, but I do not need to fly on the physical plane; a bird and an aeroplane can perform that task. My joy is to see and feel Peace, Light and Bliss and bring them to the fore in my outer life. By manifesting these divine qualities I can be of great help to mankind and fulfil God.

Question: Sometimes during concentration at twilight, for instance, I hear a vibration which is like a murmur or a hum. Is that vibration from my own subtle body or is it the vibration of the earth, of the atmosphere?

Sri Chinmoy: The vibration comes from your subtle body. It does not come from outside, particularly in your case.

Question: Is the feeling of the soul coming out of the body something to have as an aim? What will happen to the body if the soul does not come back into it?

Sri Chinmoy: When we say that we want to bring our consciousness out of the body during meditation, we do not want to kill or destroy the body. We have to bring the limited consciousness out of the body and throw it into the universal Consciousness.

Our aim should be to come out of the finite and enter into the infinite. During our meditation we feel all-pervading Peace, Joy, Bliss and Power which we do not normally feel. The moment we think of the body, we are limited; we are in a prison cell; we are only five feet and a few inches tall; but the moment we think of the soul, we will feel Infinity, Eternity and Immortality all around.

There are two approaches to the high, higher, highest levels of consciousness. If one wants to work in the world or for the world, no matter how high he goes, the Divine will grant him the opportunity and the assurance of coming back into the world. Because the Divine wants this seeker to work for Him and manifest Him here on earth. But if one does not want to manifest here on earth, he will be given the chance to stay in the higher worlds. His soul will not have to come back into the body.

There is no need to think about bringing one's soul back into the body. If you work for the world, then God Himself will pave a clear, sunlit path for your return through your meditation. Your meditation takes your soul or consciousness out of your body, and also brings it back. No matter where you go, since you have accepted the world and want to work for the world, the meditation that takes you to the highest will bring you from the highest to reveal and fulfil the Divine here on earth.

Question: Sometimes when I look at the sunshine and I close my eyes, I see a round disc in front of my eyes with the blossom-colour that is described by some writers as the colour of the vital body. Is that my own vital body?

Sri Chinmoy: At times you see the reflection of your own vital body and at times you see the reflection of the object you are looking at. Each object has a subtle part. Even a wall has a subtle part. Although you are seeing the form of the wall, behind the wall or within the wall, there is a subtle form. You see the subtle form coming forward.

Question: Guru, can the quality and colour of light that one sees in meditation be used as a guide to the height and quality of the meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, it can be, but only if you know the significance of the light or colour can it be of help to you. If you know the significance of a colour you have seen in your meditation, then you will be able to know whether you are making progress in your spiritual life or not. Suppose you are meditating very deeply and you see blue light; you know this light is from your meditation, and not from your imagination. When you know it is from your deep meditation, immediately feel that this blue light is the light of spirituality. This light means you are becoming as vast as the sky, the vast blue sky. Again, the light means you are consciously becoming one with Infinity. If you do not know the meaning of the blue light, you will simply notice what a beautiful wonderful colour it is. It will help you to a limited extent, because your inner being does make progress when you see blue light. But if your outer being knows what the colour signifies, then your progress, your evolution, proceeds much faster.

The same holds true when you repeat mantras, and when you chant Sanskrit slokas or verses. If you know the meaning of the slokas and chant them soulfully, you get the utmost benefit from them. There are many scholars who know the meaning of the slokas, but they do not chant them soulfully. Like a parrot they repeat the mantras; they do not get any result from their chanting. A seeker may not have studied the slokas thoroughly like the scholars, but if he knows their basic meaning and he most sincerely, most devotedly prays and meditates on them, he gets the utmost benefit. There are many people who have studied the Indian scriptures. They know that blue signifies vastness; red, power; gold, manifestation; white, purity; green, freshness and dynamism. They know these facts, but they do not meditate on the colours, and they get no result. Now there are sincere seekers who meditate on the colours without knowing their significance. They will definitely derive benefit from their meditation, but if the conscious mind knows the significance, they can get the utmost benefit. Suppose you have seen a blue light. For ten days or even for two months that experience can keep your consciousness very high and vast. If your inner being has a special connection with the Indian spiritual Master, Sri Krishna, then you will say, "Lord Krishna's colour is blue." By identifying with him, immediately you will get something from him, consciously or unconsciously.

To my disciples I would like to say that I represent all the colours and all the lights, but my most prominent colours are blue and gold. Whenever you see any colour, please feel it is an indication of inner progress. There are some seekers who see light when physical eyesight is failing. When my brother was losing his vision, he used to have wonderful visions in red, blue, and white. He did not meditate like the rest of our family. The doctor asked him to please go to an eye specialist. This does not apply to you, far from it — only to those who do not consciously pray and meditate.

Sometimes you may see a light that need not be connected with you at all. During sleep or meditation, your inner being may contact someone else's inner being, and the light you see is not your own, but his.

Suppose that during meditation you have become totally one with your daughter. You are not meditating on her, you are meditating on the Supreme, but one of your inner beings has suddenly made a very close connection with your daughter, although your physical mind is not aware of it at all. If at this time you see green light, because green signifies dynamism and new creation you may think that a new creation has dawned in your own life. You will expect yourself to be very dynamic and fresh. Then, when the next day you see that old ideas are still bothering you, you will curse yourself. You will say, "After I had this experience, how is it that I am still dwelling in old thoughts? I cannot come out of the prison-cell of my old life!" Unfortunately you do not know that this experience is not telling you something about your own inner life, but about your daughter.

Quite often it happens that when we are very close to another person we identify ourselves with him. We feel that something which is actually going to happen in that person's life will be taking place in our own life. But if we are very conscious during our meditation, then we will be able to make the distinction. The person who is dear to us does gain something when we see his light, and consciously or unconsciously he gets joy. But if we tell him about the experience so that his conscious mind knows that we have seen his light, then he will derive the most benefit from it.

If you feel that by keeping your eyes closed you can see the blue light sooner, then you have the right to keep your eyes closed. But you have to know whether you will make the fastest progress by seeing the light or by keeping your eyes open and identifying yourself with my divine consciousness. You may feel, when you see the blue light, that that is all, that you have achieved everything. But I wish to say that seeing any light of any colour need not be the ultimate achievement, or the best experience. For my disciples, it is most important to establish oneness with my Light. If you feel that blue light is more profitable than identifying consciously and soulfully with my consciousness, it will be a mistake. But if you feel that since the blue light comes spontaneously to you, you can make tremendous progress, then certainly you are doing the right thing. It is up to each individual to feel how he can make the fastest progress.

Question: What is the significance of seeing a very blue light during meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: A blue light is the light of Infinity. To see blue light around yourself or someone else means that your inner being is responding to the vast Infinity, that your spirituality is mature and has entered into your inner and outer existence. This is a very good experience, a very high experience. White light is spirituality; blue light is also the light of pure spirituality, the light of the Infinite. To see blue light around some spiritual Masters, for example, Lord Krishna, means that blue is their predominant colour, although some spiritual Masters have all colours in their aura.

Question: On different occasions I have seen red, white, blue and yellow lights. Could you please explain the significance of these?

Sri Chinmoy: Red is the dynamic aspect of God, the divine power which you are seeing inside yourself. When the red colour of Divinity's Power enters into you, you are energised; power flows through you.

Now white is the colour of purity. When you see white all around you and above you, you will feel your whole physical existence inundated with purity. You are not impure, but when you see white, in your whole existence, from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head, you become pure. When you see a pale blue colour, try to feel that Infinity is entering into your aspiring consciousness. We cannot think of Infinity as just a term in our mind. Our mind will imagine a great distance, expand it a little farther, and then stop. But when we aspire with our soul, we can really expand our consciousness into Infinity itself. Infinity goes on expanding like a bird spreading its wings endlessly. When you see blue, try to feel that your consciousness is expanding into Infinity, and Infinity is entering into your aspiring consciousness. This pale blue colour is the favourite colour of India's greatest spiritual Master, Lord Krishna.

Now what you may call yellow, if you use your inner vision, is really golden. This golden colour comes from the highest realm of Consciousness. At times, when you see this golden colour in the field of manifestation, it is absolutely red, whereas if you go to the source, it is all gold. Manifestation takes place here, in the earth-consciousness, not above. This golden colour is the colour of manifestation when it starts in the highest plane. Then when it touches earth, it becomes red. Visions of colour come for two reasons: real aspiration and Grace from the deities and from the highest Absolute.

In India we have a goddess called Kali, Mahakali. I am most fond of this Mother-aspect of God. When she enters into the vital world of human beings, which is full of emotion and turmoil, her golden colour becomes red, because she is destroying all imperfections, limitations and wrong forces in our lives. What you see in the psychic world as purely gold, in the vital world you will see as red.

Each aspirant has what you call in the West a guardian angel. God is always there, but each of us also has one or more presiding deities. In your case, when you see light you have to feel that some angels are showing you the light to protect you, guide you and lead you.

I cannot say anything about the angels since I do not even know their names, but in your Indian incarnations, Kali was your presiding deity. Those who have had Indian incarnations are bound to have an Indian presiding deity. According to Indians, there are gods and demi-gods, apart from the one absolute God. "As many souls, so many gods." Your presiding deity, from the Indian spiritual point of view, is Kali, since the Power-aspect of the Supreme is predominant in your nature. This does not mean that you will not love humanity or God's creation. You will offer love and joy, but you will express love for humanity through dynamic power. Love is absolutely pure, but here it is being expressed through power. One can also express power through love.

Question: Would you please speak about the aura seen in meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Meditation has nothing to do with auras. Each individual human being has an aura which you may see during your meditation, but you may also see your aura during concentration or even during sleep. There is no direct connection between meditation and the aura, but while you are meditating you are in perfect peace and it becomes easier for you to see your aura. A spiritual person can enable you to see your aura, or you can do it in your own meditation, but there is no direct link between meditation and the aura.

The first time one of my disciples came to me she thought she saw my aura while I was standing in front of her. I have to be frank: It was her own aura that she saw in her spiritual Master. She became part of my consciousness and her aura was reflected in my body.

If one does see the aura there is no harm; it inspires the seeker and gives him great joy. But to waste one's time in search of an aura is nothing short of stupidity.

Question: About four years ago, when I came in contact with this philosophy, I dreamt that I saw a tent descending from Heaven. In the tent there was a man from India. I saw his face, and he had a lighted candle in his hands. Does this dream mean that I have to meet that person or that he had something to do with me in another life?

Sri Chinmoy: This spiritual man had previous links with you. In India, we know and believe that each human being has a special connection with some spiritual figures besides God. We call them presiding deities. You have more than one presiding deity observing your day-to-day activities. You do not see them, but they are observing you and guiding you. The spiritual figure you saw is one of those who are helping you in life. He was kind enough, or you were in a very high state of consciousness, so he appeared to you as a human being from the inner plane.

Question: You mentioned that one of your disciples had seen your face of a previous incarnation during meditation. Why would he see a previous physical body?

Sri Chinmoy: One can get an inner experience, an inner vision from looking at a picture. People can get different experiences depending on what is within them. When one identifies with my consciousness, this is not only the consciousness of this incarnation, it is the consciousness of millennia which is constantly growing. When consciousness is embodied in the physical, it is easier to grasp it and be convinced that it exists. I have this physical body, previously I had other bodies, but deep inside me there is a soul. Ordinary people cannot see my soul, but they can see my physical form. When this disciple looked at me, it was impossible for her to see my all-pervading inner consciousness; she got the vision of a past incarnation of mine to convince her physical consciousness that I take different names and different forms. When we are in this physical world, we understand everything that exists in the terms of form. All-pervading consciousness cannot be given any decisive form, but if it is necessary for the sake of comprehension, God allows a human being to see a past incarnation.

When you see someone's soul in a dream or vision, you very often see his present body as you know it, but if you go deep into a soul with whom you had some past connection, you may see his former body. That is what happened in this case.

Question: When I am looking straight into your eyes and you are looking into my eyes, I see your face go out of focus and you disappear completely. Afterwards your face appears, and then it disappears again. What does this mean?

Sri Chinmoy: When you look at me you think you are seeing my physical body, but you are seeing my universal Consciousness. You make contact with life itself in its different forms. Then when you come back to your own consciousness, my face comes back into focus. When I am looking into your eyes, speaking to your soul; you are seeing me through the eyes of your soul.

Question: When I meditate, I imagine you giving me a blessing at that moment. Is this blessing real?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. When you meditate and you feel that I am blessing you, this blessing is absolutely real. But it is not my physical being that is blessing you, it is my inner being, which is totally one with me. It is like a storehouse in which I know where everything is kept. I bless my disciples with the help of my inner beings. When you see that I am blessing you, this experience is absolutely real. My physical mind may not know that this is taking place, but my inner being will definitely know. The most important thing is for my inner being to know what is happening in your life. My physical being sees only what is around me, but the subtle beings inside my physical are now in New York, in Canada, and in many other places. They are roaming and bringing me news which is all being recorded. But if there is something very important, absolutely urgent, these subtle beings will bring the news to me even while I am talking. They will ask me to stop talking and they will let me know what has happened.

Question: Was the Peace and inner Bliss that I felt here last Wednesday night a sign that I had been initiated?

Sri Chinmoy: Last Wednesday I did not intend to actually initiate anybody, but when you stood in front of me, your soul immediately recognised my status and, like a child of two years, your soul threw itself into my lap and received all the blessings — Bliss, Peace, Love and Power — from the Supreme. I emptied the inner cup that was full of ignorance and impurity and replaced them with Peace, Bliss and Purity. Although this was not a formal initiation, I can say that you were initiated that night.

Question: The night I met you I had a very dramatic experience. During the meditation you came over to me and put a flower into my hands. My hands weren't moving at all, but there seemed to be a tremendous power that was pulling them. I was looking at you and I thought, "What is he pulling me for?" Then when you looked at me I felt as though my inner being was whirling around and exploding through the top of my head. Can you tell me what this means?

Sri Chinmoy: Your outer world burst into pieces and entered into the inner world, where you have not only accepted me, but felt and realised my spiritual achievement and realisation. Your outer world of turmoil finally surrendered to your inner world of spiritual infinitude. This is a most beautiful and high experience.

Question: When I went home after I first saw you, I entered into a kind of dream where you were the only person who existed, and my whole body was decomposed into raindrops. Could you explain this?

Sri Chinmoy: Your entire existence — physical, vital, mental and psychic — was inundated with my infinite Compassion-light. The rain that you were seeing was Grace, Compassion. The inner thrill that you felt was my wholehearted acceptance and immediate recognition of you that day. Your dream signifies my total acceptance of your spiritual life. I have hundreds of disciples. Some try to judge me; some absurdly attempt to fathom my spirituality, and some wait to see whether I can please them. On very rare occasions people do accept me immediately as you have done.

Poems from the first edition

Prayer, meditation, realisation

Each prayer
Heralds a new day of hope.
Each meditation
Heralds a new day of promise.
Each realisation
Heralds a new life of the Supreme.

Trance

What you call trance,
I call that very thing
My concentration-lance.

What you call trance,
I call that very thing
My meditation-glance.

What you call trance,
I call that very thing
My contemplation-dance.

When I pray, when I meditate

When I pray
God embraces
My crying heart,
My surrendering heart,
My dreaming heart.

When I meditate
God blesses my life,
God caresses my soul,
God reveals my Goal.

What I do

What I do:
I sow the seeds
Of higher life;
I kill the trees
Of lower life.

What else I do:
I build the kingdom
Of brighter life;
I destroy the home
Of darker souls.