My Rose Petals, part 5
Two instruments: mind and heart1Two instruments: mind and heart. The mind is division: world-division and self-division. World-division is nothing short of world-poverty. Self-division is the beginning of self-destruction. The heart is acceptance: acceptance of the inner life and acceptance of the outer life. The inner life is aspiration. The outer life is dedication.
Again, aspiration is a kind of dedication and dedication is a kind of aspiration. When we aspire we climb up high, higher, highest. While we are climbing up, like a bird we are spreading our wings. And while we are dedicating ourselves to the cause of humanity, while we are spreading our wings, at that time we also climb up.
Aspiration and dedication form a life-tree within us. The branches of this tree symbolise dedication, while the trunk of the tree looks up in order to reach the skies of aspiration. So our life-tree at once embodies aspiration to reach God’s transcendental Heights and dedication to reach God’s universal Reality.
Usually we have two types of mind, the human mind and the divine mind. The human mind is apt to choose; while choosing it loses. What does it choose? It chooses doubt, it chooses to be with countless doubts. What does it lose? It loses its innate, illumining Light. The divine mind unfolds itself at every moment; while unfolding it becomes. What does it unfold? It unfolds its illumining beauty. What does it become? It becomes, on earth and in Heaven, an ever-increasing, ever-fulfilling Reality.
As a human being, very often we use the human mind, the earth-bound mind. On rare occasions we use the divine mind, the Heaven-free mind. The earth-bound mind embodies doubt, suspicion, fear, jealousy, insecurity and many other unaspiring qualities. The earth-bound mind tells us to be always cautious because the world around us is treacherous.
The Heaven-free mind, which we feel deep within us on very rare occasions, tells us to be sincere, dedicated, devoted and loving. It asks us not to be suspicious. It tells us to love the world, because to love mankind means to serve our absolute, eternal Father. The Heaven-free mind brings to us the message of peace in self-giving, the message of light in self-giving, the message of perfection in self-giving.
As we have the human mind and the divine mind, even so we have the human heart and the divine heart. The human heart has a fearful beginning. The divine heart has a birthless song. The human heart has a tearful end. The divine heart has a deathless dance. The human heart has a fearful beginning and a tearful end. The divine heart has a birthless song and a deathless dance.
The human heart quite often mixes with the vital, the vital that is always hungry like a wolf. Just because it mixes with the vital, it takes upon itself quite a few of the problems and imperfections of the vital. At that time, the human heart teaches us to possess the world.
Alas, when we listen to the human heart, we only discover that possession is not satisfaction. There is not an iota of satisfaction in world-possession. Therefore, we change teachers and go to the divine heart. The divine heart always teaches us the message of give, give and give; and while we are giving, we see that we have also become. What do we give and what do we become? We give a soulful cry and we become a fruitful smile. Our soulful cry is blessed by God’s transcendental Vision. Our fruitful smile is blessed by God’s universal Reality.
The earth-binding heart and the Heaven-liberating heart. When we wallow in the pleasures of ignorance, when we lead the life of desire, the earth-binding heart cannot enjoy a free access to the Real in us. But when we walk along the road of aspiration, the Heaven-liberating, Heaven-enjoying heart enters into us and offers us its divinity, its supreme satisfaction, its supreme perfection.
Desire gives us the earth-binding heart; the earth-binding heart gives us desire. The Heaven-enjoying heart gives us aspiration; aspiration gives us the Heaven-enjoying heart.
Here we are all seekers. There was a time when we felt the fulfilment of desires was necessary in order to become happy. So we have fulfilled quite a few desires of ours. And what have we realised in the fulfilment of our desires? We have realised that we have acted like beggars. A beggar can never claim the plenitude, the infinitude of God’s entire creation, for he knows that there is a yawning gulf between his reality and the vast reality which is owned by somebody else.
Now we are aspiring and, in our aspiration, we have come to realise that we do not want to possess. We want only to give what we have and what we are. What we have and what we are is an inner cry to become perfect instruments of the Absolute Supreme; and what we shall establish is our conscious, constant, inseparable, unconditional oneness with the Absolute Supreme.
MRP 53. Friends' House, York, England, 4 June 1976.↩
Two instruments: doubt and faith2Two instruments: doubt and faith, a destructive force and a constructive force, a negative force and a positive force. Doubt bewilders us; doubt baffles us. Doubt is nothing short of physical poverty, vital insecurity and mental impurity. Faith loves us; faith teaches us. Faith loves us because we are of God and God is for us. Faith teaches us precisely because God wants us to be His chosen instruments, His perfect instruments, so that we can distribute His Light in the world and manifest His Love on earth.
Self-doubt and doubt of God. He who doubts himself discovers that self-doubt is the precursor of self-destruction. He who doubts God discovers birthless and deathless futility. He who has faith in himself becomes a hero-warrior in the inner world and achieves immediate success. He who has faith in God becomes a supreme God-lover and a reality which continuously proceeds. A continuous progress becomes his name.
Doubt itself is a treacherous theory and a destructive practice, whereas faith is precious and prosperous. This is what we hear from God in our heart. This is what we hear from God in our entire being. Whenever we doubt, we not only weaken ourselves but also separate ourselves from the whole, from the Universal Reality. Each time we doubt, we lose an opportunity. Each time we show faith in others, we fulfil that opportunity and grow into a larger reality. And at that time, the fulfilling reality becomes ours. What is opportunity? Opportunity is an unconditional boon which descends from above to illumine the consciousness of humanity.
Doubt is always over-active. It wants to destroy the world in a shockingly horrid manner. Faith is active, selflessly active, continuously active. Faith begins the Cosmic Game at God’s choice Hour and ends the Cosmic Game at God’s choice Hour. But when we follow the road of faith, we come to see that there is no real end. We are all walking along Eternity’s Road. Each time we reach a particular destination, that destination becomes the starting point for a higher, more fulfilling and more illumining goal. Today’s goal is tomorrow’s starting point. So when we live in faith, glowing faith, we grow into this ever-transcending Reality, into this ever-transcending Reality’s Goal.
Doubt is capacity. This capacity can take us back to our animal life, the life of destruction. Even now, when we cherish anger, jealousy and other destructive forces, we feel that we are roaming in the animal kingdom. Unless and until each human being is totally transformed and illumined, there will always remain in him an amount of animal qualities and propensities. But if the same human being invokes Light from above, then there comes a time when his life is inundated with Light and Delight. At that time, he not only gives up totally the animal in himself, but he also grows into the divine in himself. The divine in him is his transcendental Vision and universal Reality.
Each human being starts his journey with faith. A child has implicit faith in his parents. The mother tells the child, “This is the letter ‘A’, this is ‘B’.” The child listens to the mother and learns the alphabet. The child goes to school and listens to what the teacher teaches. He learns. But when his mind develops, it unconsciously, if not consciously, wants to establish a free access to the doubt-world. Anything that is new to the mind offers temptation, fascination. So the mind tends to enter into the world of doubt. The journey was started with faith, with the heart’s implicit faith. But while the seeker is walking along the road, the mind takes over. The mind finds it easier to divide and destroy than to unify and build. But when we start aspiring and try to compel the mind to swim in the sea of the soul’s light, the mind eventually surrenders to the soul’s light.
There are two minds. One is the doubtful mind, the suspicious mind, the mind that does not care for light, for the inner wealth. There comes a time when this mind sees that there is no satisfaction, not to speak of abiding satisfaction, in the domain that it inhabits. So it surrenders to the heart. The heart always tries to play the role of identification. The heart of a child maintains its oneness-feeling with his parents, his brothers and sisters and the members of his world-family. A seeker is he who is in the aspiring heart, of the illumining soul and for the fulfilling God.
Here we are all seekers. Our heart tells us that oneness is satisfaction and satisfaction is perfection. Again, when we descend for world-illumination, we go from the rung of perfection to the rung of satisfaction, and from satisfaction we come down to oneness. Satisfaction is founded on oneness and perfection is founded on satisfaction. If we walk along the road of the heart, we discover the supremely divine Reality, which we eternally are. And this Reality is nothing but oneness — our oneness with the Supreme, the Inner Pilot.
MRP 54. Friends' House, Canterbury, England, 5 June 1976.↩
Question and answersMRP 55-60. Ealing, London, England, 6 June 1976.
Question: How can we overcome fear in the spiritual life?Sri Chinmoy: In the spiritual life there should be no fear. Why should you be afraid of anything or anyone? Since you are praying to God the Almighty, meditating on God the Almighty, why should you be afraid of anything or anyone? A child feels his mother has all the power of the world. So when he is afraid of anything, he runs to his mother because the mother has all affection for him. Here also, you are a spiritual child of God, so when you are attacked by any kind of fear — either in the physical, the mental or the vital — immediately try to run towards the sweet Supreme, who is all Compassion, all Love, all Blessings.
When ordinary human beings pray to God, their prayer is full of desire. We pray to God to grant us Peace, Light and Bliss in infinite measure, but unaspiring people pray to God to give them material wealth, worldly prosperity. When one prays to God with desire, it is all through fear, because one has no idea whether God is going to fulfil one's desires. But if the prayer is soulful, there will be no fear. Say you are praying to God for Peace, but you are not getting it. But just because you are praying for something good and divine, God will come to you and give you the necessary patience to wait for God's Hour. In one hour you cannot get a Master's degree. You study in school from kindergarten to university in order to get your Master's degree. In the spiritual life also, when you ask for something very high, very deep, very profound, it takes a long time. So if you pray for divine things, for Peace, Light and Bliss, you are bound to feel that there is something called God's Hour. If you live in His Hour, there can be no fear. But in the ordinary life, if you crave earthly or mundane things, naturally fear will always assail you. In your case, since you are a seeker, there should be no fear, for you are taking shelter inside the infinite Affection of the Absolute Supreme.
Question: How can we be conscious of God all the time in our mental work, such as when we are studying?Sri Chinmoy: When you are driving a car, your hands are on the wheel, your feet are on the gas and your eyes are looking forward and sideways. Look how many things you are doing. It is the same thing when you are studying. Easily you can keep God in mind. Before you begin to study, before you open up your book, pray to God most soulfully that your study will be no different from your prayerful thought. Then, while you are studying, you have to feel the prayerful consciousness which you had just before you started studying. It is like a flow. Once you start running properly on the right track, automatically you continue along that same track. But if you go the wrong way or take a wrong turn, then you follow in that direction.
An ordinary person will study so that he will get a diploma and become extremely great or prosperous in life. In your case, you are not studying for name and fame. No, you are studying to please the Inner Pilot. You are studying in order to become a good, divine instrument of God. And there shall come a time when the Inner Pilot will utilise you in His own Way to serve others. You will acquire knowledge and this knowledge you will distribute to aspiring mankind. So your studying will be totally different from the studying of others.
If you have that kind of attitude towards your studies, then there will be no problem. When you are studying, you have to try to feel the purpose behind it: you are studying to please the Supreme in His own Way. Then, when the time comes for you to teach, you will not teach like other teachers. You will try to bring to the fore the divinity inside each of your students so that they also can become chosen instruments of God. If you can have this idea when you study, you will see that your mental life will not be an obstruction to your spiritual life. But if you separate the outer study from the inner study, which is your prayer and meditation, then there will always be problems. At that time, you will see a yawning gulf between your mental study and your psychic or spiritual studies. They have to be blended. The capacity of the mind has to be illumined by your psychic capacity, spiritual capacity. Then there can be no problem.
Question: If we are in a place or circumstance where we feel our consciousness falling, is there a way we can immediately raise it again?Sri Chinmoy: You have to become more alert, more soulful. You have to feel that once upon a time you had the capacity to climb up the consciousness-tree, but now you are climbing down. The capacity you had to climb to the highest, topmost branch you still have. And this same capacity you can apply today. Only you have to feel that your goal is to remain as high as possible. Always try to keep the goal right in front of you. You always have to be conscious of your purpose, the reason you are following the spiritual life, the reason you must remain in your highest consciousness.
This is the time for you to go up high, higher, highest and discover yourself. Then you have to come down to distribute the Peace, Light and Delight that you have achieved. Right now your brothers and sisters are hungry and you don’t have the means to feed them. If you stay with them, you will be one other hungry person, and there will be no one to feed you. So you have to climb up the tree and pluck the mangoes. If you just climb up and come down without plucking any fruit, then what will you have to distribute to mankind? You won’t be able to give anything to mankind. You go up and collect the fruits and then you come down to distribute the fruits to your brothers and sisters. Then again you have to go up.
But before you are well established in your inner life, spiritual life, it is always advisable to be alert. If you see that by mixing with someone your consciousness is brought down, then don’t mix with that person. That person is not bad. No, in everybody there is God, so you can’t say that person is bad. Only you have to know that right now you do not have enough inner strength and capacity to mix with that person. Right now God is giving you the opportunity to mix with those who have already established some Peace, Light and Bliss. Birds of a feather flock together; you are a spiritual person, so you should mix only with spiritual people. But once you become strong, there shall come a time when you can mix with unaspiring people — not out of self-indulgence, but out of love, out of compassion, so that they shall also be lifted. Their consciousness also has to be elevated, but for that you need aspiration and determination. First you have to ascend the consciousness-tree yourself; only then can you help others ascend.
So right now, if your consciousness is descending when you are mixing with unaspiring people, do not mix with them. Mix only with those who will help you increase your aspiration. But it is not forever. There shall definitely come a time when you will be sufficiently strong that you will be able to go out and help them.
Question: When a child asks you, "Who is God?" what is the best answer to give him?Sri Chinmoy: When a child asks you, “Who is God?” just ask the child to look into a mirror and to smile as soulfully as possible. The word “soulfully” the child may not understand, but the child can easily see how beautiful he looks. Tell the child to try to give the most beautiful, absolutely the most beautiful smile, and to look at himself. The child will know whether it is a beautiful smile or just an ordinary smile. So, the more beautiful the smile the child gives, the more divinity comes forward. When the child looks at his own face, at his most beautiful, glowing consciousness, you tell him that that is God and nobody else.
Who is God? God is our own highest reality. If you can give a most soulful smile that will immediately illumine you and the whole world, that smile is nothing other than God. Let the child remain in the consciousness of his most beautiful smile, a smile that pervades the length and breadth of the world. The child’s most beautiful smile is the most convincing answer. In the case of adults, they have to pray and meditate and develop a divine consciousness. But for a child, this is the easiest and most effective answer. And at the same time, it is absolutely true. You are in no way fooling the child.
59. Question: Is the feeling that the outside world is futile really a form of aspiration?Sri Chinmoy: If you feel this, it means that you are approaching the truth in a complicated manner, a perverse manner. You should not think that the outside world is futile. You have to feel that the outside world is yours. You have to accept it, but not the way the world wants you to accept it. You will accept the world with the idea that a day will come when with your own light, with your own delight, with your own divine capacity, you will transform and illumine it. Right now, if you accept the world the way it wants you to accept it, you shall only wallow in the pleasures and meshes of ignorance, for the outer world is much stronger than your own capacity. But one day you will be strong, you will be stronger, you will be strongest. While you are developing your courage and strength, you can’t say that the outside world is hopeless, useless. Only you have to feel that you don’t have enough capacity to illumine it. If you criticise the outside world, if you feel that it is futile and useless, then you will cherish a kind of superior feeling. That superior feeling will bloat your ego and you will feel that it is beneath your dignity to mix with the world even after you get Power, Light and Bliss.
The outside world is like a child, the youngest member in the family. You know your little brother or sister is not doing the right thing. At the same time, you do not have the capacity to correct and perfect the child. But a day will come when you will have enough strength. At that time when you request the child to do something good and divine, the child will do it because he will see something in you that is divine, luminous, supreme. But if you look down upon the child, thinking that the child is doing everything wrong and leading an undivine life, then you will automatically cherish a kind of superior feeling. This superior feeling will separate your reality and existence from that of a child. Today you are aspiring only to strengthen yourself; tomorrow you will aspire to strengthen the ones that are around you. But if you think that everything in the outer life is futile and meaningless, if you do not feel your oneness with the world, then how are you going to illumine it?
Right now the capacity that you have is very limited. But one day you will have boundless capacity and then, at God’s choice Hour, you shall be a perfect instrument to serve the weak ones. But if you think that others are useless, you shall never do any service for the outside world. There will always be a big gap between you and others: “I am all good and they are all bad people. So let good people remain together and forget about the bad.” No. Good people will stay together in the beginning only to gain strength. But once they have gained strength, good people will go and mix with others. The rest of the world is not bad; only you have to say that it is less good. But if you say you represent day and they represent night, then that will be a serious mistake. You have to feel that you have an iota of light more than the world has, and with that iota you are trying to be of help.
Question: If somebody is angry with you, what should your reaction to the person be?Sri Chinmoy: There are a few ways to solve this problem. Anger is undoubtedly a negative power, a destructive power. When that negative power attacks you, you can resort to an infinitely superior power. That power is the Supreme’s Compassion. When anger has come and attacked you, at that time if you invoke the Compassion of the Supreme, which is infinitely more powerful than human anger, then you will be able to inundate the other person with the Supreme’s Compassion. Even if he hurls all his anger-arrows at you, if you can invoke the Supreme’s Compassion, then these arrows will not be able to hurt you. On the contrary, these arrows will eventually illumine you. This is the best approach, the divine approach, for only this approach will bring abiding satisfaction. But if you cannot go to the Highest and get the highest power, then you have to take the second-best course, the human approach.
Just remain indifferent. Your power of indifference is extremely powerful. You have no idea to what extent indifference-power can solve your problems. With your indifference-power you can create a solid, adamantine wall that nothing can approach. If you remain indifferent, then between you and the other person there will be a wall, a solid wall, which his anger will not be able to pass through. If somebody is angry with you and wants to destroy you, just feel that you don’t belong to him and he does not belong to you. Feel that there are two worlds and your world is totally different from his. When you are indifferent, automatically you create another world inside you. So you remain in your indifference-world and let him remain in his anger-world.
But if you take this approach, the human approach, and use your indifference-power, you have to know that you won’t be able to remain indifferent for a long time. Your own aggressive power will come forward: “If he can strike me, then I can also strike him: tit for tat.” But in the spiritual life it is not like that. If somebody attacks you, your attitude will be different. He will attack you to destroy you, but you will only touch him in order to transform him. So your view is totally different from his. He is trying to devour you; but you will only touch him, for if you don’t touch him, how are you going to transform him? If the potter does not touch the clay, then he cannot give shape to any pots. If someone is angry, he will catch hold of all the pots and smash them, break them to pieces. But the potter will only touch them and give them shape. When you have superior power, you will touch the earth-consciousness in order to change it, transform it, illumine it.
We are all seekers of the infinite Truth and Light. If unaspiring persons attack us, they will attack us according to their capacity, according to their understanding, according to their realisation. But our understanding is far superior to theirs, so we have to illumine them. If we do that, then their vital will feel that it is the worst possible punishment that we have given. Their soul will immediately be grateful, but their vital, their unaspiring or aggressive vital, will feel that it has received a most powerful punishment.
Sorrow and joy4I wish to give a short talk on sorrow and joy. Sorrow is an inner experience. From this experience we come to feel that life has no meaning and no purpose, that we are travelling along a road that has no goal.
Joy is also an inner experience. From this experience we come to feel that life at every moment has some special meaning, that life has joy as its goal right from the beginning. Early in the morning the sun dawns. As soon as we look at the sun, we get joy. Then we pray and meditate. From our prayer and meditation we also get joy. Then the members of the family meet together and sit to eat. Here they get joy from the union of the family. Then each human being enters into his respective work. Work is nothing but self-giving, and self-giving is the best kind of joy.
What does sorrow do? In the beginning sorrow breaks our heart; then it strengthens our heart. In the beginning sorrow darkens our mind; then it illumines our mind. In the beginning sorrow takes away all the life-energy from our vital; then it gives our vital a new hope, a new promise and a new light. It strengthens and inspires our vital with a new determination. Sorrow throws our body into a sea of helplessness; then it lifts our body up and teaches our body how to swim in the infinite sea of Light and Delight.
Joy, in the beginning, gives our heart infinite peace. Then it gives our heart continual confidence to do something higher, better and more divine. Joy, in the beginning, expands our mind, expands the vision of our mind. Then joy gives our mind the capacity to hold the whole world inside it. Joy, in the beginning, gives our vital the strength of a roaring lion. Then it looks around and inspires everyone who wants to lead a better life. Joy, in the beginning, gives our body the capacity to grow into something beautiful, luminous and fruitful. Then it gives our body the capacity to see, feel and talk to God inside itself.
We are living on this earth planet. The earth planet is full of sorrow. There are many reasons why our earth planet is full of sorrow. But the main reason is this: earth wants to realise the highest, the absolute highest, but it feels that it is simply impossible because there are millions and millions of people who do not want to lead a spiritual life.
Like the earth-consciousness, Heaven is also unhappy. Heaven wants to manifest itself on earth. It wants to manifest God’s Peace, God’s Light, God’s Beauty on earth. But earth is not receptive at all. Therefore, Heaven is also unhappy.
On very rare occasions, when earth sees even one person who wants to lead a pure life, a life of aspiration and dedication, at that time earth is happy. When one person wants to go up, when one of her children is going up, earth feels extremely happy. Similarly, on very rare occasions, when one person is receptive, Heaven becomes very happy, because that person makes a pathway for Heaven to descend and manifest something of God’s Light.
God has two aspects. One aspect is His human aspect, the other aspect is His divine aspect. God is inside each of us. When He uses His human aspect He feels sad, because He feels it will take man such a long time to reach his goal. When He uses His divine aspect, He does not feel sad. At that time He is dealing with eternal time.
Man also has two aspects. One aspect is his desiring self, the other aspect is his aspiring self. When man lives the life of desire, he finds only frustration; and frustration is the harbinger of destruction. When man lives the life of aspiration, he eventually gets everything that God has and is: infinite Light and infinite Delight.
MRP 61. YMCA, Rome, Italy, 9 June 1976.↩
Success and failure5Dear seekers, dear friends, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to give a short talk on failure and success from the spiritual point of view.
Failure is a discouraging force. Success is an encouraging force. Failure makes us feel that we have been forced to climb down the life-tree. Success makes us feel that we have climbed up the life-tree and enjoyed the most delicious fruit.
What is failure? It is a tearful cry. What is success? It is a fruitful smile. When we fail, whose failure is it? It is the failure of our unlit vital. When we succeed, whose success is it? It is the success of our satisfied vital.
Why do we fail? Is it because we are unlucky? Is it because we have not worked very hard? Is it because we have not invoked God’s Compassion and Blessings? Is it because God has accepted this failure as an experience He wanted to have in our life? Is it because God has granted this failure to us? Is it because God has willed that we should lose? No! No! It is for a different reason that we experience failure. It is for the strengthening of our consciousness that, at times, God grants us defeat.
Why do we succeed? Is it because we are lucky? Is it because we have worked very hard? Is it because God’s Compassion and Blessings we have invoked? No, it is not because of these things that we achieve success. We succeed because God, out of His infinite Kindness, wants us to win in the battlefield of life. God grants us defeat in order to strengthen us: He grants us success in order to encourage us.
The body of the man of failure says to God, “Father, You do not love me. Therefore, I have failed.” The vital of the man of failure says to God, “Father, You do not care for me. Therefore, I have failed.” The mind of the man of failure says to God, “Father You are indifferent to me. Therefore, I have failed.”
But the Father says to His children, “No, My children, you are wrong.”
The body of the man of success says to the Father, “Father, You love me only. Therefore, I have succeeded.” The vital of the man of success says to the Father, “Father, You care for me only. Therefore, I have succeeded.” The mind of the man of success says to God, “Father, You have most special Compassion for me. You show Your Compassion to me only. Therefore, I have succeeded.”
But the Father says to these children of His, “No, My children, you are wrong. It is not because I love you more than others that you get success and they do not. In the inner life there is no such thing as failure and success. There is only an ever-transcending progress. Through repeated defeats, I want you to become a spiritual giant so you can defeat the ignorance-giant that wants to devour the world. Through success, I want you to run faster than the fastest. I want you to defeat the ignorance-animal, the ignorance-donkey. If you reach the goal sooner than ignorance, then you will be able to realise Me, reveal Me and manifest Me. And once I am manifested through you, there will be no suffering, no bondage, no limitation, no death, no darkness.”
The Father says to failure, “I want you to be stronger than the strongest. It is you who have to be responsible for My full Manifestation on earth. I want to entrust you with the supreme Duty. Therefore, I am making you strong, divinely and supremely strong.
“Failure and success, I have equal love for both of you. Do not judge Me; only love Me. If you love Me, then you will feel that I am fulfilling Myself in and through you, through both of you in a unique way.”
Failure says to the Father, “Father, is there any way I can succeed?”
“Yes, My son, there is a way. If you are more careful, more alert, more conscious at every moment, then success will be yours.”
Success says to the Father, “Father, is there any way I can have success all the time?”
“Yes, there is a way. You have to be cheerful and self-giving. If you give yourself cheerfully, then you are bound to achieve success all the time.”
Progress says to the Father, “Father, is there any way I can always make progress?”
“Yes, there is a way, My child. You should always aim at ever-transcending Perfection. If your goal is to reach perfection, then at every moment you will always make progress. Perfection is not a stagnant pool but a running river; it is always moving towards the infinite Sea, its Source. Therefore, you should always try to make your goal the ever-transcending Reality. If you do this, you will always be able to make progress and satisfy Me.”
When we love God, when we serve God, when we surrender ourselves totally to God, at that time failure cannot make us sad. We do not care for success, we do not even care for progress. Our love, devotion and surrender lifts our consciousness far above the heights of failure and success and progress, and we become surrendered to God’s Omnipotent Will. When we become inseparably one with God’s Will, we enjoy divine satisfaction in our inner life and in our outer life. This divine satisfaction is what God wants from all of us. He created us so that we could be divinely satisfied; this was the only purpose He had in His Vision. His Vision was transcendental, but He wanted to manifest His transcendental Vision here in the universal Reality. The Real in us wants from us not failure, not success, not even progress, but only God-satisfaction and God-fulfilment in and through us, through our surrender to God’s Will.
MRP 62. Milan, Italy, 10 June 1976.↩
Questions and answersMRP 63-69. Milan, Italy, 10 June 1976.
63. Question: What is the spiritual significance of the seven notes in the scale: "do", "re", "mi", etc.?Sri Chinmoy: The seven notes that we have in the scale correspond to the seven higher worlds. Each note comes down from a specific inner world.
Question: What should one eat in the spiritual life?Sri Chinmoy: The kind of food that keeps the body and mind calm and quiet is the best food for those following the spiritual life. Naturally, vegetables are far better than meat. Meat comes from the animals, which are always fighting and destroying one another. If we eat meat, then the animal consciousness enters into us. And it is this animal consciousness that we want to transcend. But the consciousness of vegetables and fruits is very mild. They are not destructive like animals.
Question: What is spirituality and meditation? Is spirituality peace?Sri Chinmoy: Spirituality is peace, peace within and peace without. In the spiritual life, we should do everything that will help us to acquire peace.
Meditation is our conscious attempt to become consciously aware of God. When we say God is everywhere, God is only a vague idea for us. If we don’t feel God, see God or talk to God consciously, then what is the use of having a God? Unconsciously if we do something, we do not get the real result. Consciously we have to do things. So many times a day we move our hands, legs and everything without being conscious of it. If we just do it unconsciously, we do not develop our strength. But if we do the same things consciously, it is called exercise; we develop our strength. Then, when we have strength, we try to conquer lethargy, disease and other wrong forces. Similarly, if we consciously meditate, then we feel God, see God and talk to God. Otherwise, God will be right in front of us and we won’t be able to see Him.
Question: What is the Indian view of suicide?Sri Chinmoy: If one commits suicide, then one is doing something extremely wrong. One commits suicide because of some emotional problems or some weakness in his life. But we are God’s children and we have to fight against weakness and ignorance. God has given us this body, vital, mind, heart and soul in order to realise Him and manifest Him on earth. But if we destroy the body, then how can the vital, mind, heart and soul act for God? The body is a house. Without a house, how can we live? If we destroy the body, then we cannot live on earth. So God does not want us to destroy the body. He wants us to face the world. If we fight against temptation, ignorance, weakness, emotional problems, then only we can realise God and please God.
According to strict Indian philosophy, the act of suicide is the worst possible inner crime. Once the body is consciously destroyed, it takes hundreds and hundreds of years for the soul to reincarnate. If it is a natural death, then the soul gets the opportunity to come down again and reveal God’s Light in the normal way. But if it is an abnormal death, it becomes extremely difficult for the soul to come back on schedule. It is not only difficult, but almost impossible, unless God out of His infinite Compassion or some very great spiritual Master helps the particular soul.
Question: Is the capacity of the thinking mind a power?Sri Chinmoy: The capacity of the thinking mind is always a power, but it is very limited. It is very limited because often it contradicts itself. The thinking mind will say that so and so is good. It is positive thought that the thinking mind has applied. But after five minutes the same mind will say, "So and so is a very bad person." Now it is a negative thought. The negative force and the positive force will fight and then both sides will become weak. Again, sometimes it is even worse than that. The thinking mind will say, "Who am I to judge whether you are a good man or bad man?" Then the mind starts doubting itself. When the thinking mind starts doubting itself, it becomes an extremely weak force instead of becoming a strong force.
Question: Is perfection perfect?Sri Chinmoy: Perfection is always perfect. But again, perfection is always transcending itself. Perfection is not a stagnant pool. As I said in my talk, it is a river that is flowing, flowing.
Question: What do you think about outer progress?Sri Chinmoy: When we increase our faith in God, that is our inner progress. But when it is a matter of outer progress, we are always looking for the results. If the result is success, then we are happy; if the result is failure or defeat, then we are unhappy. And when in our outer life we can offer both success and defeat with a cheerful heart to God, that is our true outer progress.
Unreality and reality7Dear seekers, dear friends, dear sisters and brothers, I wish to give a short talk on unreality and reality.
Unreality is a discouraging reality and nothing short of a negative reality. Reality is a positive and encouraging divinity. Unreality is the conscious fear of reality. Unreality is the continuous non-acceptance of reality. Unreality is the constant rejection of reality. Even from the dawn of creation, seekers of the Absolute Truth wanted to discover reality in unreality. But the Vedic seers came to realise that it is from the unreal that we come to the real. They said, Asato ma sad gamaya … “Lead me from the unreal to the real.” They also thought that anything that is dark within us is less than reality. Again, inside the night they felt and saw an abundance of light. Inside human imperfection they found an iota of perfection. And inside that iota of perfection, they found that life was immortal.
Then there came a time when the Vedic seers of the hoary past wanted to discover reality in unreality in a different manner. They saw how much suffering there was in the world, and they felt that the only way to have satisfaction or joy was to renounce the world. They said that suffering is unreal and joy is real. They also felt that anything that exists creates problems for human life. Therefore, they sang, Rupena … “Enjoy through renunciation. Do not try to possess the world, for possession is nothing short of frustration.”
But in the course of inner evolution, the seekers discovered something else. They discovered that renunciation is not the way; acceptance is the only way. They felt that if they claimed to be children of God, it was their bounden duty to please God in His own Way. They felt that if God was real, then His creation must also be real. God the Creator is reality; therefore, God the creation is also reality. It is the seeker within us that consciously tries to unify both God the Creator and God the creation.
The seeker tries to elevate his consciousness through prayer and meditation and reach the highest state of consciousness. This state of consciousness is God’s Transcendental Consciousness. The Transcendental Consciousness houses at once the reality of the Infinite and the reality of the finite. The real reality of the finite and the real reality of the Infinite is to grow into everlasting love. The unreal reality of the finite is to live with limitation, ignorance, bondage and death.
Reality has a consciousness in the inner world and also a consciousness in the outer world. In the outer world, reality deals with the body, vital, mind and heart. In the inner world, reality deals exclusively with the soul. The consciousness of the body-reality is to give and take. The consciousness of the vital-reality is to take and take only. The consciousness of the mind-reality is to take and give. The consciousness of the heart-reality is to give, only to give. The consciousness of the soul-reality is to fulfil God in God’s own Way. The soul does not maintain any role of its own. It always soulfully and cheerfully abides by the Supreme’s adamantine Will.
Each individual offers to the world at large unreality and reality in a unique manner. In the outer world, when an individual says that he knows everything in God’s creation, he is offering unreality to the world. In the outer world, consciously or unconsciously, he is forced to be in the realm of division and partition. Therefore, he cannot know the Absolute Truth in its infinite reality. Again, if the same individual says that in the inner world he knows everything, then he is not exaggerating. What he says is true, absolutely true, for in the inner world, his oneness with deep, abiding wisdom is complete. On the strength of his inner oneness with the Absolute Lord, he is knowledge itself.
In the outer world, on the physical plane, each thought unfulfilled is a symbol of unreality; each thought fulfilled is a symbol of reality. But in the inner plane, the spiritual plane, each thought is real in itself, each thought is a world itself. Whether it is manifested or not manifested on the earth-scene is of no consequence. As long as it represents a world, it is undoubtedly a reality.
In the outer world, if an individual says that he loves God, then he is not telling the absolute truth, he is not offering the absolute reality. The outer world is the world of countless desires. In the outer world, God does not get the love, the loving life-breath of the individual. Unless and until God gets the life-breath of love, which gives Him total satisfaction, God does not call it real love.
In the inner world, the same individual offers love to God on the strength of his aspiration. And what is his aspiration? His aspiration is nothing short of God’s illumining Compassion. This illumining Compassion has the capacity to please God in God’s own Way. When a seeker acquires God’s illumining Compassion, he becomes not only the divine love, but also God the Love Himself.
* Questions and answers8
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Question: What is the meaning of our life?Sri Chinmoy: The meaning of our life is to become one with the absolute Truth, the absolute Reality. This absolute Truth is God the infinite Compassion and God the infinite Satisfaction.
Question: How can we achieve that?Sri Chinmoy: It is through inner meditation that we can achieve it. When we pray for ordinary things, mundane things, our prayers are quite often fulfilled. But we have to pray for something divine; we have to pray for Peace, Light and Bliss. Quite often we meditate on the things that give us satisfaction. But from now on, we have to meditate only on the things that give God satisfaction. One of the things that give God satisfaction is our conscious self-surrender and conscious self-giving, not to the human in us, but to the divine in us. Through our conscious self-giving and constant self-surrender, we can realise the Highest.
Question: What does one do during meditation?Sri Chinmoy: Meditation has quite a few stages. In the beginning, the seeker’s meditation has to be of one type. Then, when the seeker becomes mature, his meditation becomes of a totally different type. If the seeker is a beginner, then he has to try to control his thoughts and ideas. He has to make his mind absolutely vacant, calm and quiet. If any thought comes, he has to watch and see whether it is a good thought or a bad thought, whether it is a divine thought or an undivine thought. If it is an undivine thought, then immediately he will try to destroy it; and if it is a divine thought, he will allow it to enter and grow inside him. Then, when he is advanced, there should be no thought at all. There comes a time when the seeker makes continuous progress and goes far beyond those good thoughts and bad thoughts, divine thoughts and undivine thoughts. He goes far beyond the duality-life, far beyond the thought-world, to where there is he and God and nobody else: God the Creator and God the creation. At that time, he is God the creation and God the Creator unified in the Transcendental Consciousness.
Question: Why do desires exist?Sri Chinmoy: Desires exist because we want to do something, we want to become something, we want to grow into something. But when we want to do something, we have to know whether we are doing the right thing. When we want to become something, we have to know whether we are becoming the right thing.
Question: Why should the past be forgotten?Sri Chinmoy: If he drags out his past, his painful past, then he is not moving forward. One has to look forward; one has to proceed. Suppose yesterday an individual committed a Himalayan blunder. If he drags yesterday’s Himalayan blunder into today’s reality, he will only curse himself. But if he can totally obliterate it from his mind, if he can feel that yesterday didn’t exist, then he will only look forward towards the light.
The past drags us to the death-consciousness. It makes us feel that life has no value. If we do not forget the past, we are only carrying a heavy load on our shoulders and we won’t be able to move forward. Suppose in a past incarnation someone was a low type, a thief, and in this incarnation he comes to know that he was a thief. Then, in this incarnation, if he wants to grow out of his previous incarnation, he is not going to budge an inch. He will feel, “Oh, I was such a bad fellow; it is impossible for me to become a saint.” So he has to consciously obliterate the past from his mind; he has to go forward, and not stay with the achievements or the sorrowful experiences that the past has given. Then, when he becomes a saint, he can easily deal with the past, if such is God’s Will.
Question: Would you call what unites us a religion?Sri Chinmoy: It is the life-principle that unites us. If an individual wants to call the life-principle a religion, then he is perfectly right to do so. If he wishes to call it a philosophy, again he is perfectly right. But whatever we call it, we have to know that it is the code of life, the life-principle, that unites us with the rest of the world. If we call it the universal religion, then we feel it is all one. If we call it the universal God, then it is all one. But if we say that ours is the only religion and that all the other religions are useless, then our religion cannot unite the universe. Whatever claims to be the best cannot unite. Only the universal feeling which grows within us and around us can unite us.
Question: Is the self-consciousness that we discover the same as God-realisation?Sri Chinmoy: If we discover the self-consciousness that we keep only to ourselves, this self-consciousness is only the discovery of the ego. But if we discover the consciousness which is universal and transcendental, then naturally we have realised God.
Question: How can we come up from thought?Sri Chinmoy: It is quite possible. It is a kind of exercise that we have to practise. We have taken one kind of exercise for centuries; therefore, we are now getting the result of that exercise. But if we want to take another kind of exercise, we can do that too. When we take exercise to develop our arm muscles, we do develop them. Then, if we take exercise to develop our leg muscles, we will do that too. With our will-power, our human will-power, we can create millions and millions of illumining and fulfilling thoughts. Again, with the same will-power we can stop thoughts. It is like a knife. With a knife we can stab someone or we can cut a fruit and distribute it to our friends.
Tree of meditation9[Both Sri Chinmoy and Mr Schmid spoke briefly about the meaning of the tree. Following are their words.]
Sri Chinmoy: I wish to thank you deeply for having given us the opportunity to have this tree planted here. I am offering you my soulful gratitude, and I also wish to offer a blessingful message to my students, my spiritual children.
This tree is a Himalayan Pine. The Himalayas are not only the tallest mountains, but also the most inspiring, the most generously blessed with divine grandeur. The Himalayas are not only the tallest in terms of earthly reality, but also the highest in terms of spiritual reality. Many, many, many seekers have prayed at the foot of the Himalayas or inside the Himalayan caves and have realised the highest absolute Truth. So the Himalayas embody the inner height of the highest magnitude and also the outer height of the highest magnitude.
In the Himalayas we see the outer achievement and the inner achievement together, serving one cause: realisation. As soon as one sees the Himalayas, one is reminded of his own inner divine qualities: peace, light and bliss in boundless measure, as well as his outer qualities: concern, patience, compassion and dedication.
Here in Zurich we have created our own Himalayas. Our Himalayas are our inner aspiration and our outer dedication. Today we have here about twenty-five seekers. Our aspiration and dedication we are offering to this Himalayan Pine. This tree is not only for the very few who are here today, or for those who belong or will belong to our Zurich Centre. It is for all who are aspiring in all our Centres, and for all the seekers who are aspiring all over the world, for this tree symbolises aspiration and dedication.
We have come here to be blessed by the aspiration of this tree and, at the same time, we are blessing the tree with our souls' delight. It is a mutual blessing. Also, we have come here to spread the inner fragrance of this tree. Our aspiration will carry the inner fragrance, which is peace and light, from this tree, and wherever we go, we shall consciously or unconsciously spread this inner fragrance.
I wish to make a soulful request: that at least once a month my students from the Zurich Centre come here to pray and meditate most soulfully, as our San Francisco disciples do around their tree. Every month you will remind yourself on the physical plane of the aspiration and dedication that you are now offering to the tree and at the same time receiving from the tree.
This tree is at once our child and our parent. When we sit at the foot of the tree and look at its height, we feel that we are the children and the tree is our parent. But when our inner aspiration merges consciously into the transcendental Heights of the Absolute, at that time this earthly reality — this tree that is in front of us — is our child. So this moment our parent feeds us and nourishes us with its beauty, fragrance and protection, and the next moment we bless the child with our aspiration-might and realisation-height.
A tree is sacrifice, right from its root to its topmost branch. Let our lives also be a true sacrifice in the physical world, in the vital world, in the mental world and in the spiritual world. As a tree is constant sacrifice from the top to the bottom — from the root to the highest part of its existence — even so, what we have inside us, outside us and around us we must sacrifice to bring forward our inner divinity. This tree has only one message: sacrifice. By virtue of sacrifice we reach the Highest. Constantly this tree is aspiring to reach the Highest, and this highest Reality the tree achieves or receives on the strength of its constant sacrifice.
Mr Schmid: I would like to express a few words of appreciation. Honourable Sri Chinmoy, dear pupils of his, seemingly for two reasons we have come together here. One is the tree, the other is the presence of Sri Chinmoy. But, as you are fully aware, we are here this morning because of the significance of what the tree stands for.
A year ago, when we expected your visit, the selection was made, and the tree was planted then. So please don't feel disappointed that the tree has actually been here for a full year. It is still with the original purpose in mind that you have dedicated this tree today.
A year ago, the City Fathers considered what kind of tree they would like to have in honour of meditation. And as you see, it is a somewhat exotic species. There are only very few of its kind in Switzerland. The other ones are all in Geneva, which happens to be the European centre of the United Nations. So we got a tree that had been in Geneva before, and it was planted here.
It took a full year for you to come and, of course, we are extremely happy that you are here. The City Council and the Mayor were extremely grateful for your thoughts. The city is also happy, indeed, that it was in a position to offer what we believe is an extremely beautiful spot for this "Tree of Meditation," as we have started to call it ourselves. And in the name of the City Council I would like to present you with a book on the City of Zurich, which says in the introductory caption that a tree of meditation has been planted in this Rieterberg Park, out of respect for the goals you pursue, and it is overlooking the heart of the City.
I think it is not by coincidence that the City also has a heart. And when you look through the gap over there, that is the heart of the city of Zurich.
Thank you again very much for the idea. We hope that the tree will prosper.
Sri Chinmoy: I am extremely grateful to you for your soulful and encouraging words. I wish to offer you, on behalf of all my students, on behalf of myself and in the name of my Inner Pilot Supreme, our most soulful gratitude. You have not only given us this opportunity, but also you have given us your heart's assurance that our prayer, meditation and dedication will bear fruit. And for that, my soul, my heart and my life of aspiration are all gratitude to you.
Mr Schmid: Thank you.
[After the tree dedication, Sri Chinmoy visited a museum in the park. Afterwards, he wrote this in the guest book:]
I happen to be an Indian. Therefore, I wish to say a few words about the Indian sculpture divinely displayed here. To me, this is not only an art-feat, but a feast of the inner spirit. The spiritual India's, nay, spiritual Asia's pristine beauty, soulful fragrance and fruitful vision are distinctly visible in this sweet, pure, elevating and illumining museum. The divine seeker-lover of art in me finds his true satisfaction here. Therefore, I leave here a soulful gratitude-heart.
MRP 79. On 12 June 1976 a ceremony was held in Rieterberg Park in Zurich, dedicating a tree of meditation which had been planted there some months earlier in Sri Chinmoy's honour. Officiating at the dedication was Mr. Schmid, First Adjunct of City Planning.↩
Editor's note to the first editionDuring the summer of 1976, Sri Chinmoy embarked on his fourth European lecture tour. The talks that he delivered, and his answers to selected questions, have been collected into a three-part series, My Rose Petals, parts 5-7.
Lectures from Sri Chinmoy's earlier European tours have been published in My Rose Petals, parts 1-4.