My meditation-service at the United Nations for twenty-five years

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Author's introduction1

To work at the United Nations is not like working at any other place. To work at the United Nations, to serve the United Nations in any capacity — whether in the highest role or in the lowest role — is a supreme honour.

The United Nations is not just a building; the United Nations is humanity’s home. The lofty vision of the United Nations is that we all belong to a peace-loving oneness-world-family. This vision will eventually transform the face and fate of the world.

As the soulful questions in this book represent the seeker’s dedication to the soul of the United Nations, so also my answers are my own dedication to the soul of the United Nations. This soulful aspiration-book I am lovingly offering to the soul and the body of the United Nations and to all those who are aspiring to unite the world into one body and one soul. This book is also dedicated to all those who truly love not only God the Creator but also God the creation, for God the creation has the greatest opportunity here at the United Nations to flower into a most illumining Reality.

MUN 1. Sri Chinmoy, New York, 1995.

Chapter 1: The hope-sky of the United Nations

Dr Robert Muller: Do you think the United Nations exercises a real influence in the world? What in your view is its principal contribution? How does it appear to you in the great stream of history and human evolution?2

Sri Chinmoy: Not only do I think, but it is my absolute inner conviction, that the United Nations exercises a real influence in the world. What it brings to the world are the vision of peace, the mission of brotherhood and the promise of total perfection and total satisfaction in the oneness-world-family.

The principal contribution of the United Nations is the hope-sky that it offers to the world at large. This hope-sky is not a product of vital fantasies or weak mental vagaries. This hope-sky is the all-illumining revelation of the soul of the United Nations. The seeker-servers at the United Nations — no matter in which capacity they serve — and the supporter-lovers of the United Nations — no matter in which part of the world they live — are seeing a glimpse of this all-illumining revelation. And each glimpse embodies a growing and glowing fulness-satisfaction in their life of inner hunger and their life of outer feast.

In the stream of history and human evolution, the United Nations is to be not only the great and ultimate pathfinder of the ultimate Truth but also the good and supreme bliss-distributor of humanity’s Divinity.

MUN 2-12. These eleven questions were submitted to Sri Chinmoy in 1977 by Dr Robert Muller, Director and Deputy to the Under-Secretary-General for Inter-Agency Affairs and Coordination at United Nations Headquarters in New York. He was later appointed United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and is now Chancellor of the University for Peace.

Dr Robert Muller: The United Nations is a place where humans from all over the world come together to talk to each other, to learn from each other, to heal rifts and to devise a better common destiny. To my mind, it is no less than a miracle. Is it not the greatest place on earth?

Sri Chinmoy: The United Nations is a place where humanity can talk, learn and become. Humanity can talk of lasting peace, learn the secret of love and become the delight of oneness. Because of this, the United Nations is unmistakably the greatest in terms of its vision-capacity, which will eventually be manifested as the most fulfilling reality-perfection and Immortality-satisfaction.

According to our limited body, curious vital, searching mind and crying heart, the United Nations is no less than a miracle. But we have one more member in our family: the soul. The soul has quite a different story to narrate. It tells us that there is no such thing as a miracle. Anything that in the ordinary world seems uncommon, unusual and unfamiliar we call a miracle. But there are many higher planes of consciousness where these so-called miracles are common occurrences.

God the Creator and God the creation are one. We see God the creation here, there and everywhere. But we find it difficult to realise or accept God the Creator so easily, not to speak of so lovingly and devotedly. When God the Creator, out of His infinite Compassion, reveals just an iota of His Light and Power through a human life, or lets humanity have a glimpse of a realm of consciousness to which it does not have a free access, our human minds quite often call this a miracle. But, from this point of view, God the creation should also be regarded as a miracle. Only we do not appreciate it because it is always visible and available to us.

Again, from the highest point of view, there is no such thing as a miracle. Although today we are not aware of something or something has not yet manifested on earth, tomorrow we may become aware of it or it may become manifested. So there is no need to call it a miracle; its existence-reality has already been discovered by the highest and greatest member of our own family, the soul. Needless to say, miracle-power does not and cannot elevate our consciousness. It is our soulful aspiration that can and will elevate and illumine our consciousness and fulfil unreservedly the Real in us. And what is the Real in us? The universal oneness of the Transcendental Height. Truth to tell, the soul of our dear United Nations embodies this all-loving and all-fulfilling divine Reality.

With your soul’s kind permission, I am bringing this answer to the personal level. I have had the opportunity to hear a good many speeches by a good many speakers. My searching human mind tells me that each speech of yours is nothing short of a miracle in the way it embodies and reveals most striking depths and heights. But my flying soul-bird, which has a free access to the higher planes of reality, tells me unmistakably and shows me convincingly the actual reality that your soul so spontaneously and beautifully reveals through your aspiration and dedication-life. If I believe in my soul, which I eternally do, then your invaluable gifts to the United Nations and to the world at large are not miracles but a spontaneous self-offering to the Absolute Pilot Supreme on the strength of your aspiration-vision and dedication-mission.

Dr Robert Muller: U Thant often said that in his view the West was too materialistic and intellectual, and not spiritual enough, whereas the East was too spiritual and fatalistic, and not caring enough for the material and intellectual welfare of people. Do you see a synthesis developing between the two, and how would you envisage a harmonious, happy world-society?

Sri Chinmoy: I readily, immediately and unreservedly agree with our beloved Secretary-General U Thant’s most illumining assessment of Eastern achievements and Western achievements, Eastern possessions and Western possessions, Eastern contributions and Western contributions, Eastern outlook towards reality and Western outlook towards reality.

The East is spiritual, the West is material. The East cries for the Transcendental Spirit, the West cries for the universal matter.

The East is in the heart and for the heart. The West is in the mind and for the mind. The East from within comes to the fore and flowers. The West from the outer existence goes deep within and flowers.

The East wants silence. The West wants sound. Silence embodies the teeming Vast eventually to proceed. Sound inspires the teeming Vast continuously to succeed.

The East sings the song of God the One. The West sings the song of God the many. The East loves unity. The West loves multiplicity.

This world of ours is beset with countless problems. The spiritual East thinks that the Beyond is the only answer. The material West thinks that the answer is to be found here on earth; it thinks that the answer is to live and enjoy, to enjoy and live.

The East believes in fate because it believes in reincarnation. The West does not believe in reincarnation; therefore, it does not believe in fate.

We can endlessly observe the differences between the East and the West. But the real question is whether or not these differences are being synthesised. At the very beginning, if we know what the heart can offer and what the mind can offer, then it will be an easy task to synthesise the two. The heart wants to see the oneness, feel the oneness and become the oneness itself. The mind wants diversity in the vital and multiplicity in the mind proper. The heart knows that there is a road that leads inward. The mind knows that there is a road that leads forward. The East wants to walk along the road that leads inward. The West wants to walk along the road that leads forward.

The synthesis between East and West starts because of their feelings of insufficiency. The East sees that if it does not accept the material life, then it will not be able to manifest what it inwardly has. The West feels that if it does not accept the spiritual life, then it will not have a solid foundation to build upon and everything it has achieved can be easily shattered.

We can clearly see that the East has already gained considerable knowledge and wisdom from the West, especially in the scientific world. Again, the West has gained considerable knowledge and wisdom from the East, especially in the spiritual world. Here we see that the heart and the mind cannot function separately and individually. If they feel the need for integral perfection in life, they have to function together. The mind without the heart will not know what the supreme Reality is. The heart without the mind will not know how the supreme Reality can be manifested here on earth. To our great joy, the East and the West are constantly complementing each other to make each other perfect, at times consciously but more often unconsciously.

The East is like the heart of a bird and the West is like the wings of a bird. The heart inspires it to fly to the highest height; the wings enable it to come down and manifest its discoveries here on earth. There are two goals: one goal is Heaven-reality and the other goal is earth-reality. When we use our aspiring heart to go upwards to the Heavenly goal, we bring the earth-reality up to the Heaven-reality. And when we use our wings to descend to the earthly goal, we bring the Heaven-reality down to the earth-reality. It is like climbing up and down a tree. We climb up a mango tree and pluck mangoes and then bring them down and distribute them. The East says, “Climb!” The West says, “Spread!” If we do not climb to where the mangoes are, then how can we distribute them? Again, unless we spread our inner wealth, the Source will not be pleased with us or fulfilled through us.

For the last quarter of a century, both the East and the West have felt the supreme necessity of receiving light from each other. To quote your own illumining ideals and fulfilling ideals: “Beyond the turmoil, the divisions and perplexities of our time, mankind is slowly but surely finding the ways, limits and new codes of behaviour which will encompass all races, nations and ideologies. It is the formulation of these new ethics which will be the great challenge for the new generation. It will concern not only men’s material fate, but also their mental and spiritual lives.”

There was a time when the renouncer of life felt that it was beneath his dignity to love the lover of life, and the lover of life felt that it was beneath his dignity to mix with the renouncer of life. Now the lover and the renouncer are modifying their views and becoming one. The renouncer feels that he has to love life because God the Love is inside life. At the same time, the lover of life sees that things need not be renounced; he sees that they can be transformed and perfected, for perfection can give humanity abiding satisfaction. So the East and the West, instead of rejecting one another, gladly accept each other’s possibilities, capacities and realities. East and West are combining their possibilities and transforming these possibilities into divine practicabilities with the hope of bringing about an all-embracing and all-illumining satisfaction.

We will have a harmonious, happy world-society only if this synthesis continues and we can take East and West as the two arms, two eyes, two feet and two legs of the Supreme Pilot within and without. Other human divisions and distinctions — racial, cultural, linguistic and so on — are destined to disappear when the human consciousness is flooded with a higher light. This is the inevitable consequence of the Hour of God that is dawning all over the world. Diversities will remain, but they will be enriched and enhanced in fullest measure. And they will not disturb the general consciousness; on the contrary, they will harmoniously complement the whole. Humanity will be a true human family in every sense of the term and also in a sense that the human mind has yet to discover. And here I wish to say that this discovery will exceed all human expectations.

The awakened consciousness of man is evolving towards the divine existence. This is a most hopeful streak of light amidst the obscurities of the present-day world. This is a moment when human beings will not only join hands but also join minds, hearts and souls. All physical, vital and mental barriers between East and West will dissolve, and high above national standards, above even individual standards, we shall see the supreme banner of divine oneness.

Dr Robert Muller: The first three of U Thant's four categories of needs — namely, physical, intellectual and moral needs — do not create any insuperable problems for me. But the last and most important one in his view, spirituality, gives me considerable difficulties because there are indeed so many definitions of that term. U Thant described it as "faith in oneself, the purity of one's inner self." How would you define the spiritual goals?

Sri Chinmoy: The seeker in me fully agrees with our beloved brother U Thant’s four categories of needs. Each one must be fulfilled for an individual to become integrally perfect. Unfortunately, the term ‘spiritual’ always creates problems, not only in the minds of seekers who are endowed with few spiritual potentialities but also in the minds of those who are endowed with great spiritual potentialities. Each individual must needs have his own way of feeling and describing his own spirituality. To some, it is faith in oneself; to others, the purity of one’s inner self. Still others would define it as God for God’s sake.

According to my inner conviction, spirituality is at once self-giving and God-becoming. This self-giving is not an offering to somebody else, to a third party; it is an offering to one’s own higher self. Self-giving is nothing short of an act of self-uncovering, which is another name for self-discovering. And self-discovering blossoms into God-becoming.

What is God-becoming? Each individual will have an answer of his own in accordance with his soul’s development and his life’s needs. My inner conviction is that God-becoming is the soulful recovery of one’s own forgotten self. God-becoming is the fruitful discovery and soulful acceptance of this realisation: “In my yesterday’s life, I had; in my today’s life, I am. What did I have? God the man as the aspiring seed. What have I become? Man the God as the fulfilling fruit.”

Dr Robert Muller: I often think that U Thant's four categories of human qualities — physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual — could well form the basis for a world agenda of human goals. From your writings, I notice that these categories are also quite fundamental to you. But you add to it a fifth, which you call the vital. Could you elaborate on it?

Sri Chinmoy: As there are physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual worlds, even so, there is also a vital world. This vital world is situated between the physical and the intellectual world. Again, this vital world has two aspects: the human vital and the divine vital. The human vital is nothing short of aggression; it wants only to devour the world. It always says, “I know how to conquer, I know how to possess.” But the divine or dynamic vital wants only to energise the world that is fast asleep. Millions of people are not aware of God, truth or light. With the divine vital we can arouse the slumbering humanity. The divine vital says, “I know how to spread; also I know what to spread, why to spread, how to spread and where to spread. What to spread? My love-wings! Why to spread? Because that is the only way I can have satisfaction. How to spread? Soulfully and unreservedly! Where to spread? Where there is an urgent need, a sincere need, an undying need.”

When Julius Caesar said, “Veni, vidi, vici — I came, I saw, I conquered,” it was the human vital in him that was speaking. This is the vital that enjoys satisfaction through destruction. Needless to say, this kind of satisfaction is no satisfaction at all. The other kind of satisfaction is what the Saviour taught us when out of his oneness with humanity he said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Here the Christ teaches us that true satisfaction comes only through oneness.

Oneness can exist on any plane of consciousness. On the physical plane, for example, the head is at a particular place, the arms are at another place and the legs are at a third place. But they have established their oneness because they are all part and parcel of the body-reality. This same kind of oneness has to be discovered on every other plane. When the Christ, out of his fathomless magnanimity, asks his Father for humanity’s redemption, we see him identifying himself with humanity’s unlit reality. This is the reality that needs his Father’s immediate Compassion and express Forgiveness.

The human vital says, “Behold, I have!” And when we see what it has, we are disappointed, distraught and disgusted; we curse ourselves for our stupid action. The divine vital says, “I am, because You have made me. And I shall remain always so by offering to You consciously and constantly all that I am and all that I have. In this way I become my own universal and transcendental Self.”

Dr Robert Muller: When I speak to audiences about U Thant's four ways to happiness — physical, mental, moral and spiritual — I sometimes hear the following criticism: "Life cannot be artificially cut into four. Everything is interdependent and linked. We must concentrate on life as an entity and not on components that are the product of the intellect." I am not overly impressed with this argument, for I have indeed observed that life is richest when I cultivate simultaneously all four categories. Nevertheless, there is some truth in that criticism and I would be grateful to learn how you would respond to it.

Sri Chinmoy: I am sorry to say that it is not possible for me to see eye to eye with your critic-friends. Indeed they are right when they say that life is one. But where did they ever get the idea that you were cutting the life-tree into four parts? Neither you nor U Thant ever spoke of any need to artificially cut the life-reality into four. Let us take life as a ladder that helps us reach the pinnacles of liberation, illumination, universal oneness and realisation. This life-ladder has four rungs. The first rung we unmistakably call the body-reality. The second rung is the intellect-reality; the third rung, the morality-reality; and the fourth rung, the spirituality-reality.

Once we firmly step on the body-reality-rung, the physical consciousness casts off the ignorance-layers that it has had for millennia. When we ascend from that rung and step on the intellect-reality-rung, our illumined mind sees the vastness inside smallness and the smallness inside vastness, the infinite Beauty inside the finite duty and the finite duty inside the infinite Beauty. Then, when we ascend to the morality-reality-rung, we try always to do the right thing. We try to expand our little ‘I’, which consciously or unconsciously enjoys the song of division and the dance of separativity, and embrace all of humanity as our larger, expanded self. Finally, we ascend to the spirituality-reality-rung, where we discover and become one with our highest Height.

To quote your singularly momentous and apposite inner depth: “We progress physically, mentally, morally and spiritually towards a higher level of human consciousness, towards that smile of divinity which knows that someday the human race will be able to re-establish paradise on earth. There is no longer much difference between the political approach and this broader, richer concept of human fulfilment.”

I fully agree that these four approaches are not independent; they are interdependent. They are interdependent precisely because they know that they can reach their satisfaction-goal only on the strength of their becoming inseparably one. Interdependence is the harbinger of oneness. Human life is itself an eternal journey. While walking along Eternity’s road, if after covering some distance the seeker wants to give that distance a name, he is perfectly entitled to do so. But in the heart of his heart, he knows that there is only one road, one journey, one aspiring soul and one smiling goal. These four are Eternity’s duty, Infinity’s beauty, Divinity’s necessity and Reality’s Immortality.

Dr Robert Muller: If you were given the task of laying down the basic principles for the education of all the children of this world, what would be your recommendations?

Sri Chinmoy: According to me, education is self-cultivation and self-cultivation is God-perfection in human life. For an Eastern or, let us say, an Indian child, freedom is a far cry. For a Western or, let us say, an American child, freedom is as easy and natural as breathing. In India, even now most children are taught through severe discipline and fear. Here in America, as far as I can see and feel, in most cases parents look for satisfaction by fulfilling their own dreams, and they neglect their children’s needs. They say to their children, “We do not want to impose anything on you. You discover your own truth and choose for yourself what is best, for how do we know what is best for you?” In this way, the parents are unconsciously if not consciously casting aside their responsibilities. The parents will say, “Look, we really love you. Here is the proof. We have given you a TV, a tape recorder, everything that you desire in the material world. Therefore, we expect you to stay with your friends and let us live our own lives and fulfil our dreams in our own way.”

Unfortunately, I can subscribe neither to the Indian method of bringing up a child nor to the American method. Parents should not keep a frightening tiger in front of their children so that at every moment fear will compel the children to do the right thing. Nor should they allow their children to grow up in the Elysian lap of exorbitant luxury. Parents should be neither autocratic disciplinarians nor unreserved distributors of material wealth; they should be loving, self-giving and discerning friends.

The education of children and the education of parents must go together. The parents must fulfil themselves through their children. As the creation cannot be separated from the creator, even so, the creator cannot be separated from the creation. The creation without the creator is helpless. The creator without the creation is meaningless. Therefore, both must contribute to each other in order to derive real fulness-satisfaction. The parents must go deep within to make the right decisions for their children, and the children must find their real freedom in their oneness with their parents’ will. Let us consider the children as finite realities and the parents as infinite realities. The children can become infinite and enjoy infinite freedom only by becoming consciously, unreservedly and inseparably one with their parents’ wisdom-light.

The parents must not think of their children as unnecessary projections of their own life; for if these projections are unnecessary, then they can go in their own way. On the contrary, they must feel that their children are absolutely necessary projections of their life, and that the improvement and perfection of their children is part and parcel of their own perfection. The beauty of the leaves, flowers and fruits of the tree only adds to the beauty of the trunk and its roots. It does not diminish the beauty, divinity and necessity of the tree.

Here I wish to quote from your most illumining insights about global education: “A child born today will be faced as an adult, almost daily, with problems of a global interdependent nature, be it peace, food, the quality of life, inflation, or scarcity of natural resources. He will be both an actor and a beneficiary or a victim in the total world fabric, and he may rightly ask: ‘Why was I not warned? Why was I not better educated? Why did my teachers not tell me about these problems and indicate my behaviour as a member of an inter-dependent human race?’…

“Global education must transcend material and intellectual achievements and reach also into the moral and spiritual spheres. Man has been able to extend the power of his hands with incredible machines, of his eyes with telescopes and microscopes, of his ears with telephones, radio waves and sonar, of his brain with computers and automation. He must now also extend his heart, his sentiments, his love and his soul to the dimension of the entire human family and to our total beautiful planet circling in the universe.”

The parents should bring the presence of God, love, truth and purity into the hearts and eyes of their children as soon as the children can see the light of day. They should say to their children, “We are true companions, and we have an all-loving Guide who will guide us, mould us and shape us into perfect Perfection. We know a little more about that Guide than you do, and He has told us to say certain things about Him to you. Right now the Guide has asked us to act as intermediaries between you and Him. But there shall come a time when you will not need intermediaries. You will be able to go directly to the Guide, the Source. Until then, you must listen to us for we are your earthly friends.”

The acme of the children’s education is their perfection in life and their perfection for God-satisfaction. And to offer their children that, the parents should not impose nor expose nor even propose; only they should become the living flame of self-giving in order to realise their own world-satisfying life and to please the Source in its own Way.

Dr Robert Muller: Anthropologists have found a gradation of religious beliefs over the history of mankind: ritualism, animism, ancestor worship, polytheism, monotheism. All these forms were associated with changes in the social structure. Recently, the "age of reason" and the scientific and industrial revolution have rendered religion and spirituality obsolete, even harmful, in the eyes of many. What, in your view, is likely to be the religion or spirituality of humanity tomorrow as a satisfactory answer to man's queries about his relationships with the universe, his fellow men and the mysteries of life? And will this be reflected in the United Nations as a forum where humanity is seeking new ways for its destiny and fulfilment?

Sri Chinmoy: The spirituality of tomorrow will not be the merciless rejection of life. The spirituality of tomorrow will be the devoted acceptance of life and the pure dissemination of the seeker’s self-giving breath in order that he may become a God-blossoming beauty within and without.

Here I am tempted to share with the rest of the world your most illumining ideas and most nourishing thoughts: “Indeed, how can we reach full consciousness and enlightenment if we do not let the entire world and humanity enter ourselves? Humility and the lowering of one’s ego lead in the end to righteousness, happiness and the full mastery over oneself, enriched by the thoughts, dreams and feelings of others. Together with meditation, it is perhaps the clue to serenity in our bewildered, complex world. U Thant was a living proof of it.”

The spirituality of tomorrow’s dawn will beckon the aspiration-world to show humanity that real satisfaction looms large only in the heart’s inner cry. The real spirituality of tomorrow’s dawn will beckon the realisation-world to show humanity that real satisfaction lies only in the seeker’s unconditionally surrendered oneness with his Source, his Beloved Supreme.

The blind world can be sceptical of the reality or it can deny the reality when the reality is just a tiny flame. But when the reality grows into the all-illumining sun, even the stone blind must feel and accept it because of its scorching heat and loving warmth. Today’s United Nations-divinity-flame can be denied or challenged, but tomorrow’s United Nations-divinity-sun shall give sight to the blind, legs to the lame and voice to the voiceless. It shall mark the slow, steady and unerring beginning of man’s quenchless satisfaction in God and God’s breathless Satisfaction in man.

Dr Robert Muller: The United Nations is the incredible place where human oneness is seeking itself in the endless diversity of the prodigy of life. How is it possible, then, that so few people recognise this great blessing?

Sri Chinmoy: I fully agree with your description of the United Nations. Now, how is it possible that so few people recognise this great blessing? Most human beings are apt to wallow in the pleasures of ignorance. For them, there is no higher reality. For them, there is no necessity for Heaven-freedom. They are totally satisfied with their earthbound lives. Anything that is challenging, demanding, vast and high, they fail to recognise, for they are vehemently unwilling to awaken their acceptance-capacity and widen their receptivity-capacity. What they have is more than enough for them. What they do not have they feel is not only worthless and useless, but also an object of laughter-evoking mockery. These unfortunate souls, to our extreme sorrow, are denying their own real reality and weakening their own true capacity. Finally, they are binding themselves to an extremely narrow vision that is the precursor of utter destruction.

When God-lovers and Truth-seekers see the sun, they try to become inseparably one with its creative force, illumining reality and fulfilling divinity. Again, there are thousands of people on earth who do not or cannot do so. But just because they do not or cannot do so, they are in no way deprived of the sun’s benevolent light. The sun unconditionally gives its light and warmth to all those who are living on this earth-planet. But a day shall dawn, although it may take millennia, when each and every human being will recognise what a great blessing the sun is. They will then accept the sun lovingly and its gift gratefully. Similar is the experience that the wisdom-power of the United Nations soul — which is a great, new blessing to all and sundry — will give to each and every human being that has ever trod the earth-arena.

Dr Robert Muller: What can we do to open the eyes and hearts of people?

Sri Chinmoy: We can aspire more soulfully, dedicate our lives more devotedly and try to become more perfect and unconditional instruments of God and for God. If we do this, then our constant and unconditional self-giving will, without fail, help to open the eyes and the hearts of people.

Dr Robert Muller: I often feel that all my speaking and writing is just a drop of water on an infertile field of blindness and disbelief. What more can one do?

Sri Chinmoy: Revered brother, your speaking world and your writing world are not just a drop of water. Far from it! They are oceans of life-transforming light. Today’s “infertile field of blindness and disbelief” need not and cannot remain so forever, for God’s Vision of the infinite Beyond is infinitely more powerful than the man-made blindness and disbelief of a barren and confusing unreality.

What more can we do? We can try to climb up untiringly God’s Patience-Tower and watch from the highest Height until God’s God-Hour strikes. At God’s choice Hour, the stark blindness and rank disbelief of humanity will be inundated with the ever-illumining Light and ever-immortalising Delight of Eternity’s Beyond, which is slowly, steadily and unerringly manifesting itself on our earth-planet. When God’s choice Hour strikes, you and all those who are sailing in God’s Aspiration-Boat will offer tears of sleepless gratitude to the Source, our Beloved Supreme, who out of His boundless Bounty has made you His illumining Vision-seer and His fulfilling Reality-pioneer.

Chapter 2: The United Nations in today's world

Question: How can the delegates at the United Nations best convey the ideal of the United Nations to the people in their country?3

Sri Chinmoy: The delegates can best convey the ideal of the United Nations to the people of their country by making them feel that their own country is a solid branch of the United Nations reality-tree which is destined to bear all-nourishing, all-energising fruits.

MUN 13-18. 16 and 26 November 1976.

Question: What is the best way to unite the ways of politics and the ways of the soul of a country?

Sri Chinmoy: The best way to unite the two is to convince the politicians that the political world, as such, has no peace and will never have peace unless and until it receives some illumining light from the inner world. This inner light, which has to come to the fore from the soul, is always for all who want to remain united and, at the same time, enjoy real freedom in co-existence and oneness-light.

Question: How do we best deal with people who are actively opposed to the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: We have to deal with people who are actively opposed to the United Nations with perseverance, tolerance and forgiveness. If we have perseverance, then we have made a first step towards world harmony. If we have tolerance, then we have put forward the second step. And if we can forgive, then we have made the third and ultimate step. With these three qualities we can eventually illumine those who are actively opposed to the ideas and ideals of the United Nations.

Question: What is the main problem or quality in the countries of the world that keeps them from acting according to the ideals of the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: The main problem is the feeling of superiority and inferiority, which is found where the sense of separativity looms large. When the feeling of identification is wanting, the receiver and the giver are not willing to stand on the same footing of inseparable oneness.

Question: What does the outer world need in order to accept the real significance of the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: The outer world needs a broad mind and a sympathetic heart in order to accept the real significance of the United Nations. When the outer world uses its broad mind, then it will be able to accept the ideas operating in and through the United Nations. When the outer world uses its sympathetic heart, it will be able to accept the ideals embodied by the United Nations. The ideas of the United Nations are universal peace and universal brotherhood, and the ideals of the United Nations are a oneness-world-family and a oneness-heart.

Question: How can we help people in the undeveloped countries?

Sri Chinmoy: We can help only by becoming more soulful and fruitful in our own life. If we consciously become more soulful and fruitful in our thought-world, in our speech-world and in our self-giving-world during our day-to-day existence, then we can easily help people in a physical way.

Question: In general, what is the order of importance, urgency or priority today of mankind's problems — economic, social, political and religious — and why?4

Sri Chinmoy: According to me, the order is religious, political, social and economic. Why? If people are religious, they will try to lead a better and purer life, which is what the world needs most. Next is political. Politics governs the mind, the vital and the body of mankind. As religion mainly deals with the heart and inner feelings, politics deals mostly with the organising mind, the energising vital and the alert body. Then comes the social. After religion has touched the heart and politics has touched the mind, vital and body, then there should be amity and friendship in the society. At this time the individual is becoming collective. After an individual establishes his oneness with others, he feels their needs as his own. At that time, economic problems will be solved easily.

So first we have to think of God and acquire some light that we can offer to our nation. Then we have to become closely connected with others. When we feel our oneness with others, economic problems will be solved to a great extent. For then your need I will feel as my need, and vice versa. At that time, I shall be more than ready to help you and you will be more than happy to help me. So first religion, then politics, then social problems and then economics!

MUN 19-22. These four questions from delegates and staff members were answered on 20 May 1977.

Question: Which is more important: East-West political relations or North-South economic relations?

Sri Chinmoy: Both are equally important. If East and West are not united, if they do not see eye to eye with each other, then there will be a disaster not only on the mental plane but also on the vital and physical plane. So political relations between East and West are of paramount importance. Again, of equal importance are the economic relations between North and South. If North and South do not share their economic achievements, then there will also be a terrible disaster on the mental, vital and physical plane.

In both cases, what we need is a feeling of sympathetic concern, love and oneness. Between East and West the political reality is of paramount importance. Between North and South the economic reality is of paramount importance. The political reality of one hemisphere should not try to dominate the political reality of another hemisphere. Again, the countries of the North and South have to realise that they can have satisfaction only when the rich countries offer their wealth to the poorer ones and when the poor accept this wealth with gratitude and not with a demanding attitude.

Question: Nuclear arms and nuclear energy are very dangerous tools. What is your attitude towards them?

Sri Chinmoy: Nuclear arms and nuclear energy are very dangerous tools. Right now they are being used for destructive purposes, especially nuclear arms. But who is their creator? A human being is the creator of nuclear arms and nuclear energy. Again, we have to know that the human creator is also a creation of a Supreme Creator. In a fraction of a second the Supreme Creator can change the destructive mind of an individual human being into a loving and universal mind.

It is the operation of the mind that either maintains mankind or destroys mankind. If the Supreme Being wants to operate in humanity’s mind, then the dangerous creations of mankind need not and cannot remain dangerous. For there is something which is infinitely more powerful than these dangerous tools, and this supremely powerful thing is God’s Compassion for His children. When God uses His supreme weapon, Compassion, no human creation — no matter how dangerous — can stand up to it.

God’s Compassion and God the Compassion are always for mankind. First God sends His representative, which is Compassion. Then, if He sees that His representative is not strong enough to solve the problem, at that time He Himself comes as God the Compassion. But in most cases, God’s Compassion-Power is more than enough to save the world from imminent crises.

Question: What should be the attitude of a world-server in relation to dictatorships, imposed will and the restriction of individual rights and liberties? Should one refuse any contact with dictatorships or compromise in the hope of their evolution?

Sri Chinmoy: A world-server will never compromise. His is the life that will soulfully and dauntlessly fight dictatorship, imposed will and the restriction of individual rights and liberties. Compromise can never be the answer. When we make a compromise with darkness and ignorance, then it becomes a partnership: ignorance gives half and light gives half. At that time, darkness will rule half the world. The half that ignorance has is only destructive and has to be totally transformed. The entire ignorance-world has to come and take shelter in light.

So there can be no compromise between truth and falsehood, between God and Satan, between light and darkness. If you compromise with darkness and hope that in the process of evolution darkness eventually will change into light, then I wish to say that this is a false hope. Darkness will not change; on its own it will never give way to light. It is the power of light, operating consciously in and through darkness, that has to compel darkness to surrender for its own good.

Question: What is the best way for a nation to contribute to the world at large?5

Sri Chinmoy: Each nation has to feel that there is only one world-nation and one world-family. It has to feel that we are not only of the One but also for the One. Since the Source is one, that means that the end is also one. When we say that we are of the One but for the many, we immediately create problems for ourselves. As soon as we say ‘many’, we feel that there are many different minds, many different approaches and many different realities; we may lose the feeling of oneness. But if we say that we are of the One and also for the One, then there is no problem.

A tree has branches, flowers, leaves and fruits. If we do not take the tree as one unit or one reality, if we only appreciate one particular aspect, such as the fruits, then we are unable to pay full attention to all the things that the tree embodies.

So each nation should feel that there is only one world-tree, one reality, of which each nation is a part. Otherwise, one nation will start out praying and meditating for all the nations but immediately stop if the other nations make a mistake or do something that displeases it. But if that particular nation feels that all the nations have been combined or amalgamated into one reality, then it will all the time pray and meditate for the other nations.

The best way for the individual nation to make progress and also add to world-progress is to feel that there is only one reality. This reality is the Source, the traveller, the road and the goal.

MUN 23-24. 16 August 1977.

Question: In what way does the United Nations please you?

Sri Chinmoy: The United Nations has a seeking heart and also a feeling of a oneness-world-family. These two things people may not outwardly see all the time, but in my case, I do see and feel them all the time. These two achievements of the United Nations please me most.

Question: What is the supreme role of each individual nation vis-a-vis the United Nations?6

Sri Chinmoy: The supreme role of each individual nation is to maintain a genuine faith in the United Nations and implicitly abide by the United Nations Charter.

MUN 25. 9 May 1979.

Question: When you speak of a nation, you speak of it as if it were one person. But a nation is composed of millions of people with different levels of consciousness. Also, how can you reconcile the idea of a nation's karma with the fact that you have within the nation millions of people with their own karmic pasts?7

Sri Chinmoy: A nation is like a body made up of millions of cells. If one cell achieves something great, it is the achievement of the entire body. If one cell attains a higher consciousness, the consciousness of the entire body is raised. On the other hand, if one cell becomes weak, sick or diseased, then the entire body is weakened. The consciousness of a nation is a collective phenomenon. Each individual can raise or lower the standard of his nation. If one person aspires, the consciousness of his nation is elevated. The achievement of each individual person affects the achievement of the nation as a whole. Likewise, each nation is like a branch of the cosmic tree. The attainment of one particular branch is the attainment of the entire tree.

If we, as a nation, try to transcend our limitations or achievements, consciously or unconsciously we are inspiring other nations. If they live in the vital, they will be jealous of us. But if they live in the heart, they will see that they, too, have the capacity to do as we are doing. If other nations are sincere, they will see and feel that another nation is rising or has risen to a high standard through its personal effort, through its aspiration to improve itself. Then these other nations will ask themselves what is preventing them from also coming up to the same standard. They will see that in many cases it is just lack of enthusiasm and lack of effort.

Some people say that opportunity is not given to some nations. I wish to say that this is not always true. What is opportunity? Opportunity is our conscious acceptance of the divinity within. A nation may say it has fallen or failed because it did not have equal capacity or equal opportunity. But often opportunity has come from Above; capacity does exist within. However, the nation did not seize the opportunity or exercise its capacity. In this world no nation can remain unsatisfied or unfulfilled if it sincerely aspires — that is, if its citizens sincerely aspire.

We have to know what God wants from each nation. God wants my hand to work, my eyes to see, my ears to hear, my nose to breathe. If a nation goes deep within, it will see what God wants it to be. The role and goal of each individual nation have to come directly from within, from God. If God wants me to be an ant, then He will be pleased with me only if I become an ant and not if I become an elephant. And only then shall I feel that I have fulfilled my own existence and fulfilled God’s Divinity and Reality.

If I, as a nation, really want to do something for the world, then let me go deep within and do what God wants me to do, instead of competing with other nations that have been given an entirely different task by God. If I, as a nation, want to compete, I should try to compete with my own ignorance, with my own limitations and bondage. I should try to surpass my own achievements instead of the achievements of other nations. If I have weaknesses as a nation, I should try to transform and perfect them. If I am sick, I should try to bring forward my inner capacity to cure myself and not depend on other nations to cure me.

A nation does have a karmic past, and when a person is born into a nation or lives in a nation, he participates or shares in that karmic past. He also helps to build the karmic future of that nation. So if a nation is undeveloped, it is often not because of lack of opportunity but because of lack of aspiration or lack of development in its inhabitants. Whatever good qualities or good fortune a nation has and whatever bad qualities and bad fortune a nation has, it is to some degree because of the consciousness of the people of that nation. Right now each nation is far from perfection. But each nation has the capacity to be absolutely perfect because the message of perfection, the seed of perfection, dwells within each nation. Only it takes time to germinate.

MUN 26. 3 May 1975.

Question: Many countries are outwardly critical of the United Nations. What is their inner attitude?8

Sri Chinmoy: Outwardly many countries and many individuals are critical of the United Nations. But all countries and all human beings, in the very depths of their being, have a soulful attitude towards the vision of the United Nations. That is to say, they sympathise with the cause and the vision of the United Nations and with its concern for the entire humanity.

MUN 27. 9 May 1979.

Question: How can the United Nations offer greater inspiration to the aspiring seekers in humanity?9

Sri Chinmoy: The United Nations can best inspire not only the aspiring seekers but also the aspiring countries of the world by developing more sympathy and more oneness with them.

MUN 28-29. 7 February 1992.

Question: Does any small, progressive act towards world-oneness anywhere on earth improve the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly it does. If there is any progress in any corner of the globe, the fruits of that progress will come back to its ultimate source. It is like a father and son. When the son goes abroad and does something great and good for mankind, the father sees his own inspiration, which he has injected into his son, now being manifested. This gives him tremendous joy and increases his inspiration.

The peace, harmony and oneness that all the countries in the world are working for have their source in the United Nations. So if there is any marked progress in the world, we have to feel that the inspiration and aspiration behind it, plus the original vision, originated here at the United Nations. In the past, some countries or some individuals may have had the lofty vision of world-oneness. But it existed in the world of theory, not in the world of practicality. Only the United Nations has the capacity to fully manifest this vision in the outer world. And it uses this capacity to unify all the countries towards a common goal, which is the unification of human hearts and the transformation of human nature, particularly the mind.

So, if we observe progress in any nation, even in small measure, we have to give credit to the United Nations. And, whenever and wherever an iota of oneness-progress is manifested in the earth-consciousness, the United Nations gets the result. For it was here that the vision of oneness took birth and sent its illumining light to the four corners of the globe.

Question: Does the United Nations itself have special divine protection from bombs, violent riots and so forth?10

Sri Chinmoy: It entirely depends upon the prayer, meditation and self-giving of the United Nations and its oneness with the rest of the world. When the time comes, the Supreme will know what is best not only for the United Nations but also for His entire creation. The United Nations is not just a building; the United Nations is humanity’s home. Wherever an individual human being exists, the message of the United Nations exists in the very depths of that person’s heart. So if a catastrophe were to take place at the United Nations, it would affect not just an individual or a building but the entire world. In the same way, whenever the United Nations achieves something, it is not the achievement of an individual or country; it is the achievement of the entire human race.

MUN 30. 9 May 1979.

Question: What does the United Nations need most today?11

Sri Chinmoy: The United Nations has many, many, many good qualities. But inwardly I feel that the United Nations can have infinitely more confidence than it has now. It needs more confidence in its inner existence. It needs the confidence to depend not so much on world support as on its own inner strength — on what it has and what it is. What it has is an inner assurance from Above. What it is, is the loftiest Vision of the Universal Soul, which has infinite wisdom and infinite light.

The soul of the United Nations has everything that the world needs and everything that the world will ever need. So its lack of confidence must be replaced by the all-seeing, all-giving, all-becoming and all-transcending divine Confidence. By borrowing and borrowing from the outer world and seeking moral support from the outer world, the United Nations cannot proceed towards its supreme destination. The United Nations has to expand its own receptivity. Once it creates and possesses enormous receptivity, all the divine attributes will cheerfully and powerfully descend into this receptivity. At that time, the United Nations will be able to manifest throughout the length and breadth of the world its message of oneness and fullness. It is the inner confidence of the United Nations that can and shall eventually transform the face and fate of the world, for such is the Will of the Absolute Supreme.

MUN 31-32. 7 February 1992.

Question: Is it spiritually correct for some countries not to join the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: No, every country should join the United Nations, which is humanity’s oneness-world-home. From a spiritual point of view, countries that do not join the United Nations are making a deplorable mistake. Spirituality means not only simplicity, sincerity, purity and humility but also universality and unity. World-unity is of paramount importance. If all the countries join together for a positive common goal, the very act of their being together is something laudable. Only this approach will eventually save the world and the planet.

True, the United Nations is not perfect. No individual or country is perfect either. In a family, every member has some imperfections. But on the strength of their feeling of family-oneness, all the family members work together to bring to the fore each other’s good qualities. In exactly the same way, if some countries are not doing the right thing, then the other countries in the world-family that have the willingness and eagerness, plus a self-giving attitude, will try to help them. Eventually the ignorance of those countries that are not doing well politically, morally or spiritually will be illumined by the countries that are a few steps ahead.

Question: What is the United Nations achieving spiritually in the least developed countries of the world?12

Sri Chinmoy: The United Nations is offering a kind of inner assurance to the hearts of the least developed countries of the world. It is the assurance that they can and will eventually become part and parcel of the United Nations broad vision of world-oneness.

MUN 33. 9 May 1979.

Question: How do you view the problems of the world and how do you think these problems can be solved?13

Sri Chinmoy: The problems of the world are nothing but teeming clouds in the sky. It is only a matter of time before the sun disperses the clouds. We use the term ‘God’s Hour’. God’s Hour is a combination of humanity’s aspiration and Divinity’s Compassion. When humanity’s ascending aspiration meets Divinity’s descending Compassion, God’s Hour strikes and all our problems are solved.

Problems are everywhere. Each country has hundreds of problems. Each individual has hundreds of problems. But problems can be solved, should be solved and must be solved by individuals first, for it is the individual mind or individual capacity that rules each country. If each individual dives deep into his own countless problems, he comes to realise that there is only one problem, and that problem is lack of oneness.

Very often we notice this lack of oneness even in our own being. We identify ourselves with a particular part of our body rather than with other parts. If somebody says that our eyes are beautiful, then we focus all our attention on our eyes and forget that God has also made our nose, ears and limbs part of our physical existence.

The world is composed of many, many countries. If an individual can become inseparably one with the inner cry of his own nation, then he is bound to feel that his nation is nothing but a tree whose branches are the other countries. Then naturally he will claim the whole world as his own. A tree without branches is no tree at all. Only when we see quite a few branches on a tree, as well as flowers and fruits, do we deeply appreciate it. So if I can feel that your country is a branch of my nation-tree, and if you can feel that my country is a branch of your nation-tree, then our feeling of oneness can easily solve the countless world problems. This is the human way that we can solve world problems.

But the divine way is to feel our oneness with the Will of the Supreme. I come from India; you come from some other part of the world. But everything is part of God’s creation. God is both the Creator and the creation. He is Silence and He is also sound. Silence we see in His Vision-Reality and sound we see in His Manifestation-Reality on earth.

We can become consciously one with God’s Will through our prayer and meditation. Prayer and meditation are nothing short of our constant communion or conversation with God. When we pray, we talk to God; when we meditate, God talks to us. When it is our turn to talk, we offer our soulful cry for peace, light and bliss. And when God meditates on us, we just listen. He has a message for us. He wants to give us the Message and He wants to tell us how we can share His Message with the rest of the world.

When we do not consciously pray and meditate, the Will of the Supreme is executed through us only on rare occasions. But if we consciously pray and consciously meditate, then without fail God’s Will will be executed in and through us. And if we can become soulfully and constantly one with God’s Will, then we can make no mistakes. It is because of our mistakes that we create problems for ourselves. And what is the mistake that we always make and from which we are constantly suffering? Our only mistake is that we have made friends with ignorance. But we can change our friendship. God is there to help us and guide us. We can make wisdom-light our friend, our only friend. Then we will be able to swim in the sea of wisdom-light instead of swimming in the sea of ignorance-night.

MUN 34. 5 October 1976.

Question: How has the consciousness of the United Nations affected America as a country?14

Sri Chinmoy: According to my inner feeling, the United Nations has definitely contributed something very sublime to the consciousness of America. At every moment the United Nations is aiming at world-brotherhood, world peace, world harmony and world-oneness. America is undoubtedly the right place for the United Nations to be, for America embodies at once humanity’s hope and Divinity’s Promise. America is constantly offering hope and promise to the world at large.

The United Nations needs a few things from America and it is getting them. Again, America needs a few things from the United Nations, and the United Nations is more than willing to offer them. The United Nations is getting ample opportunity to achieve its goals from America’s hope and promise. At the same time, the United Nations itself, through its inner capacities, is transforming America’s hope into reality and America’s promise into fulfilment. The soul of America is promise and the soul of the United Nations helps to fulfil that promise. Like a flower and its fragrance, they go together. The soul of the United States brings down Divinity’s Promise to the foot of the reality-tree. And the soul of the United Nations looks around and offers this reality to those who need it for their mind’s universal expansion and their heart’s transcendental reality.

MUN 35-37. 7 February 1992.

Question: How does New York benefit from the presence of the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: The United Nations is like a garden that has many beautiful plants, fragrant flowers and trees with most delicious fruits. If there is a most beautiful garden in my yard, even if I do not own it, still I will treasure it. I will feel that the flowers and trees are like my own children and that their beauty and fragrance are increasing my own divine qualities.

The United Nations is a most beautiful garden that is inside the heart of New York. The good qualities of this garden will eventually come to the fore. And once these divine qualities come to the fore, New York will definitely get the benefit.

Question: When did the Supreme create the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme created the soul of the United Nations the day the vision dawned in the heart of Woodrow Wilson. But the vision did not manifest itself for many years, and when it did manifest, it did not manifest properly. In one sense, you can call it a failure. But it was not actually a failure; only the vision was taken over by others. It was the flow of the same river; it was the same flow and the same force of universal peace. The soul of the United Nations became vivid to us the day President Wilson’s dream manifested itself in the form of the League of Nations. The same soul is operating in and through the United Nations, but infinitely more powerfully and infinitely more convincingly.

Chapter 3: The body and soul of the United Nations

Mr David Rowe: A spiritual figure once referred to the United Nations as a "society for united animals" where people are not interested in religious things. Could you please comment on this?15

Sri Chinmoy: It is simply impossible for me to see eye to eye with this statement. To say that the United Nations is a society for united animals because people here are not interested in religious things is to criticise the United Nations not only mercilessly but also unreasonably.

First of all, we all know that since the dawn of so-called civilisation, countless people have been killed in the name of religion. At one time or another almost all the religions have fought unreservedly against other religions and, what is worse, often without rhyme or reason. Just to show their supremacy over other religions, most religions have swerved at times from the fundamental principles of truth.

The wisest thing is for us to first solve our own personal problems — to illumine our own darkness and perfect our own nature. This is the only way that either the united or the divided human animals throughout the world can climb up to a higher rung of evolution, which we can unmistakably call proper human life.

MUN 38-45. These eight questions were submitted to Sri Chinmoy by Mr David Rowe, Political Advisor, United States Mission to the United Nations, in the spring of 1977.

Mr David Rowe: Is the highest goal that the United Nations can aspire for no more than the highest goals of the Member States which compose it?

Sri Chinmoy: No, the United Nations can and should aspire for a higher goal than what the Member States that compose it represent. The Member States are like strong pillars, but many more things are required to build an edifice. When all those other things are in their proper place and everything is combined to achieve a specific goal, at that time the achievement-reality-body of the United Nations can become divinely integral and supremely perfect.

Mr David Rowe: Can we hope that individual delegations of Member States will work towards higher goals than their home governments would normally support?

Sri Chinmoy: It entirely depends on the inner strength of the individual delegations. If an individual delegation has received a higher call to spread a deeper reality in human life, I feel that it should move forward and listen to the higher call even if it does not get support from its home government. Let us take the home government as an elderly father and the individual delegation as a young man. The old man always thinks he knows everything far better than his son, but sometimes it happens that higher truths and more illumining realities want to express themselves in and through the young generation. At that time, the old generation will be making a deplorable mistake if it does not accept the new vision that has dawned on the young generation. This mistake may cause an untold disaster in the minds and the hearts of both the fearful, unwilling old generation and the daring, pioneering new generation.

God does not have to speak all the time through the human father. He can easily speak to the father through the son as well. Therefore, just as it is obligatory for the son to listen to his father when the father’s advice is founded upon unmistakable truths, even so, it is equally obligatory for the father to accept the son’s vision-reality when it is unmistakably illumining and considerably fulfilling.

Mr David Rowe: When a Member State assumes an "anti-United Nations attitude", it is probably due to frustration or fear that the United Nations has taken or may take some action against it. Does such an attitude weaken the United Nations system?

Sri Chinmoy: When a Member State assumes an “anti-United Nations attitude”, it undoubtedly weakens the United Nations system on the outer plane. But on the inner plane the strength of the United Nations system is extremely solid and sound. As long as the inner aspiration of the United Nations is sincere and strong, we do not have to worry if some Member States, or even all the Member States, go against the United Nations system. For it is not the Member States alone that will bring about world harmony. It is the united force of all the nations, big and small, that can and will bring about a oneness-world-family.

There may be many reasons why a Member State wants to stand against United Nations policy. But just by standing against United Nations policy, a State will not be able to solve even an iota of the world’s problems. If one sees that the United Nations is doing something wrong, that is no reason to stand violently and shamelessly against the United Nations. One has to love the United Nations more in order to bring to the fore its sincere aspirations, for this alone is what can and will change the face of the entire world.

“To err is human, to forgive divine.” To forget the past blunders of others, as well as one’s own, is to make friends with satisfaction-peace and perfection-bliss. Furthermore, this is the only way to accelerate humanity’s oneness-vision and oneness-goal. If you see the imperfections of the United Nations, you should not consider the United Nations a filthy object; you should not discard it or speak ill of it in season and out of season. No! The wise thing is to accept and embrace the United Nations as a humble and well-meaning instrument of an all-embracing and all-fulfilling supreme Reality.

Mr David Rowe: Secretaries-General have conceived of their office in various ways. Is there a preferred definition of the institution of the Secretary-General?

Sri Chinmoy: According to my inner aspiration, I wish to say that the ideal Secretary-General is he who has a free access to both the inner realities and the outer realities of life. The inner realities are heart’s cry and heart’s oneness. The outer realities are life’s total and consecrated dedication. The ideal Secretary-General is he who dives deep within in order to quench his own inner thirst, and then shares with the rest of the world the nectar-bliss that he has discovered and drunk profusely in his inner life.

The ideal Secretary-General is he who at once fulfils his inner vision and outer mission. His inner vision is love of humanity for humanity’s sake and his outer mission is service to humanity for humanity’s sake. His inner life is a continuous progress-journey to reach the acme of illumination-perfection. His outer life is dedicated to spreading his illumination-perfection throughout the length and breadth of the world.

Mr David Rowe: The style and personality of the Secretary-General influence numerous individuals and national governments and to a degree determine the performance of the entire United Nations. Don't you think, then, that it is essential to select a Secretary-General who will not allow possible wrong influences or powers to guide his actions?

Sri Chinmoy: We should always try to be true servers and warriors of truth. Therefore, our supreme and only choice has to be an all-loving, all-caring, all-serving and all-fulfilling Secretary-General whose love-power will transform the dominion-power or influence-power of the world, and not the other way around. It is love that inspires us to do the right thing in life, whereas power quite often influences or instigates us to do the wrong thing.

Mr David Rowe: Is there a special need to promote co-operation between the newer and often poorer countries in the General Assembly and the older and, in most cases, more established, wealthier countries? Should the latter not take the lead in fostering good relations?

Sri Chinmoy: We all believe in progress. Progress is nothing but true satisfaction. If one country is more established and more financially secure than another country, that does not mean that this particular country is the happiest and most perfect country. If a strong and wealthy country wants to remain always in the vanguard, or if it wants to exercise supremacy over the other countries, then it may be able to do so. But true satisfaction, for which there is a common and universal cry, will never come. Supremacy can never lead to either individual or collective happiness.

Everything is relative. One country may be poorer than another country in one particular aspect of life, but it may easily be richer in some other aspect. Outer wealth it may lack, but inner wealth it may have in profuse measure. Again, if one country is wanting in both outer wealth and inner wealth, then it will be an act of kindness as well as wisdom if the superior country opens both its inner and outer door to help, guide and illumine the inferior one. At that time, the illumined country has to feel it is only expanding its own reality-existence. It is the heart of love that knows how to expand, and another name for this expansion is satisfaction.

Mr David Rowe: Co-operation among all nations is an ancient dream. Assuming we are building on the past, how can we assess the outlook now?

Sri Chinmoy: The ancient dream of co-operation is not just a human dream that has nothing to do with reality. This ancient dream, to be precise, is not a dream at all but a faultless and divine vision — an unhorizoned vision that is slowly, steadily and unerringly shaping our individual and collective destiny as humanity marches towards its supreme goal of universal oneness and transcendental newness.

The world is constantly evolving towards a higher standard of life. It is not moving in a straight line, but rather in a spiral. Therefore, at times this progress is not immediately noticeable. To our human mind it may seem confusing and baffling. But on the strength of our inner oneness with the world situation and world evolution, we can see unmistakably the world’s slow and steady progress.

True, man-made destructive forces are everywhere. Here they may be found in small measure; somewhere else, in large measure. But the creator of these destructive forces need not remain always a creator of wrong forces; he can easily become a creator of good forces. A negative force is not negative by nature; it is only a force that we use in a negative way. A knife can be used either as a means of destruction or as a means of expanding our own oneness-reality. With a knife one can stab others; with the same knife one can cut fruits and share them with others.

The first step in turning a negative force into a positive force is to remain silent long enough to catch a glimpse either consciously or unconsciously of the divine, illumining and fulfilling light. The second step is to bring this light forward and create positive realities that will accelerate humanity’s progress towards perfection.

The ancient dream — nay, the ancient vision — of co-operation will always remain new and progressive, for creation itself is an ever-transcending reality. If we can open our heart’s door and our mind’s windows, we will be able to see from our body-room the illumining and fulfilling light all around us. Then only we shall discover continual progress in humanity’s march along Eternity’s road to Infinity’s Satisfaction-Goal.

Question: What stands between the outer goal of the United Nations and the inner goal of the United Nations?16

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, we have to know what the two goals are. The outer goal of the United Nations is the expansion of its lofty ideas. The inner goal of the United Nations is the manifestation of its illumining and fulfilling ideals. What stands between its ideas and its ideals is a lack of self-giving. If individuals and nations were self-giving instead of self-centred, then there would be nothing separating the ideas from the ideals or the outer goal from the inner goal.

MUN 46-52. 16 and 26 November 1976.

Question: What does the United Nations need most from the Member States?

Sri Chinmoy: The United Nations needs most from the Member States a true sense of compassion in the inner world and a true sense of co-operation in the outer world. The sooner the Member States become more self-giving and more co-operative, the sooner world harmony, world peace and world-satisfaction will come into being.

Question: Some nations accept the United Nations as their own. Other nations would even deny the United Nations. What are the differences in the soul-growth of the nations that have not yet become one with the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: In spite of knowing that the United Nations is not all-powerful, in spite of knowing that it may, on very rare occasions, do things that displease the world at large, many nations have accepted the United Nations as their own, very own. This means they feel their oneness with the body-reality and the soul-reality of the United Nations. It means that they have true love for the United Nations and would have accepted the United Nations even if it were not, let us say, as meaningful or as fruitful. The nations that have consciously and wholeheartedly accepted the United Nations as their very own, the nations that regard the United Nations as an integral part of their existence-reality and consider themselves part and parcel of its existence-reality, are undoubtedly fully awakened. I sincerely appreciate and admire those nations.

Unfortunately, there are some nations that find it difficult to accept the United Nations; they even go to the length of denying the United Nations. I wish to say, from my own experience and point of view, that either these nations are not awakened or they have consciously and deliberately taken the side of ignorance. At night it is very easy to deny the existence of the sun. But after dawn comes, the sun is there for everyone to see. Even while facing the sun, we can still deny its existence, just as we can deny our oneness with the supreme Reality. But we have to know that it is the ignorance in us that is operating, and eventually our inner sun will respond to the outer sun and illumine our ignorance.

Just like an individual human being, each nation has a physical personality, a vital personality and a mental personality. At times it is very difficult to say whether a nation is not accepting the United Nations because its soul is unawakened or because its physical, vital and mental reality are not sufficiently awakened. If those are not awakened, then the nation as such will not want to help and serve the United Nations or be illumined and guided by the United Nations. In most cases, it is the undisciplined vital, the uncontrolled mind and the unaspiring physical reality that do not allow a nation to see the divinity of the United Nations and its sincere willingness to be of service to mankind.

Again, there are some nations which neither deny nor accept the United Nations; they try to remain neutral. From the inner point of view, neutrality does not express the highest wisdom. Let us say two persons are at daggers drawn; they have different opinions, and one is right and one is wrong. If we know who is right and, in spite of knowing, still remain silent, it means that some weakness on our part is preventing us from taking the side of light. It is not that one side is all ignorance and the other side is all wisdom-light. What exists is lesser light and higher light, lesser truth and higher truth. One side may have an iota more light than the other side. If we remain silent, automatically we weaken the possibilities and potentialities of the side with more light. The one that embodies more light should be encouraged and inspired so that he reaches his destination-goal. There he will be flooded with the light of the goal, and then he can come back and offer light to the unillumined who are still struggling or wallowing in ignorance. So it is always good to take the side which has greater light, abundant light.

I am sure that most of you have read the Bhagavad Gita, India’s Bible. It describes a conflict between darkness and light, or we can say between lesser light and greater light, which eventually ended in the battle of Kurukshetra. Lord Krishna represented God and for God everybody is equal. So Lord Krishna said outwardly, “I am not taking any side.” But in the very depths of his heart he took the side of the righteous Pandavas. To the other side, the Kauravas, he gave his own army, and he acted only as a charioteer for the Pandava side. But there were two occasions when he came out of the chariot to fight against the unaspiring forces.

There were one or two individuals on the unaspiring side who were really aspiring. They knew who Sri Krishna was and wanted to surrender fully to his light, but they were morality-bound to fight on the Kaurava side because they were brought up and nourished by that side. Similarly, if some nations are in touch with undivine nations and get financial or other help from them, then they are caught. They will find themselves unable to voice forth their sincere opinions with regard to the United Nations. If they take the side of the unaspiring nation that helped them instead of encouraging the more promising, illumining and fulfilling nations, then they are only standing in the way of their own aspiration and hindering world-perfection in general.

As seekers, we should always try to take the side of those nations that are trying to unite other nations and that are crying for more illumination and perfection here on earth. And we should always try to convince our nation to take their side as well. All those who do not want to see the truth or who are denying the truth should be given a chance to see and realise the truth in their own time. But right now, only those who need and desperately are crying for the truth should be given the first and foremost chance to come to the fore and be inundated with light.

It is very difficult to determine the soul-growth of the nations that have not yet become one with the United Nations. Right now the physical, vital and mental parts of those nations are not allowing the soul to come to the fore. When the soul is covered by layer after layer of physical reality, vital reality or mental reality, then it is not possible to determine the growth because the soul remains in seed form. When the soul comes to the fore, when the seed germinates into a tiny plant, a sapling and, finally, into a huge banyan tree, only then does it radiate an iota of light all around. At that time we can determine the soul-growth. But we can safely say that the soul of every nation will one day come to the fore, for nothing in God’s creation will remain imperfect forever. Eventually, everything has to see the face of perfection. That is what God wants from us because perfection is what God eternally is.

Here we are all seekers of the Absolute Truth. We should soulfully pray and meditate for the nations that are still wanting in light so that they can one day see the all-loving beauty and all-fulfilling duty that the United Nations is and has. Again, we have to know that the goal that the United Nations is striving for is not the ultimate goal. Right now the United Nations is only thinking of world-union. But union is not the ultimate destination. There has to be something else: oneness. Right now, through the United Nations we are trying to establish unity on the physical, vital, mental and psychic plane. But then we have to go one step ahead to oneness. The ultimate goal is oneness-reality. Right now we will not be able to place this ultimate goal before the comity of nations. But a day will come when the United Nations will be able to offer its oneness-reality to all nations and to all aspiring human beings on earth. Our present goal is union-song, but eventually we will have to become oneness-dance by virtue of our sincere prayer and sincere dedication to the body-reality and the soul-reality of the United Nations. And for that we shall have to prepare ourselves slowly, steadily and unerringly.

Question: Can you describe the stage of evolution of the United Nations soul?

Sri Chinmoy: There are three ways to look at the evolution of the soul of the United Nations. One is the human way, another is the divine way and the third is God’s Way. When we try to assess something, we use our physical mind, our earthbound mind. This is the human way of understanding things. But the human mind cannot see the soul of the United Nations. If the physical mind tries to see the evolution of the soul of the United Nations, then it sees it as a seed that is quite uncertain of the future. It feels that the seed may not germinate at all; there will be no plant, not to speak of a tree. This is how our physical mind regards the evolution of the soul of the United Nations.

Then there is the divine way. This is the way of the heart, which identifies itself with the soul of the United Nations, with its loving capacity. On the strength of its identification with the soul of the United Nations, the heart is able clearly to see and feel the actual growth, evolution, progress and success of the soul of the United Nations. When the heart observes the soul of the United Nations, it sees a powerful tree — a soul-tree of peace, harmony, light and delight. And it sees that there are countless human beings consciously or unconsciously seated at the foot of this tree. These human beings have an iota of aspiration in the inmost recesses of their hearts. If they consciously try to become one with the soul of the United Nations on the strength of their most sincere prayer and meditation, then the soul of the United Nations cheerfully, unreservedly and unconditionally shares with them its wealth, which is universal love, universal light and universal delight.

From God’s point of view, from the absolutely highest point of view, the United Nations embodies the seed that the mind observes; it embodies the tree that the heart feels and also it embodies the fruit. From the highest point of view, this tree of peace, light, bliss and harmony has already started bearing fruit — the fruit of universal oneness. This fruit some God-lovers have already seen and felt. Instead of God-lovers, let us speak of Truth-lovers, since there are many people who do not consciously admit that God exists. But Truth does exist for them. God and Truth are inseparable, like the obverse and reverse of the same coin. But if someone likes to see Truth as the only Reality, as the ultimate Goal, then let him remain with his realisation. Our realisation that God is the only Reality is exactly the same.

When we see the evolution of the soul of the United Nations from the point of view of the Transcendental Truth, then we feel that it has evolved to a considerable degree and is quite mature. We who love the principles, the ideals and the goals of the United Nations are consciously aspiring to eat the fruit that the soul of the United Nations has already become. Again, since we believe in the process of evolution, we feel that there is no end to the progress that the soul of the United Nations will make. The light, the peace and the bliss that the United Nations has already achieved and become is being transcended every day, every hour, every minute, every second.

Question: How can the strong and developed countries offer their guidance to the less developed countries without incurring resentment?

Sri Chinmoy: It is entirely a matter of love. When the developed countries offer their guidance, unfortunately, the less developed countries sometimes show a kind of resentment. They feel miserable that they are not already endowed with the qualities and capacities that they are crying for, and their resentment takes the form of a rebellious or sulking attitude. When this occurs, the developed countries must act like human parents. They have to bring to the fore the parent-child relationship when dealing with the less developed members of their human family, who are at times unconscious, ungrateful or resentful.

Question: What is involved in establishing an inner connection with the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: In order to establish an inner connection with the United Nations, we have to feel that each and everything has a soul. The soul is the representative of God’s Truth and God’s Light on earth. If we see the soul of the United Nations, then we will feel that everything the United Nations does or stands for is absolutely perfect. Again, our own aspiring soul is also perfect in its own way. One perfect soul is meeting with another perfect soul. If we can keep this mental vision at every moment, then only can we establish an inner connection with the United Nations.

Question: Are the ideals of the United Nations applicable to every area of our lives without exception?

Sri Chinmoy: The United Nations means the united reality, which is God’s cosmic manifestation taking place through His cosmic Vision. The different nations here are like the petals of a flower; only if all the petals are together will they form a rose. If the petals are torn or scattered, then we cannot call it a rose. There has to be a oneness based on the collectivity and the unification of reality. The oneness-song of the United Nations embodies these ideals. The same ideals should be applied to the body, vital, mind, heart and soul of each individual. In every area of our lives there should be the message of oneness. If the body, vital, mind, heart and soul of each individual can be united, then all the nations representing God-Reality on earth can also be united and the ideals of the United Nations will be fulfilled.

Question: Do you foresee the possibility of a fully committed spiritual person becoming Secretary-General of the United Nations in this century?17

Sri Chinmoy: I wish to tell you that the twentieth century has already been blessed with two spiritual giants: Dag Hammarskjöld and U Thant. Outwardly they may not have been recognised as spiritual figures. But, being a spiritual man, I have established my own oneness with their inner achievement, with their tremendous sacrifice and with their inner cry. I wish to say that they were undoubtedly spiritual persons committed to high spiritual realities that are difficult for the doubting, sophisticated mind and analytical intellect to comprehend.

Sometimes the word ‘spiritual’ is misunderstood badly. Spirituality does not mean self-abnegation. True spirituality means the acceptance of life as such — the acceptance of matter as well as spirit. The really spiritual person wants to make the inner reality operate in and through the material proper. In the case of Dag Hammarskjöld, his mind was inundated by his inner light. Then, from the illumined mind, he executed the inner promptings of the heart, utilising the illumining realities of the vital and the sacrificing realities of the physical. In the case of U Thant, who was a staunch and devout Buddhist, we saw how he brought to the fore the compassion aspect of life, which is the purest jewel-reality of human existence, and offered it to mankind unreservedly, almost unconditionally.

Sometimes non-believers or disbelievers in God look down upon those who are spiritual. A spiritual person is often an object of ridicule to cynical human beings. But those who inwardly see the inseparable oneness of God the Creator and God the creation will continue offering their realisation to the world at large. In spite of being misunderstood, in spite of being assailed by physical ailments, as in the case of U Thant, in silence they continue to act. And they leave the result of their actions at the Feet of God, the Author of all Good.

MUN 53-57. 20 May 1977.

Question: Do you think it is possible to change the organisation of the United Nations without changing the Member States? If so, of what use would be the existence of such a closed circuit?

Sri Chinmoy: It is not necessary to change the Member States in order to change the organisation or structure of the United Nations. One may call the Member States a closed circuit and, from a particular point of view, one may be justified in saying so. But if we see the situation from a different angle, then we can say that when there is a large body or group, within it there has to be a smaller body to organise everything. If all the countries were equal and everybody held the same status, then there would be no organisation. In a classroom there is one teacher and many students. This kind of hierarchy is not a matter of the strong lording it over the weak; it is only an organisational necessity. If we build a house, we need an architect and also a few workers. If everybody does the job of the architect, then there will be no workers to build the house.

In an organisation as big as the United Nations, some countries have to shoulder more responsibility than other countries, so naturally they will have a greater voice. If everybody became king, there would be no subjects. I am not saying that certain Member States are kings; only that some should come forward to show light to others. If everybody had light, then earth would be Heaven itself. But this is not the case. Some countries do have more light than others. Again, even the countries with more light should become more sympathetic and develop greater oneness with the countries that have less light. That would be the ideal situation.

Question: If you want to draw an analogy between different organs of the body and different individuals or organisations in the United Nations, which of the following — the Secretary-General, the Security Council or the Economic and Social Council — would correspond with the heart centre?

Sri Chinmoy: The heart centre need not be an individual or even a single organisation. The Security Council, the Secretary-General and the Economic and Social Council are all realities, but you do not have to regard them as separate entities. The essence or highest qualities of each of these realities can be unified. At that time there will be a feeling of oneness, and this feeling of oneness itself is nothing short of the heart centre.

Question: Do you envisage the creation of a second chamber at the United Nations? If so, should it be composed of some non-governmental organisations or of the wise men of nations?

Sri Chinmoy: I do envisage the creation of a second chamber at the United Nations, but it does not have to be composed of non-governmental organisations or of the so-called wise men of nations. This new creation must be composed only of selfless, dedicated workers — true servers and lovers of mankind — who do not merely remain on the theoretical plane but also come down to the practical plane and offer practical, effective answers to mankind.

Question: Do you think that the system of "one country — one vote" is democratic? If not, do you see any alternative before the time arrives when the accumulated wisdom of nations' souls becomes the yardstick in voting?

Sri Chinmoy: It is always advisable for each country to have a vote, but this vote should not express its individual will but rather grow out of the general will. It is not an individual will that is being executed. Otherwise, it will be like many minds going in many ways. At that time, nothing will be settled and there will be no hope of reaching any conclusion. So the unity of the collective reality has to voice forth, with each country participating. Then there will be one united vote, one will, one reality and one illumining and fulfilling choice.

Question: Here at the United Nations many decision-makers have to take positions on controversial issues. What is the most effective way to make sure the position they take is the correct one?18

Sri Chinmoy: When a controversial subject is being discussed, unfortunately, all those who are participating may not be aspiring. All may not care for constant and conscious self-giving to a higher ideal, to an uplifting cause or to the Source. Still, one thing we can try to do is to exercise the sympathy of fellowship. When we look around us at a meeting, we see quite a few individuals. If we can claim them to be our friends rather than strangers or adversaries, then the strength of our oneness itself is a divine achievement. It means we are already on the road to a divine accomplishment.

If there is oneness, we will never be able to hurt anybody. If I am really one with somebody, then I cannot hurt that person. The parts of our body are one with each other. Our hands are so powerful, but do we strike our eyes with our hands? No! We know that our eyes and our hands are working together to reach the same goal. The eyes see the goal first, but it is the legs that take us there and the hands that let us hold the goal. So each member plays its role.

When many individuals get together to come to a decision, if right from the beginning they feel that they are one, then once the truth is seen by one member, spontaneously the others will also see it and try to achieve it. If oneness is already felt and established on the inner plane, then on the outer plane all will try to aim at the same goal. When an individual who is simple, sincere and truth-loving offers a good suggestion, if others have any feeling of sympathy, concern and oneness with him, then automatically they will see the value of his suggestion. It makes no difference who sees the truth first; once the truth has been seen, the inner decision is already made. And while others are participating in or becoming one with the decision, they are also expediting it. So if each member can feel that the others are not going to deceive him, if each member can accept every other member as a real friend, it does not matter who is blessed with the message. From one it will spread to two, and eventually all will be travelling together to the same destined goal.

MUN 58. 8 March 1978.

Question: On what principles should the United Nations be unyielding and uncompromising?19

Sri Chinmoy: When ignorance wants to lord it over the United Nations, naturally the soul of the United Nations cannot and will not surrender or compromise.

MUN 59. 9 May 1979

Question: What are the major qualities of the soul of the United Nations?20

Sri Chinmoy: The soul of the United Nations has many, many divine qualities, but the most important quality that it wants to offer to the world is universal oneness. This universal oneness houses both the one and the many. At the United Nations the many have become one and, again, the one has become many. The United Nations is like a tree with countless branches. This moment the United Nations is the tree; the next moment it is the countless branches. A tree without branches is not a tree. Again, if the branches do not belong to a tree, they cannot exist.

MUN 60. 21 September 1976.

Question: What is the relationship between the soul of the United Nations and the soul of the world?21

Sri Chinmoy: The soul of the world embodies the soul of the United Nations. In fact, the soul of the world has some connection — you can call it an awareness or a oneness — with everything in God’s earthly creation. There is nothing on earth that does not have a direct inner connection with the soul of the world. But the soul of the United Nations does not have or has not yet established that kind of connection with the entire world. There are many nations that have not joined the United Nations and many places on earth that do not have any connection with the United Nations.

When the soul of the United Nations grows into perfection, then it will become the satisfaction-triumph of the soul of the world; in fact, it will become the world-soul itself. The soul of the United Nations must eventually grow into the world-soul because it has to embody and embrace the length and breadth of the entire world. The United Nations means united creation, and this means one world. When we use the word ‘nation’, at that time we imagine a plot of land, a country, a few million people put together. But when we think of creation, at that time we do not think of plots of land or citizens of countries; we just think of God in His manifestation. Right now that idea does not immediately come forward when we think of the United Nations. But a day will come when the United Nations will expand its vision and encompass the whole horizon. At that time, it will become another world-soul, another form of world-reality, where God the Creator and God the creation can easily be found in every action it performs.

MUN 61. 9 January 1976.

Question: How does the Supreme see the United Nations?22

Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme sees the United Nations as a thoughtful experience and a soulful hope.

MUN 62. 9 May 1979.

Question: How much of the United Nations is a spiritual reality and how much is a secular reality, or are these meaningless distinctions?23

Sri Chinmoy: We can use the term ‘spiritual’ in a broad sense to mean the reality that unites all human beings and all human aspirations. It means the reality that wants to fulfil us in a divine way. It means a better, more illumining way of life. The goal of the United Nations is to unite all nations and peoples. Real spirituality cannot be other than this: to see all human hearts and all human lives united in one supreme cause, which is to offer satisfaction to God’s creation and God’s Vision.

MUN 63. 1976.

Question: In what way does the Supreme work most effectively through the United Nations?24

Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme acts most effectively in the United Nations through His Compassion-Power, Tolerance-Power, Self-Giving-Power, Patience-Power and, finally, through His unconditional Love-Power.

MUN 64. 9 May 1979.

Question: Is the United Nations in seed form or is it a fruit?

Sri Chinmoy: When we are in the mind, of the mind and for the mind, then we feel that the United Nations is definitely a fruit. The hungry minds and, especially, the hungry vitals of some countries and individuals have been greedily trying to devour this fruit. But those that have been able to taste the fruit are not satisfied with it; they feel it is not as delicious as they imagined because they are seeing it from the point of view of the earthbound mind. From the point of view of the earthbound mind, nothing is ever satisfactory, certain, definite or complete.

Again, there are other countries and other individuals that have not been fortunate enough to avail themselves of this fruit. These countries and individuals still feel that the fruit will be most delicious. Such is our human nature. When we get something, after some time we do not appreciate or value it. But if we do not get it, we feel that it is the most valuable thing in the world. This is what happens when we see something with our earthbound mind.

But when we are in the heart, of the heart and for the heart, we will feel that the United Nations is still in seed form. Slowly, steadily and unerringly this seed will germinate. It will gradually grow from a tiny plant into a great tree that will produce fruits for the entire world. These fruits will be truly delicious because they will be nourished by humanity’s heart of oneness, peace, love and harmony. What is more, each country will be able to eat these fruits to its heart’s content — according to its sincere concern, according to its sincere willingness to become implicitly one with the world’s progress and according to its self-giving to the world community. At that time, all the countries of the world will be satisfied with the all-pervading sweetness and oneness of the United Nations.

Question: What is the most significant change that you have seen at the United Nations since you have been here?25

Sri Chinmoy: In the outer world, unfortunately, I have not seen any particularly significant change. But in the inner world, at every moment I see significant changes in the United Nations, and these significant changes are a brighter hope, a more illumining promise and a more fulfilling inner confidence.

MUN 66. 7 February 1992.

Chapter 4: The future of the United Nations

Question: Is world peace possible without the United Nations?26

Sri Chinmoy: Complete world peace without the United Nations is impossible, for the United Nations is Heaven’s oneness-promise to the world. Therefore, the United Nations has an indispensable role to play in bringing about world peace; it is the world’s hope for world peace.

MUN 67-69. 9 May 1979.

Question: How far is the United Nations from accomplishing the ideals of its founders?

Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately, it is quite far. It has to go a long way before it can accomplish all the ideals that its founders envisioned.

Question: Why is progress at the United Nations so slow?

Sri Chinmoy: Progress is slow not only at the United Nations. Human progress everywhere is generally slow, slower, slowest. Again, so long as we see an iota of progress in an individual or in a country, we must be thankful to God. Even if progress is slow, as long as it is also steady and fulfilling, then we know that we will eventually reach the goal.

Question: The Preamble of UNESCO's constitution states that wars begin in the minds of men and it is there that they have to be eradicated first. I believe that the minds of men are changing, yet a general war is still a possibility. Would you comment?27

Sri Chinmoy: It is true that wars begin in the minds of men. If the mind changes, there will be no wars. But the mind will change only when it is transformed, and the only way to transform the mind is to bring the reality and divinity of the heart to the fore. The mind of humanity is changing, true, but it is going at the speed of an Indian bullock cart. At any moment the storm of doubt and the hurricane of jealousy can stop humanity’s mind from proceeding further. Only if the heart’s qualities come forward and illumine the mind, can we be free from doubt-storm and jealousy-hurricane. An illumined mind founded upon a loving heart can not only put an end to war but also expedite world-oneness, world-perfection and world-satisfaction.

MUN 70. 20 May 1977.

Question: How do you envision politics in the next century?28

Sri Chinmoy: I believe that eventually politics has to surrender to spirituality and allow itself to be guided and led by spirituality. The situation now in the political world is like a blind man trying to lead someone who has very clear vision. People who pray and meditate have clear vision; they live in the heart and they are the ones who should lead the blind. But instead, the blind are the ones who are leading. Who are the blind? The blind are those who live in the mind at every moment.

The mind only knows how to divide and divide. But by dividing the world and separating reality into pieces we can never get joy. Only by becoming one with the world can we get real joy. The mind is like a boxer. It is always trying to show its supremacy. All the time it is saying: “I am superior to you. I should be one step higher than you or one step ahead of you.”

The voice of the heart is the voice of oneness. It says “Wherever you are, I am also there. I am inside your heart and you are inside my heart.” This kind of oneness-philosophy brings us an abiding joy that we can never get from the world of separation and conquest. Today the boxer will defeat his opponent and tomorrow some other boxer will defeat him. So where is the satisfaction?

The mind not only separates itself from others; it also doubts and suspects others. It may even doubt and suspect itself. Those who live in the heart, on the other hand, are all the time expanding. Today they love God; tomorrow they will love all humanity. If spiritual people get the opportunity to help mental people who are now in the political world, then there will be a different kind of politics — the politics of the heart. At that time, guidance will come from the heart and there will be no division; there will be only joy and satisfaction.

MUN 71. 7 February 1992.

Question: Will the United Nations grow into a world government?29

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on what kind of world government you are speaking of. If it is a government that wants to govern nations with the inner messages that come directly from the heart, if it is a government that wants to govern in an unprecedented, self-giving way, then there is every possibility that some day the Absolute Supreme will give the United Nations the supreme opportunity to govern the world.

MUN 72-73. 9 May 1979.

Question: Will the dream that began with the League of Nations need yet another organisation to manifest itself?

Sri Chinmoy: No, the dream that began with the League of Nations does not need another organisation to fulfil its message. The United Nations has abundant capacity to fulfil the dream of the League of Nations and also to fulfil its own dream, which is far more absorbing, more illumining and more fulfilling.

Question: What role will the United Nations ultimately play in the spiritual transformation of humanity?30

Sri Chinmoy: The ultimate role of the United Nations in the spiritual transformation of humanity, according to my inner feeling, will lie in its recognition of the importance, the necessity and the capacity of spirituality. Spirituality carries the message of peace and has the capacity to bring about peace all over the world. Those who are working at the United Nations eventually will come to realise that it is spirituality that will bring about harmony, peace, light and bliss. Spirituality here means the discovery of our inner oneness. If we do not discover our inner oneness first, then we will never be able to discover, realise or manifest the outer oneness through politics or any other means. Spirituality is the foundation; if there is no foundation, the house will collapse.

Our inner oneness we will discover not with the mind but with the heart. The inner world is the world of the heart and the outer world is the world of the mind. Ultimately, the outer or mental approach will have to surrender to and become one with the psychic or inner approach. So first we have to discover and establish our heart’s oneness through spirituality, and then this oneness-discovery and achievement must be brought to the fore to establish peace and harmony in the outer world.

MUN 74. 18 April 1978.

Question: When and how will the leaders and representatives of the nations of the world, especially of the developing nations, begin to seek spiritual solutions to their problems?31

Sri Chinmoy: There is no fixed date. Only when the hour has struck for a particular individual will that individual cry for world-oneness, world-progress and world-perfection. An individual or a nation has to become consciously aware of what it is necessary to do. It is only through conscious awareness that the right things can take place at the right moment in the right way. At that time, all the negative forces can be conquered and all the world’s problems can be solved.

MUN 75-77. 16 November 1976.

Question: Will the Supreme send more real leaders to help support the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: Already there have been quite a few extremely good leaders. Some of these leaders got the opportunity to lead, while others did not. If there is a need for more leaders, then the Supreme will definitely grant the United Nations more leaders. But if the present leaders already have the capacity and if others are praying for the capacity in their own way, then the goal of the United Nations will not always remain a far cry and there is no need for the Supreme to grant the United Nations more leaders.

Question: As the United Nations evolves, will it become less of a political centre and more of a spiritual centre?

Sri Chinmoy: A divinely political centre and a truly spiritual centre are not two different things. We have to know that the United Nations has to be both divinely political and truly spiritual. When it is truly spiritual, it will embrace humanity’s entire inner existence. And then it will need an opening to express itself. This opening is politics. The divine politics, which is inside the devoted hearts of the individual nations, can at that time be of great assistance.

The United Nations has already obtained considerable spiritual power. Unlike political power, spiritual power works in silence. Therefore, it is not noticeable to our human eyes. But it is constantly being felt in the hearts of those who are crying for a better, more illumining and more fulfilling life on earth.

Question: Is it possible that the United Nations will one day be a nucleus of worldwide spirituality?32

Sri Chinmoy: That is not only possible but also inevitable. The symbol, the truth, the light that the United Nations embodies is bound to cover the length and breadth of the world. The body and form that the United Nations now has may not last. It may not remain in this building. But the reality that is behind the United Nations, the dreams that each dedicated individual member has — not in his mind, but in his soul — have to fulfil themselves. It may take fifty, two hundred, or four hundred years, but the dreams must eventually be fulfilled even if the outer form or structure of the United Nations does not remain the same. The essential thing is that the soul of the United Nations will blossom into perfection, and ‘United Nations’ will be expanded into ‘Oneness-World’.

The League of Nations was Woodrow Wilson’s dream. It no longer exists. Instead, it has blossomed into another dream, a greater dream. The United Nations is also a dream. And this dream also will eventually take a better and more fulfilling form; at that time it will be a ‘Oneness-World’. A League of Nations is like a cluster of flowers. A United Nations arranges the flowers harmoniously. But in a Oneness-World, we will not see several individual flowers at all; we will see all as one whole.

This is God’s Dream, God’s Vision of Perfection. The Kingdom of Heaven that we talk about and hear about is nothing other than a Oneness-World. A Oneness-World must dawn. Even when a Oneness-World is established, it will not be the ultimate thing in God’s Vision. No, inside oneness there should be a continuous aspiration to go beyond, beyond, beyond. God’s Vision is always transcending, so after oneness we still have to keep on going; only then can we have real perfection. So, first there was the League of Nations. Now we see the United Nations. From the United Nations we shall see the Oneness-World, and inside the Oneness-World we shall sing the song of self-transcendence, world-transcendence and universal transcendence. Only then shall we find satisfaction-perfection.

MUN 78. 16 April 1976.

Question: Do you see any role for the United Nations in the enlightenment of mankind? If so, will music be one of the components of such a role?33

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I see that the United Nations has a definite role to play in enlightening the life of mankind. But it is not the outer music that will do the needful. It will be the inner music, the heart’s music, which continuously feels and makes others feel that we are of the One and for the many. The inner music makes us feel that the many are only our own extended and expanded reality. So it will not be instrumental music or vocal music but the psychic music of the United Nations that can and will enlighten mankind.

MUN 79. 20 May 1977.

Question: Is the Supreme pleased with the progress of the United Nations?34

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, the Supreme is pleased with the sincere aspiration and dedication that the United Nations has offered Him. Again, the Supreme believes in continuous progress. Whatever the United Nations has already achieved has pleased Him, but He expects something more. That something more has to be achieved by the sincere efforts of the people who work at the United Nations, the people who love the United Nations and the people who are one with the ideals and the goals of the United Nations. We can achieve what the Supreme wants by virtue of our joint efforts in the field of aspiration and dedication — by making a special effort to aspire more and dedicate ourselves more to the cause of the United Nations.

Satisfaction is not a finished product. If we remain at a certain standard, then our progress becomes like a stagnant pool and satisfaction goes away. Only in continuous progress do we find satisfaction. First we come up to a certain standard, which we originally wanted. Then we look around and see that somebody else has achieved something higher or deeper, and we also try to do the same. It is not out of jealousy or a feeling of competition, no; only it is an inner urge that makes us want to try to surpass ourselves.

MUN 80. 16 August 1977.

Question: When peace is finally established on earth, what then will be the function of the United Nations?35

Sri Chinmoy: The role of the United Nations will not come to an end after the establishment of peace on earth. To have world peace is just the beginning; it is not and cannot be the end of human achievement. When an individual seeker acquires peace, for example, there are many other things that he must also acquire in order to make himself a perfect instrument of God. He must begin to grow into a new light and achieve a new harmony and a new fulfilment. Similarly, this earth of ours also has many things that it has yet to offer to the Absolute Supreme. The first is peace — peace in the individual and peace in the collective human consciousness. But, as is the case with the individual seeker, this is only the beginning. The earth also has to grow into a new light and achieve a new harmony and a new fulfilment.

MUN 81. 9 May 1979.

Chapter 5: Serving the United Nations

Question: What do the delegates and ambassadors who are participating in the General Assembly offer to the United Nations spiritually?36

Sri Chinmoy: All the diplomats and delegates have something spiritual to offer. They have come, first of all, to serve their own country. Their country is made up of thousands and millions of people. Since they represent their nation, millions of people are inside them and speaking through them to the world at large. So the message that the ambassador of a nation gives is something that his nation wants the whole world to hear. It is the nation’s collective contribution to mankind that the ambassador is offering. Therefore, we must realise that there is something meaningful and fruitful inside each and every delegate and ambassador participating in the General Assembly. This very thing, on the outer plane, may not bear fruit all at once. But just because it does not bear fruit immediately, we cannot say that the ambassador and his nation do not inwardly have a good intention.

Each delegate is a human being and each human being has a soul. That means a solid portion of God’s Consciousness-Light is inside each individual. Each individual has the potential, the capacity and the needed power to serve mankind spiritually. It may take time; some individuals open up to the light sooner than others. But nobody can live without in some way offering to the Source the love, concern, sympathy, compassion, devotedness and other good qualities that have come from the Source.

MUN 82. 21 September 1976.

Question: Do you think diplomats gain anything from these prayer and meditation meetings that is particularly useful to their own work?37

Sri Chinmoy: I do hope that they get peace of mind. The delegates are dealing with the world problems, so what they need first and foremost is peace of mind. When they come and pray with us and become one with us, they do feel peace of mind. Then, when they go back to their respective offices, they can solve the problems that they have been facing with new inspiration, new aspiration, new light and new illumination.

MUN 83-84. 11 March 1977.

Question: The United Nations is, of course, a very political place. Does politics ever enter into your spiritual work?

Sri Chinmoy: Politics, as such, does not enter into our work. But we do feel that politics can be illumined by spirituality and raised to a very, very high state of consciousness. We pray and meditate to purify our mind. The mind constantly creates confusion, doubt, worry, anxiety and so many other problems for us. We believe that when the mind is purified and illumined, it will become a perfect instrument for bringing about a better world. We do not use politics as such, but on the strength of our sincere prayer and meditation, we try to bring into politics the light and the bliss that we have obtained here so that the political world can also be illumined, perfected and fulfilled.

Question: When several individuals form a committee to do a project, you may have five different people discussing something with their own backgrounds and ideas. And in the United Nations, you may have five different countries, or even more, discussing one topic, each country with its own firm belief. What is the best course to follow in such cases?38

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes as an individual you have an idea. Then, a few minutes later, you develop or create another idea. In the morning, you may have an idea of how to achieve something, and in the afternoon you may have another idea of how to achieve that thing in a different way. But the idea you get in the afternoon need not be the better one.

If there are five members on a committee, each individual should try to dive deep within to see if he can agree, in any way, with the idea offered by somebody else. Right now, let us say, he is fighting for his own suggestion. But in a few days, it may happen that he himself will have the same view that he is now opposing. So if all the members have established their oneness with the other members, then they will at least try to understand the others’ viewpoints and see if there is any truth there.

Among the five different ideas, one may be more mature and practical than the others. Take the five ideas as five fruits. If there are five fruits, some will be unripe; nobody will want to eat those. Only the fruit that is most ripe and delicious will appeal to everyone. Just because one person has brought the ripe one, it does not mean that only he will eat it. The others will have an equal share. As long as everybody is allowed to eat it, as long as everybody is ready to share it, then it does not matter who brought it since the fruit becomes everybody’s property. Similarly, no matter who has offered an idea, all the members will have an equal opportunity to apply that idea to their own lives.

MUN 85. 10 August 1976.

Question: How can the knowledge of spirituality help professional people in their efforts to serve mankind through their work?39

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, let us try to know that spirituality is not something abstract and uncertain, something that encourages us to leave the world, something that is only for the chosen few. No! Spirituality is certainty itself; and, if it is true spirituality, it always encourages us to accept life. Spirituality is the simplification of life, not the rejection or negation of life.

Each individual has something to do here on earth, so he consciously or unconsciously throws himself into multifarious activities. He wants to get everything done sooner than at once so that he can go on to something better, something more illumining and fulfilling. There is a direct route or short cut that an individual can follow to reach his destination. This is the way of concentration, which is the first rung in the spiritual ladder. If we concentrate on the thing that we are supposed to do, we bring to the fore or bring down from Above extra capacity, confidence and assurance. If we can concentrate before each undertaking, we will not only simplify our task but also expedite a satisfactory result.

It is like this. All along the route to our destination are doubt-trees, insecurity-trees, hesitation-trees, anxiety-trees and worry-trees. They are lying across the road blocking our path. Concentration clears the road of these obstacles. It transforms doubt into faith, insecurity into security and so forth. Everything discouraging becomes encouraging and helpful as we move towards our destination. And that is only the first step. After concentration clears the road of confusion, meditation will purify and illumine our mind so that we see that the goal is not only right in front of us but also within us. This is the second rung of the ladder. Finally, when we reach the final rung of the ladder, contemplation, we realise that we are the goal itself. This moment we are the seeker running after the goal; the next moment we have become the goal itself.

So, if we want efficiency and perfection in our profession, then spirituality is the only answer. No matter what we want to achieve from life and in life, spirituality can help us. It simplifies, purifies, illumines, fulfils and immortalises our existence. It is the only way to make us feel that we need the goal, to show us how to reach the goal and to make us clearly see that we are nothing other than the goal itself. Spirituality is not something uncertain, vague, meaningless or fruitless. No! It is not only meaningful and fruitful but also illumining and fulfilling. And inside illumination and fulfilment is the satisfaction that we want.

MUN 86. 29 October 1975.

Question: How can you maintain inner tranquillity at work when you are in an atmosphere with a great deal of pressure?40

Sri Chinmoy: You can maintain inner tranquillity no matter what happens in your office or how many wrong forces from your office try to assail you, provided you feel that these forces are no match for your love of light. When you are in the office, you are constantly attacked by the force of doubt, which is a representative of darkness. If you feel that you have nothing with which to fight this force, then you are totally lost. But if you feel that inside your heart there is something called light, and that this boundless luminosity is infinitely more powerful than the force attacking you, then you have nothing to fear. Because you pray and meditate and are trying constantly to increase your love of God, and because you are aware of God’s Presence inside your heart, you can rest assured that you definitely embody light.

The wrong forces are coming from outside. But inside you is the strongest, mightiest force, which is in constant communication with the Almighty Absolute. This force is your inner light, which is immortal. It will never surrender to the wrong forces. In fact, when darkness consciously or unconsciously enters into light, it is bound to be transformed. Just by bringing this inner light to the fore, you will see to your great astonishment that the outer darkness immediately will give way. The more you can increase your inner light and bring it to the fore through your prayer and meditation, the sooner you will see the transformation of the outer forces that are attacking you.

MUN 87. 3 October 1975.

Question: How can we help the pilots of the United Nations — the Secretary-General and the Directors?41

Sri Chinmoy: The pilots of the United Nations need our service, not our help. The moment we use the term ‘help’, a kind of egocentric idea enters into us. If we help someone, that means we are in a superior position. When we help, we feel that we are one step ahead or one step higher than the ones whom we are helping. But if we serve someone, then we offer our capacity with humility, on the strength of our loving concern and oneness. So let us use the proper term: ‘service’.

How can we serve the Secretary-General, who is the main pilot of the United Nations, and others who are high authorities at the United Nations? Let us call them the hero-warriors of the United Nations, since they are in the battlefield of life fighting for world peace, world-oneness, world-illumination and world-perfection. These members of the human family, our brothers and sisters, have gone out to fight against the undivine forces, which do not want world harmony and keep the nations of the world apart.

But we can serve the same supreme cause through our constant prayer and goodwill. Our prayers will undoubtedly be an additional strength to them while they are standing against disharmony and conflict. The pilots of the United Nations are serving mankind in the world arena, according to their capacity. We can also do the same type of service on a limited scale, according to the capacity we have. Our prayer has solid strength. This solid strength we can offer to them in silence, from our inner life of dedication to the world.

MUN 88. 21 April 1976.

Question: What is patriotism?42

Sri Chinmoy: Patriotism is love of one’s country, the country that has given one shelter, the country that claims one as its very own son or daughter. Patriotism offers an individual a golden opportunity to work together with his dearest motherland. When mother and son work together, they see their need of each other. The son needs the mother’s sacrifice, sympathy, love and concern; the mother needs the son’s heroism, dynamism and will-power. When all these divine qualities meet together, the country becomes a perfect instrument of God.

Some countries are regarded as the fatherland. In these cases, the father’s wisdom, height, light, peace and bliss can meet with the dynamic qualities and boundless will-power of the son or daughter. At that time, both the father and child become supremely perfect instruments for God-manifestation on earth, and perfection dawns in that particular country.

MUN 89-92. 30 May 1975.

Question: How can we be patriotic without separating ourselves from other countries?

Sri Chinmoy: According to my experience and my capacity, I have built a house. According to your capacity, your talent, your aspiration and your determination, you also have built a house. Let us take each house as our own beloved country. I shall not criticise or belittle your home. I will not say that mine is far superior to yours. I will feel that mine is good for me and yours is good for you. I will keep my house clean, and if you want to come, I shall welcome you as a divine guest and invite you to stay as long as you want to. I also will expect you to keep your house clean and welcome me when I want to visit you. This means we shall accept each other and derive benefit from each other’s experience. At that time our aspiration, capacity and ability will come together; but your home will remain your home and my home will remain my home.

If we really love something, it means that we also have the capacity to love something else. Love is a kind of expanding capacity. Today I love my mother and my father, the day after tomorrow I love my brothers and sisters. Then, when I go to school, I love my teachers. Gradually, I learn to love my town, then my province, then my country, then the whole world. But I start by loving one thing that is very close to me, and from there my vision expands until finally I love the whole world. So if I do not start off with patriotism, if I do not start out by loving my own country, how will I be able to love somebody else’s country? If I constantly and deliberately find fault with my country, then gradually I will find fault with my city and with the members of my family, with myself and with everything I have and am. I will find that my nose is not beautiful, my eyes are not beautiful, my hands are not beautiful and so on.

When I love my country first, my love-power never becomes stagnant; it is always running towards the Source like a river flowing towards the sea. And, if I really love my country, then I will be able to love other countries, because by loving my own country I will come to learn what a country means to its citizens.

For a child, his mother is the whole universe. Then, as he grows older, gradually his vision increases. That does not mean that he loves his mother less, but inside his mother, little by little, he learns to see the whole world. Similarly, inside the heart of your country you can see the existence of all other countries. Inside the divine qualities of your own country you come to see the divine qualities of other countries. For anything that is good is vast; anything that is divine is all-pervasive.

Question: If we love our country but live elsewhere, how can we serve our country?

Sri Chinmoy: If geography separates you from your country, you can offer your goodwill to the soul of your country. You are from South Africa. Do you think that your goodwill, your love, your concern in the inner world will not enter into the soul of South Africa? When an individual who is working in America gets a letter from his mother in India, his whole face changes, his whole consciousness changes. He swims in the sea of his mother’s affection and love, and immediately gratitude grows inside his heart; he becomes gratitude itself. Even when he does not receive a letter, how many times his mother’s consciousness enters into him when she thinks of him with her boundless love and concern. The mother may be far away and busy with many projects, but she constantly feels the existence of her son inside her heart, and vice versa.

If you really love your country, geographically you may remain far away, but spiritually your mother-country can be inside you and you can be inside your mother-country. This feeling is not an illusion or a product of the imagination. Far from it! From the inner world everything comes to the outer world. The moment you think of your mother’s love and concern for you, immediately you create a divine world of your own. Inside that world you feel the existence of your dearest mother. And when your mother thinks of you with all her affection, love, concern and blessings, she immediately creates a world of her own where you exist inside her heart.

It is not the outer location but the inner feeling that is important. Where real concern exists, where real love exists, there the bond of oneness, inseparable oneness, reigns supreme. The son can stay in any part of the world and the mother can stay in any part of the world, but the bond of oneness inside their hearts can be felt at every moment. The mother will see the fulfilment of her existence inside the son no matter where he is. And the son will feel his success, his progress and the meaning and purpose of his life inside his mother.

Question: Is not patriotism restrictive even at its highest level?

Sri Chinmoy: If patriotism is based upon the physical consciousness, the vital consciousness or the mental consciousness and does not want to go beyond these, then it is narrow-minded and restrictive. That kind of patriotism, which says I am only for my village or country and against yours, can be a real curse. But if patriotism comes from the soul’s oneness with the country or from the soul’s feeling of being a divine instrument of the Supreme and for the Supreme on earth, then it will not restrict us. For the physical in us, the vital in us and the mind in us want to become part and parcel of the soul’s light and the soul’s mission here on earth. That kind of patriotism is not a hindrance at all. It is a real benefit. It will allow us to go to the Highest, the Universal, the Absolute.

Some people have tremendous feeling for their country, but it is all on the physical, vital or mental levels, which are very limited. It is not on the psychic level. On the psychic level there is always oneness, constant oneness, and it is the nature of oneness to expand. If I love my country, it means I have become one with my country. Then, if I feel the inner urge to expand my oneness, to embrace other countries, I will find no inner restriction in my patriotism.

Limited oneness is not enough. From oneness we have to grow into vastness. I can have oneness with a particular finger, but I want to have oneness with all my fingers. The moment I establish oneness with everything within me and around me, I enter into universality. I discover that I am at once in all and for all. At that time I am in God, I am with God and I am for God. The real Reality in me is the omnipresence of God — inside me, inside you, inside everything.

So patriotism has to be based on our psychic consciousness, for then only is it constantly expanding its oneness and entering into the Infinite. This kind of patriotism will never limit us. On the contrary, it will teach us the process of growing from the one to the many. As I expand my consciousness, gradually, gradually the whole world becomes mine. So if patriotism leads to the fulfilment of the real Reality in us rather than just to the fulfilment of our physical, vital or mental consciousness, then patriotism is a real gift from Above to illumine and liberate the human in us. That kind of patriotism is all God-embodiment, God-revelation and God-perfection on earth. This is what God wants from patriotism.

Question: What is the most important thing to remember while working at the United Nations?43

Sri Chinmoy: The most important thing to remember while working at the United Nations is the vision of the United Nations. The vision of the United Nations is world peace and world harmony: one nation, one soul and one goal. While working at the United Nations, we have to sing all the time in the inmost recesses of our heart the oneness-song.

MUN 93-95. 16 November 1976.

Question: How can we best fulfil our roles at the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: We can best fulfil our roles at the United Nations by consciously feeling at every moment that we are divine instruments chosen by God to play a significant role at the United Nations. Inside this feeling of ours, divine fulfilment will loom large in a special way.

Question: What qualities can we offer to the United Nations to best fulfil it?

Sri Chinmoy: The two most important qualities are concern and self-giving. When we look at the body of the United Nations, we will look with our concern; we will see that humanity is depending on the vision of the United Nations to lead it to greater progress. And when we think of the soul or the inner reality of the United Nations, we have to feel that its fulfilment can take place only on the strength of our own self-giving. We have to give ourselves to the vision and the goal that the United Nations has placed before us: world peace, world harmony and oneness-light.

Question: What should our attitude be towards working at the United Nations?44

Sri Chinmoy: Our attitude should be one of conscious self-giving. The more we can give soulfully, the sooner we shall find satisfaction in what we are doing or what we are growing into. Each individual has something to offer to the world at large. We have only to do it.

At the United Nations we have to deal with many individuals. If we find it difficult to give ourselves to certain individuals or countries because of some unhappy experiences, at least we should cultivate an attitude of forgiveness. When we feel that we have enemies around us and harbour wrong thoughts towards them, we actually forget our own goal. We think only of how to conquer or annihilate our enemies. This becomes our goal. If this is our goal, what kind of progress are we going to make?

At every moment we can be assailed by negative or undivine thoughts. Again, at every moment with our inner will we can create good thoughts, loving thoughts, illumining thoughts, fulfilling thoughts. If these thoughts are fed by the heart, then only can they function properly and grow into self-giving actions. Right now we use the term ‘self-giving’ precisely because we have not sufficiently cultivated or developed the capacity that makes us feel that we are of the One and for the many. We have not yet discovered our universal oneness. But once we discover our oneness with the rest of the world, we come to realise that there is no such thing as self-giving. What we call self-giving is only the fulfilment of our own inner awakening. When my hand does something for my leg, it is not regarded as self-giving because my hand and my leg are part and parcel of one reality.

Unfortunately, at the present state of our evolution, we do not have the capacity to feel everyone as our own. So let us start with the idea of self-giving. We shall give what we have and what we are. If there are adversaries or others who do not see eye to eye with us, then we have to move forward on the strength of our capacity to forgive or forget. We shall not forget the divine purpose within us, but we will forget the unhappy or unhealthy experiences we get from others while we are trying to serve our ideals. And we shall forgive those who give us these bad experiences. Only in this way can we most effectively serve the United Nations.

MUN 96. 21 September 1976.

Question: You have said that if we wish to serve the world we must have the proper attitude. Could you explain please what that attitude is?45

Sri Chinmoy: If we wish to work in the world and for the world, our attitude should be one of dedicated service. We have to feel that we are all members of the same family and that the rest of the world is ours. When the attitude of helping others comes into the picture, immediately we feel that we are superior and we become proud. We have to take the attitude that we are serving others. If we are in an ordinary consciousness, we may feel that serving others means that we are inferior to them. But if we remain in a divine consciousness, we feel that in serving others we are getting a golden opportunity to serve the Supreme, the Inner Pilot who is inside us and inside everyone. The question of superiority and inferiority does not arise at all.

When we serve mankind, we have to feel that we are not the doer but Somebody else is. We may not know Him, we may not see Him, but definitely we can feel Him. God is nearer to us than our nose and eyes, much nearer. When we meditate, we may not see the golden Face of God, but we do feel something guiding and inspiring us. Someone is inspiring you to do the right thing and to become the right person. And that Someone is God. If Somebody from within had not inspired you, then you would not have come here to pray and meditate.

The Supreme gives each individual countless golden opportunities to serve Him in humanity. When He asks us to do something and does not ask somebody else, it is because He feels that we have the inner surrender and the inner willingness to do it in a divine way. Two persons may do something and have the same outer success, but their attitudes may totally differ. In God’s Eye, the attitude is most important, not the so-called outer success. If we do something devotedly and unconditionally, then God feels that is a real success. But if we try to achieve something by hook or by crook, by deceiving the world, we may get success on the surface, but our conscience will torture us. One day we will be exposed; then we will become a victim not only to our own inner conscience but also to public ridicule.

Others may be much greater than we are. In the eyes of the world, greatness is determined by who has the authority, who has the autocratic power. It depends on how much physical power, vital power or mental power one can wield. But in God’s Eye, whoever has the heart’s magnanimity and whoever wants to expand his heart’s capacity is the one who is really great. In God’s Eye, greatness means goodness. Whoever is good becomes God’s chosen son or chosen daughter.

In order to serve God in man and man in God, the first thing we have to do is pray and meditate. Inside our meditation we will find the divine Message or Command, and we will also see how this Command can be executed. If we discard prayer and meditation and try to become philanthropists or world-lovers, we will be making a deplorable mistake. We will become like a human body without a backbone. First we have to become a God-lover, and then see humanity inside God. If through our meditation we see God and feel His Presence, then naturally we shall care for mankind. God is like the root of the cosmic Tree. If we want to water the leaves and fruits, it is impossible; we have to water the base of the tree, the root. That is to say, it is only by serving and fulfilling God first that we shall be able to serve and fulfil mankind.

MUN 97. October 1973.

Question: In practical terms, how can we give the world love and concern?46

Sri Chinmoy: A practical thing is something that comes spontaneously from within and not from without. When you get up in the morning, if the thought comes to your mind to show love or concern for the world, that is a practical idea. How can you transform this practical idea into fruitful reality? In the morning or in the evening, during your regular prayer and meditation, you can add this prayer: “O Lord, I wish this world to be better, more illumining and more fulfilling by Your infinite Grace.” If your prayer reaches God, who is the Creator and Sustainer of the world — and it will certainly reach Him if it is sincere and intense — He can easily carry your concern and love for the world into the field of manifestation.

We have been meditating together for fifteen or twenty minutes. During that time our experience of inner peace and love was absolutely practical and tangible. What we get from our meditation you can easily give to others, but the process is an inner process. The best way to carry out this inner process is to approach the Source. We cannot approach each and every human being. But there is Someone who can do this on our behalf, and that is God. If we ask Him to offer peace, concern and love to the world at large, and if He is pleased with our request, then naturally He will do it. It is through daily communion with God that we can best offer the world our love and concern.

Physically we may remain in one place, but spiritually we can spread peace and love throughout the world. Like a bird in the vast sky, our wings are widespread with peace, joy and love.

MUN 98. 9 February 1973.

Question: You often talk about serving God in others. How can I develop more of the feeling of being with God when I am with people?47

Sri Chinmoy: Your aspiration is your inner illumination-flame. If you are sincerely aspiring, if you are carrying an inner flame, you have to know that this flame will illumine any darkness you see. Then you will see light everywhere, and this light is nothing other than God Himself. What else is God but constant illumination? When you carry light inside you, you will no longer see darkness; you will see only your own light, your own illumination.

MUN 99. April 1978.

Question: How can a lover of the United Nations contribute the utmost to the goals of the world body?48

Sri Chinmoy: In the inner world we have to know what we are and what we are supposed to do. Then we have to bring forward the capacities and realisations of the inner world. That is the only way that each seeker-server and lover of the United Nations can contribute the utmost to the fulfilment of the world-embracing and world-illumining vision of the United Nations.

MUN 100. 8 March 1978.

Question: Do you agree that the main task of the world-server today is to help bring the nations' souls to the fore?49

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I fully agree. The world-servers must needs help bring the nations’ souls to the fore. When the soul comes to the fore with its divine inner effulgence, then it is only a matter of time before the mind, vital and body accept it. The aspiring heart immediately accepts the soul, but it may take some time before the other members of the being accept the soul. We sow the seed beneath the ground and then it germinates. It becomes a sapling, a plant and, finally, a giant banyan tree. So from within the reality must come forward, and it is the soul that embodies the inner reality and divinity.

MUN 101. 20 May 1977.

Question: What should be the attitude of those who work at the United Nations?50

Sri Chinmoy: Each individual connected with the United Nations in any capacity must be worthy of the word ‘united.’ At the United Nations we are trying to unite all the nations, to establish world peace and world harmony. This is a very lofty goal. Some people are conscious of this goal, but they do not take it seriously. Others are not even conscious of it. They feel they happen to work here just as they might happen to be at any other job. But each person who serves the United Nations in any capacity must feel that his job is a golden opportunity to serve God’s Oneness-Vision. God could have given the golden opportunity to somebody else, but He gave it to us. So there should be no fear, no doubt, no anxiety, no worry — only gratitude.

MUN 102. 16 April 1976.

Question: When you speak about serving the United Nations with gratitude, could you please elaborate on this?51

Sri Chinmoy: We serve the United Nations because we feel it offers us a unique opportunity to help bring about world peace, world harmony, and world-oneness. But people who are working at the United Nations and serving the United Nations are at times assailed by fears, doubts and anxieties that their services will be dispensed with. Misunderstanding, controversy and other unfortunate experiences they get quite often. So we have come to realise that there should be a new method of serving the United Nations, and that new method is with the heart’s gratitude.

So far, in spite of our teeming ignorance, limitations and imperfections, we have done something for mankind by serving the United Nations. We have achieved something for ourselves, something for the United Nations and something for the world at large.

If we cannot take the world, the United Nations and the individual person who works at the United Nations as one single reality, let us take them as three intimate friends. These three intimate friends may at times find it difficult to see eye to eye with each other. At times the world or the individual worker sees something wrong with the United Nations or the United Nations sees something wrong with the world or with the individual. But although they find fault with each other, they are still friends.

The different countries will not always agree with one another, but they maintain their mutual respect because they care for peace. If they did not, they would not be involved in United Nations activities. They do believe in the United Nations, they have faith in the United Nations, but they also have individual problems that they are trying to work out.

The individual workers, countries of the world and the United Nations can become one on the strength of their gratitude to each other. Once they feel true gratitude towards one another, their hearts will expand. And in the heart’s gradual expansion they will become universal. At that time, we will not be able to separate an individual member of the United Nations from the United Nations proper because they will be integrally one. We will not be able to separate the United Nations from the world because it will be part and parcel of the world. By offering constant gratitude, the world, the United Nations and the United Nations workers will become one.

As long as they remain separate, they should try to offer their gratitude to each other. They cannot remain separate forever. The day will come when they will become totally one in the inner and outer life. Then they will feel boundless gratitude to the Supreme for it was He who, out of His infinite Bounty, gave them the opportunity to become His conscious and perfect instruments.

MUN 103. 23 April 1976.

Question: How can I be more soulful and devoted in my work at the United Nations?52

Sri Chinmoy: You can be more soulful and more devoted in your work if you feel that you are working here not just to earn money but to serve the Supreme inside the soul and inside the body of the United Nations. The United Nations is a world organisation that sincerely wants to bring about peace and harmony on earth. To work here and serve the soul of the United Nations is a great honour, a great privilege, no matter in which capacity you are working. If you think of the high, sublime goal of the United Nations, automatically you will become soulful and devoted because the goal itself will try to bring from the depths of your being your devoted heart-qualities. If at every moment you try to think of the soul of the United Nations and of your own soul’s commitment to the goal of the United Nations, your soul will work very hard in and through you.

MUN 104. 18 July 1975.

Question: What is the seeker's responsibility at the United Nations?53

Sri Chinmoy: The seeker’s responsibility at the United Nations is to pray for and meditate on those who have served or are still serving the United Nations most devotedly and soulfully in any capacity. I feel that former Secretaries-General Dag Hammarskjöld and U Thant should receive special gratitude from the seekers who are now serving the United Nations, for they were exemplary world-servers. We should pray for the souls who have served the United Nations in the past, for those who are still serving, and for those who will join the United Nations and sing the unity-song in the future. In this way, we can connect the past glory, present promise and future achievements of the United Nations.

MUN 105-118. 26 November 1976.

Question: How can we work with dynamism and confidence at the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: We have to know that patience itself is dynamism; it is a mistake to separate them. In patience and in dynamism there is confidence. We can safely say that confidence is the hyphen between patience and dynamism. Dynamism is found in the vital proper, patience is found in the heart and confidence, let us say, is found in the mind. If the mind is inundated with confidence, if the heart is inundated with patience and if the vital is inundated with dynamism, then we can easily have a far-reaching vision of the United Nations.

At that time, we will know that we embody patience because our heart is aspiring. We will know that we have confidence in our mind because constantly the mind is striving for a higher reality than what it has already achieved. That means the mind already has some capacity, which we call confidence. And we will know that our vital is flooded with dynamism rather than aggression because we have dedicated ourselves to serving the United Nations.

Question: What is the best way to serve the United Nations: through meditation or action?

Sri Chinmoy: There is no basic difference between soulful action and soulful meditation. Meditation and action are one, provided they are done in a soulful way. If one acts soulfully, then one is doing a really good meditation. And if one is meditating soulfully, then that person is also acting in a divine way. If there is a soulful reality inside our action and if there is a soulful reality inside our meditation, then they are serving the same purpose.

At times our mind separates action and meditation. But we can easily convince the mind by reaching a certain height with our morning meditation and by reaching the same height through our actions during the day. What we call meditation in the morning, we call dedicated action during the day.

Question: How can you dedicate each task you do to the soul of the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: You can dedicate each task you do to the soul of the United Nations only if you feel this will expedite and accelerate your own progress. If you separate your own progress from that of the United Nations, then you will not be able to dedicate each task to the soul of the United Nations. You have to feel that your own progress and the fulfilment of the United Nations are one and identical.

Question: What is the best way to bring a divine consciousness to our everyday activities at the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: The best way to bring a divine consciousness to your everyday activities at the United Nations is to consciously and soulfully make yourself feel that you are of the one Source and you are trying to manifest this Source by working to create a new world in the heart of the present-day world.

Question: How can I work with true spontaneity and sincerity at the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: You can work with true spontaneity and sincerity at the United Nations if you discover your own heart’s spontaneity and cultivate your own life’s sincerity at every moment of your conscious existence on earth.

Question: Should the body of the United Nations remain fluid so that the soul of the United Nations can more easily manifest itself?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, it is especially good not to have a rigid way of looking at life. If you are flexible in your ideas, if you are adaptable to circumstances, then it is infinitely easier to manifest the truth not only here at the United Nations but everywhere. The outer reality or the outer consciousness has to be flexible so that the inner reality and inner vision can manifest itself most effectively.

Question: How can we meditate on the soul of the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: You can meditate on the soul of the United Nations either by imagining something that is most beautiful or by praying for the soul of the United Nations to reveal its presence in your conscious mind. Once your conscious mind sees or feels the soul of the United Nations, you should try to keep the experience constantly alive in your aspiring heart.

Question: How can I increase my oneness with the soul of the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: We have to know that oneness can be found only in our own aspiration. We can increase our oneness by making our aspiration more intense, more sincere, more soulful and more loving. If our aspiration increases, automatically our oneness increases. Our oneness with the soul of the United Nations can easily be established, felt and realised on the strength of our intense inner cry.

Question: How can we consecrate our lives to the soul of the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: We can consecrate our lives to the soul of the United Nations by constantly feeling that the goal which the United Nations has placed before us is something unprecedented. The United Nations is desperately trying to unify the weak and the strong, the small and the big, the unfortunate and the fortunate, mind-power and heart-power, body-power and vital-power. To unite and then elevate them to a higher plane of consciousness undoubtedly is the unprecedented promise offered by the United Nations to the world at large.

Question: Are the people who work at the United Nations especially chosen to work here by some higher force?

Sri Chinmoy: In some cases, they are especially chosen by some higher forces to work at the United Nations. In other cases, it is mere chance. But no matter what brought someone to the United Nations, if he works here devotedly and soulfully, then by virtue of his selfless service he becomes a chosen instrument of the soul of the United Nations.

Question: How can we feel and show our gratitude to the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: You can show your gratitude to the United Nations by becoming gratitude itself. Gratitude is something beautiful, extremely beautiful. How can you have this most beautiful thing inside your heart? Imagine that a most beautiful flower is blossoming petal by petal inside your heart and offering its fragrance. Your entire being has become a flower which you will place at the Feet of the Absolute Supreme. If you can feel all the time that your gratitude-flower-heart is your only reality, then automatically you will be offering gratitude to the soul of the United Nations.

Question: How can we help to increase the speed of the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: We can help to increase the speed of the United Nations by increasing our own inner speed. Our inner speed increases only when we have acquired a peaceful mind, a soulful heart and a fruitful life.

Question: How can one best serve the ideal of the United Nations when not working at the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: One can best serve the United Nations even though one is not working there by keeping in one’s heart the main principles of the United Nations. What are these principles? World peace, world harmony, world-transformation and world-oneness.

Question: When I meditate on my own, I take it as my own personal meditation. But I was wondering whether I should come here with the idea of meditating on the United Nations and for the United Nations?54

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes we meditate for ourselves and sometimes we meditate on others, or for others. But we have to know that even when we are meditating on others or for others, we are actually meditating for ourselves. That is because humanity is only our enlarged and expanded self. There is no difference between meditating for peace, light and bliss for ourselves and meditating for peace, light and bliss for the soul of the United Nations. For on the strength of our oneness we claim the body, heart and soul of the United Nations as our own. If we have this wider outlook and larger vision, then no matter for whom we pray and meditate, it is ultimately for our benefit since all human beings are part and parcel of one universal family.

MUN 119. 18 April 1978.

Question: At our United Nations meetings, should we meditate on specific themes related to United Nations conferences as well as on general qualities like peace and love?55

Sri Chinmoy: There are two approaches. Some people feel that if they can organise a peaceful outer situation, then they can have a peaceful life. They feel they have to bring the world into order before peace and other divine qualities can descend. They start from the outside because they feel that this is what will fulfil them. The second approach is to start from inside and try to bring what is within to the fore. This is the way of the soul. According to this approach, first we try to achieve peace, light and bliss in the inner world; only then do we feel, through prayer and meditation, that we can offer it to others.

So these are two different approaches. There is no contradiction between them. Both are aiming at the same goal: peace, love, light and bliss. The approaches are different but the ultimate achievement will be the same.

I personally feel that if we have peace, light and bliss within us, then we can more easily bring these qualities into the world at large. It is my inner conviction that politics is dying to be illumined by inner light. In the political world, quarrels and misunderstandings are the order of the day. Again, on a deeper level, politics knows that spirituality can transcend outer world-divisions. Spirituality is the flow of oneness. When there is oneness, there is no feeling of supremacy. Oneness never quarrels. So if we pray and meditate on peace, light and bliss, we will definitely be able to serve those in the political world.

MUN 120. 17 May 1974.

Question: Is there any way that we can meditate specifically to help the United Nations?56

Sri Chinmoy: Inside your heart there is the soul, the direct representative of God. You know that if you pray and meditate every day, your soul will come to the fore and you will have abiding satisfaction in life. Please feel that the United Nations also has a soul. Inside the body of the United Nations, inside this building, there is a most powerful, most illumining and most fulfilling soul, which has to be brought forward. If you can feel the presence of the soul of the United Nations during your meditation, then your meditation will be most helpful.

All those who are working at the United Nations are unconsciously being illumined by the soul of the United Nations. And when they work for the United Nations most devotedly and selflessly, they are aspiring in their own way and doing their own form of meditation. The soul of the United Nations offers each worker its special blessings and gratitude.

The soul of the United Nations embodies the dream of the United Nations: peace, brotherhood and oneness founded upon self-giving and the recognition of the universality of man. If you can cultivate these sublime ideas or ideals during your meditation, you will most effectively and most fruitfully help the soul of the United Nations.

MUN 121. 17 May 1974.

Question: How can the individual seeker offer his aspiration to the world community?57

Sri Chinmoy: If the individual seeker feels that the world community is something outside himself, then he will not be able to offer his aspiration to it. But if he feels that the world community is within him, and if he feels that it is part and parcel of his own life, then his prayer and meditation definitely will raise the standard of the world community. First he has to feel his oneness with the world community, and then he has to feel that the world community is not outside his sphere of existence; it is within him. Then, anything that he does to raise his own aspiration will also nourish the world community, and anything that he contributes to the improvement of the world community will also be for his own success and progress. If he feels this, then his own prayer and meditation will help the world considerably. That is the easiest way to raise the standard of the world community.

MUN 122. 26 August 1977.

Question: Does the peace that we experience during the meditations in the United Nations conference rooms have any effect on the delegates who do not attend these meetings?58

Sri Chinmoy: All those who are at the United Nations have definitely come to bring about peace. When we pray and meditate here, it is not only for the seekers who attend the meeting; it is for everyone. We are all members of the same world-family. The father works and then he shares his money with his family. So whatever spiritual wealth we earn, we try to share with others.

MUN 123. 26 October 1973.

Question: How can both staff members and delegates of Member States understand that spirituality is a true base to build their goals upon?59

Sri Chinmoy: Staff members and delegates of Member States will understand that spirituality is a true base to build their goals upon only by your own personal example. If you can grow into a flower, then naturally you will emanate a fragrance-reality. If you can become a torch-bearer of truth and light, then automatically the world around you will see light. So it is not by talking but by becoming. By bringing to the fore the flowers of oneness, peace and divinity that you have in your inner heart, automatically the essence of these flowers will emanate from you and enter into those who are around you.

MUN 124. 16 November 1976.

Question: In general, what kind of people join your meditation meetings?60

Sri Chinmoy: Those who come here to meditate want to try to walk along the inner road. The inner road is the road of sincere dedication to the highest cause. We try in every way to lead a more illumining and more fulfilling life and to do the right thing from the highest point of view. The inner world embodies peace, light and bliss in boundless measure, whereas the outer world right now does not embody these qualities. So in our meditation meetings we try to establish a free access to the inner world by virtue of our inner cry and soulful meditation.

MUN 125. 15 June 1977.

Question: How can we instil a spiritual feeling in the work that we do?61

Sri Chinmoy: You can instil a spiritual feeling in the work that you do if you keep in mind that you are working not just to please your boss but also to please the soul of the United Nations. You must please your boss, without fail, but your ultimate goal is to please the soul of the United Nations. In order to do that, every day you should try to increase your own aspiration. Your own aspiration will automatically convey its strength to the people you work for.

MUN 126. 16 November 1976.

Question: How can we have oneness with our fellow workers?62

Sri Chinmoy: If your fellow workers are not spiritual or spiritually inclined, then you have to exercise more compassion and sacrifice.

If somebody needs more kindness and affection, then you should be ready to give it to that person — not according to what he deserves but according to your own heart’s magnanimity. If somebody is nasty to you or is not helping you in your work, you have to take it as a challenge to become extra nice, extra kind and extra sweet so that you can bring forward the good qualities in that person. Some people are good, some are bad. If we treat bad ones the way they treat us, we will enter into the animal world. So we have to work in a divine way and try to conquer them through patience, concern and love.

MUN 127. 18 July 1975.

Question: How can we accept everyone who works at the United Nations as our very own?63

Sri Chinmoy: We can accept everyone who works at the United Nations as our very own provided we feel that there is only one source. Let us say that the source is the soul of the United Nations. If we love the soul of the United Nations and soulfully and devotedly claim it as our own, very own, then automatically we will accept all the members of the United Nations. It is like loving and claiming our father and mother. If we love our mother and father, if we claim them as our own, then all the members of the family also become ours. The soul of the United Nations embodies all the members of the United Nations. Only by loving and claiming the source as our own and by becoming consciously one with the source can we claim all the members as our own.

MUN 128-129. 16 November 1976.

Question: How can we best inspire the people we work with?

Sri Chinmoy: You can best inspire the people you work with by becoming a constant flame of aspiration that illumines all those who are still cherishing, consciously or unconsciously, the lesser form of light called ignorance-night.

Question: How will our meditation influence our colleagues at the United Nations?64

Sri Chinmoy: The higher and deeper your meditation, the more your face and outer being will radiate. At that time, your friends and colleagues will see and feel in you something that is new but also very familiar, although they do not know what it is. Why familiar? Because we have all come from the same Source. The day you meditate well they will see a tremendous change in you. They will try to know what has made you so divine on that day. So your own example — not only your example but your very presence — will inspire them.

MUN 130. 3 October 1975.

Question: How can I feel that my small job at the United Nations is really important to the total spirit of the United Nations?65

Sri Chinmoy: Each drop in the ocean is essential. You may be holding a very insignificant job, but without you and all the other drops, there will be no ocean. It is the unification, the combination, of countless drops that makes the ocean. Like you, there are many who make up the United Nations. If all are excluded precisely because they are not Secretaries-General or because they are not holding high posts, then there would be no United Nations.

When a house is built, there are many bricks and many nails. If one or two bricks are missing, there will be a hole. The walls will not be strong and the foundation will not be secure. So each worker, no matter how insignificant his task, is necessary in order to keep the body and the soul of the United Nations together.

The whole United Nations — right from the Secretary-General to the lowest worker — is only one body, one soul and one reality, which is composed of glowing thoughts and glowing ideals. Some individuals have perhaps a little more light than others, but it is the combination of everybody’s light that transforms the whole into glowing reality.

MUN 131. 16 November 1976.

Question: How can spiritual seekers who have ordinary positions at the United Nations most effectively inspire higher-ranking persons who may not be spiritual seekers?66

Sri Chinmoy: Spirituality is a very vast subject. To study this subject properly requires not only an entire lifetime but also quite a few incarnations. So you cannot expect to change the world overnight. To start with, it is advisable to try to inspire only one individual who may not be spiritual rather than trying to deal with a group of people. Let us say that you pray and meditate each day, whereas your boss does not believe in the inner life at all. There are a few things you can do to inspire him and elevate his consciousness. Once a week, for example, you can place a single flower on his desk. Once a week you can also place on his desk a momentous utterance by some world figure. But this utterance has to be most sublime.

Again, you can think about his good qualities. Every individual is bound to have some spiritual qualities — simplicity, sincerity or purity, for example — which we are apt to take for granted. These spiritual qualities are of supreme importance in the inner life. Again, people may have other good qualities in addition to spiritual qualities: punctuality, for instance, and conscious dynamism. Even if someone is not spiritual, he may be consciously dynamic and self-giving in his own way, although it may not be in a spiritual way. It is important to concentrate on someone’s good qualities and not on his unaspiring qualities. If you see in him something negative and destructive which is unwilling to change, please do not try to change it. When you point out somebody’s defects and shortcomings and try to improve them, you may mean well. But nobody wants to hear about his imperfections, and very often you will only make enemies.

In one way or another, your boss is trying to increase his good qualities and make progress. Any progress that he makes has to come from the inner world. If you can appreciate even one good quality in your boss, you can help him bring this quality to the fore, where it will slowly, steadily and unerringly blossom. Then he will feel something deep within himself that he has not noticed before. This will inspire him to try to bring that quality forward consciously. It is sometimes helpful to appreciate someone’s good qualities outwardly, but if you appreciate someone openly, you may be misunderstood. Your boss, for example, my ascribe ulterior motives to your appreciation and think you are just flattering him in order to get a promotion. But if you inwardly appreciate the person’s good qualities, you will never get into trouble.

Your inner appreciation, along with your soulful prayers for the conscious awakening of your superior, will definitely help him to become a better human being and a better citizen of the world. Seeing goodness in someone and doing good things for him is the easiest and most effective way to inspire that person to be spiritual.

MUN 132. 7 February 1992.

Question: How can we overcome feelings of resentment and anger that we feel when our superiors appear to be unfair?67

Sri Chinmoy: When we work in a group, there are many individuals, many ideas, many thoughts and many propensities working together. But we have to do our best to feel that all the individuals in the group are part and parcel of our own existence. We have to feel that they are all limbs of our own body, and that all our limbs are working together. Then only will we get real satisfaction.

From time to time we feel that our superiors do not understand or value us. By arguing with them and trying to convince them that they are wrong or unkind, we will not be able to change their views. If we consider our superiors to be totally different from us, perfect strangers to our ideas, ideals and goals, then we shall never be able to change them. But if we take them as part and parcel of our own existence and feel that we belong to them and they belong to us, then we can eventually change them. If we can regard their lack of faith in us and lack of appreciation for what we do as a defect in our own existence-reality, then we will feel that the problem is within us and is something that we can deal with.

Again, we have to know that the appreciation of our so-called superiors is not of real importance. In the long run, in the course of our spiritual evolution, it may be of no value at all. What matters is not what our superiors think of us but how sincerely we are trying to please and serve the body and the soul of the United Nations. For this is what will give us real joy, not the appreciation of our superiors. If we can please the Real in us, God, then we are also pleasing the same real Existence that is in our superiors. If we are only for the satisfaction of the Real in us and in all human beings, then a day will come when the Real in us will change the minds and attitudes of our superiors. As a matter of fact, there is only one superior and that superior is our inner cry for continuous and ever-increasing perfection in our own life and in others’ lives. Our cry for perfection is the only superior reality in us and for us.

MUN 133. 1 October 1976.

Question: What should a spiritual seeker do when he observes dishonesty or corruption among his colleagues?68

Sri Chinmoy: A spiritual seeker can do three things when he observes dishonesty or corruption in a colleague. First, he has to pray to God for at least five minutes a day for about a week for the mental transformation of that particular individual so that person will be able to receive light from Above that will change his nature.

If that fails, then the spiritual seeker must be brave enough to tell his colleague that he is not doing the right thing and that it is absolutely necessary for him to become honest and give up his old style of life. But the seeker should continue praying after he has offered this advice to his colleague. After another week, if the seeker observes that his colleague has no intention of changing his nature, then as a last resort he must be bold enough to report the person to the authorities. He should still continue praying for about a week longer; then he can discontinue his prayer, for his role is over. Now it is up to the authorities.

In the present-day world, people are apt to say that what a colleague does is none of our business. The dishonest person, they say, will meet with the consequences without our intervention. But in the spiritual life, this “none of our business” theory is not the right attitude. Once we accept the spiritual life, we feel that it is our bounden duty to be of service to God the Creator and God the creation. God the Creator created our dishonest colleague, and this individual is part and parcel of God the creation. So we have to pray to both God the Creator and God the creation for the transformation of this particular person’s nature.

In the spiritual life it is a mistake to say, “It is none of my business; let him lead his own life.” On the other hand, it is also a deplorable mistake to think we have to transform the world singlehandedly. Instead of praying to God for our own perfection, sometimes we feel that it is our bounden duty to show others the light. God alone knows whether we ourselves are in total darkness or whether we have received abundant light from Above that we can offer to the world at large. But still we feel that we know everything and that other people know nothing. We want others to see the world the way we see it, and we want to shape the world according to our own mental ideas. But this is not spreading light; this is only exercising our power or displaying our authority.

If we see something wrong, we have to bring down light from Above or we have to bring to the fore our own inner light through our prayer and meditation. This inner light we can offer to those around us. We may not have enough light to offer the whole world, but we can at least try to deal with the people around us in our own day-to-day life. If it is not a clear-cut question of right and wrong, if it is only a matter of people seeing or doing things differently from the way we feel they should be seen or done, then we have to pray to God and meditate on God for illumination. God Himself will make us see who is right and wrong. If others are wrong, then if it is God’s Will, He will give us the needed light to illumine those who are doing the wrong thing around us.

But when it is a question of dishonesty or corruption that we are observing, which is a far more serious matter, the first step is to pray and meditate for the transformation of the culprit’s nature. If that fails to succeed, the second step is to advise the person to do the right thing and become the right person. If that, too, fails, then the last resort is to inform the authorities. To the end we should keep goodwill towards that particular person and continue to pray for his transformation. We should not look down upon him or in any way create more disharmony in our office.

MUN 134. 7 February 1992.

Question: If we are feeling tired, is it still beneficial to attend the meditation sessions at the United Nations?69

Sri Chinmoy: If you are tired, you should come to the meditations in order to get a new flow of life energy, new enthusiasm and new promise. Meditation is a process that awakens our dormant energy or allows us to acquire energy that right now we do not have. Most of the time the energy we have is very limited. We work for a few hours and then we have to sleep or rest to recuperate. But meditation has the capacity to bring into our physical existence the cosmic energy that is all around us; it can supply us with constant energy. So it is always advisable to come to the meditations regularly; then you will have new energy. Meditation is illumination and illumination is the constant flow of new possibilities, new realisations and new perfection in life.

MUN 135. 18 March 1977.

Question: How does the spiritual singing that we do here help our meditation and our offering to the United Nations soul?70

Sri Chinmoy: Our singing adds inspiration and aspiration to our meditation. And when we add inspiration and aspiration to our meditation, we feel that we are offering more of our dedicated, devoted and soulful service to the soul of the United Nations. Each time we sing, we invoke the soul of the United Nations to appear before us to make us more dynamic and more self-giving to the vision of a oneness-world-family, which we have envisioned and are in the process of manifesting.

MUN 136. 8 March 1978.

Question: You have started offering songs to the Peace Meditation Group to sing at our United Nations meetings, and I was wondering if you could expound upon the purpose of this?71

Sri Chinmoy: Music is a universal language; it is the easiest and most effective way for the heart to unite the inner world with the fragmented outer world. Not only the words but also the melodies of these songs embody my aspiration, my realisation and my dedicated oneness. When something embodies aspiration, we feel that it is serving the Divine in us. When the members of the Peace Meditation Group perform these songs, they should feel that they are offering their aspiration in the form of dedication. Those who are listening to the songs will be offering their aspiration by meditating. Meditation does not mean remaining in a remote place with your eyes and ears shut. Meditation is a form of self-dedication that comes from aspiration. Those who are singing can offer their aspiration and dedicated service through their soulful music, and those who are listening soulfully and devotedly can be doing their best meditation.

If you are trying to aspire, soulful songs will definitely add to your aspiration. Each song is like an additional plant in your aspiration-garden. Naturally, the more plants you have, the more beautiful flowers you will be able to get.

When a soulful song is soulfully sung, it gives us tremendous inner joy, and this makes our heart expand. If we are wise, we shall use every means at our disposal to expand our heart to become one with the entire world. A song is like a seed. The seed will germinate and grow into a tree, which will offer many flowers and fruits. The fragrance and beauty of the flowers will increase our aspiration, and the fruit will give us immortal joy. So these soulful songs will give us the message of Immortality by helping us to become one with the universal light and the universal delight, which they embody.

MUN 137. 23 April 1976.

Question: What can be done about the large gap between the high ideals of the United Nations and routine daily life in the Secretariat offices?72

Sri Chinmoy: Indeed, there is often a large gap, a yawning gulf, between the high ideals of the United Nations and the daily experiences of those who work in the Secretariat. Right now the vision and the reality are two different aspects of the same Absolute Supreme. The vision is high, higher, highest — reaching to the ever-transcending Height. The reality is often discouraging and disheartening.

But the soul of the United Nations will never fail. Unconditionally it will carry the body, the vital and the heart of the United Nations to the destined Goal, transforming today’s vision into tomorrow’s reality. And that reality will be infinitely brighter than our present-day vision can even imagine. Right now we have only a vague idea of what the future will be like. This idea is a product of our mind. But we have to transcend the idea-world in order to enter into the ideal-world, that is to say, the world of illumining and fulfilling ideals. The ideal-world that beckons us is far above and far beyond our present-day vision.

Just because today there is often a yawning gulf between vision and reality, between our idea of the future and the ideal that actually awaits us, we cannot say that we shall always be doomed to failure. We cannot say that the present-day hope, which is nothing short of frustration, can never meet with the ultimate fulfilment, which is the promise from Above. No, we must continue to strive for perfection.

Each individual, either consciously or unconsciously, has sown the seeds of hope. This hope is inseparably one with each individual’s inner cry, which we call aspiration. Aspiration ultimately will be transformed into realisation, and realisation, in due course, will be manifested. At that time, vision and reality, idea and ideal, will become one.

The vision of the soul of the United Nations and of all those who are consciously aspiring for a new oneness-world, a world of unity, will never fail. Slowly, steadily and unerringly, the seeker-servers here will change the present fate and face of the United Nations. It is the seekers now serving the United Nations who will sooner or later bring to the fore the inner message of the United Nations and transform the idea of the United Nations into the ideal of a oneness-world.

Each time we pray and meditate at the United Nations, let us energise our hope. When we dive deep within, let us try to remind ourselves of the lofty promise that we are carrying. The physical in us, the vital in us, the mental in us are embodying hope. At the same time, the Divine in us is embodying promise. When hope and promise work together, fulfilment cannot remain a far cry. So with our inner hunger, our burning flames of aspiration, let us climb up what we call the realisation-tree. Then, when we climb down, we will call it the manifestation-tree. While we are climbing up, in one sense we are still in the world of ideas. But when we are climbing down, in a broad and vast sense we will be in the world of ideals.

By climbing up the realisation-tree and by climbing down the manifestation-tree, we shall solve the problem of the gap between vision and reality. Vision and reality need not and must not remain two separate entities. They are bound to be unified and remain inseparably one.

MUN 138-148. 18 January and 22 February 1983.

Question: What should one feel towards those senior United Nations officials who sometimes seem to have a lesser vision of the highest ideals of the Charter of the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: Each individual member of the United Nations has his own role to perform. Who is senior and who is not senior? Who is important and who is unimportant? Importance in rank, importance in the outer life — these are the realities that abide in our earthbound physical mind. From the spiritual point of view, nobody can be superior to an individual who has established his oneness with the rest of the world. Somebody may hold a very high office and you may be a junior clerk. The outside world will say that you are an insignificant person at the United Nations, whereas so-and-so is a most important person. But when it is a matter of world-unity, world-union and oneness-family, we have to know that these are founded not upon rank and position but upon the expansion of the heart. When we refer to the heart, we do not mean the tiny heart-muscle in the chest but the spiritual heart that embodies the living Breath of the Absolute Supreme.

The individual whose heart encompasses the entire United Nations, the individual who carries deep inside his heart the desires, the aspirations, the joys, the sufferings — in other words, the hope-world, frustration-world and promise-world — of all the members of the United Nations is, according to me, the most important person at the United Nations. The most significant member of the United Nations is he who is all the time crying and smiling in and through each individual member. In this sense, everybody has the golden opportunity to become a most significant instrument of the United Nations. Every individual can easily bring his heart to the fore and, through his oneness-vision, bring down the loftiest messages from Above.

According to me, he who has a heart of magnanimity, a heart larger than the largest that can easily house the desires and aspirations of all the members of the United Nations, is indeed the most significant member. You may be an ordinary worker and your boss may hold a very high post. But we must realise that, as the boss has the capacity to illumine the mind or the life of the workers in various ways, even so, the workers — by virtue of their devotion, love and sacrifice — have the capacity to illumine the boss in various aspects of his life of which perhaps the boss was unaware.

Question: In our work at the United Nations, how can we be discriminating without being critical?

Sri Chinmoy: Discrimination is one thing and criticism is something else. They are totally different things, like the North Pole and the South Pole. Let us take the mind and the heart. My heart has more receptivity than my mind. My physical, earthbound mind — sometimes unconsciously and many, many times deliberately — cherishes doubt, suspicion and many other unhealthy ideas, thoughts and desires. My heart all the time cries for inner beauty, divine love and oneness-life. My heart is awakened, whereas my mind is still fast asleep. Obviously I will differentiate between my mind and my heart. But just because, let us say, I love my heart more than I love my mind, will I consciously and constantly look down upon my mind? No! By criticising my mind, I am not helping it in any way and, at the same time, I am not helping my heart either.

In this world, some people are running fast, faster, fastest towards the destined goal, while others are sleeping or crawling or limping or walking very slowly. But God feels that those who are lagging behind can eventually run as fast as the other members of the family in the continuous journey towards the destined goal. He gives ample opportunity and inner assurance to the ones that are right now less progressive, so that they, too, can eventually run the fastest along the path of Eternity.

Criticism is not and can never be the answer. True, we have to differentiate between those who are utilising their highest capacities and those whose capacities are still dormant. But we shall not criticise. If somebody’s capacity is still dormant, we shall encourage that individual to bring his capacity to the fore and run the fastest towards the goal. We do this not by criticising his shortcomings and weaknesses, but by exercising our power of concern, sympathy and compassion.

Question: Is there a special blessing of peace for those who work at the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, there is a very special blessing of peace for those who work at the United Nations. Those who work at the United Nations either consciously or unconsciously are hoping for a peace-loving oneness-world. Those who want oneness founded upon peace will naturally receive special blessings from Above.

Question: Does working at the United Nations give us a special sense of responsibility?

Sri Chinmoy: Working at the United Nations does give us a special sense of responsibility. The United Nations is the vision of world-unity, which will eventually be manifested as a divine reality. When we work for a higher cause such as this, naturally we get a more powerful sense of responsibility. This sense of responsibility eventually leads to astonishing self-perfection. And what is self-perfection? The self-perfection of mankind is God’s complete Satisfaction inside the heart of humanity.

Question: Is a portion of the soul of the United Nations inside all the people who work for the United Nations in some capacity?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, a portion of the soul of the United Nations is inside all the people who work for the United Nations in some capacity. But those who are consciously and soulfully serving the United Nations are receiving from the soul of the United Nations more inner assurance, more illumining thoughts and more fulfilling promises than those who are not fully conscious of what they are here for. The soul of the United Nations dreams of a beautiful, peaceful and fruitful world in and through each individual worker at the United Nations.

Question: Is there an inner connection between the United Nations employees and the soul of the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, there is definitely an inner connection between the employees of the United Nations and the soul of the United Nations. Only this connection may take a little time to develop. When a person first starts working at the United Nations, he will not necessarily have an inner connection with the soul of the United Nations. No, the person has to work here for some time and has to consciously grow into the vision of the United Nations. Then only will he be able to develop an inner connection — which is at once illumining and satisfying — with the soul of the United Nations.

The soul of the United Nations in silence says to the souls of those who work here: “I shall lead you to the goal of universal oneness.” The souls of the employees say to the soul of the United Nations: “We shall unreservedly become your choice instruments so that God’s Hope for a new world, a new creation and a new perfection in man need not and will not remain a far cry.”

Question: What can we do to help humanity become more receptive to the United Nations efforts towards peace?

Sri Chinmoy: Individually as well as collectively, humanity is often unwilling to accept help from others. People suspect others’ help no matter in what form it is offered. Since outer efforts to help humanity become receptive to peace need not and may not bear any fruit, it is necessary to offer inner help — that is to say, to pray and meditate for peace, joy, love and oneness.

We have to work on the inner level in order to reach the heart of humanity. Outer efforts, outer help, will be of little avail. It is the inner effort to bring about peace inside the heart and mind of each individual that can help humanity in a very tangible form. This inner effort can make those who are unreceptive, receptive, and those who are already receptive, abundantly more receptive.

Question: What is the most important aspect of our work at the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: The most important aspect of your work at the United Nations should be to prove to yourself that you are a worthy member of the United Nations world-family. This you can do only by always keeping in front of you the lofty vision and powerful messages that the United Nations over the years has offered to you and which it offers to you still. You should not dwell upon its failures. You should see only its success and feel only its progress — its gradual success in its outer life of dedication and its gradual progress in its inner life of aspiration. During your daily work, try to keep in front of your mental vision the good things that the United Nations has done and what it has become — rather than what it has not done or what it is not going to accomplish.

The day shall dawn in the near or distant future when the United Nations will definitely achieve and grow into everything that is good and divine. But just because it has not achieved these things at this particular stage of its development, just because over the years it has encountered failure in some of its efforts, we cannot say that the vision of the United Nations is imperfect or that it will not succeed. No, it will succeed — slowly, steadily and unerringly. And for that, each individual member has a significant role to play according to his own inner awakening.

Question: How should a seeker at the United Nations deal with staff members who do not want to work and who even block the work of others?

Sri Chinmoy: If a truth-seeker and God-lover working at the United Nations sees that some of his colleagues are not working devotedly and even go to the length of blocking his soulful efforts, then he can do only one thing. He must pray to the Supreme to grant him patience — more patience, abundant patience, boundless patience. Has he not exercised this same precious quality with respect to the members of his own family — that is to say, his own body, vital, mind and heart? In his own life he wants to make progress. He wants to run fast, faster, fastest along with the blossoming divinity of the United Nations. But because of the resistance or incapacities of his own mind, vital and body, he himself is lagging behind.

Let us say a particular worker has a tremendous urge to make progress and to see others make progress. He is eager to see the vision of the United Nations flower among all the nations of the world. But some of his friends and colleagues do not see eye to eye with him or are not energetic enough to keep pace with him. Sometimes even his own body, vital and mind place obstacles in his way. But there shall come a time when he is bound to succeed. His inner eagerness and willingness to see and help bring about an infinitely better United Nations will not go in vain. Right now what he needs is patience. Let him do as much as he can, inwardly and outwardly. As he illumines his own nature, he will be in a position to offer light to those who are in ignorance. In the course of time his own illumining accomplishments will illumine others.

Seeker-workers at the United Nations who are conscious of what they are doing and what they are going to become will be the harbingers of a new dawn, no matter in which capacity they are working. Their seemingly insignificant jobs represent unmistakably significant ways to achieve something abiding for the United Nations. It is not what we do, but how and why we do something that matters. If the answers to those questions are the right ones, then our contributions will, without fail, be unique.

Question: How can staff at the United Nations with seemingly insignificant jobs contribute to world peace?

Sri Chinmoy: In the outer life there are significant jobs and insignificant jobs, significant people and insignificant people. But in the inner life everybody is significant, everybody is meaningful, everybody is fruitful; every job is significant far beyond our imagination. There is no such thing as an insignificant job in the inner world. It is not the work as such, but how we accomplish the work, how we fulfil our task, that is of supreme importance. The divine attitude of the worker is of paramount importance.

In the inner world significant things are achieved only if we have the proper attitude, and significant workers are those who are fully awakened to the lofty messages of the United Nations. According to the soul of the United Nations, the seeker-workers who want to serve the world sincerely and sleeplessly are far better and more important than those who hold high positions but do not care to dive within to become one with the Source or abide by the dictates of the Inner Pilot of the United Nations. Those who are awakened, those who are truly self-giving, those who are ready to serve the world body devotedly and soulfully in any capacity — no matter how insignificant from the superficial outer point of view — are the real United Nations servers. It is they who will continuously add glory to the achievements of the United Nations.

Chapter 6: A real member of the United Nations

MUN 149-203. Sri Chinmoy composed this series of fifty-five aphorisms on the theme of "A real member of the United Nations" in the fall of 1989 and read them out at meetings of the Peace Meditation Group during that time.


A real member of the United Nations is his country’s powerful choice.


A real member of the United Nations is the world’s fruitful voice.


A real member of the United Nations is earth’s ascending aspiration-cry.


A real member of the United Nations is Heaven’s descending Satisfaction-Smile.


A real member of the United Nations asks his division-mind to be quiet.


A real member of the United Nations tells his oneness-heart to voice forth.


A real member of the United Nations must needs dare to dream of the precious progress of the entire world.


A real member of the United Nations tells the other countries that he is not here at the United Nations to speak ill of their sad incapacities and bad blunders.


A real member of the United Nations tells the other countries that he is here at the United Nations to appreciate their great achievements and admire their good promises.


A real member of the United Nations prays in the morning for his self-giving preparation of a oneness-world-family.


A real member of the United Nations prays in the evening for the perfection-becoming completion of a oneness-world-family.


A real member of the United Nations is he whose mind flies infinitely higher than the dividing and intimidating world-thought-clouds.


A real member of the United Nations is he whose mind-pocket will never be empty of a global understanding and whose heart-pocket will never be empty of a universal concern.


A real member of the United Nations is he who claims the United Nations as his own, very own, for he knows that unless and until he does so, he will not be richly inspired to change its face and fate lovingly and surprisingly for the better.


A real member of the United Nations is he whose heart and mind at once respond to his inner and outer world-concern-duties.


A real member of the United Nations is he who does not forget that his is the supreme responsibility to bring to the fore the inspiring capacities and aspiring qualities of his own nation so that other nations will faithfully and gloriously be inspired to do the same. Needless to say, the divine capacities and supreme qualities of all the nations combined will fulfil the zenith-climbing longings of mankind.


A real member of the United Nations is he who is no longer a prisoner of selfishness-demands.


A real member of the United Nations knows that if he dreams only of what will benefit his own country and neglects or ignores the needs of other countries, then his self-chosen limits will eventually disappoint him, for a happy oneness-world will remain a far cry.


A real member of the United Nations does not wait for other countries to accept his country; he goes forward carrying his own country’s life-breath to meet and accept them and thus create a new world harmony.


A real member of the United Nations is he who has surmounted the doubt-hurdle and now is climbing safely and proudly while flying the victory-banner of universal faith.


A real member of the United Nations every morning without fail wears the armour of patience-light.


A real member of the United Nations is always most sincerely desperate for a moment’s peace among the comity of nations.


A real member of the United Nations does not believe in a permanent life of thorny uncertainties. He believes in his and others’ ever-blossoming and everlasting heart-roses and their world-pleasing fragrance.


A real member of the United Nations is he who in his silent meditation and in his dedication-life offers his soulful obedience-heart and his cheerful willingness-mind to the Inner Pilot of the United Nations.


A real member of the United Nations knows that only genuine truth-seekers are entitled to be the most perfect world leaders.


A real member of the United Nations is he who offers every day his own heart’s blossoming receptivity to all nations.


A real member of the United Nations offers his heart’s gratitude-flames to his own country for being asked to represent its lofty aspiration and dedication to the world community. He is also grateful to all the other nations for making him fully acquainted with their teeming wants and needs.


A real member of the United Nations never allows himself to be buffeted by the winds of self-doubt and world-suspicion.


A real member of the United Nations, if asked what he is doing, will immediately say: “I am accelerating my self-transcendence and world-acceptance-pace.”


A real member of the United Nations carries in his heart-pocket a valid visa to humanity’s oneness-heart.


A real member of the United Nations is he whose self-offering joy surprises the entire world.


A real member of the United Nations is he who sings only aspiration-perfection-song and never wants to watch desire-possession-dance.


A real member of the United Nations is he who sends every morning beauty’s peace around the world.


A real member of the United Nations is he who knows that his wisdom-knowledge-light and sympathetic understanding of other nations will never lose on the battlefield of misunderstanding.


A real member of the United Nations is a true lover of the United Nations soul and a true server of the United Nations body.


A real member of the United Nations makes very clear his soulful request to all nations: “Embrace the truth; then only can you fulfil the countless needs of all countries.”


A real member of the United Nations never uses doubt-brakes on his world-elevating inspiration.


A real member of the United Nations has a most rare peace-passport to safely and successfully cross any heart-border.


A real member of the United Nations prepares himself for the perfection of his own life and his own country and, at the same time, has given up his own expectation-frustration with regard to other countries.


A real member of the United Nations will never allow himself to be blinded by the glare of suspicion. He wants to establish an illumining and nourishing faith not only in his own heart but also in others’ hearts.


A real member of the United Nations knows perfectly well that if he makes one serious blunder, then this blunder can easily be multiplied not only by his foes but also by his friends.


A real member of the United Nations is a genuine truth-defender and a genuine distributor of the heart’s happiness-flames.


A real member of the United Nations must feel the necessity of his life’s humility and his life’s self-esteem.


A real member of the United Nations knows that a higher force is operating in and through him and that he is a mere instrument. He also knows that his own inner faith will bring him progress-perfection-victory.


A real member of the United Nations is a stranger to unwillingness. He is his own willingness, inner and outer, to change the inner face and outer fate of mankind.


A real member of the United Nations knows that he is not dealing with an old generation of frustrations but with a new generation of promises.


A real member of the United Nations bravely fights against two things: his own ego-drum and his own insecurity-violin.


A real member of the United Nations does not have any time to mix with the transformation-unwillingness representatives.


A real member of the United Nations does not expect a complete cure of the world’s maladies by a still-young United Nations. He knows that countless problems existed long before it was born and that slow and steady wins the race. He hopes for the best; he fervently hopes that the world of peace that the United Nations envisages will, without fail, be manifested on earth.


A real member of the United Nations knows that to see each member of the United Nations happy, cheerful and hopeful is by no means a luxury but a supreme necessity.


A real member of the United Nations knows that the small-minded workers will eventually surrender to the large-hearted world-servants.


A real member of the United Nations needs only two things: capacity-tower and tenacity-wisdom.


A real member of the United Nations says to the United Nations: “Who has told you that your golden hopes are all at risk? No, they are not! Every day a new, illumining and fulfilling hope-flower is blossoming in your heart-garden.”


A real member of the United Nations has fired his superiority-mind and has hired his oneness-heart.


A real member of the United Nations forgives the United Nations’ mistakes, for he knows that the United Nations has been in existence for only a few decades. He hopes that in the forthcoming years the United Nations will not only rectify all its mistakes but also become the embodiment of truth-perfection.

Chapter 7: Prayer and meditation

Question: For a long time people have been meditating for the good of humanity, but there does not seem to be any positive sign that humanity is advancing along the right path. Do you feel that meditation can expedite world-progress?74

Sri Chinmoy: First we have to start with ourselves. Our progress entirely depends upon our heart’s cry. If I, as an individual, can become good, divine and perfect on the strength of my own heart’s cry and God’s Grace, then at least one individual will be liberated from ignorance-bondage. And if one person is sincerely crying and striving for peace and perfection, then that person’s inspiration, aspiration and inner illumination will automatically spread to others. At that time, they also will be inspired to strive for peace and, eventually, the entire world will be inundated with peace.

But this is a long process. We cannot get a Master’s degree overnight. We may study for years and years before we finally get the degree. In the spiritual life also, one has to practise meditation for many years in order to achieve liberation; sometimes it takes quite a few incarnations. We need utmost patience and perseverance. Just because we cannot have most delicious food every day, we do not give up eating.

Similarly, just because we cannot maintain our peace of mind every day, we must not give up meditation or spirituality. If in one day I cannot achieve abiding peace, then I will strive for it the next day as well. And I shall continue striving until I am blessed with peace in abundant measure.

Not in vain did God, our compassionate Father, create the universe. He and peace are one and the same. They are the obverse and reverse of the same coin. It is His Vision for the entire creation to be inundated with peace. Therefore, we should not give up hope. If we continue to pray and meditate, there shall come a day when instead of inner and outer conflict, peace and delight will reign supreme in this world of ours.

MUN 204. 5 August 1982.

Question: When we meditate, to what extent do we represent humanity and to what extent are we responsible?

Sri Chinmoy: Each seeker has his own level of consciousness. If someone has a very vast and illumined consciousness, then he may feel that he is representing a large section of humanity. The higher one goes, the more responsible one feels for the upliftment of human consciousness. Ultimately, God is responsible for everything and we are just His instruments. But if we become His conscious instruments, then according to our receptivity He can act in and through us most powerfully. It is through us that God will fulfil His own Dream.

Question: When I pray and meditate, I feel a flood of love and joy. But then I find that all the suffering of the world seems to well up inside me and I feel guilty for feeling joyful when so many other people are unhappy.75

Sri Chinmoy: Your oneness-heart feels the sufferings of the world. Now you have to go one step further and play your role. You can share the fruits of your meditation with those who are unhappy. Suppose you have a mango. It is up to you whether you eat the mango yourself or share it. You may not want to share it because it is most delicious; but then you will feel sorry. Again, you can offer a portion of it to your dear ones or to humanity. So when you get peace, joy and bliss from your meditation, you can share it with others in silence. Sometimes they may not use it; inwardly they may find fault with it and reject it. But you can do your part by offering others the peace and joy that you get.

MUN 206-207. April 1978.

Question: Can we give our happiness to others by writing about it, and does it help them?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly! People can derive considerable benefit from reading about the inspiring experiences of others. But I wish to say that the most effective way of offering peace and joy is the inner method. When we pray and meditate, we do it in silence. Similarly, when we want to offer the fruits of our prayer and meditation, we should also do it in silence.

Question: There is concern by some people that meditation rejects the world. What is your response to that?76

Sri Chinmoy: That theory is absolutely wrong. Meditation does not discard or reject anything in life. On the contrary, proper meditation accepts everything that we have and everything that we are. Meditation is all-embracing; it will not tell us to shun society or give us a negative feeling towards anything. It does not ask us to retreat into the Himalayas. God gave us a body, vital, mind, heart and soul because He wants to manifest His Dream, He wants to fulfil Himself in and through us. He has created us as His own prototype. So how can we think of renouncing the world or rejecting any aspect of life? If today we renounce the body, tomorrow the vital and the following day the mind, then what will remain?

Despite our own shortcomings and the world’s shortcomings, we have to accept both ourselves and the world. First we try to illumine our own shortcomings. Then, on the strength of our feeling of oneness with the rest of the world, we try to illumine and fulfil others.

MUN 208. 5 February 1982.

Question: Do you believe that activity and meditation contradict one another or do you feel they go hand in hand?77

Sri Chinmoy: The inner life and the outer life go hand in hand. Many human beings negate the inner life. They feel that the inner life is not important as long as they can exist on earth. Again, there are some who think that the outer life is not necessary. They feel that since the outer life is so painful and full of misunderstanding, it is best just to enter into the Himalayan caves and lead a life of solitude. In our philosophy, we do not believe in living a life of solitude and we do not believe in leading an ordinary human life — the so-called modern life that denies the inner reality of the soul.

We feel that the inner life and the outer life must be synthesised and harmonised. The outer life is like a beautiful flower and the inner life is its fragrance. If there is no fragrance, then we cannot appreciate the flower. Again, if there is no flower, how can there be any fragrance? So the inner life and the outer life must go together.

MUN 209. 26 October 1982.

Question: What age were you when you commenced meditating?78

Sri Chinmoy: I started consciously meditating at the age of eleven. When I was four or five, I used to say a daily prayer, as children do. It would last one, two or three minutes. But when I was eleven I became fully conscious of divinity, and I started to take my prayer and meditation very seriously. And by the age of thirteen, I was meditating for eight hours daily.

MUN 210. 5 January 1973.

Question: I would like to know the difference between prayer and meditation.79

Sri Chinmoy: The difference between prayer and meditation is this: prayer is something absolutely intense and upward-soaring, while meditation is something wide and vast that ultimately expands itself into the Infinite. When we pray, we feel a vibration from the soles of our feet to the crown of our head. The very nature of prayer is to reach God by going up. Our whole being is invoking, calling upwards; our entire existence is soaring upward like a one-pointed flame. Prayer is intense and ardent; it does not usually spread. Even if we pray to God for humanity, for the entire world, we will see that we are going up. But meditation does spread; in fact, meditation is immediate expansion. Meditation, like the wings of a bird, is always widening into peace, light and delight. The entire universe of light and delight we see, feel and grow into when we meditate.

Whenever we pray there is a subtle desire or aspiration for something. We pray to become good, or to have something divine that we do not now have, or to be free from fear, danger, doubt and so on. There is the feeling of being, let us say, a divine beggar. We are praying because we need something. Even when we pray for peace, light and bliss, there is still a certain feeling of demand. Sometimes there is a personal feeling of give-and-take and the prayer takes this form: “I am giving You my prayer, Lord, so please do something for me in return. Please save me, help me and fulfil me.”

But in meditation we do not do that. We just throw ourselves into a vast expanse — into the sea of peace and delight, into Infinity — or we welcome the infinite Vast into us. We just allow ourselves consciously to enter into the effulgence of light or we invoke the universal light to transform our ignorance into wisdom. The aspirant who has been able to enter into the deeper regions of Infinity or Eternity in his meditation does not pray the way we pray in churches or synagogues or temples. In his meditation, he enters into the Divine Consciousness and leaves everything in God’s Hands.

Here we see the true surrendering attitude. During meditation the seeker feels it is not necessary to ask God for anything, since his divine Father knows exactly what he needs and when to give it to him. He lets God do what is best for him, what will allow him to manifest God in God’s own Way. In the deepest meditation, the seeker just enters into his own infinite aspect. He dives deep into what he already has: an inseparable oneness with his Eternal Father. Then it is his Father’s business to do what is best for him or to give him what he needs. Again, the Saviour Christ revealed to mankind the highest prayer when He said, “Let Thy Will be done.” In his prayer he revealed and manifested the highest surrender.

MUN 211. September 1973.

Question: What is the best way to pray for others?80

Sri Chinmoy: The best way to pray for others is to first invoke the Presence of the Supreme. Once you invoke His Presence, He will definitely come in His subtle Body. His Presence may not take a human form and you may not see Him in a human body. But you will be able to feel His Presence, and in your feeling a form will be embodied. Inside the form, try to feel the person or persons for whom you are praying. That is the most effective way of helping others through your prayer.

But before asking the Supreme to help others, first ask Him whether you are supposed to pray for them. Otherwise, you may be praying for others out of sheer attachment. If you get a message or inner feeling from the Presence of the Supreme that you should pray for a particular person, then only should you do so. Otherwise, the Supreme might not be pleased with your prayer at all. If you do something in this world without His Approval, Sanction or Permission, then you are committing a serious mistake.

Suppose somebody is very sick. You may think that if you pray for him, it will be a good thing. But perhaps God wants him to have this experience at this particular time. You have to know that God is infinitely kinder than any human being could possibly be. If, because of your human attachment, you pray to God, “Cure him, cure him,” you may be standing in God’s Way and interfering with the person’s spiritual progress. So always try to discover God’s Will before praying for somebody.

MUN 212-214. 6 June 1978.

Question: How can we make our prayer most intense?

Sri Chinmoy You can make your prayer most intense by using your gratitude-heart. While a prayer is coming from your heart, you have to feed it with gratitude. If anybody is going to do something great or good, he needs nourishment. Similarly, if you do not nourish your prayer with the gratitude-fruit, then it will not be intense.

At every moment during the day you are energised by good thoughts or assailed by bad thoughts. The good thoughts that you get are coming directly from the Supreme, and the will to challenge the bad thoughts and destroy or illumine them is also coming from the Supreme. He is inside you as a Warrior when wrong thoughts come to attack you, and He is inside you as the Heavenly Father, the Supreme Beloved, when good thoughts come to illumine you. So, naturally you will be filled with gratitude to Him.

You have to feel grateful for what God has given you and also for what God has not given you. The good things you have prayed for He has given you, and the bad things you have prayed for He has not given you. You have to be grateful for both. If He had fulfilled your earthbound desires, then He would have proved to be your worst enemy. But God has fulfilled only your pure aspiration-cries. Therefore, He is your best Friend.

Question: Since the Supreme is fully aware of all of our needs, why is it appropriate to pray?

Sri Chinmoy: If we get something through prayer, it only increases its value in our life. We can tell the world, “I prayed for it. That is why I got it.” God sees everything and is ready to give us unconditionally. But if we outwardly ask Him for something and He gives it to us, then we get the glory. A child tells his mother, “I am hungry,” and she feeds him. Then the child will be able to tell the world, “Look, I have this kind of closeness and inner connection with my mother.” Yes, the mother would have fed the child on her own, but the fact that he asks and his mother listens to his request gives him more joy. It means that she is at his beck and call.

In a race, if somebody tries very hard and runs the whole course, he will be so delighted when the race director gives him a trophy. He has run with such effort. Therefore, he feels that he has earned the trophy. God can give everything unconditionally, but we will not be happy. We get more satisfaction when we feel that we have made some effort. Here the fulfilment of our prayers is the trophy.

Again, the very fact that we feel we have to ask God for what we need means that we feel separated from Him. We feel that God is somewhere and we are somewhere else. We never think that He is around or beside us. If we felt that we and God were one, then the question of prayer would not arise, for our needs would be His Needs.

Prayer intensifies our intimacy with the Supreme. Meditation, on the other hand, increases our oneness with the Supreme. Before we become one, we have to acquire intimacy. First we have to feel that we and God are intimate friends; only then can we realise our oneness-reality with God. Before we meditate, if we pray for a few seconds, then we are developing our intimate connection with the Supreme. Then, once we start meditating, we are in a position to develop our oneness-reality with Him.

Question: For achieving inner peace, are there other techniques besides meditation that might be more suitable or more effective for certain types of people?81

Sri Chinmoy: You can try prayer if your nature is more oriented towards prayer or if you feel that prayer will help you more than meditation. Prayer and meditation lead to the same goal. Those who practise meditation may find it easier to achieve peace of mind than those who practise prayer, but prayer is also a very good method.

When we pray, we often feel that God is somewhere above us — miles and miles above our head or in the blue sky. We do not know exactly where He is; we only feel that we are here on earth, whereas He is far away, so it may take some time for our prayer to reach Him. We also feel that He has to come from wherever He is in order to give us peace of mind or whatever it is we are asking for.

But when we meditate, we have a totally different concept of God. We feel that He is right beside us or within us — inside our body, vital, mind, heart and soul — observing us. So we do not have to fly into the sky or run after Him. If our meditation is soulful, we feel that He will grant us what we need. In most cases, we feel that meditation can do the needful sooner than prayer or any other method. Again, if our prayer is the manifestation of our heart’s intense cry, then it need not take time to reach God. Sooner than at once He will hear us and help us. So prayer and meditation complement each other.

MUN 215. 5 February 1982.

Question: Is there a place for prayer and meditation in equal measure?82

Sri Chinmoy: Prayer and meditation can easily go side by side. In the West we hear more about prayer. In the East, especially in India, we hear more about meditation. Prayer and meditation should go together because they lead us to the same destination. Yet they each have distinct qualities and capacities. When we pray soulfully, we feel that something within us — let us call it an inner cry — is climbing high, higher, highest until it reaches the Feet of our Beloved Supreme. We also feel that our Heavenly Father, our Eternal Father, is listening to our prayer or is waiting for our cry to reach Him. But when we meditate, we feel that Something or Someone is coming down to us from Above, from the highest plane of consciousness. The Absolute Lord is descending in order to bless us and tell us what to do.

When we go up in our prayer, we ask God to grant us a specific thing that we need from Him. We pray, “Lord, give me peace, light, love, joy.” But when we go deep within during our meditation, God comes down and tells us what He needs from us. He says, “I want you to become My choice instrument, My devoted instrument. I want you to please Me in my own Way. I shall grant you what I feel is best for you, but you also have to please Me.” We pray because we need God; we meditate because God needs us. They go together, like the obverse and reverse of the same coin.

MUN 216-217. 5 August 1982.

Question: Could you explain what contemplation is and how it differs from meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us begin with concentration. When we concentrate, like a piercing ray we enter into the very depth of the object upon which we are concentrating. But when we meditate, we enter into absolute silence and become one with the infinite vastness. In concentration, we focus our attention on something very small and enter into its very depths. In meditation, we meditate on something very vast — like the vast sky or the deep sea — and become one with it.

Contemplation is the highest stage. In contemplation we not only enter into something and become one with it, but we also exchange identities with it — as though we were playing a game of hide-and-seek. When we contemplate our Beloved Supreme, we see Him face to face. At one moment we are loving God with all our heart and soul. The next moment we ourselves have become the object of contemplation, and He whom we were adoring is now looking upon us with affection, love and adoration. In contemplation, the God-lover becomes inseparably one with God the Supreme Beloved, and the two exchange identities back and forth.

Question: Does spirituality necessarily go hand in hand with prayer and meditation?83

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, spirituality goes hand in hand with prayer and meditation. Spirituality is a specific subject. In order to be a good student of spirituality, one has to study hard and in a specific way. Prayer and meditation are subjects one has to study in order to become a good student in the spiritual life. Prayer and meditation are our two good friends who are all the time helping us in our inner life.

When we pray, we feel that there is Someone who is thinking of us, looking after us and taking care of us from Above, and that Someone is our Beloved Supreme. When we meditate, we feel that our Beloved Supreme is within us or all around us. We feel His Presence deep with us, inspiring us to lead a higher and more fulfilling life. Prayer makes us feel that we have to go to Him in order to please Him. We are at the foot of the tree and He is at the top of the tree, so we have to climb up in order to reach Him. But meditation makes us feel that no matter where we are, whether we are at the foot of the tree or on the topmost branch, He is all the time with us, helping us and guiding us.

MUN 218. 10 August 1979.

Question: Could you please tell us the difference between concentration, meditation and contemplation?84

Sri Chinmoy: When we concentrate, we do not allow any thought to enter into our mind, whether it is divine or undivine, earthly or Heavenly, good or bad. The entire mind is focused totally on a particular object or subject. If we are concentrating on the petal of a flower, we have to feel that nothing else exists in the entire world but us and the petal. We will look neither forward nor backward, upward nor inward. We will just try to pierce the object that we are focusing on with our one-pointed concentration. Concentration is like an arrow entering into the target. But it is not an aggressive way of looking into a thing or entering into an object. Far from it! This concentration comes directly from the heart, or more precisely, from the soul. We call it the soul’s indomitable will or will-power.

Very often I hear aspirants say that they cannot concentrate for more than five minutes. After five minutes they get a headache or they feel that their head is on fire. Why? It is because the power of their concentration is coming from the intellectual mind or, you can say, the disciplined mind. The mind knows that it must not wander; that much knowledge the mind has. But if the mind is to be utilised properly, in an illumined way, then the light of the soul has to come into it. When the light of the soul has entered into the mind, it is extremely easy for us to concentrate on something for two or three hours, or for as long as we want. During this time there can be no thoughts or doubts or fears. No negative forces can enter into our mind if it is surcharged with the soul’s light.

So when we concentrate, we try to feel that the power of concentration is coming from the heart centre and then going up to the third eye. The physical heart is tiny, but the spiritual heart, which is our true home, is vaster than the universe. The heart centre is where the soul is located. When we think of our soul at this time, we should not form any specific idea of it or think what it looks like. We should just think of it as God’s representative, as boundless Light and Delight. So this Light comes from our heart and passes through our third eye, and then it takes us into the object of our concentration and we have our identification with it. The final stage of concentration is to discover the hidden ultimate truth in the object of concentration.

What concentration can do in our day-to-day life is unimaginable. Concentration is the surest way to reach our goal, whether the goal be God-realisation or merely the fulfilment of human desires. A real aspirant sooner or later acquires the power of concentration either through the Grace of God, through constant practice or through his aspiration. Each seeker can declare that he has a divine hero, a divine warrior, within himself. And what is that divine warrior? It is his concentration.

When we concentrate, we have to concentrate on one particular thing. But when we meditate, we feel that we have the capacity deep within us to see many, deal with many and welcome many all at the same time. When we meditate, we try to expand our consciousness to encompass the vast sea or the vast blue sky. We try to expand ourselves like a bird spreading its wings. We expand our finite consciousness and enter into the Universal Consciousness where there is no fear, no jealousy, no doubt, but only divine joy, peace and power.

During meditation what we actually do is enter into a vacant, calm, still, silent mind. We go deep within and approach our true existence, which is our soul. When we live in the soul, we feel that we are actually meditating spontaneously. At that time, we see that our inner existence is surcharged with peace and tranquillity.

Meditation is like going to the bottom of the sea, where everything is calm and tranquil. On the surface there may be a multitude of waves, but the sea is not affected below. In its deepest depths, the sea is all silence. When we start meditating, first we try to reach our own inner existence — that is to say, the bottom of the sea. Then, when the waves come from the outside world, we are not affected. Fear, doubt, worry and all the earthly turmoils will just wash away, because inside us is solid peace. Thoughts cannot touch us, because our mind is all peace, all silence, all oneness. Like fish in the sea, they jump and swim but leave no mark on the water. Like birds flying in the sky, they leave no trace behind them. So when we are in our highest meditation we feel that we are the sea, and the animals in the sea cannot affect us. We feel that we are the sky, and all the birds flying past cannot affect us. Our mind is the sky and our heart is the infinite sea. This is meditation.

When we are in meditation, we want only to commune with God. Now I am speaking English and you are able to understand me because you know English well. Similarly, when you know how to meditate well, you will be able to commune with God, for meditation is the language we use to speak with God.

Through concentration we become one-pointed and through meditation we expand our consciousness into the Vast. But in contemplation we grow into the Vast itself. We have seen the Truth. We have felt the Truth. But the most important thing is to grow into the Truth and become totally one with the Truth. If we are concentrating on God, we may feel God right in front of us or beside us. When we are meditating, we are bound to feel Infinity, Eternity and Immortality within us. But when we are contemplating, we will see that we ourselves are God, that we ourselves are Infinity, Eternity, Immortality. When we contemplate, Creator and creation become one. We become one with the Creator and see the whole universe inside us. At that time, when we look at our own existence, we do not see a human being. We see something like a dynamo of light, peace and bliss. Contemplation means our conscious oneness with the Infinite, Eternal Absolute. In contemplation we truly discover ourselves.

We should concentrate for a few minutes each day before entering into meditation. At that time we are acting like a runner who has to clear the track; we see if there are any obstacles and then remove them. Once concentration has removed the obstacles and we begin meditating, we can run very fast. Inwardly we become like an express train that only stops at the final destination. Then, when we reach the Goal, we have to become the Goal. This is the last stage, contemplation. Seekers who are just entering onto the spiritual path should start with concentration for a few months before entering into meditation. Then they must meditate for a few years and finally enter into contemplation.

MUN 219. 1970.

Question: What is the purpose of meditation?85

Sri Chinmoy: Meditation is conscious awareness of God. Here we are all seekers. If we believe in God, then naturally we feel that God exists. But, unfortunately, this feeling does not last twenty-four hours a day. When we meditate, we come to feel and realise twenty-four hours a day that we are of God and we are for God. To become constantly and consciously aware of God — His Truth, Light and Bliss — is the purpose of meditation.

MUN 220-221. 3 October 1975.

Question: Is meditation for everybody regardless of whether a person is consciously seeking God?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, meditation is for everybody whether he is consciously seeking God or not. But each one has to decide for himself how far he wants to go. Somebody can study only at the kindergarten level. Again, somebody else will go on to high school, college and university and get a Master’s degree or Ph.D. Someone may be satisfied with an iota of inner wisdom, whereas someone else will be crying for boundless peace, light and bliss. So it depends on where the seeker wants to stop.

Just as we go to school for outer knowledge, we have to meditate in order to get inner wisdom. If the seeker wants to be satisfied with only an iota of peace, light and bliss, then he will get it. And if he wants to get boundless peace, light and bliss, then he shall also get that provided he continues to meditate regularly, devotedly, soulfully, unreservedly and unconditionally.

Question: What kind of knowledge can we achieve through meditation?86

Sri Chinmoy: It is not intellectual knowledge that we get from meditation; what we get is inner knowledge, and inner knowledge means illumination. Last week there was no light in this Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium. But now the switch has been turned on and the hall is fully lit. Similarly, for millennia we have been in darkness. If we want to illumine the darkness that covers our body, vital, mind, heart and central being, then we need meditation. Meditation is the light switch that will illumine our existence; only it takes a little time. If we meditate soulfully for a few months or a few years, then gradually we will see illumination taking place. In the beginning, or even for a couple of years, we may not see a flood of illumination. But if we can meditate soulfully and devotedly for many, many years on a regular, daily basis, then most assuredly we will be blessed with real and abiding illumination.

MUN 222-223. 5 August 1982.

Question: Can this illumination be shared among people — for example, between a person who has meditated for a long time and a person who has not?

Sri Chinmoy: When a spiritual person prays and meditates, at that time he spreads his illumination-power, and others do feel it. When we are with a spiritual person who prays and meditates and leads a saintly life, then naturally we will feel the light and bliss that is radiating from him. When illumination takes place, it cannot be hidden.

Question: When you speak of the outer silence, do you mean inaction?87

Sri Chinmoy: No, by outer silence I mean the outer expression of one’s inner silence. One silence is dynamic; another silence is static. Static silence is found in deep meditation, which is preparation. Dynamic silence is found in action, which is manifestation. The inner silence guides and illumines us. The outer silence reveals and manifests us.

MUN 224-226. 12 January 1973.

Question: So outer silence or dynamic silence is really divine action — doing the Will of God by serving man?

Sri Chinmoy: Right! The role of dynamic silence is to fulfil the Will of God in humanity. But what God’s Will is, we learn only from inner silence, static silence. Once we know the Will of God, then it is our divine duty to fulfil His Will and dedicate ourselves to the service of mankind.

Some people want only to meditate. They do not want to give anything to the world. They are afraid that the moment they try to give their inner wealth to the ignorant world, the world will misunderstand them or misuse them. So they act like misers. This is selfishness. Again, there are many on earth who do not meditate but who want to give. This is foolishness. If they do not meditate and acquire some inner capacity, then what do they have to give? We have to play our part. First we have to achieve, then we have to offer. In this way we can please God and fulfil mankind.

Question: Is inner silence equated with prayer and meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Prayer, meditation, concentration and contemplation are the inner silence. Dedication, service and action are the outer silence. We have to dedicate ourselves and fulfil the Will of God, but only after knowing the Will of God. And this we can do only by practising inner silence. Otherwise, if we try to help mankind in our own way, we may think that we are serving God but really we are just aggrandising our own ego. We say, “I have done this, I have done that.” But the important thing is, “Was I commissioned by God?” If our actions are inspired not by God but by our ego, then the service we offer to the world will be full of darkness and imperfection.

Question: Does each person have a different way of meditating?88

Sri Chinmoy: If you want peace, then you have to meditate on peace. If you want love, then you have to meditate on love. If you want joy or any other divine quality, the best thing is to meditate on it. That is the only way you can get these qualities. Each individual will have a different way of meditating because his mind or his heart will want different qualities. You will be knocking at a particular door and somebody else will be knocking at another door. I advise seekers to knock at their heart-door. The heart is the central room of the being. Once the heart-door is open, from there you can go into the mind or any other room.

MUN 227. April 1978.

Question: Because there are many schools of meditation, it becomes hard for a person to select one. How can we find the best one for us?89

Sri Chinmoy: It is very easy because it is all a matter of inner feeling. Here in this conference room there are quite a few people. They are all God’s children; they are all God-lovers and Truth-seekers. But all of them will not give you the same feeling. Only one or two individuals may give you a special feeling when you look at them. This kind of feeling we call the soul’s affinity. From one person, for example, you may get a certain kind of confidence that this person will be able to help you. Again, when you look at other individuals, you may not feel anything or be inspired at all. There are many teachers and many paths. What you have to do is observe each one of them. Some paths will give you immediate joy — a kind of inner ecstasy — while others may not give you any feeling whatsoever. The path or the teacher that gives you immediate joy or an immediate sense of satisfaction is undoubtedly the right one for you.

MUN 228-230. 5 August 1982.

Question: Should we meditate on various subjects?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the individual. You as an individual will meditate upon one thing and I as an individual will meditate upon something else. Again, today you may meditate upon peace and tomorrow you may meditate upon joy. Suppose that today in your office you had some difficulties with your colleagues and your mind is agitated and restless. Naturally you will want to meditate on peace. Then tomorrow, if you see that you are not able to feel joy either in yourself or in others, you will meditate on joy.

So today your subject can be peace, tomorrow it can be joy and the day after tomorrow it can be love. Every day you can change the subject of your meditation. Again, you can continue meditating for days, weeks, months and years on the same subject because at every moment you are increasing your capacity and receptivity. Today you may be satisfied with just an iota of peace, but tomorrow you will cry for abundant peace and the day after you will cry for infinite peace. And if you are praying and meditating for infinite peace, naturally it will take you more than one day to achieve it.

Even though it is possible to separate these different subjects or qualities, ultimately they are all one. If you have peace, then you will also have joy; if you have joy, then you will also have peace. I can separate my body into its different parts and speak about my eye, my nose and so forth; or I can take my body as a single entity. Similarly, peace, joy, love and all the other divine qualities can be separated, but ultimately they lead the seeker to the same destination, which we call satisfaction.

Question: What do you recommend for beginners?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are a beginner, you can start by reading a few spiritual books written by very advanced seekers or spiritual Masters. You can also chant verses from the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, the Vedas or any other sacred book that inspires you. Also, you should meditate early in the morning and in the evening for at least five minutes. When you are meditating, in the beginning thoughts will come. At every second a thought-wave will be coming — either a good thought-wave or a bad thought-wave. You will find yourself either attacked by bad thoughts or inspired by good thoughts.

Since it is very difficult for the beginner to observe which kind of thought is coming, it is best to stand right at the door of your mind-room and not allow any thought at all to come inside. Then, after some time you can open the door to see who is waiting there. If someone is a real friend, a true friend, he will wait for you indefinitely because he loves you. Good thoughts definitely love us, so they will wait on the other side of the mind-door indefinitely. But bad thoughts will leave after a while because they will feel it is beneath their dignity to be kept waiting outside.

Also, if it is possible while you are working at home or in the office during the day, you should try to remember six or seven times — only for a fleeting minute — what experiences you had in your morning meditation or what you are supposed to do in your evening meditation. You do not actually have to meditate, only remember. This remembrance itself is a form of meditation. In the hustle and bustle of life, you may not get the opportunity to meditate in the same way you can meditate at home early in the morning or in the evening. But if you can remember what you did or are going to do, then it helps considerably.

Question: Can meditation help cure physical ailments such as high blood pressure?90

Sri Chinmoy: Meditation means our conscious awareness of our Source. Our Source is God, our Source is Truth, our Source is Light, our Source is Perfection. Our Source has no imperfection, no ailment. Where is this Source? This Source is deep within us.

In meditation we make our mind calm and quiet. In the outer life it is almost impossible for most human beings to have peace of mind. He who does not have peace of mind is a veritable beggar; he finds no satisfaction in anything. Again, if we get peace of mind even for a fleeting second, we feel we have accomplished something significant in our lives. When the mind is tranquil, there is a constant flow of harmony. This harmony first enters into the vital and, from the vital, it enters into the physical. When there is harmony in the system, there can be no ailment. It is only in the world of anxiety, worry, tension and confusion that ailments can be found. When there is real harmony, the sufferings of human life come to an end.

High blood pressure, heart failure and all the diseases that we notice in God’s creation are attacks from undivine forces. These undivine forces can be overcome only when we surrender to a positive force. When we meditate, we try to become a perfect channel for the positive forces. The positive forces are light, love, delight. At each moment in our life, the positive forces want to take us consciously to the Source, where there is only perfection.

If our mind is calm and quiet, if our vital is dynamic, if our body is conscious of what it is doing, then we are inside the palace of satisfaction, where there can be no disease, no suffering, no imperfection, no obstruction to our abiding peace, abiding light and abiding satisfaction. Meditation is a means; it is a way, a path. If we walk along this path, then we reach our destination, which is all-perfection.

MUN 231. 29 October 1975.

Question: I have just started coming to your meetings and I would like to know exactly what is meant by meditation. Is it good to read books on the subject? Is meditation a form of thinking?91

Sri Chinmoy: If you read books on meditation written by spiritual Masters, you will gain a little general information. The books will tell you to keep the mind calm and quiet and to lead a pure life on the mental, vital and physical plane. In your pure life automatically you will feel a kind of inner meditation. And if you are able to keep your mind calm and quiet, that also is a form of real meditation.

In the world you are constantly being assailed by ideas and thoughts. But you should try not to allow these thoughts to enter into your mind in your day-to-day life. You may think that if you do not have any thoughts you will be like a fool. But fools are not without thoughts; they have thoughts, but their thoughts lead them to do silly things. If you can stop the flow of ordinary thoughts and bring to the fore your inner will and determination, then you will do the right thing and grow into a divine instrument of God, your Inner Pilot. That is a form of meditation too.

I advise seekers to forget the mind and try to feel the presence of the heart. Inside the heart they will feel a vessel. This vessel is full to the brim with ignorance, imperfection and undivine things. They must try to empty the vessel with their own inner cry and with God’s Help. This action of emptying oneself has to be done with devotion and a feeling of surrender to God’s Will. It also has to be done with love — love for God and for humanity. Once the vessel is emptied, then God will fill it with peace, light and bliss.

MUN 232. 1970.

Question: How can we learn to meditate? I believe in God, but it is very hard for me to meditate.92

Sri Chinmoy: The best way to learn how to meditate is to associate with people who have been meditating for some time. These people are not in a position to teach you. Far from it! But they are in a position to inspire you. If you have some friends who know how to meditate, just sit beside them while they are meditating. Unconsciously your inner being will derive some meditative power from them. You are not stealing anything, but your inner being is taking help from them without your outer knowledge.

If you want to be under the guidance of a spiritual Master, the Master’s silent gaze will teach you how to meditate. The Master does not have to explain outwardly how to meditate or give you a specific form of meditation or mantra. He will simply meditate on you and inwardly teach you how to meditate. Your soul will enter into the Master’s soul and bring the message or knowledge of how you should meditate from his soul.

All real spiritual Masters teach meditation in silence. When a genuine spiritual Master meditates, peace, light and bliss descend from Above and enter into the sincere seekers. Then automatically they learn how to meditate from within.

It is easier to learn how to meditate if you have a Master because you get additional help from the Master’s conscious concern. But if you do not want to follow a specific path or if you do not want to be under the guidance of a spiritual Master, if you just want to learn how to meditate a little and not go on to God-realisation, then the best thing is to associate with spiritual people in whom you have faith. Unconsciously they will help you. But this process will not take you to the highest Goal. You will learn to walk, but you will not be able to walk fast. You will not be able to run fast, faster, fastest towards the Goal. For that you will need higher lessons, inner and deeper lessons, from some spiritual Master.

MUN 233. 30 March 1973.

Question: I would very much like to learn what the spiritual heart is like.93

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, let us know the difference between the ordinary human heart and the spiritual heart. The human heart is a small muscle in the chest, which the doctors can show us. The spiritual heart is something that a seeker sees, feels and grows into. The spiritual heart is vaster than the vastest. Right now Infinity is an imaginary concept for us. But when we discover our spiritual heart, Infinity is no longer imagination; it is reality.

On the one hand, the spiritual heart houses Immortality, Eternity, Infinity, the Universal Consciousness and so on; on the other hand, it transcends everything. Also, although the spiritual heart is infinite, eternal and immortal, although it pervades the entire universe, it can easily reside inside the finite human heart.

At one moment the Infinite will separate itself from the finite; the next moment it will welcome the finite into itself and become totally one with the finite. In the spiritual life, not only can the drop of water enter the ocean but the ocean also has the capacity to enter into the tiny drop. God is omnipotent, not because He is larger than the largest, but because this moment He can be the tiniest, most insignificant ant and the next moment He can be infinitely vaster than the ocean. Him we call God precisely because He can be whatever He wants to be: vaster than the vastest or tinier than the tiniest.

When speaking of God, we also use the term ‘Transcendental Consciousness’. This consciousness is not static; it is constantly transcending itself. God is infinite, eternal and immortal, but He is also ever-progressing. God Himself is in the process of evolution. He is making constant progress in and through everyone on earth in order to establish perfect Perfection here.

MUN 234. September 1973.

Question: How can we keep our awareness?94

Sri Chinmoy: When we do not keep our awareness, we become friends with inconscience and ignorance. When we keep our awareness and remain alert, we go much faster. Alertness is speed in life. If we are alert, nothing can distract us or prevent us from running the fastest towards the goal. Suppose our goal is to get a Master’s degree. If we spend all our time going to movies and nightclubs, how will we reach our goal? Only if we discard unnecessary things and focus all our attention on the goal will we be able to reach it sooner than the soonest. So if we are always aware of our goal and thinking of our goal, then there will be inspiration, aspiration and an inner urge to reach the goal as soon as possible.

MUN 235. 18 July 1975.

Question: How can I go deep within?95

Sri Chinmoy: You have to feel that there is something called the spiritual heart, which is inside the physical heart. Then you have to feel that inside the spiritual heart there is something called the soul. First open the heart-door. Once you are inside the heart, feel that you are trying to unlock another door. That is the door of the soul.

MUN 236. April 1978.

Question: How can I have deeper meditations?96

Sri Chinmoy: You can have deeper meditations through constant remembrance of your goal. Always think of your goal as something high, higher, highest. If your goal is not the highest, if your goal is not boundless peace, boundless light, boundless bliss, if you want to be satisfied with only an iota of these things, then your meditation cannot be very deep. Only when you pitch your aim to the highest will you be able to go up to the highest. Your inner yearning for the highest will act like a springboard. If you press hard on the springboard, then you jump higher. So when you meditate, always try to bring into your being boundless peace, light and bliss or throw yourself into something infinite and vast.

In order to have good meditations, you should also try to dedicate your life to the right cause. The right cause is to try to see the divine in others and the divine in yourself all the time. If you think of yourself as a sea of ignorance, you will never be inspired to meditate well. You will think it is an impossible task. So try to see the divine in yourself as often as you can; then automatically your meditation will become deeper, more illumining and more fulfilling.

MUN 237. 18 October 1974.

Question: Once we reach a certain level in our meditation, how then can we go higher and deeper?97

Sri Chinmoy: Once we have reached a certain level of consciousness in our meditation, we have to feel that this is not our ultimate goal. Our goal is not stationary; all the time we have to go beyond, beyond, beyond. God Himself is transcending His own Infinity, Eternity and Immortality and, as children of God, we also have to constantly transcend ourselves. We can go beyond our present-day realisation of our inner cry. Because we have an inner cry, already we have attained a certain height in the spiritual life. But the inner cry that we have right now is not enough to take us any further. So its intensity has to be increased, not by hook or by crook, but by bringing to the fore more of the capacity that we have deep within us.

We have unlimited capacity, but we have only brought to the fore a certain amount. We have to bring forward more of our inner capacity so that we can transcend our present level of consciousness and go far, far beyond it. We have to feel all the time that we exist only for God, that we live only for God. It is not enough to feel that we live half the time for the fulfilment of God and half the time for something else. No, we have to feel that we live only for our aspiration, our dedication and our surrender to God. Everything that we have and everything that we are is for God-realisation, God-manifestation and God-satisfaction. If we feel this, then naturally the intensity of our inner cry will be high, higher, highest.

MUN 238. 24 April 1981.

Question: How can we know whether we are meditating well or not?98

Sri Chinmoy: We can easily know whether we are meditating well or not just by the way we feel about the world around us. Right after our meditation if we have a good feeling for the world, if we love the world or see the world in a loving way in spite of its imperfections, then we can know that our meditation was good. Also, if we have a dynamic feeling right after meditation, if we feel that we came into the world to do something and become something good, this indicates that we have done a good meditation. The feeling that we have come into the world to do something does not mean we are feeding our human ambition. No! The moment we try to feed our ambition, it will entangle us like a serpent. We have come into the world to do what God wants us to do. We have come into the world to become what God wants us to become. What God wants us to do is grow into His very Image. What God wants us to be is His dedicated instrument. During our meditation if we get the feeling that God wants us to grow into His very Image and be His dedicated instrument, and if this feeling is translated into action after our meditation, then we can be sure that we were meditating well.

The easiest way to know if we have had a good meditation is to feel whether peace, light, love and delight are coming to the fore from within. Each time light, love, peace or delight comes forward, the whole body becomes surcharged with that divine quality. Each time one of these qualities comes to the fore, we are bound to feel that we are remembering a forgotten story. This story was written by the seeker in us; it was not written by somebody else. It is our own creation, but we have forgotten it, and it is meditation that brings it back. When we remember this story we are overjoyed that we have created such a beautiful story, which is nothing but our own life-story.

MUN 239. 30 March 1973.

Question: I read something about the control of breath in meditation. Could you elaborate on that?99

Sri Chinmoy: When you breathe in, try to breathe in as slowly and as quietly as possible. The highest type of spiritual breathing, which is not at all dangerous, is to breathe in so slowly and quietly that if somebody placed a tiny thread in front of your nose it would not move at all. While breathing in as slowly as possible, feel that you are breathing in not just air but cosmic energy. Feel that tremendous energy is entering into you, and that you are going to use it to purify yourself: your body, vital, mind and heart. Feel that there is not a single place in your body that is not being occupied by the flow of cosmic energy. It is flowing like a river inside you.

When you feel that your whole being has been washed or purified by cosmic energy, then feel that you are breathing out all the rubbish inside you — all your undivine thoughts, impure actions, obscure ideas. Anything inside your system that you call undivine, anything that you do not want to claim as your own, feel that you are exhaling. It is most important that this breathing be done in a very conscious way, not in a mechanical way. Otherwise, it will not be effective.

The traditional yogic pranayama is more complicated and systematised. But what I have just told you is the most effective spiritual method of breathing. In the beginning, you will have to use your imagination, but after a while you will see and feel that it is not imagination at all, but reality. You are consciously breathing in the energy that is flowing all around you in the cosmos, purifying yourself, and then emptying yourself of everything undivine. If you can breathe this way for five minutes every day, you will be able to make very fast progress.

When you reach a more advanced stage, try not to feel that your breath is coming in and going out only through your nose. Feel that you are breathing in and breathing out through your heart, through your eyes, through your pores. Now you are limited to breathing in and out only through the nose or the mouth. But a time will come when you will realise that any part of the body can breathe. Spiritual Masters can breathe even with their nose and mouth closed. When you have perfected this kind of spiritual breathing, you will see that all your impurity and ignorance have been replaced by God’s Light, God’s Peace and God’s Power.

MUN 240. 23 March 1973.

Question: Is it better to meditate in the lotus position than in other positions?100

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the individual. If you can breathe in properly, you can have a proper meditation in any position. The main thing is to keep the spine erect and straight and to keep the body relaxed. There are many people who meditate very well while they are seated in a chair. And there are many who sit in the lotus posture only to show off, while their mind is roaming elsewhere. You have to know how much control you have over the mind. If you have control over your mind, you can meditate while running, even while lying down. But if you do not have control over your mind, then it is better to sit in a particular corner of the room and keep your body, especially your back, erect.

Usually when a beginner enters into a spiritual path, he becomes a victim to laziness. Meditation is something new to him and he may not get a satisfactory result all at once. So it is necessary for him to discipline himself as quickly as possible. But for one who has already tasted some inner food — inner light, peace or bliss — it is not necessary to go through this rigorous discipline because meditation has become spontaneous. While he is walking, while he is doing office work, he will be meditating on God. While he is talking to a person, his mouth will be functioning, but his mind will be on God. So you have to be the judge. When you start to meditate, what happens? If your mind roams, then you have to be very careful. If your mind does not roam, if you know that you can hold the reins, then it is not at all obligatory to sit in the lotus posture while you meditate.

MUN 241. 1970.

Question: During a meditation, if something external to the meditation occurs — such as noise or something unforeseen — is it better to include it in the meditation or to try to shut it out and pursue the meditation?101

Sri Chinmoy: Each seeker has to know his own standard. If we are a beginner, we should feel that anything that is not part of our meditation is like an intruder. We should not allow an intruder, a foreigner, to enter into us and disturb us. But if we are very advanced and there is a disturbing noise during our meditation, we can go deep into the sound itself and try to assimilate it. If we have the capacity, then in our own consciousness we can transform the powerful and challenging attack of a foreign element into an inner music, a thrilling or haunting music, which will really add to our meditation. But until we develop this capacity to transform a disturbing, annoying noise into soothing, thrilling and soul-stirring music, we should always try to exclude foreign elements from our meditation.

MUN 242. 1 February 1973.

Question: Should meditation be done in silence or can we mentally chant some slokas or holy verses?102

Sri Chinmoy: You can chant holy verses; you can repeat some mantras; you can recite spiritual scriptures. All these things can definitely deepen your meditation, and you can easily call them a form of meditation. But the highest type of meditation has to be done in deep, perfect silence, for only then can you have a free access to your inner being or soul.

If you do not have much time to devote to meditation, then reading from scriptures can be skipped. But if you can find a special time for your own highest meditation and also find time to do other spiritual things such as chanting, then naturally that is better. Everything can be practised during the span of a day. In the morning you can do chanting and other things and in the evening you can meditate. Or if you spend half an hour or an hour meditating in the morning, then in the evening for half an hour or an hour you can do not only silent meditation but also the things that will help you grow into deeper meditation. It depends on how much time you can devote to your spiritual life. Chanting or reciting slokas will definitely, definitely help your meditation, but in themselves they are not the highest type of meditation.

MUN 243. June 1981.

Question: What exactly is a mantra?103

Sri Chinmoy: A mantra is an incantation. The repetition of a mantra is a process for going deep within or accelerating one’s spiritual progress. It can be a syllable, a word, a few words or a sentence. By repeating a mantra we can either invoke the presence of a particular god or bring to the fore our own inner divinity.

What benefit does the seeker get from repeating a mantra? The first benefit he gets is purity. Without purity, there can be no certainty in one’s spiritual life. Today you may make progress and tomorrow you may drop back to where you started. But when you repeat a mantra that has been given by a spiritual Master — and not by anybody else — you are bound to get purity. From purity you will get pure energy, plus the feeling of universal oneness. And in your oneness with God’s universe, you attain oneness with God Himself.

The best way to use a mantra to attain purity quickly is to ascend by steps. Today repeat the mantra 500 times; tomorrow, 600; the day after tomorrow, 700; and so on, until you reach 1,200 in one week’s time. Then begin descending each day until you reach 500 again. In this way you can climb up the tree and climb down the tree. When you climb down, please feel that you are trying to distribute its purity-fruit through your heart to the aspiring people around you.

When a mantra is repeated many times, it is called japa. There are two ways to do japa. One is audible, the other is inaudible. If you repeat the mantra out loud, you will get physical purity. If you repeat the mantra in silence, you will get purity in your inner existence. Without inner purity, you will make no spiritual progress. If your mind is thinking of undivine, impure things, your inner progress will come to a halt. So it is better to practise japa in silence. When you do, try to feel that there is somebody inside you, your inner being, who is repeating the word on your behalf. Just by repeating your mantra devotedly and soulfully you can have purity in your heart and in your mind, and from purity you can get everything — the Highest, the Supreme.

MUN 244. 6 April 1973.

Question: Is it essential to have a mantra?104

Sri Chinmoy: Some people use mantras in their spiritual practice. Again, there are many people who do not repeat mantras; they aspire and meditate in a different way. We cannot say that mantra is superior to prayer and meditation or that prayer and meditation are superior to mantra. No! We can call mantra one road that leads to realisation, but there are also other roads.

MUN 245. 13 June 1975.

Question: Sometimes when I meditate, I feel that I am about to go through some experience, but nothing happens. What is the cause of that?105

Sri Chinmoy: The reason nothing happens is that you have not reached the proper height. You are just on the verge of it, but you do not quite reach it. It is like lighting a stove. When you turn on the gas, you have to turn it to a certain point before the flame comes. You may come almost to that point, but then you stop. If you had gone just a fraction of an inch further, you would have succeeded.

It is the same with your meditation. If you had gone just a little bit higher or deeper, you would have had your experience. But your attention was diverted or something made you pull back. Something inside you failed to maintain the level of your aspiration and your consciousness fell. It is as if you were climbing up to the highest branch of a mango tree, but all of a sudden somebody called you from below; so you forgot about the delicious mango at the top of the tree and you climbed down. This is what it is like when your consciousness falls. But if you can maintain your height and not respond to any call from below, then you will reach the Highest and you will get the experience.

While you are praying and meditating, imagine that you have a bicycle inside you. When you ride a bicycle, you have to pedal all the time; otherwise, you will stop making progress and just fall down. While you are meditating you have to aspire all the time; otherwise, you will fall. You cannot pause at one point. In the spiritual life, movement has to be constant. Either you move forward or you move backward. If you try to remain motionless, the ignorance of the world will pull you right back to your starting point.

While you are aspiring, you have to make yourself conscious at every moment that what you need is not success but progress, progress, progress. Progress itself is an active form of success. When you start meditating early in the morning, if you think, “Today I have to get the highest experience or I will feel miserable,” then you are making a mistake. If you cry for success, then God may give you the experience that you call success. But He will not utilise you as His chosen instrument because you are trying to get something from Him. But if you cry only for the opportunity and privilege of becoming His instrument to serve Him in His own Way, then God will most assuredly give you the progress that you need to fulfil Him.

If experience is your aim, until you actually reach the height from which you can get the experience, please continue to aspire intensely. But if your aim is to become an instrument of the Supreme, if progress is your only concern, then you are bound to get all the experiences that God has in store for you even if you do not climb to the top of the tree. Right now it is you who are trying to climb up to a great height in order to get an experience. But it is very easy for God to bring the fruit down and give it to you if such is His Will. So if you can please God, even if you remain at the foot of the tree, God will climb up on your behalf and bring the experience down.

MUN 246-247. 28 September 1973.

Question: What is the difference between going high and going deep in meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a great difference in the methods of meditation, although ultimately height and depth become one. When we want to go deep in meditation, we start our journey from the spiritual heart. From there, deep is not downward or backward, but inward. We should feel that we are digging or travelling deep, deep, deep into our heart. It is not like digging downward far below our feet. No! Below the knees, the plane of inconscience starts. If we go downward, then it is not actually spiritual depth that we are getting but only the low, lower, lowest planes of consciousness. The spiritual heart is infinite, so there is no limit to how deep we can go. We can never go too deep; we can never touch the boundaries of the spiritual heart because it embodies the vast universe and, at the same time, it is larger and vaster than the universe.

When we want to go high in meditation, then our direction is upward. Our aspiration goes upward; we are climbing, climbing fearlessly towards the Highest. We must pass through the mind and through the thousand-petalled lotus at the top of the head. Again, the distance is infinite. There is no end to our upward journey because we are travelling in Infinity. We are climbing towards the ever-transcending Beyond. In terms of distance, upward and inward are both infinite journeys towards one Goal, the Supreme.

We cannot go high by using only the mind, however. We must go beyond the mind and into the realm of the spiritual heart once more. The domain of the spiritual heart is infinitely higher and vaster than that of the very highest mind. Far beyond the mind is still the domain of the heart. The heart is boundless in every direction, so inside the heart is height as well as depth. The higher we can go, the deeper we can go. And again, the deeper we can go, the higher we can go. It works simultaneously. If we can meditate very powerfully, then we are bound to feel that we are going both very high and very deep. The highest height and the deepest depth both are inside the spiritual heart. Height and depth go together, but they work in two different dimensions, as it were. But if a person can go very high in his meditation, then he has the capacity to go very deep also. It is a matter of choice.

Question: Which is better: morning meditation or evening meditation?106

Sri Chinmoy: They can be equally beneficial, equally fruitful. But in the evening, meditation becomes a little more difficult because for eight or ten hours during the day you have been in the hustle and bustle of the world. You have met with many unaspiring people and their undivine thoughts and impure ideas have entered into you. Unless you are very powerful spiritually, unconsciously you will have assimilated many unaspiring and uninspiring forces from the world. So it becomes very difficult in the evening to meditate with the same hope and freshness as in the morning. If you take a shower it will help. If you associated during the day with spiritual people, it will also help. But usually morning and evening meditation will not be the same.

By the following morning, everything will be out of your memory, at least for a while. During the time that you slept, the distractions and impurities of the outer world will have been washed away. During the eight hours that you are asleep your soul, like a divine thief, is observing. An ordinary thief will steal from you. But this divine thief only gives and gives. The soul is like a mother. A mother comes into the child’s room secretly at night to lay out the things that he needs for school. So as soon as the child gets up, he will have everything he needs. Similarly, while you are sleeping, the soul gets the opportunity to do what is necessary for you. If you need peace at one spot, your soul will put peace there. But during the day, when you are absorbed in the activities of the outer world, it is more difficult for the soul to give and for you to receive.

So morning meditation is usually the best. Early in the morning there is no hustle and bustle, no commotion. And since you have taken several hours of rest, you feel the strength of a lion. If you can take a shower, conquer your lethargy, and sit down fresh and alert for meditation, then your morning meditation becomes one hundred per cent good. But if you are ninety-nine per cent in the world of sleep, your meditation will be useless.

Next to early morning, evening is the best time for meditation because the atmosphere then is calm and peaceful. At that time you can feel a kind of soothing sensation. In the evening you are tired and you feel that the whole world is also tired. But there is a slight difference between the world’s approach to the truth and your approach. When the world is tired, it will not aspire; it wants only to rest. But you feel that your tiredness or lethargy can be overcome only by bringing more light and more energy into your system. If an ordinary person is tired, he will feel there is nothing else to do but go to sleep. But you will say, “No! I am tired, but there is a specific way for me to energise my life and that is to bring down peace, light and bliss.” When you pray and meditate, at that time new life-energy enters into you and refreshes you.

If you want to meditate in the evening, then meditate a half hour or forty minutes before you eat. If you are really pinched with hunger, you can drink a glass of water or juice or milk. But if you meditate after you have eaten a heavy meal, the thousands of subtle nerves in your body will be very heavy and you will not be able to meditate well. The body will be heavy, the consciousness will be heavy, the nerves will be heavy, and your meditation will be useless. In proper meditation, your consciousness flies like a bird. If you meditate well, you feel that your whole existence, like a bird, is flying high, higher, highest. But when you become heavy, immediately you sink and your consciousness cannot rise.

So if you are unable to meditate in the morning, evening meditation is the next best thing — not noon or 2 p.m. At these times, meditation is more difficult. Once you become very advanced in the spiritual life, you will be able to meditate any time. The best thing for now, however, is to meditate both morning and evening. If you meditate well in the morning, you may get one million spiritual dollars. And if you meditate well in the evening, you may get ten thousand spiritual dollars. But if you can get even one dollar more towards the spiritual sum that you need for your realisation, then if you are wise you will take it.

MUN 248. January 1974.

Question: How can we avoid falling asleep during meditation?107

Sri Chinmoy: In the ordinary life we need sleep because the nerves need rest. But when we have dynamic energy, easily we can conquer sleep. When we have a free access to the infinite inner energy, we need very little sleep. Right now, the body needs six or seven hours of sleep a night. But gradually we can decrease this need to six, five, four, three, even two hours of sleep a night.

When we have enjoyed deep meditation in the sense of having drunk divine nectar, sometimes we feel drowsiness. We feel we are not fully conscious of what is happening around us. But this is not actual sleep. We are immersed in the silence, peace and poise that is deep within us. And from this silence deep within us we can get a special kind of energy. Our human mind cannot understand this energy because it never gets it or even sees it. Only our heart receives it from the soul. If we can feel this inner energy during our meditation, then for hours and hours we can meditate without any exhaustion or tiredness.

In our inner life we are well-established. We know that we are of God and for God. We know that we belong to God and God belongs to us, and that God-realisation is our birthright. But this inner realisation is static; it is the static way of holding the truth. In our outer life of manifestation we also have to prove that we are of and for God — through our manifestation of the Divine within us. This divine manifestation needs constant movement. We have to feel inside ourselves a flowing river of dynamic energy and dynamic light. Then we have to feel that we have become that river and we are continually moving towards the sea, which is our goal. We are in the process of continuous movement — running forward, climbing upward, diving inward towards our goal. When we feel this, then we cannot be attacked by lethargy or sleep.

Silence-life we embody, but sound-life unfortunately we do not always manifest in a divine way. When we fall asleep during our meditation, it is a kind of unconscious destruction of our own inner divinity. If we are going on a long journey, we have to know that when we come to the airport, that is only our first destination. The final destination is some distant city or country. Some seekers feel that just because they have entered into the meditation room, their role is over. They feel that they have already reached their destination and now they can relax. That is why they fall asleep. But our role will be over only when we have meditated well and, at the end of our meditation, when we have offered whatever we have achieved, as well as our gratitude, at the Feet of the Supreme.

MUN 249. 9 August 1974.

Question: Since God is within us and we know that one day we will realise God, why is it necessary to meditate?108

Sri Chinmoy: One day we shall realise everything that is natural. God is natural, so naturally we shall realise Him; but if we do not consciously aspire, then we may have to wait for Eternity. God has given us a conscious mind and conscious aspiration, but He is not compelling us or forcing us to use them. We can sleep if we want to; but if we consciously pray and meditate, then we will go faster. One day everybody will realise God because in God’s cosmic Vision, He will never allow anyone to remain unrealised. But he who sleeps will not reach the goal as fast as he who is running. Again, if we want to wait, no harm; we can wait.

MUN 250. 18 July 1978.

Question: How can we bring our dreams into our meditation?109

Sri Chinmoy: If you have very happy and delightful dreams, then they may encourage and inspire you to meditate. Suppose you have a dream about the Golden Shore. You may feel that it is not a dream at all but a reality. So you will say, “Let me work very hard in my meditation, and perhaps I can go there.” Again, you may go on remembering all that happened in the dream, even during your meditation. Then you will be in the dream world and your real inner cry will not be able to come to the fore. Many times when people have had very high dreams they have tried to remain there. But then the real intensity of their meditation went away. When you meditate, you do not have to think of your dreams at all; just meditate most sincerely to go high, higher, highest. Then it will not be necessary for you to bring your dreams into your meditation at all.

MUN 251-252. June 1978.

Question: Could you speak on guidance?

Sri Chinmoy: We all need guidance. The body is our guide; the vital is our guide; the mind is our guide; the heart, which has more knowledge than the other members, is our guide; and the soul, which has infinitely more knowledge and wisdom than the other members, is our inner guide.

If we want to make a comparison, we can say that the vital offers a little more guidance than the body, the mind offers more guidance than the vital and the body put together, and the heart’s guidance far exceeds the guidance of the body, vital and mind. Again, the light of the soul offers infinitely more guidance than all the others put together.

Here on earth, millions of people are guided by the body, and millions are guided by the vital and the mind. Until we take the soul or God as our supreme Guide, we get the guide that is most accessible to us.

Question: When I was meditating I had a tense feeling. My head was hurting and I felt I was pulling my meditation.110

Sri Chinmoy: If you get that kind of tense feeling while meditating, immediately breathe in very fast. When the rhythm of your breathing increases, the tension will go away. Or you can try to imagine that you are climbing up a flight of stairs or a ladder that has quite a few rungs, and while you are climbing you are breathing in. If you feel this kind of ascent, then tension goes away. Tension comes when you are stuck at one place. But when you are climbing, you are like a bird flying up into the sky. When the bird is flying, where is tension?

Also, before you start to meditate, breathe in seven long breaths. This will help you. If you breathe in very powerfully, you will energise yourself and, at the same time, conquer sleep for a few minutes.

MUN 253. May 1978.

Question: What concrete or practical things can I do, either during meditation or apart from it, in order to see light? I am not afraid of seeing light but I do not know how to do it.111

Sri Chinmoy: You are using the word ‘practical’. Here I wish to say that concentration is practical, meditation is practical. We have to know that God, who is all Light, is natural. Only what is natural can be practical plus practicable. So try to feel that concentration and meditation are something natural in your life. It is only when you do not meditate that you are doing something unnatural.

You say you are not afraid of light. Wonderful! But there are many people who are afraid of light. They feel that if they can hide themselves in a dark room, then they will be able to see the whole world and pass judgement on it from the safety and security of the darkness. When light comes and is ready to enter into them, they feel that all their weaknesses and limitations, all their negative ideas and negative thoughts, will be exposed. But the very function of light is to illumine, not to expose — to transform our negative and destructive thoughts into positive and affirmative thoughts.

You want to know how you can receive light or how you can bring the light that you have within you to the fore. For that you need preparation, which is nothing other than your pure concentration and meditation. When you start your concentration or meditation, try to feel that you have come from light and that your whole existence exists inside light, that you not only embody light but are light itself. This is not imagination or mental hallucination. Far from it! It is a real, solid, concrete truth. If you can realise this, you will see a spontaneous flow of light from within. First you will feel it inside your heart. Then you will feel it in your forehead — in the third eye; and finally you will feel it throughout your entire being.

There are also other ways of seeing light. One way is through your breathing. Each time you draw in a breath, please feel that you are breathing in something that is feeding, purifying and energising everything inside you. And what is the thing that you are breathing in? It is nothing but light. After a while you will feel that this light you are breathing has totally filled your being. At that time you will see and feel that you are nothing but light itself.

MUN 254. 1970.

Question: Some people believe that fasting will help to achieve inner peace. Do you recommend fasting before meditation?112

Sri Chinmoy: No! There are many poor people on earth who cannot afford to eat every day. But those unfortunate people who are starving are not nearer to God-realisation. Again, there are people on earth who fast quite often, but I do not think they have more peace of mind than those who meditate every day. A snake may eat once in five or six months, but in what way is the consciousness of a snake superior to ours?

Fasting once in a blue moon is beneficial if you want to purify your system. If once a month you fast, it will not tell upon your health; it may even help in illumining your mind. But if you fast on a regular basis with the idea of having a calm, pure mind or good health, then you will be making a deplorable mistake; you will only be weakening yourself. It is through meditation, not fasting, that illumination comes. Only regular, soulful meditation can bring you peace of mind and inner harmony.

MUN 255. 5 February 1982.

Question: When we meditate, how should we deal with thoughts that come from our imagination? Do these thoughts have any kind of reality to them?113

Sri Chinmoy: In the best kind of meditation, there is no thought at all in the mind. Right now you are a beginner and you are getting thoughts. So when a thought enters into your mind during your meditation, you have to see if it is a progressive, encouraging and illumining thought or an impure, discouraging and destructive thought. If it is a thought that lowers your consciousness, then you have to destroy it as soon as it appears. You can destroy the thought through your own intense inner cry and eagerness for light, or you can illumine the thought by bringing down peace from Above. But if it is a good, healthy, progressive and illumining thought, then you can let it grow.

The thought may have come from the world of imagination, or it may have come from some other plane of existence. If it comes from your imagination, no harm! Imagination is a world of its own. Today we imagine something and tomorrow that very thing is transformed into reality by virtue of our aspiration. A thought may come from the reality-world that we happen to call imagination. But if we can bring that thought into our real existence by virtue of our aspiration, then it becomes a real reality.

MUN 256-257. June 1981.

Question: How do we know if a thought is progressive or not?

Sri Chinmoy: It is very easy to know whether or not a thought is progressive. A progressive thought encourages us and inspires us to become good and perfect. If a thought is not progressive, then we are bound to feel that our consciousness is being lowered. An unprogressive thought binds our capacity; instead of expanding our heart, it limits the capacity of the heart. But a progressive thought will make us feel that we are heading towards our perfection. Even more, it will actually lead us to our perfection, which is our ultimate goal.

Question: Why does the mind resist so much when one tries to meditate and how can one overcome this?114

Sri Chinmoy: The mind by nature is restless, and restlessness is the opposite of peace. When we try to bring down peace, the mind resists. If we become peaceful, then the mind feels it will lose its supremacy and freedom. This is the human mind that I am speaking of. There is also a higher mind, where there is no resistance to peace; the higher mind is all peace and tranquillity.

The human mind always tries to bind others. In binding others, it thinks that it is increasing its own freedom. But this is not the case. The more we bind others, the more we diminish our freedom. The human mind constantly enjoys thought. This moment it enjoys a good thought, the next moment it enjoys a bad thought. Although it knows perfectly well that a particular thought is bad, still the mind enjoys it because the mind has no sense of discrimination. The human mind is equally satisfied with the good and the bad. The heart, on the other hand, will care only for good things and good experiences.

The mind is like a naughty child. But how long can a child remain naughty? If the mother and father pray to God, “O God, grant my child some peace and light so that he will be freed from all his bad qualities!” then God is bound to listen to their hearts’ prayer and the child will become peaceful. Similarly, if we pray for peace and light, then the mind — which was once upon a time like a naughty child — will become calm, quiet and good. Instead of resisting, the mind will expand itself in meditation and become one with the Vast. It is by virtue of our prayer and meditation that one day we shall possess a simple, sincere, humble and aspiring mind, which will be inundated with the peace that it so badly needs.

MUN 258. 10 August 1979.

Mrs Mohini Singh, wife of CPN Singh (Member of Parliament, India): When you sit down to meditate, there are times when you reach a very quiet sort of place and all the sounds seem distant. It has happened to me and it started frightening me, because it was a strange sort of calm. I felt, at times, that I needed some kind of guidance, which was not available immediately. Do you think that one can meditate by oneself without somebody there who can help you at every step?115

Sri Chinmoy: One has to know what one wants. If one wants to go to Rome from New York, one can go by plane and one can go also by other means. There are many roads that will lead to Rome, but one particular road will be the shortest, the fastest way. It is up to the seeker to decide if he wants to take the fastest way or not. In the spiritual life a teacher represents the fastest way to God. If we have a teacher, our journey will be expedited far beyond our imagination. A spiritual teacher is not an ordinary teacher; he is like a tutor. An ordinary teacher will examine the student and then pass him or fail him. But it is the bounden responsibility of the tutor to teach the student privately so that he will pass the examination. A spiritual teacher helps us like this.

The spiritual teacher knows that all seekers belong to one spiritual family. Since he happens to be an older brother in the family, naturally he knows where his Father is. He tells his younger brothers and sisters that their Father is in such and such a room, and he offers to take them to that room. Once he takes them to the Father, his role is over. He never claims that he is God. That would be absurdity on the face of it. His role is just to take his younger brothers and sisters to God. Otherwise, the younger ones will search for their Father here, there and elsewhere, and it may take them a very long time to find Him. If they are unlucky, then they may waste their whole lives unsuccessfully searching for God.

A spiritual teacher says, “Here is the key. It will open the safe where your inner treasure is hidden.” It is not the teacher’s safe. It is your safe, all yours. Only you have misplaced the key and you are unable to open it. The teacher will come as a friend to help you search for it. When he finds the key, he gives it to you. This is the teacher’s role. He helps you discover your own wealth. He himself is not the treasure, the diamond; you are the diamond. The treasure is within you, but you have unfortunately misplaced the key that will unlock the safe where the diamond is kept.

Again, it is not that one must have a teacher. The real Teacher is within; God is within. The first person who realised God thousands of years ago did not have a human being as a spiritual Master. We have no idea who the first person to realise God was, but we definitely know that in his case, God Himself was the Teacher. Since that time, down the sweep of centuries, a few spiritual Masters of the highest order have taken human incarnations: Lord Krishna, the Buddha, the Christ and a few more. Their Consciousness has guided and shall forever guide the searching and aspiring human souls.

When we have a teacher, we cannot fool ourselves. A teacher will be able to tell us whether or not we are doing proper meditation. Otherwise, although we are doing extremely well, wrong forces may come and take away all our joy by telling us that our meditation is just mental hallucination. Again, sometimes we may not be meditating well, but we may fool ourselves and feel that we are meditating well. At that time a sincere teacher will show us that we are not meditating well. Without a teacher, doubt may enter into our mind, or we may fool ourselves.

Again, sometimes it happens that seekers have very high experiences but do not know their meaning. If they cannot understand the meaning of their experiences, then a teacher can help them. The teacher is not giving them these experiences; far from it. It is their own aspiration that is giving them these experiences, but they do not know how to interpret them. So this is where the teacher plays his role. Again, there are many who have realised God without a specific teacher. They were lucky.

Now, about your experiences: you need not be afraid of this calm and quiet state of mind. It is a state that indicates great progress. Think of the ocean. On the surface the ocean is very rough and restless, and it frightens us; but in its deepest depth, the ocean is all calm and silent. Similarly, when we dive deep within, we feel only calmness and quiet. If we can develop inner poise through our prayer and meditation, then we will not be afraid of anything. No matter how vast or how rough the ocean is on the surface, no matter how many other disturbances there are, we will be able to find peace and inner security deep within.

So when you have higher experiences of vastness and silence, you should be very happy and proud of those experiences instead of being afraid of them. Please do not be afraid of the vastness. Just enter into it.

MUN 259-260. On 11 November 1983 Sri Chinmoy answered questions on meditation and spiritual philosophy during a special meditation for delegates held at United Nations Headquarters. These two questions are excerpts from that occasion.

Mr CPN Singh, Member of Parliament (India): With the kind of life we have and the kind of world we live in, it is not easy to sit and be with oneself. You said there are many things that we do in the mind. The first thing to do would be to shut out the other influences or other vibrations one gets. How does one do that?

Sri Chinmoy: In the spiritual life we need three things in order to reach the highest, ultimate goal: concentration, meditation and contemplation. There are various things we can concentrate on. But if we concentrate on our third eye, that is absolutely the best. We have two human eyes. In between our two human eyes and just a little above is the third eye. It is not visible. Let us concentrate on that spot and try to imagine something that inspires us. It can be the sun or the moon or anything that is way up in the sky and looks very small. For concentration, it is necessary that the object be small, not big. In fact, it is best to concentrate on as small an object as possible — something smaller than the smallest. But when we meditate, we meditate on something that is vast, larger than the largest — like the ocean or sky. That is one difference between concentration and meditation.

If I am concentrating on my third eye, I will imagine that I have a room right behind my head where a friend of mine lives. This friend is my determination and adamantine will-power. It is like a being who is guarding me. Whenever a thought tries to enter my mind, my most powerful friend will not allow it to enter. Then, after a few months or a few years or when I have made some progress in my spiritual life, this friend will allow in only good thoughts, divine thoughts — thoughts that say, “I am of God and I am for God; I have the Light and I shall share the Light with suffering humanity.” But my friend will not allow in any divisive thoughts that come. If the idea tries to enter into my mind that I want to be superior to all, that I want to surpass everyone and be an autocrat, a monarch, a sovereign — that kind of idea will not be allowed in. The thought that wants to say, like Julius Caesar, “I came, I saw, I conquered!” will not be permitted to enter. Any vital thoughts, emotional thoughts, impure thoughts that want to enter, my friend will not allow. My friend will-power shall allow only good thoughts, divine thoughts, encouraging thoughts, illumining thoughts to enter.

There is also another way to concentrate that is very easy. When we concentrate on the third eye, we cannot see it with our naked eye. We have to imagine it. But if we concentrate on the tip of our thumb, there is nothing we have to imagine. Right at this moment, I am seeing my hand, my fingers and finally the tip of my thumb. Gradually, gradually, gradually I am narrowing my focus until nothing else exists for me but the tip of my thumb. This is the job at hand, the goal, and I shall concentrate only on this and not see anything else.

Or if you find this exercise difficult, just place a tiny circle on a wall at eye level and stand in front of it. Preferably, the circle should be black. At first you will see the whole wall; then you will see just two or three metres to either side of the mark. Finally, you will be able to focus your attention entirely on that particular mark and not see anything else. While you are concentrating on the spot, you will see that the divine thoughts that are entering into your mind are becoming extremely powerful, while the undivine thoughts are becoming weak, extremely weak — almost dead. In this way eventually only divine thoughts will be able to operate inside you.

So these are two practical ways to develop the power of concentration. It is only a matter of daily practice. The main thing when you concentrate is to have in front of you an object that is as small as possible and to focus your eyes only on that thing. But when you meditate, you will meditate on something that is very vast. When you meditate on the sky or the ocean, you will feel peace enter into you, and you will feel yourself expanding.

When you are concentrating, you have to think that you are a divine warrior, a hero. But when you are meditating, you will have a totally different view. You will feel that you are a seeker who wants to offer peace to the entire world. Here you are in the sea of peace, and this peace you want to offer to the world. This is meditation.

Another way to concentrate and meditate is to take each thought that comes — whether good or bad — as an enemy. You want to have peace of mind; you want to have joy inside you; you want to dive deep within. Right now you do not know which thoughts will be good and which will be bad. So you have to regard all of them as enemies.

Take each thought that comes as a fly sitting on your shoulder or your nose. You will just cast it aside because it is bothering you. In the beginning the flies will bother you. But you have to be persistent. Everything in life has pride in it. Ego is in everything right from the very beginning of creation. Even a thought will say, “If you do not give me shelter, I will not come any more.” If someone bothers you and you do not pay attention to that person, they will see that they are not wanted. Let us say I am dying of starvation and you are very rich, but you are not giving me any food. Ten times I will go to you, but then I will say, “No, it is beneath my dignity to go to him again. I would rather die here.” So the fly-consciousness also feels that. It will come and bother you a number of times, but if you do not pay any attention to it, then the fly-consciousness will say, “If you do not need me, am I going to go to your house any more? I have some other places to go.” Then it leaves you.

Take unwanted thoughts as unwanted guests. If a monkey comes and bothers us and if we pay no attention to it, then the monkey will feel, “I am not wanted! I am not needed!” and it will disappear. Unwanted thoughts will definitely go away; it is only a matter of a few days or a few months. Whenever any thought comes, if you do not give it shelter, then easily you will be able to reach the point where you are not disturbed by any thoughts.

The third rung on the spiritual ladder is called contemplation. Here we pray to God and meditate on God the Supreme Beloved. At first we feel that He is the Supreme Beloved and that we are His divine lover. Then we feel that we are the Supreme Beloved and He is our divine Lover. It is a game. Sometimes He is hiding and we are seeking Him; sometimes we are hiding and He is seeking us. This is the game that the Supreme plays with the seeker who has reached the highest stage which is contemplation.

Concentration is like an arrow, a rocket, aiming at the goal. Meditation is all vastness and peace. And contemplation is a game of hide-and-seek that the Supreme Beloved and divine lover play.

Mrs Noemi Kovanda: I would like to ask you about meditation itself, especially concerning my son. Should I meditate on certain things for him?116

Sri Chinmoy At this stage, when he is only a little baby, it is better for you to pray. This will be more effective and more fruitful than if you meditate. When he is six or seven years old, at that time you can start to concentrate and meditate on him. But now I think it is advisable for you just to pray for anything that you want him to have. You are observing daily how many good qualities he has. So you can pray to God to increase those good qualities. On the strength of your prayers, the good qualities that you already see in him you can try to increase. Again, if you see certain qualities that he does not have but you feel that he should have, you can pray to God to give these to him. You can ask God to add to the good qualities that he already has.

Along with your other prayers for your sweetest child, please pray for two more things: peace and bliss. Pray to God to inundate the child’s head with peace and to inundate his heart with love. Bliss may be difficult for the child to conceive, but love he can easily understand. He loves his mother and his father so much. As soon as he sees you or his father, he feels boundless love. And bliss comes from love; if there is love, there is bliss.

While praying for your child, there is another thing you can do. Please try to observe when he is drawing breath inward and when he is breathing out. As soon as he starts to inhale, you can start your prayer; and when he releases his breath, you should finish your prayer. So you have to pray very quickly. Sometimes when you are holding him in your lap or keeping him on your shoulder or very close to you, you will be able to feel or hear him breathe, and you can match your prayer to his breathing. But even if your imagination does not coincide exactly with the time that he is breathing in and breathing out, no harm. Your imagination has a reality of its own. In a few days you will be able to develop the capacity to synchronise your prayer with his breathing. This will be the most effective way for you to pray for whatever you want for him.

MUN 261-264. These four questions were asked by Mrs Noemi Kovanda, wife of the Czech Ambassador to the United Nations, on 13 June 1994.

Mrs Noemi Kovanda: Is there any special meditation I can do to benefit my husband?

Sri Chinmoy: You can definitely concentrate and meditate for your husband and for yourself. For your husband, you can concentrate or meditate inside your head, or inside your heart, or right between and a little above your eyebrows, which is the third eye. You can do whatever comes naturally. Early in the morning, when he is about to go to work, it is good if you can concentrate on him. Your concentration-power will enter into him and help him during the course of his day. He is doing so many important things, and he cannot concentrate most powerfully all the time. So when the hustle and bustle of the political world enters into him, with the concentration-power that you are offering him he will be able to concentrate most powerfully and focus on what he is doing most intensely.

Then, at the end of the day, when he comes back home tired and exhausted, bringing the whole political world back into your apartment, at that time you can meditate for peace to enter into him. When he is desperately trying to rid politics from his mind and he only wants to have love from his wife and from his child, that is the time you will meditate on him for peace. At that time there is no politics, no mind; it is all heart. So concentration is needed to help him at his office during the day, and meditation is needed when he comes back home so that he can have all peace, all love and all joy with his family.

Mrs Noemi Kovanda: I find it very difficult to pray for anything other than health because health is so important. I feel selfish when I pray for anything else.

Sri Chinmoy: You are doing absolutely the right thing. When you pray for health, you are praying not only for the physical body but also for the mind, vital, heart and everything. If your health is not good, if you are suffering from a headache or stomach upset or some other ailment, then how will you be happy? Your mind will be occupied only with pain; your heart will be breaking. The best thing is to pray first and foremost for health. Then afterwards, you can pray for other things that you would like to have.

Mrs Noemi Kovanda: Should I pray in silence or out loud?

Sri Chinmoy: Praying out loud is always better. If you say out loud, “O God, please bless me with good health. Grant me love, joy and peace” then your physical mind will be convinced.

While praying, you are using words: “O God, give me this, give me that. Do this for me, do that for me.” At that time you can speak reasonably fast — the way we are talking now. Pray loudly enough to hear yourself and also at your normal talking speed. But when it comes to meditation, try not to have any words or any thoughts at all; try to keep the mind empty. Every thought or idea that enters into your mind you have to silence. If some current of thought is entering into you very rapidly and you cannot stop it altogether, then try at least to slow it down. Eventually you will try to silence it altogether. Also, to make the mind more silent, it is good if you can imagine something very peaceful, such as the vast sky early in the morning or the setting sun in the evening. You can also try to feel that you are at the bottom of the sea, or on the top of a mountain in the Himalayas.

While you are praying, you are talking to God and God is listening to you. While you are meditating, God is talking and you are listening. While you are praying, your prayer is going up high, higher, highest. Then while you are meditating, God’s Love, Light, Peace and Bliss are entering into you. That is the difference between prayer and meditation.

There is also another difference. When you pray, try to feel that you are utterly helpless. You have to pray like a beggar woman asking for alms: “God, give me this.” And you have to sincerely feel that you are in desperate need of what you are praying for. You have to feel that your whole world will collapse if you do not get it. Unless your prayer is fulfilled, you will be absolutely hopeless.

When you meditate, on the other hand, you have to feel that you are the dearest daughter of God, with infinite wealth inside your heart. When you meditate you are bringing to the fore your own divinity and inner wealth — your own inner peace, inner bliss, inner love, inner joy. You are not inventing these things; they belong to you and you are discovering them.

Chapter 8: Beyond the mind

Question: Could you speak about the importance of meditating on the heart instead of in the mind?117

Sri Chinmoy: Our philosophy gives more importance to the heart than to the mind. We are not saying that the mind is bad. Far from it! But the mind is limited while the heart, which is very close to the soul, is unlimited. At most, what we can get from the mind is inspiration. But inspiration itself is limited. When we meditate on the heart, inspiration turns into aspiration. And not only do we get aspiration, but we also get the fulfilment of that aspiration: the soul’s infinite peace, light and bliss.

MUN 265-267. 1 March 1973.

Question: Can you tell if something comes from the mind or the heart, or do things always go from the heart to the mind?

Sri Chinmoy: One cannot always tell absolutely if something is coming from the mind or the heart. But if we know that something is coming from the heart, we should always listen to the heart, for the heart is childlike and pure. Unfortunately, the mind thinks that the heart is childish and does not want to listen to the heart. It cares only for its own knowledge and not for the heart’s wisdom. Needless to say, we should always see the world through the heart.

Something from the heart does not have to go to the mind. That is, the heart need not communicate through the mind or through anything else. The heart is very eloquent in its own right. If I enter into a room and just see someone, I can immediately know all about him. The other person does not have to say a word to me outwardly; his heart tells me everything in a fleeting second. My heart is speaking to him and his heart is speaking to me. In this case, the heart is not using the mind at all to communicate. It is speaking its own language.

Question: Some people are very absent-minded and they seem to be in another world. Are they meditating all the time?

Sri Chinmoy: No! Absent-mindedness has nothing to do with the spiritual life. It is an Himalayan mistake to think that absent-mindedness is due to aspiration. Many absent-minded people, of course, are not even aspiring. And those who are aspiring are absent-minded by nature and not because of their meditation. They may seem to be in another world, but they are not actually staying in a higher consciousness. In the spiritual life it is very important to live in the outer world and to do our best there. We should look upon the world and humanity as our very own. When we allow ourselves to be absent-minded, we are often rude and inconsiderate to others.

There are some spiritual Masters and very advanced seekers who appear to be absent-minded and forgetful at times. But with them it is a different story, for their consciousness is not in the physical. They are on a very high plane. Again, a few, very few, Masters can remain on this high plane and still function normally in the world.

But in the case of a beginner, a spiritual seeker, absent-mindedness does not aid him in his spiritual journey. It is not a positive expression of his aspiration; it is a hindrance, an obstruction. He is running towards his Goal with a heavy load on his shoulders. After a few years, when he has made more progress, the seeker will realise that this heavy burden is blocking his progress. Then he will make every effort to transform his weakness so that he can continue running towards his divine Destination.

Question: In meditation sometimes the mind stops functioning and there seems to be little information coming.118

Sri Chinmoy: In meditation we should not give importance to the mind. If there is no information coming, it is good. Real meditation is not information; it is identification. The mind tries to create oneness by grabbing and capturing us, but this can easily make us revolt. The heart creates oneness through identification. The mind tries to possess, but it only succeeds in dividing. The heart just expands and, while expanding, it embraces.

The mind may try to do something and immediately the body or the vital may prevent it. But if the heart wants to do something, no matter how difficult, it will be done. This is because if the mind encounters resistance and fails to get immediate satisfaction when it tries something, it just says that there is no reality there and gives up. But when the heart does not get satisfaction, it feels that it has not done the thing properly. So it tries again and continues trying until satisfaction dawns at last.

MUN 268. 5 January 1973.

Question: You say we should meditate in the heart, but I find it easier to meditate in the mind.119

Sri Chinmoy: If you find it easier to meditate in the mind, then do so. But if you do, you will be able to meditate for perhaps five minutes, and out of that five minutes you may meditate very powerfully for only one minute. After that you will feel your whole head getting tense. First you may get joy or satisfaction, but when you try to go beyond that, you will feel a barren desert. If you meditate in the heart, you are meditating where the soul is, and the soul is the source of constant joy and satisfaction. True, the soul is everywhere — in the mind, in the body, everywhere. But it manifests itself most powerfully in the heart. When you concentrate or meditate in the heart, you get much more inner satisfaction than when you meditate in the mind, because the heart is the seat of the soul.

You have to be wise. There is a vast difference between what you can get from the mind and what you can get from the heart. The mind is limited; the heart is unlimited. Deep within us is infinite peace, light and bliss. To get a limited quantity is an easy task. Meditation in the mind can give it to you. But you can get infinitely more if you meditate in the heart. Suppose you have the opportunity to work at two places. At one place you will earn $200 and at the other place $500. If you are wise, you will not waste your time at the first place.

Some people find it difficult to meditate in the heart because they are not used to doing it. But let us not be satisfied with only the things that we get easily. Let us cry for something that is infinite and everlasting, even though it is more difficult to get. If we get something from the mind, tomorrow doubt may come and tell us that it was not real. But once we get something from the heart, we will never be able to doubt it or forget it. An experience on the psychic plane can never be erased from the heart.

MUN 269. 1 March 1973.

Question: Yesterday when I was meditating, I got a message from the silence that said, "Love one another." When we get this kind of message in our meditation, should we meditate on it and take it into ourselves?120

Sri Chinmoy: When you get a message in your mind during your meditation, you have to know whether it is in the physical mind — the restless, aggressive, destructive and doubtful mind — or in the calm mind, the vacant mind, the silent mind. When you receive a message in the silent mind, you should feel that it is the foundation stone on which you can build the Palace of Truth, Love, Divinity and Reality. This type of message actually originates in the soul or in the heart and then enters into the mind. When the mind is absolutely still, calm and peaceful you can hear that message.

Suppose you are meditating and after a few minutes a thought or idea comes into your mind. Let us say it is about sacrifice — that you will sacrifice something for a friend or relative or someone you know. This is not just an idea but an ideal. When you accept a divine idea as your own, the idea does not remain an idea but becomes an ideal. In your case, the thought that came to you in your meditation was about divine love. This is the love that permits you to see all human beings as part and parcel of God Himself. Man and God are like the foot and the topmost branch of a single tree. If you go to the foot of the tree with your divine love, from there it is very easy to go up to God, the topmost branch. On this kind of divine thought you can build your life of love.

But you have to be careful when thoughts come to you during meditation. If you are a beginner in the spiritual life, you should not allow any thought to enter your mind. Somebody is knocking at your mind’s door. You would like to allow your friends, which are divine thoughts, to enter. But you do not know who your friends are. And even if you do know who your friends are, when you open the door for them you may find that your enemies are standing right in front of them. Once your enemies gain access to your mind, it is very difficult to chase them out without the strength of solid spiritual discipline.

So it would be wise to keep your mind’s door closed. Let it remain closed for a day or for a month or for a year until you have gained some spiritual strength, inner strength. Then you will be in a position to accept the challenge and deal with whoever is knocking at your mind’s door. If it is a divine thought, you will try to expand it. And even if it is an undivine thought, you will know that you have enough strength to compel it to behave properly once it enters.

Eventually these wrong thoughts have to be conquered; otherwise, they will come back to bother you again and again. You have to be a divine potter. If the potter is afraid to touch the clay, he will not be able to offer anything to the world. So the potter touches the clay and shapes it into something beautiful and useful. In the same way, it is your bounden duty to transform your undivine thoughts, but only when you are in a position to do so safely.

MU 270. 18 May 1973.

Question: I was wondering about the relationship between the heart and the mind. How can we integrate the two?121

Sri Chinmoy: There are two ways. One way is for the heart to enter into the mind. The other way is for the mind to enter into the heart. Let us take the heart as the mother and the mind as the child. The mother is calm, quiet and full of love, whereas the child right now is uncertain, doubtful and restless. Either the child has to go to the mother or the mother has to go to the child.

When the mother comes to the child, the child has to feel that the mother has come with good intentions: to calm the mind, to free the mind, to fulfil the mind in a divine way. If the restless mind is doubtful and suspicious of the heart, then it is lost. If the child feels that the mother has come only to bother him, if he continues to cherish all his bad qualities and feel that they are good, then what can the poor mother do? The heart will come with good intentions, hoping to transform the mind’s doubt into faith and its other undivine qualities into divine qualities. But the mind has to be prepared; it has to feel that the heart has come with the idea of changing it for the better.

The other way comes when the mind has gone through everything negative and destructive — fear, doubt, suspicion, jealousy, impurity and so forth — and finally reaches the point where it feels it is high time to go to someone who can give it something better. Who is this someone? The heart! If the mind is aspiring, it will immediately feel that the heart is like a real mother, and the heart will always feel that the mind is a child who needs instruction.

Both ways are effective. If the mind is ready to learn from the heart, the heart is always eager to teach it. The mother is ready to help and serve the child twenty-four hours a day. It is the child who sometimes becomes irritated, disobedient or obstinate and feels that he knows everything and has nothing to learn from anybody else. But the mind must learn from someone else. Even the mother, the heart, gets knowledge from someone else — from the soul, which is all light. Let us call the soul the grandmother. From the grandmother the mother learns, and from the mother the child has to learn. If we can see the relationship between the heart and the mind as a relationship of mother to child, that is the best way to integrate the two.

MUN 271. 11 May 1973.

Question: How can I illumine my mind?122

Sri Chinmoy: Just by allowing your soul’s light to come to your mind through the heart. Feel that you have three rooms — mind, heart and soul — and the only way to reach the third room is to go through the second one. The soul has to come to the mind-room through the heart-room. So first concentrate on the soul and feel its presence in the soul-room. Then try to bring the soul’s presence into the heart-room. Once the soul is well-established in the heart-room, illumining the heart, it is time to enter into the mind-room. Then bring the soul’s presence into the mind-room and illumine the mind. First bring the soul into the heart and let the heart be illumined. Then, when the heart is illumined, let the soul come and serve the Supreme in the mind. There is no other way.

MUN 272. 18 July 1975.

Question: In one of your talks you said that if we do less thinking and more meditating, less planning and more acting, then we will be happier. Could you elaborate on this, please?123

Sri Chinmoy: We see that cultured, educated people think in one way and uncultured, uneducated people think in another way. But both the mentally developed and the mentally undeveloped constantly suffer from one thing: confusion. They go on thinking and thinking, but the moment they think they have found the truth they discover that it is not truth at all but only more confusion.

The difficulty is this: when we think of someone or something, we form a conception that we think is absolutely true. But the next moment doubt comes and changes our mind. And a few minutes later we wonder whether we are even in a position to judge the person or thing. This moment I will think that you are a nice man. The next moment I will think that you are a bad man. Then after that I will think something else. Eventually I will see that there is no end to my questions and no certainty at all.

Each time we think, we are lost. But each time we meditate, we are illumined. The mind is caught in the prison cell of thoughts, ideas and habits, whereas the soul is a free bird. Although it stays inside the body, when we pray and meditate it constantly brings us the message of the Infinite. Our problem is that we want to be liberated by thinking. But the mind itself is still in darkness, confusion and bondage, so how can we expect liberation from the mind? No matter how highly developed we are mentally, we are still extremely limited.

When we plan, very often we are frustrated because we do not see the truth right from the beginning. We plan to do something in order to achieve a certain goal. But between the planning and the execution of our plan, different ideas and ideals will enter into us and create confusion. Then our planning goes on and on endlessly and we never enter into the world of action because our plans are never complete or certain. There is a yawning gap between our mental plan and the action itself.

Entering into the obscure, unlit field of action with a mental plan is like carrying a candle into a totally dark room. But when we enter the room with our soul’s light, the room is flooded with illumination. If we have an inner will, the soul’s will, which has come to us from meditation, then the action is no sooner conceived of than it is done. At that time, there is no difference between our inner will and outer action.

In the soul’s world, realisation is spontaneously followed by action or manifestation. An action that comes from the soul’s will has much more force behind it than an action stemming from ordinary human will.

MUN 273-274. 6 April 1973.

Question: Why should you concentrate on the heart instead of concentrating on the mind?

Sri Chinmoy: Before you concentrate on the heart, just think about the mind for a few minutes instead of allowing the mind to think of something else. Separate yourself from the mind and observe the mind. Are you really satisfied with what it has given you? In the ordinary human life, the mind is of paramount importance; without it you would not be able to function properly. But if you enter into the spiritual life, you will see that the mind primarily has given you information rather than illumination. There is a great difference between the two. You read books and talk to people and get much information, but there is no illumination there. You can read hundreds of pages or talk to hundreds of people but you will not get illumination. What you need most in your spiritual life, illumination, the mind has not been able to give you. Since your mind has disappointed you, why should you go to the mind for help in your spiritual life?

As long as you have tremendous faith in your mind — the mind that complicates and confuses everything — you will be doomed to disappointment in your meditation. Ordinary people think that complication is wisdom, but spiritual people know that complication is dangerous. God is very simple; light is very simple. It is in simplicity and sincerity, not in complexity, that the real truth abides. Complexity only destroys our divine qualities.

For spiritual progress, what you need is aspiration, and this does not come from the mind. No! It comes directly from the heart. Aspiration comes from the heart because the illumination of the soul is always there. True, the light and consciousness of the soul permeate the whole body, but there is a specific place where the soul resides most of the time, and that is in the heart. When you know what you want and where to find it, the sensible thing is to go to that place. Otherwise, it will be like going to the hardware store to get groceries. In the spiritual life, the heart can give you everything: aspiration, illumination, realisation. Aspiration is the harbinger of illumination. In aspiration is the seed of realisation.

Question: Can I reach the Truth with my intellect?124

Sri Chinmoy: The intellect is very limited, but the soul is unlimited. For this reason an aspirant dives deep into the inmost recesses of his heart, where the soul abides, in order to discover the Truth. The Truth can be known only through the heart’s aspiration. The attributes of God are Peace, Light, Bliss and Power. These attributes all exist in boundless measure in the heart of Eternity. Only the seeker of Truth who aspires to go beyond the domain of the intellect can enter into the Light, Peace, Bliss and Power of the highest Absolute. Not intellect but psychic aspiration is needed in order to know and realise the attributes of God.

MUN 275. April 1978.

Question: Does it help our spiritual progress to understand things intellectually?125

Sri Chinmoy: ‘Understanding’ is a very tricky word. Today we may understand something in a particular way, but tomorrow that same understanding may not satisfy us. Tomorrow we may develop another kind of understanding and feel that yesterday’s understanding was absolutely useless. The mind’s understanding is constantly changing, so we can never find real certainty or satisfaction on the path of the mind. But it is not at all necessary to understand things intellectually. There have been many spiritual giants who have not used the mind; they have used the heart instead. On the strength of their heart’s oneness with God, they have felt and realised everything.

If we follow the path of the heart, which immediately identifies with the Reality, then we can claim the Reality as our very own. If we want to learn something directly and understand it fully, then the heart is the answer. When the mind surrenders to the heart, only then does it get abiding joy and satisfaction and become as happy as the heart. Eventually it is bound to do this. To say that the mind will never cry for light or receive light would be a mistake. The mind will undoubtedly cry for light and receive light, and there will come a time when the mind will have the same joy as the heart. Otherwise, God’s creation can never be perfect, and God will never allow us to remain imperfect.

MUN 276-278. 1 June 1976.

Question: Is the mind ever self-giving?

Sri Chinmoy: The mind can be self-giving like the heart. But right now the mind that we use is the limited mind. When we live in the limited mind, we feel that we have only five cents to our name, and if we give it away, then we will have nothing. But there is also an unlimited mind. If we become one with the unlimited mind, then there is no question of becoming impoverished in life. If the mind comes to feel that it is limitless, then no matter how much it gives of itself, it remains infinite.

Question: How can we increase the mind's sincerity?

Sri Chinmoy: If someone very strong or powerful does something undivine, he will not be afraid of our criticism. Even if he does things that we do not approve of, he does not lie about them. His life is an open book because he does not care what we think. He is not afraid of us, so he has nothing to lose by being sincere. But an ordinary person, if he does something wrong, will deny it. He will try to hide.

The earthbound mind is weak and uncertain; it is always doubting itself and those around it. Because it is weak, it is not sincere and will never be sincere. But when the mind becomes calm, quiet and vacant, it loses its uncertainty and confusion. When the mind takes shelter inside the heart, which identifies with the infinite Reality and infinite Power, then it is afraid of nothing. It feels it does not have to justify itself to anyone and automatically it becomes sincere. So the easiest and most effective way to increase the mind’s sincerity is to compel the mind to remain inside the heart.

Question: What is the difference between the mind of a world-renowned statesman and the mind of a world-renowned scientist?126

Sri Chinmoy: A scientist uses the strength of imagination-reality. Imagination is a reality in its own plane, but we do not believe in it until we see it manifested on the physical plane with our ordinary, naked human eyes. The scientist often goes to the intuitive world also, which is one step higher. He enters into the subtle worlds and brings forward their capacity; his discovery has a physical shape, but its real essence comes from the imagination-world or the intuitive world. He may think that he has used his mind, but it is a reality in subtle form that he has brought into physical form, in its own way.

Only on very, very rare occasions in world history has a statesman had the capacity to enter into the intuitive world like that. Once or twice Churchill’s utterances during the Second World War came from the psychic or intuitive plane. When he spoke, it was on a very high level. Kennedy and Nehru also spoke sometimes from the intuitive and psychic planes. But these are all very rare exceptions. Usually statesmen try to dominate the physical world with their vital strength.

So a world statesman will have access to vital or dynamic worlds, whereas the scientist will have access to imaginative or intuitive worlds. The worlds that the scientist explores are much higher than those explored by eminent political figures. But even the scientist has to surrender to spirituality, since spirituality houses everything, including science. What the great spiritual giants have achieved in the march of evolution is far beyond the imagination of the scientist. Their spiritual discoveries are not yet possible for the scientist to accept, so he denies them. The scientist wants constant proof on the physical, vital and mental plane, and he does not give value to the spiritual life.

Spirituality will say to science: “I come from a very far-off land, which is totally pure and absolutely authentic. As the physical plane is real to you, even so, the spiritual plane is real to me. If you want to taste my achievement, then come to the place where I can supply nectar. Why do I have to prove my achievement by coming down to your level? If I try to prove my achievement to you on a mental level, then instead of giving you illumination, I will only add more confusion to your life. Your scientific discoveries will not and cannot give you abiding satisfaction, because they are mixed up with the mental and physical world.”

Politics and science are both trying to operate on a particular level, and both are correct according to their own standards. According to their own level of evolution, each is trying to tell the world how creation has to be accepted. Spirituality also tries to offer its truth. It says, “I do not want to explain. Become one and then enjoy.” In politics and science you have to prove your capacity, but in spirituality it is not necessary because you become what you achieve. The politician can give a most wonderful speech to the nation, but there may be a vast gulf between the consciousness of the speech and the reality of his life. In his life he does not remain in that kind of elevated consciousness. The scientist may go to a very high intuitive world to discover a great invention, but he does not remain on that plane or even have free access to it. In politics and science, you can claim whatever you have created as your own, but you do not become inseparably one with it. There is always a gap between you and your achievement. In spirituality, however, whatever you realise on the spiritual plane, you become.

MUN 279. 2 June 1976.

Question: How does one stop the mind?127

Sri Chinmoy: There are quite a few ways to stop the mind. One way is to repeat the Name of God or a particular mantra, which is a sacred word or incantation. When we repeat a mantra or God’s Name, there is a continuous flow. If what we are repeating is “God, God, God,” then inside the repetition itself we will forget ourselves and lose ourselves. Then the mind stops.

Another way is to see the mind as a material object. We can take a material object and put it anywhere we want, or throw it the farthest possible distance, according to our strength. So either we can grab the mind like a material object and throw it far away, or we can put the mind in a place where it will not bother us. If a mischievous child is bothering us, we can put him into a corner and warn him not to move. We can do that to the mind also.

A third way is to totally forget about the existence of the mind and feel that we are only the heart. It is not enough to say, “I have a heart.” We have to say, “I am the heart, I am the heart!” Then the qualities of the heart will permeate the entire being and automatically the mind will stop. There are many more ways to stop the mind, but these three ways are quite enough for any individual.

MUN 280. 18 March 1977.

Question: Is the mind jealous of the heart?128

Sri Chinmoy: The mind is quite often jealous of the heart. The heart enjoys its surrender to the soul. And when the heart pleases the soul in the soul’s own way, the heart gets tremendous delight. On the one hand, the mind does not want to surrender to the soul. But, at the same time, when it sees that the heart is enjoying supreme delight by virtue of its surrender to the soul, the mind becomes jealous.

MUN 281. 10 August 1976.

Question: How can we stay in the heart when we are doing tasks which involve the mind?129

Sri Chinmoy: We can remain in the heart even when the mind is necessary to perform specific tasks if we feel that we are only the heart. Right now we feel that we have a body, vital, mind, heart and soul. Since we feel that we have many levels of being, naturally we are tempted or inspired to use them when we feel it is necessary. But if we can make ourselves feel that what we have and what we are is only the aspiring, all-loving, all-illumining heart, then the consciousness of the heart will come to the fore and inundate our whole being from top to bottom — from the soles of our feet to the crown of our head.

If we repeat, “I am the heart, I am the heart,” then we will have only the heart’s consciousness no matter what we do. Then everything that we try to give or achieve automatically will be done in and through the heart, and the heart will take care of the so-called problems that we face in our day-to-day multifarious activities. Since we will not be using the mind as such, the problem of the mind’s involvement in these activities will not arise. After some time, when we learn to live in the heart and become the heart, we can go deeper within and feel that we are not the heart but actually the soul. But that is more difficult.

MUN 282. 21 September 1976.

Question: How can we use our imagination to help raise our consciousness or improve our meditation?130

Sri Chinmoy: Inside us are many worlds; imagination is one of them. We have a free access to the world that is around us and before us, but we do not have a free access to the worlds inside us. We have to bring the imagination-world to the fore so that it can enter into the reality-world we are now living in. We have to establish a friendship between the world of imagination and the world of so-called reality. It is like this. Somebody is inside the house and somebody is outside the house. We are friendly with the person who is outside the house because most of the time we stay outside. But when we come inside, we see that somebody else is there. We can also make friends with that person and ask him to come out with us and make friends with the person who is outside.

This we can do only if we take imagination as a reality in its own right, as a reality in a higher world or inner world that is on another plane of consciousness. We have to see imagination as an inner reality that is waiting for revelation and manifestation here in this outer world. Then we can try to bring it into this world. If we take imagination as something unproductive and unreal, then it can never be of use to us. If we think imagination is the South Pole and reality is the North Pole, if we think imagination is only mental hallucination, then we will never take it seriously and we will never be able to use it to raise our consciousness or improve our meditation.

Imagination can play a most significant role in the spiritual life. Suppose we are not having good meditations, but six months ago we had a very powerful, very high meditation. What we can do is try to imagine that powerful meditation. After fifteen minutes or half an hour, our imagination will become reality and we will once again have a good meditation.

MUN 283. 8 January 1976.

Question: How can you tell the difference between true intuition and imagination?131

Sri Chinmoy: If you soulfully follow a spiritual path for a few months and if your prayer, concentration and meditation are intense, then you will be able to feel inner guidance within you. When you meditate early in the morning, your inner being will tell you what is going to happen during the day. But in order to develop proper intuition, or the intuitive faculty, your aspiration has to be very, very sincere and intense. Otherwise, it will be all imagination or mental hallucination.

Try to feel that there is a burning flame inside you that is mounting all the time. In the process of mounting high, higher, highest you will see that it is spreading its divine light all around and illumining the length and breadth of your inner world. In this light you are bound to develop a direct vision of truth. In darkness, you cannot see anything. Even if you place the most valuable treasure right in front of me, I will not see it if there is no light. But if the flame of aspiration within me is rising towards the highest and spreading its light, then I will get an immediate flash of intuition. For in light there is reality and divinity. So when the flame of aspiration is climbing within you, divinity and reality will be at your disposal and you will always get these flashes of intuition.

But again, if you just imagine something good and divine, that is in no way a wrong approach. If you imagine that God is all Compassion for you although you have not yet felt God’s compassionate aspect, or if you imagine that God is all Concern and Love for you although you have not felt God’s divine Love and Concern, no harm! Today it may be imagination but tomorrow you will feel it as the absolute truth.

MUN 284. October 1973.

Question: Is it a good idea to use our intuition in our daily tasks?132

Sri Chinmoy: As soon as you start using your intuition, you have to know that you are doing the right thing. But just because you have started doing the right thing, you cannot expect to get the result immediately. You have to continue for some time. A seed does not become a tree all at once. First it has to germinate, then grow into a tiny plant, a sapling and, finally, a huge banyan tree. Today’s intuition-power also has to grow. Like a muscle it can be developed and made stronger and more fulfilling.

The power of intuition comes either from the inmost recesses of the heart or from a very high plane of consciousness. When you have intuitive knowledge, you can feel that you are already advanced and in a position to lead others. You should feel that this power has dawned in you not so that you can lord it over others but so that you can serve those who have less capacity and wisdom. Because this intuition has entered into you, you have to feel that you are the elder brother of the family. With love, concern and oneness you have to show your younger brothers and sisters the way to their destination.

Let us say that you have something to do and you get a flash of intuition. At that time, just enter into the task — not with the idea of showing the world what you have accomplished but in order to offer the world the new realisation that you have had. When you have intuition, you immediately must feel the necessity of dedication, for the wisdom you have gained is of immediate use to everyone in the world. So with your intuition-power you will enter into your subject or task and, when you come out triumphantly, you will dedicate your discovery to those who lack your capacity. Only then will intuition give you real satisfaction. Intuition will show you how to start, how to continue and how to end. Since we are speaking of the search for eternal happiness, there is no end. We are always transcending our previous goals. Today’s goal is only the starting point for tomorrow’s higher goal.

MUN 285. 29 October 1975.

Question: Could you speak a little about the significance of dreams?133

Sri Chinmoy: When we have a dream, we have to know which plane of consciousness it comes from. There are seven higher worlds and seven lower worlds. When we have a dream from the lower worlds — the subconscious worlds or, you can say, inconscient worlds — we have to feel that this dream has no value. It cannot change our nature. It cannot inspire us. It cannot give us any hope for our future fulfilment. When we get a dream from the vital plane, it will be filled with constant movement. This kind of dream is like a battle; people are being killed and everything is being broken and smashed. Dreams like this cannot help us at all in our spiritual life. The best thing we can do is forget them. If the dream comes from the mental plane, there will be some poise — not full poise, but a little poise, a little calm and quiet. If it comes from the psychic plane, we will feel affection, sweetness, compassion and concern for the things or persons we are seeing. And if it comes from the soul’s plane, it will be all peace, light and delight.

When we have a dream from the lower worlds, we do not want to identify ourselves with it for it is very frightening. The dream comes to us as a threat. But a dream that comes from the higher worlds comes as an invitation. It gives us inner joy and inner satisfaction, and immediately we feel our identity there. We enter into it and grow into it. A dream that comes from the subconscious world, where we are quarrelling and fighting and doing many undivine things, will not necessarily materialise. But a dream that comes from the higher worlds is bound to materialise because it is coming from a world that is living and palpable. When we meditate, we consciously enter into many higher worlds and their reality sometimes enters into us in our dreams.

If we want to have sweet and inspiring dreams, then we should meditate most soulfully early in the morning — say at 4 o’clock or 5 o’clock — and then go to sleep for half an hour or forty minutes. If our meditation was sound and genuine, if it came from the very depths of our heart, any dreams we have afterwards will be divine and significant. They will be about angels and gods, or about our dear ones; or we will see some encouraging, inspiring things. If we want to have good dreams before 3 o’clock, we should meditate on the navel centre for about ten minutes before we go to bed at night. The navel is where emotion starts. Emotion itself is not bad; it is a question of how we use it. With human emotion, we bind ourselves and others. But with divine emotion, we only extend our consciousness. So if we concentrate on our navel centre for ten minutes, we can bring the human emotion under control and allow the divine emotion to go up from the heart to the highest.

If we read books to learn how to interpret dreams, we will find that each book gives us a different answer. Perhaps each book is right in its own way, but it is best if we get our own interpretation from our dreams themselves. When we have a dream, we should try to feel our own existence in the dream, that we are inside the dream itself. Those who meditate daily will not find this difficult to do, but others may find it difficult.

An ordinary man sees a dream as something totally separate from the rest of his life. He feels that he is living in reality and that his dream has nothing to do with reality. It may be something sweet, precious, encouraging and inspiring, but he does not feel that it is more than that. But when a spiritual man has an uplifting dream, he immediately feels that this dream is the precursor of reality. Something more, he will see the dream as tomorrow’s reality. How does he do that? He does it on the strength of his meditation.

Right now our consciousness is separated into three parts. At this moment we are in the waking consciousness. When we are in deep sleep, we have another consciousness. Then we have a third consciousness in the dream state. Someone who meditates expands his consciousness into all three planes.

How can we derive benefit from our dreams? We can derive benefit from dreams if we feel that each dream is a step or steppingstone towards our divine Goal. There are some people who say they do not have any dreams at all, but they are mistaken. They do dream, but when they come out of the dreamland, they totally forget what has happened. Some people have the capacity to retain their dream consciousness when they awake early in the morning. If we feel that we had a dream at night but cannot remember it, then early in the morning we should try to concentrate on the point behind the head just at the top of the neck. When we have dreams, either they will manifest through our physical mind or, for some time — for a few hours or even for a day or two — they will be registered at that point behind the head. If we can concentrate there for ten or fifteen minutes, we will be able to feel that we are knocking at a particular door. And when the door opens, we will be able to remember our dreams completely. Everything will come back to us.

When we have a frightening dream, we should pay no attention to it. Suppose we have a dream that a friend or relative of ours is going to pass away. Tomorrow the individual is supposed to die, but if we are frightened now, then today he is already dead for us. If we surrender to the dream, we will suffer unnecessarily before the actual hour. Also, our fear will immediately enter into the victim and create an additional burden for him. Or suppose we dream that something bad is going to happen in our life. If we are frightened, we are already dead. But if we are not frightened, then during the few hours or the few days that lie between our dream and the actual occurrence, we can fight against the unfortunate occurrence with our prayer and meditation.

Perhaps we think that prayer is something feminine or delicate. No! Prayer is our greatest strength. God’s Strength is His Compassion and man’s strength is his prayer. Or if we can meditate, that will be an even mightier strength. Suppose we dream that a loved one is about to die. If we invoke God’s Help and God’s Grace descends, we can delay this person’s death. Many times it has happened that spiritual seekers have dreamt that their relatives were going to die and immediately they started meditating and praying to God. Then God’s Grace descended. God does not nullify the event, but He may delay it. Why? Because He is not bound by Cosmic Law! Cosmic Law is created by God, and at any time He can break His own Law. Our soulful prayer can make Him break His Law. God has said, “This is to be done.” He has recorded such and such, but when human prayer enters into His Heart, He may cancel His own Decree.

When we have hopeful dreams, illumining dreams, encouraging dreams, when we see that something significant is going to take place in our life, we should go deep within and try to prepare ourselves to be a fit instrument to receive what is about to take place. And if we see that a friend or a loved one is about to have a significant experience, we should consciously try to prepare that person inwardly. He will eventually get joy from the event because it belongs to him. But this joy, by God’s Grace, we have received before he has. So if we are wise, we will go deep within and assimilate this joy, and then try to offer it to him inwardly by identifying with his soul during our meditation. This will give him additional strength and prepare him to receive the very high, meaningful and fulfilling experience he is about to get. Then, before the event actually materialises in his life, he will start getting inner peace and joy that he cannot account for. And when the experience comes, he will be more ready for it. But if we tell him, “You know, I had a wonderful dream about you,” he will be happy for a second and then he will doubt us. He will say, “Oh, it is all mental hallucination.” Despite our best intention, his doubtful mind will throw cold water on our encouraging message.

It is not bad for a seeker to pray to God for dreams. Dreams are necessary, as experiences are necessary. But again, if we do not have dreams, if we do not have experiences, that does not mean that we are not fit for the spiritual life or that we are not fit for God-realisation. There are people who do not have any experiences. They curse themselves and think that God is displeased with them, but that is not the case.

There are two ways of reaching a goal. One way is to go there consciously one step at a time. My calculating mind says that I have to take four or five steps to get there: one, two, three, four, five. If my physical mind wants to be convinced at every moment while I am walking towards my goal, then I can say that step one is an experience, step two is an experience and so on. But again, if I know where my destination is, it may not be necessary for me to have constant experiences each step of the way. What is necessary, in my case, is only to reach my destination. So I can just go there and find that God is ready for me.

For some people, dreams or inner experiences serve as preparatory steps. For other people they are not necessary at all. The human mind always wants to be convinced. It wants to get joy at every step when it does something. But if we live in the heart and the soul, then we need not give that kind of importance to experiences and dreams. They are not necessary because God is preparing us in His own Way. If He does not want to give us convincing experiences, no harm. But again, if we pray to God for convincing experiences or sweet dreams, there is no harm in our prayer either. Eventually a day will come when we shall offer to God the highest prayer: “O God, if You want, give me experiences. If You do not want to give me dreams or experiences, it is all up to You. Only make me worthy of Your Compassion. And if You do not want to make me worthy of Your Compassion, it is also up to You. Only do with me as You will. Let Thy Will be done in and through me. I care for nothing except Your own Fulfilment in and through me.” When we have that kind of prayer within us, then God comes to us and says, “Do not be a beggar. Do not cry for dreams; do not cry for experiences. Take Me, the Reality itself.”

MUN 286. 1970.

Question: What do you mean when you speak of unconditional surrender to God's Will, and how can we develop this quality?134

Sri Chinmoy: Ordinarily we do everything conditionally. In this world it is always give and take. We exchange things of equal value: we give a shopkeeper money, and he gives us what we need. But God, who has everything in infinite measure, always gives us infinitely more than we give to Him. If we do something for God, then what we will get from Him will be far beyond our expectation. If we give God an iota of prayer, the things that God will give us will be most fulfilling. But there comes a time when we pray to God not in order to get something in return but because we feel that this is what He wishes us to do. At that time we become His chosen instrument and God-representative on earth, and we feel that we are really fulfilling God in His own Way.

But even when we feel we are fulfilling God in His own Way, it is according to our very limited capacity. It is only when we consciously feel that we are not doing anything, but that God is doing everything in and through us, that our capacity becomes unlimited. At that time, even if we just give a smile, in that smile there is infinite potentiality, infinite capacity.

Right now, we look upon God as somebody else. I am somebody, you are somebody and God is a third person. We are completely separate, each with an identity of our own. But a day will come when we make unconditional surrender to God’s Will. At that time when somebody speaks to us, we will feel it is actually God who is speaking to God. We will see not only ourselves but also everyone else as none other than God Himself. But this happens very gradually. When we do something unconditionally, we do something really great, and for that we need much preparation. It takes a few months of constant exercise to develop very powerful muscles. Unconditional surrender is much more difficult to develop. It takes continual daily exercise, and that exercise is our prayer and meditation.

MUN 287. 12 January 1973.

Question: How can I know if an inspiration comes from God or my heart or soul rather than my mind?135

Sri Chinmoy: When you approach the Supreme with the mind, all the time you will doubt whether you are doing the right thing. You will think, “Is He going to be nice to me? Will He be kind to me?” All these thoughts and ideas will come to you. If you get the inner message to see your boss, for example, you will simply go and see that person. But if the inspiration comes from the mind, first you will have a hard time deciding whether you should even see him; there will be many questions in your mind. Then, if you finally do see him, if the result does not come out according to your satisfaction, you will curse yourself and say, “No, it was not the right thing to do. I got the wrong message.”

But if the message comes from the soul, you will have tremendous conviction that you are doing the right thing. Also, both success and failure you will take with the same equanimity. While executing a message that you got from within, you will not expect anything in your own way. You will not expect any particular result. No, you will only follow the inner command. If you have this attitude, you will be able to know if a message has come from within.

If you get the message from the spiritual heart, which is identified with the soul, and if you carry out the message, you are bound to feel satisfaction whether the result comes in the form of success or failure. Satisfaction comes from following the inner command, not from any outer result. But if you get the message from the mind, then before you even act, hundreds of questions will enter into you. And if the result, according to your vision, is not satisfactory, then you will be disappointed.

MUN 288. 11 August 1978.

Question: How can one tell the difference between the Will of God and wishful thinking?136

Sri Chinmoy: How can a seeker know whether something is God’s Will or just his own fanciful or wishful thinking? A real aspirant, a sincere seeker, tries to meditate devotedly each day. And one who meditates devotedly each day will soon have a free access to God’s inner realm and be able to hear the Messages of God.

Of course, it is easy to say that you have to meditate devotedly, but actually doing it may seem like climbing up Mount Everest. When you start meditating, you have to feel that your very existence, your very life-breath, is an offering to the Inner Pilot within you. Each time you breathe in, try to offer your life-breath consciously to your Inner Pilot. In this way you will be able to meditate devotedly and have a devoted feeling towards God.

When you meditate, please try to open your heart fully and close your mind fully. Which mind? The physical mind, which thinks of your near and dear ones, your friends, the rest of the world! When you bolt the door of your physical mind and open the door of your heart, at that time the mind becomes calm and quiet and the heart becomes all receptivity. When your concentration and meditation are focused on the heart and the heart is receptive, then naturally the heart’s treasures — the Messages from God — will come to the fore and you will be able to read them and utilise them in your day-to-day life.

During your meditation there comes a time when your mind is totally blank, absolutely calm, tranquil and vacant. Inside the mind there will be only purity, serenity and profundity. When tranquillity is added to them, they become perfect. At that time, inside your heart you will feel a twinge or something very tiny, like a soft bubble. And inside that tiny thing in gold letters will be written a message. It will be visible even if you keep your eyes closed. If you cannot see it there, sometimes the message is transferred from the heart to the physical mind in order to convince you. But if you have the capacity to go deep within, definitely you will see the message inscribed there.

Inside the heart’s inmost recesses, where everything is flooded with purity, a message cannot be written by anybody other than God. There no hostile force or undivine force can enter. This is not true about the mind. In the mind there can always be a mental hallucination, a fabrication, or some self-imposed truth that we have created. If you get a message from the mind, it does not necessarily mean that the message will be wrong. No! Sometimes you may get in the mind a genuine message that has come directly from the heart. You may also get a message that enters the mind not from the heart but from elsewhere; you may feel that it has come from God, but this is not the case. But in the very inmost recesses of your heart, no disturbing, strangling thought will ever dare to enter. That deepest part of your being is well protected and well shielded by God Himself because God’s own Wealth and Treasure are there. He Himself is there as a soldier or gatekeeper, guarding His Treasure.

It is one thing to hear the Message of God correctly and another thing to listen to it and fulfil it. There are quite a few who hear God’s Message, but in their outer life they cannot execute it. For that, you need faith in yourself — faith that you are not just a child of God but a chosen child of God.

If you are sincerely aspiring and can claim yourself as a chosen child of God, please feel that it is not due to your own capacity but due to God’s Capacity and God’s Grace. There are millions of people on earth who are not aspiring. Why are you aspiring? It is because God wants you to aspire. When we say that God is most pleased with those who consciously aspire, it is true. But, at the same time, you have to know that their aspiration itself comes from God. From the beginning to the end, each of us has to feel the necessity of expressing our deepest gratitude to God, for He is our aspiration and He is our realisation. He is the aspiration in us and He is the realisation for us.

MUN 289. 2 August 1973.

Question: Is there any difference between Messages from God and messages from our own soul?137

Sri Chinmoy: There is no difference between God’s Messages and the soul’s messages. God’s Will and the soul’s will are the same, for the soul is the representative of God. The soul resides inside the heart. God’s Concern is offered to the heart, and the heart offers it to the entire being. When we are aware of God’s constant Concern, we will not make any mistake. When God’s Concern becomes ours, we feel that God is the Doer, God is the Player, and we are only the instrument. And God, being the Supreme Musician, will naturally play most divinely and supremely on us.

MUN 290. October 1973.

Question: Sometimes when I am meditating I fall asleep, not because I am tired, but because I feel that I am somehow trapped in my mind. I try to get into my heart, but I do not succeed; thoughts keep racing through my mind, and then I fall asleep.138

Sri Chinmoy: You are having a terrible battle inside your mind and you are an unwitting victim. Your aspiration-world is fighting with your thought-world, and finally aspiration is giving way to thought. Take thought as a soldier and aspiration as another soldier. Aspiration is trying to go up and thought is trying to pull it down. They fight and you are the battlefield. When soldiers fight on the battlefield and one side wins, they win the field itself. In your case, they fight inside you. When the thought-world wins the fight, it takes you. Then, because you are tired from the battle, you fall asleep. At that time there is neither thought nor aspiration.

How can you prevent yourself from falling asleep? There are various ways. The simplest way is to repeat ‘Supreme’ or any other word you like as fast as possible. Imagine that you are an express train with only one destination. The driver of that train is constantly repeating God’s Name in order to derive energy, strength, stamina, encouragement, concern and all divine qualities. An express train stops only at the end of its journey, the goal; on the way it does not stop at all. Your goal is to reach a profound meditation. Always try to feel inside you a dynamic and progressive movement, but not an aggressive one. This movement will undoubtedly take you to your destination. If there is a dynamic and progressive movement, then you cannot fall asleep. If inside you the train is running, running towards the destination, and if you yourself are this very train, then you cannot fall asleep. Sometimes people feel that they are enjoying peace when they are fast asleep, but this is a lethargic peace. When you meditate you should try to create inside yourself a dynamic peace.

MUN 291. 8 January 1976.

Question: What is the subconscious?139

Sri Chinmoy: The subconscious is something of the past that usually remains inside the unconscious or ignorant part of our life. It is the part that consciously or unconsciously does not want to be illumined. The subconscious plane is one step higher than the inconscient plane. The inconscient plane is the lowest and just a few inches higher, let us say, is the subconscious plane.

In the inconscient plane there is no light at all, but the subconscious plane also does not care for light. In the subconscious plane, the undivine realities or qualities in us that do not want to progress come forward at every opportunity and fight against the qualities in us that are trying to invoke light from Above.

The subconscious plane is better than the inconscient plane, but eventually both these planes have to be conquered and perfected. Light has to enter into all planes of our being, for only then can we be totally perfect. It is easier to bring light into the subconscious plane than into the inconscient plane. But it is not advisable for the seeker to deliberately enter into either plane, for there he will encounter powerful forces of darkness. Only when one is on the verge of illumination or when one has actually received some illumination is it advisable for that person to enter into the subconscious plane to try to illumine it.

MUN 292. 18 October 1974.

Question: There seems to be a movement in which countries are starting to work with parapsychology and the discipline of mind control. Is this a step towards the heart or away from the heart?140

Sri Chinmoy: Parapsychology and mind control will not necessarily help a sincere seeker. We cannot say categorically that they cannot help, but we can say that they need not help the seeker who believes in the heart. One can control the mind, but from mind control or parapsychology one may not get even an iota of the oneness with reality which the heart can easily acquire by virtue of its aspiration.

Mind control is one subject; the heart’s acceptance and the heart’s oneness are a different subject. By controlling the mind, one can make fast progress in almost every walk of life. But that is not enough to have supreme oneness with God the Creator and God the creation. Undoubtedly it helps the seeker to some extent, but that is not the direct way of establishing oneness with the supreme Reality. In order to establish supreme oneness with the highest Reality, one has to aspire, one has to meditate and one has to dedicate oneself totally.

MUN 293. 16 November 1976.

Chapter 9: Our peace is within

Question: How can we attain lasting inner peace?141

Sri Chinmoy: We fail to get lasting peace when our mind tells us that the one cannot also be many, and that the many cannot also be the one. We can attain lasting inner peace only when we feel that God, our Supreme Pilot, is in the many as One and in the One as many. When we consciously feel this truth in our life, we get everlasting peace in whatever we say, whatever we do, whatever we offer and whatever we receive.

The day I feel my existence and my illumining heart in everyone is the day I immediately become one in many and the many become one in me. Then, when I receive or bring down peace from Above and assimilate it in myself, I see and feel that this peace has been assimilated in all of humanity. For I have already established my conscious oneness with humanity.

We have to feel that God and humanity are like a great tree. God is the tree and we are the branches. There are many branches, and all of them are one with each other and with the tree. If we can feel that we have the same relationship with God and with humanity as a single branch has with the other branches and with the tree as a whole, then we are bound to get everlasting peace.

MUN 294. 23 February 1973.

Question: Why does God love peace the most among all His children?142

Sri Chinmoy God has countless children. Of all His children, He loves peace the most precisely because peace does not need anything more than what God has and what God is, which is peace.

MUN 295. April 1978.

Question: Every time I act, I am not certain if I am doing the right thing. I was wondering if perhaps the best way to find real peace would be to withdraw from the world and not act at all.143

Sri Chinmoy: If we think that we must withdraw from life in order to achieve peace, then we are making a serious mistake. If we withdraw, our satisfaction will never dawn. It is only in activity that we progress and achieve. It is in action, in creation, in manifestation, that we can find real satisfaction.

But we have to know that if we expect something from our action, peace will never come in our lives. If we expect some particular result from our action, we will only be frustrated when the result comes. We will feel that we have failed. When this happens, naturally there can be no peace.

Instead, we have to feel that action itself is a great blessing. But the result of action we have to take as an experience. According to our own limited understanding, we see it as either failure or success. But in God’s Eye, failure and success are both just experiences that help to develop our consciousness. Whatever happens, we should regard it as the precise experience that God wanted to give us. Today He may give us the experience of failure. Tomorrow He may give us another experience, which will satisfy us outwardly. But if we live a spiritual life, no matter what result comes to us, we shall be satisfied, for we see it as God’s Will.

Let us look at a river. A river carries all kinds of rubbish — dirt, stones, leaves, sand — that it picks up as it moves towards its goal. But it always continues flowing towards the sea. We should also think of our lives as a river running towards the sea, the sea of fulfilment. If we are afraid to act because we do not want to get involved with the imperfections of the world, if we become still and inactive, then we will never reach the goal.

We may say that we do not know where the goal is right now. No harm! All that matters is that we move. If we go in the wrong direction, we soon will realise it and change direction. Then eventually we will reach our goal. But if we do not move at all, there is absolutely no chance that we will go in the right direction. If we cannot do disinterested work, selfless work, then let us work at first out of some ulterior motive. If ego and vanity come in while we are helping someone, let them come. A day will dawn when we will feel that the satisfaction this brings does not last; then we will try to work in a more divine way.

Activity is always far better than inertia. Even if we run around like a mad elephant at first, eventually we will start acting like a deer and run straight towards our goal. We may start our movement with the crude and destructive strength of an elephant, but we will complete it with the grace and speed of a deer.

Action is our peaceful realisation. Action is our peaceful fulfilment. Action is our peaceful manifestation. So we have to act. If we withdraw from life, then we are telling God that we do not want to be players in His Game. God will allow us to withdraw for a few days or a few months or a few years. But then He will compel us to participate again, so that He can fulfil Himself in and through us. Otherwise, if we do not accept the world, the world will remain imperfect and we will remain unsatisfied.

MUN 296. 23 February 1973.

Question: What is the best way of obtaining peace in our inner life and in our outer life?144

Sri Chinmoy: In the outer life you cannot have peace unless and until you have first established peace in your inner life. If you treasure a few divine thoughts early in the morning before leaving your house, then these thoughts will enter into your outer life as energising, fulfilling realities. But they perform their task only according to their capacity. In the morning you pray to God for peace, and then you come to the United Nations. There you may find that some of your colleagues, who have not prayed or meditated, are quarrelling and fighting. They are in another world.

You may say, “I prayed for peace. How is it that my colleagues today are still quarrelling over minor things?” But you have to know that the peace you get from the inner world and offer to the world at large is not wanted; the outer world does not care for it. The world says it needs peace, but when you give the world the peace-fruit, it just throws the fruit aside. Again, if you had not prayed for peace, the situation in your office could have been infinitely worse. Your prayer has definitely made the situation better than it might have been.

Again, if your prayer had been more intense and more soulful, then the turmoil in your particular department might have been less. And if you had a most powerful meditation early in the morning, the power of your own prayer and meditation might have averted completely the wrong forces and the misunderstanding among your colleagues.

It is in the inner world that everything starts. The inner world is where we sow the seed. If we sow the seed of peace and love, naturally it will produce a tree of peace and love when it germinates. But if we do not sow the seed, then how are we going to have the plant or the tree? It is impossible! Unfortunately, we do not all pray for peace. We pray for joy, or for our personal satisfactions, or for the fulfilment of a particular desire. But there is one desire or aspiration that everybody has and that is the desire for peace.

The peace we try to bring forward from the outer world is not peace at all; it is only temporary compromise. Just look at the political situation! For a few months or years two parties remain at peace. They feel that while keeping to an outer compromise they will secretly strengthen their capacity. Then, when they get the opportunity or when the vital urge compels them, they fight. But the peace that we bring to the fore from the inner world through our prayer and meditation is a different matter. It is very strong, very powerful and lasting. When we have that peace in our inner life, our outer life is bound to be transformed no matter how much it resists. It is only a matter of time.

MUN 297. 26 October 1973.

Question: Quite often I find that when I look at someone who is in a peaceful frame of mind, my own inner peace increases. Why is this?145

Sri Chinmoy: If you stand near a peaceful person, naturally your peace will grow. You are not a thief, but if you stand next to a thief or mix with him, then the consciousness of the thief will enter into you. Similarly, if you stand in front of someone who has a good quality, that good quality also will enter into you.

Sometimes you do not even have to be near a person in order to be affected by his consciousness. Suppose you see a beautiful tree. Being an artist, you will appreciate and admire its beauty. Perhaps you will even decide to sit under it and paint. But the moment you sit down, all the world’s undivine thoughts may start entering into you. You will say, “Why is this happening to me? I came here with a pure mind only to paint, so how is it that so many impure thoughts are attacking me?” In this case, you have to know that somebody with a low character might have previously sat under the tree and invited the lowest thoughts to enter into him.

Again, it may happen that a saintly person has meditated at the foot of the tree for some time. Then if you come and sit there, you will get a good vibration. So it is not only the physical presence of a person but also his subtle presence that can affect you.

Sometimes, while you are walking along the street, you may get a beautiful, fragrant, flower-like feeling, which is very ethereal and divine. There are no flowers around, and you cannot account for the experience. What has caused this Heavenly feeling? There is every possibility that either a spiritual person has been there previously, or some angels or astral beings happen to be there.

So if you are standing near someone who has more inner capacity or more of a particular spiritual quality than you have, then his presence may help you to acquire more of that capacity or quality. Although outwardly you are not begging him to give you anything and perhaps he is not even conscious of giving you anything, from his very presence you may get something. Like a magnet, your inner existence can pull the quality from him and it will enter into you.

MUN 298. May 1978.

Question: How would you characterise real peace of mind?

Sri Chinmoy: Right now we are hankering after name, fame and many other things. But when we have peace of mind, we feel on the strength of our oneness with the rest of the world that everything in the world is ours. Also, when we have peace of mind we feel that there is nothing that we have to achieve or do for ourselves. Everything already has been done for us by the Almighty, by our Heavenly Father.

Question: How do you reach that state?146

Sri Chinmoy: Through prayer and meditation. When we pray and meditate every day, our necessities diminish. Right now, let us say, we have twenty desires. But if we pray and meditate, over a period of time our desires will gradually decrease until we have no more desires. If we can live even for five minutes without any desires, then we are bound to get peace of mind.

We can also have peace of mind if we can surrender our individual will to God’s Will. Now we separate our will from God’s Will. We may want a particular thing, although we know perfectly well that God wants us to have something else. He wants us to be liberated from the meshes of ignorance, while we want to enjoy the worldly life or pleasure-life. But if we continue to pray and meditate, eventually we will care only for the aspiration-life — Him to serve, Him to fulfil here on earth and there in Heaven. At that time we will most assuredly have peace of mind.

MUN 300. 11 March 1977.

Question: Why is it so hard to find peace of mind?147

Sri Chinmoy: As individuals, we do not have peace of mind because we feel that we are the most important person on earth. We feel that if we do not do this or say that, then the world will collapse or everything immediately will go wrong. We can get peace of mind only if we can consciously feel that we are not indispensable. The moment we sincerely feel that we are not indispensable, we will not have to go anywhere to get peace, for peace will immediately come to us. If we feel that it is our duty to serve the world, that is good. But if we feel that it is our duty to illumine the world and that if we do not illumine the world, then the world will remain full of darkness, then we will never have peace of mind. I am not indispensable. You are not indispensable. Only God is indispensable.

Another easy way to have peace of mind is to feel that nothing is unduly important in our lives. If we have lost something, we must not feel that our life will be ruined. We should just try to feel that the thing we lost was unimportant. Everything and everyone on earth can desert us, as long as we do not desert God and God does not desert us. God will never desert us because He is all Compassion, and even if we try our hardest, we will not be able to desert God because He is omnipresent. So we need not worry or become upset about anything on earth. Except for God and our inner cry for Truth, nothing on earth is indispensable. If we have the inner cry, then we get God. And once we consciously get God as our very own, we have everything.

MUN 301. 18 May 1973.

Question: Unless the peoples of the world aspire collectively, will there ever be abiding peace in the world?148

Sri Chinmoy: Collective aspiration need not or cannot take place all at once. Aspiration has to be spontaneous. You will begin to aspire when the hour has struck for you, and somebody else will begin to aspire two months or two years later, when his own hour has struck. Each day, if some human beings can achieve perfection in the inner world, then it means that these particular human beings are freed from imperfection. No longer are they quarrelling and fighting. Peace will come about in the world from the perfection of individuals. When ten individuals have achieved perfection, then it becomes a collective perfection.

Certainly, it is the ideal for the world to aspire collectively. But the world is not ready. Collective aspiration has to come about slowly — one person at a time. When a number of individuals have established peace in themselves and are ready to bring down peace into the world atmosphere, then you can say that is collective aspiration.

MUN 302. 8 January 1976.

Question: Will the consciousness of all the individuals in the world have to be transformed before we have world peace?149

Sri Chinmoy: To some extent it is true that each and every individual must change radically before world-peace can be achieved. Again, from a deeper point of view, it is world peace that will be able to radically change the consciousness of each and every individual. It is like this. Suppose somebody has quite a few members in his family, but he is one of the very few who prays and meditates. He receives light and bliss, which come directly from one universal Source, which is also the Source of peace. When that person goes and offers the light and bliss that he has received to the other members of the family, what he is distributing is nothing other than pure peace.

But the rest of the members of his family have to want and need peace; they have to be sincerely crying for it. Otherwise, they will not be receptive when it descends. It is not enough for peace to descend; our aspiration also has to ascend. Each human being can be perfect, to some extent, on the strength of his aspiration. At the same time, he has to know that peace is slowly descending. When Compassion from Above and aspiration from below one day come together, then only will we have world peace. It is not one-sided; from both sides there has to be a movement or response.

Suppose somebody is very poor; he definitely needs money. Then opportunity knocks at his door, but he will not open the door. Similarly, we as individuals need peace. But when peace descends, if we do not accept it immediately, cheerfully and wholeheartedly, then the opportunity disappears. So first we have to feel the need of world-peace, and then we have to go one step further and accept it when it comes. Only then will the whole world have peace. But if we have to wait for the perfection of each individual human being on earth before peace descends, then peace will not come for thousands of years.

MUN 303. 6 August 1976.

Chapter 10: Life's problems

Question: Do you feel that a problem is not a problem if we know how to look at it?150

Sri Chinmoy: If we know how to look at a problem, half the strength of the problem goes away. But usually we try to avoid the problem or run away from it. When something unfortunate happens in our life, we immediately feel that we are at fault, that we have done something wrong. But this may not be the case at all. All around us there are wrong forces, undivine forces, hostile forces that may attack us at any moment. We believe in the law of karma — that if we do something wrong, we suffer later. But even if we do not do anything wrong, the ignorance of the world may come and torture us. Think of the Christ. He embodied the highest Truth. He did not have any bad karma. He did not do anything wrong. But the ignorance of the world crucified him. Of course, we cannot compare ourselves to the Christ. But at our own level we have to feel that if we are suffering, it is not necessarily our own fault.

If somebody else is creating the problem, then we have to stand like a solid wall and not allow the problem to enter into us. If it is my house, my wall, I will not allow anybody to break through. Again, if I am the problem itself and the problem is already inside me, then this kind of situation is infinitely more difficult to deal with. But by blaming myself and trying to hide, I do not solve the problem. Even if my own ignorance has caused the problem, I still have to face it. The best way to do this is to feel that I am not the problem-maker but the problem-solver. Then, by aspiring and practising the spiritual life, I have to develop inner strength and detachment. Slowly and gradually, I will become inwardly strong, and eventually I will be able to solve the problems caused by my own inner weaknesses.

MUN 304. 19 January 1973.

Question: Could you please tell us the best way to conquer the ego?151

Sri Chinmoy: Ego is our earthbound consciousness. It always tries to limit us. The very function of ego is to bind us and make us want to bind others. It says, “My family, my house, my friends, my children.” Everything is my and mine! When we think of earth, immediately we think of possession. Our ego is bound by the earth-atmosphere and, at the same time, we are binding the earth-atmosphere with our ego — the desire-bound ego that all the time wants to possess and be possessed.

How do we conquer the desire-bound ego? Through aspiration. If we live in the world of aspiration, our ego is bound to be conquered. Aspiration is the glowing inner flame that is constantly spreading its flames around — within and without. The fire of aspiration does not kill the ego; it only purifies it. The more our nature is purified, the closer we are to God. The quicker our purification takes place, the faster is our realisation of the Ultimate Goal. At the end of the road of purification is realisation.

We came from Infinity, Eternity and Immortality and, when we aspire, we consciously enter into our own infinitude and divine plenitude. It is like returning to our Homeland, to the place from which we came. To make a journey back home on the physical plane, we need money. In the spiritual life, constant inner aspiration is what buys our return ticket to our eternal Home. When we are in the world of ego, in the world of desire, we all the time are pulling and pushing. But when we are in the world of aspiration, we are just letting ourselves be carried back to our eternal Home.

Here there is no ego, but only all-pervading, all-embracing, all-fulfilling and all-illumining oneness. In this oneness there is a constant sense of boundless fulfilment. Nothing limited, nothing imperfect, nothing obscure, nothing destructive, nothing binding can last here. It is all Infinity, all Reality. Reality grows in the soul of Infinity and Infinity grows in the soul of Reality.

Another most effective way of conquering the ego is to feel constantly not only that we are in God, with God and for God, but also that we are of God. In God and with God: this is very easy for us to feel. Also, we can easily say that we are for God. God is good, so we are for Him. But the moment we can say wholeheartedly that we are of God, that not only our soul but also our body, vital, mind and heart are made of God — as something is made of paper or wood — then immediately our consciousness is changed. To a seeker, God is not just a reality but the Reality. If we feel that we are a part of Him, if we can consciously live in the lap of that all-pervading, all-transcending and all-fulfilling Reality, then we can easily conquer our limited earth-bound ego.

At that time, we will feel that we are not helplessly or hopelessly bound by earthly human limitations. We will feel that we have peace, bliss, power and all divine qualities at our disposal. And when we feel that these divine qualities are within us and we are of them, then our immediate feeling is one of expansion. Light cannot remain without expanding; peace cannot last without expanding. The very nature of divine peace, light, bliss and power is to expand, expand, expand. So if we have the conscious feeling of our oneness with God, the feeling that we are of God, immediately we will feel the expansion of our limited selves into boundless peace, light and bliss. The world of aspiration, the world of peace, light and delight, makes us want to expand and transcend. When we expand, we transcend; and when we transcend, we expand. We go beyond our limited ego-bound selves, beyond the creation, beyond the earth-consciousness, beyond the manifestation of the earth plane itself to the highest Height.

MUN 305. 1970.

Question: When we try to help others, sometimes a kind of barrier builds up in ourselves and also in those we try to help. Could you speak about this?152

Sri Chinmoy: Our world still is not ideal. At times unconsciously, if not consciously, the world exploits and abuses mankind’s divine qualities. So we have to be careful. We have come into the world to aspire and, at the same time, to illumine the world. But we have to know who is worthy and who is unworthy. In one sense, everybody is worthy because we are all God’s children, only some people are ready and some people are not ready to receive what we have to offer.

When we try to awaken the consciousness of people who are not ready, when we try to serve the Divine in them, their vital may immediately feel a great resentment. This resentment takes the form of a wall that comes between them and, let us say, our searching mind or striving vital. Our searching mind has found some truth inside the heart and it wants to offer this truth to others. Our vital is divinely striving to give them the light with which we have been entrusted. But just because many people are not ready to receive, we feel a strong, solid barrier between what we have realised and what we are able to give.

The human heart sometimes makes us feel that it is so big that it is ready to help everyone. But this is absurd. There is something called God’s Hour. God’s Hour need not and cannot be the same for each and every individual. Today is my hour, tomorrow is yours and the day after is somebody else’s. It is not that some people are bad or that God does not like them. No! He loves all equally, but for some the hour has not yet dawned. On the one hand, God is Transcendental, all Divine and absolutely Supreme. On the other hand, He is progressing in and through each individual life at every moment. In the finite, He is singing the song of His own Infinity in order to divinely and supremely enjoy Himself. In the process of evolution, He is going to perfect everybody. But He knows His own development; He knows how much He wants to achieve today in and through you and how much He wants to achieve today in and through me. We cannot expect each individual to receive the same kind of treatment or same amount of light because God Himself has not given everyone the same capacity and receptivity.

If we try to increase somebody’s capacity or receptivity by virtue of our own will, we are doing the wrong thing. That person will not welcome us and there will be confusion. In this confusion frustration will loom large. Earth will eventually receive our light, but right now earth is not ready. If the Supreme tells us that someone needs more sleep, that we should not awaken him, then we should not approach that particular person. But if the Supreme within us tells us that we have to serve Him in someone even though that person is sleeping, even though he is unwilling and reluctant to receive our light, then we shall do that too, because we are His instruments.

Every day we have to think of ourselves as a little child of five or six years old who only does what his Eternal Father asks him to do. We have to let God’s Will flow through us. Then He Himself will tell us who is the right person to help. In this way we shall go to the right person today, and tomorrow we shall go to someone else who will be the right person then. If we approach the right person at God’s choice Hour, then there can be no barrier or partition between us and the other person because the right person is always ready to receive us and welcome us. Not only will we be welcomed, but we will also see that God is fulfilled, we are fulfilled and the world of aspiration is fulfilled in and through us.

Sometimes we see a partition not between us and the person we are trying to help but in ourselves. We feel this partition in ourselves because we are not always one hundred per cent consciously one with our Source. We are of the divine and for the divine; we are of the Supreme and for the Supreme. But even though we are very sincere and devoted, it sometimes happens that when we give, we expect something in return: either recognition or progress in the lives of the persons we have served. Even if they do not recognise or acknowledge our self-giving, we immediately expect some success or, let us say, some kind of gradual growth in their life of inner aspiration. We are giving, giving, giving; but if we do not notice the world receiving, then at times we become frustrated. We feel that earth does not deserve us and we wonder if we are doing the right thing. We may even doubt our own sincerity.

This occurs when we are identified with our mind or our vital. When we are identified with the soul, we do not expect anything from those we are trying to serve. We are only doing what we have been inspired and commissioned to do from within. What happens is that one moment we identify with the soul and the heart and the next moment we identify with the mind and vital. The soul and the heart are on one side and the mind, vital and physical are on the other side. Between them there is a barrier. At this moment we call the mind the sole reality, the next moment we call the vital the only reality and the following moment we regard the heart as the only reality. They are all realities, but the only real Reality is God, whose direct representative is the soul. Just as the soul is the representative of God, the heart is the representative of the soul. The heart and the soul are trying to perfect the mind so that it can represent them. Then, when the mind becomes illumined, the mind will try to have the vital as its representative. Similarly, the vital will try to have the body as its representative, and when the body becomes pure and the physical consciousness is aspiring, then the body also will become a perfect instrument.

Reality is complicated and uncertain in ordinary earth-life, but on the higher planes it is extremely simple and most fulfilling. Let us say that we are looking at a flower and that this flower is reality for us. On the physical plane, the flower-reality is what we see with our eyes. But as soon as we go a little deeper within or come up to a higher level of consciousness, the reality is not the physical flower but its fragrance and beauty. Here on the physical plane, the flower is the reality and the fragrance, which is the inner reality, we cannot appreciate. And the beauty, which is still higher, we do not notice at all. So what we call reality on the physical plane need not and cannot be the same reality that we experience on the inner plane.

Again, there are many things that we see on the physical plane as real, which are absolutely unreal. When a thought comes from the mental world, it is absolutely real and concrete for us. But when we go deep within, immediately the thought vanishes; like a drop, it melts into the ocean of the Will. So what is a reality on the physical plane is not at all a reality on the inner plane. On the inner plane, the reality is Divinity, Immortality and Perfection. On the inner plane, only what is eternal and fulfilling is real. So there is a great difference between reality on the physical plane and reality on the inner plane.

When we feel a barrier between one reality and another reality — between what we have to offer and what we are able to give, or between our mind-reality and our heart-reality — at that time our spiritual life becomes a barren desert. Not only seekers but almost all spiritual Masters have gone through this barren desert at one time or another. Even spiritual Masters of a very high order went through periods like this when they could not meditate. Or, when they entered into the world arena to offer their peace, love and light, they felt a kind of frustration because their light was not accepted and the progress they expected from humanity was not achieved.

Here we are all seekers. If we find ourselves in a barren desert, we can do one thing. We can offer our gratitude to the Supreme, our Inner Pilot, for giving us the divine aspiration to be of service to Him in mankind. There is no power either in the outer world or in the inner world that can ever be as strong as our soulful gratitude. If even for a fleeting minute we can offer God our soulful gratitude, then immediately the barrier that exists between our mind and our heart will dissolve. For the power of our gratitude immediately makes us one with God’s Reality.

When we look for gratitude in the mind, it seems like something dry, silly and unnecessary. When we look for gratitude in the vital, we see that it does not even exist. And in the physical, gratitude is all the time dormant. But if we live in the aspiring heart, we not only discover gratitude but see it as the most powerful reality. If we can become one with the Supreme on the strength of our gratitude, there can be no dry periods; there can be no wall, no barrier, no undivine forces that delay our progress.

When we have gratitude, we are like a flower that is blossoming petal by petal in the Heart of the Supreme. This flower is full of fragrance, which constantly illumines, energises and fulfils the human in us, the Divine in us and the Supreme in us. And when our gratitude-flower blossoms, at that time the dormant, sleeping humanity also begins to blossom. Why? Because our gratitude will have entered into God’s choice Hour. When we enter into God’s Heart with our gratitude, He expedites His own Hour for His children. For He feels that some of His children are more than ready to serve and please Him than His other children who are still sleeping.

In your case, the Supreme has made you a chosen instrument to illumine and increase the aspiration of countless people. If you play your role as a conscious instrument, then you will become a river that is flowing with all its light, love and dynamic energy towards the sea of enlightenment. When you and the rest of humanity have become one, and when you enjoy this oneness divinely, there can be no partition, no barrier, no desert, but only ever-increasing bliss and ever-transcending freedom.

MUN 306. 3 May 1974.

Question: How can a person detach himself emotionally from irritating people and situations?153

Sri Chinmoy: First you have to identify yourself with the person who is creating the irritation. Suppose you are in your office and somebody is creating unnecessary problems. If you get angry with him, that will not solve the problem. Instead, you will be tortured inwardly by your anger even while you are being tortured outwardly by the person. If you allow yourself to become angry, you will only lose your own inner strength. But if you come down to the standard of that person and identify with him, you will see that he himself is very unhappy and, therefore, consciously or unconsciously he is trying to make others unhappy as well. The moment you identify with the person who is creating the situation, half your irritation will go away. At the same time, your presence inside that person’s ignorance will take away half the strength of his attack.

Another way to avoid becoming involved in irritating situations is to invoke peace. For a spiritual person, it is always advisable to bring down peace from Above. While invoking peace you will feel enormous strength inside you and around you. The power of inner peace is infinitely greater, infinitely more solid and concrete, than any outer situation that anybody on earth can create. Your inner peace can easily devour the irritation that somebody else causes you.

If you are in the office, it may be difficult to invoke peace. If you pray in front of others, they will only misunderstand you and mock you. But if there is a quiet corner where you can meditate undisturbed by others and bring down peace, then you can do it even in your office. Otherwise, the best thing to do is to invoke peace during your morning and evening meditations, and to keep that peace locked inside your heart to be used whenever you need it most during the day.

MUN 307. 23 March 1973.

Question: While I am in the office, how can I control my emotions? There is so much injustice and nothing I can do to help myself.154

Sri Chinmoy: Right now injustice is creating suffering in your life. Some people in your office are striking you inwardly, and because of your fear or incapacity you cannot protect yourself. But if you become very strong inwardly, you can use this strength either to take yourself to some other plane where their attacks will not reach you or to give them some illumination so they will stop bothering you.

Injustice is a kind of negative or undivine power, whereas light is a divine power. If you seriously enter into the spiritual life and learn how to invoke God’s Light and Compassion, these divine forces will definitely save you from the situation that is now causing you suffering. But this may take a little time.

A quicker way of saving yourself is to acquire peace of mind. At our meditations here at the United Nations, we bring down peace. This peace is not something imaginary; it is very real. When you meditate with us, you can not only feel this peace but you can actually swim in the sea of peace. This peace is a solid power, which is infinitely more powerful than injustice. When you are swimming in the sea of peace, no human power can upset you.

Right now when these people attack you, you become angry and upset because you feel they are of the same standard as you. But when your whole being is flooded with peace, then no matter what other people do, you will feel that they are like children playing in front of you. You will say, “These are all children. What can I expect from them?”

When you have to defend yourself or protect yourself, always try to use a higher weapon. If people say something and you retaliate on their level, there will be no end to it. Again, if you simply swallow your anger, they will continue to take advantage of you. But if you are inundated with inner peace, they will see something in you that can never be conquered. They will see a change in you, and this change will not only puzzle them but also threaten and frighten them. It will make them realise that their weapons are useless.

Peace is the most effective weapon with which to conquer injustice. If you pray and meditate regularly, you will soon feel that your peace is infinitely stronger, more fulfilling and more energising than the unfortunate situations that others create.

MUN 308. 12 January 1973.

Question: How can we remember to forgive the world for its defects and to forgive ourselves for our own defects?155

Sri Chinmoy: When we see imperfection, whether it is in ourselves or in others, it is always advisable to forgive. If we do not forgive, it is like placing a heavy load on our shoulders. If I have done something wrong and I do not try to forgive or illumine myself, my mistake will only gain added importance in my life. Each time I think of it, I will only add to my heavy load of guilt. Similarly, if others have done me an act of injustice, the more I think of it, the heavier becomes my load of anger and resentment. If I place something heavy on my shoulders, how am I going to run towards my goal? I will see that others are all running very fast while I can hardly walk!

If we do not forgive others when they do something wrong, if we harbour undivine thoughts against them or want to punish them, we will never find satisfaction. Forgiveness is illumination. We have to feel that by forgiving others we are illumining our own expanded self and satisfying our own highest reality. On the physical plane, I know that I am incomplete unless I have all my arms and legs. I need everything in my body in order to be complete, perfect and whole. Similarly, I need everyone in the world in order for my larger self to be complete. Whom am I forgiving if not my own enlarged reality?

In forgiveness, we have to know who is forgiving whom. I, as an individual, have no right to forgive others or even to forgive myself. It is the Divine in me that is inspiring me to raise my consciousness to the higher Light. An act of forgiveness means a movement to a higher reality. And when we reach the highest Reality, we become one with the omnipresent Reality.

MUN 309. 9 August 1974.

Question: How do you eradicate negativities and imperfections in the soul?156

Sri Chinmoy: There is no negativity in the soul. The soul is all divinity and perfection. It is our divine, immortal existence on earth and it carries the message of perfection within us. The problem is that inside our inner existence is not only the soul but also the vital; and inside the vital is a lower vital, an aggressive vital, a destructive vital. Since we are not consciously aware of the presence of the soul, whatever we feel inside our body, vital and mind we take as the soul. But this is a mistake. There are many wrong, undivine tendencies and movements within us, but these have nothing to do with the soul. These are enemies that have accidentally entered into our living room. We wanted to have only our friends, but in an unguarded moment we opened the door and our enemies entered.

These enemies we have to either throw out or transform through conscious and continuous effort. If we want to learn something, we have to practise or study for hours and hours. Similarly, if we want to perfect our nature, then we have to bring to the fore the soul and feel its presence at every moment. How can we do this? Through our prayer and meditation. When our prayer goes up, it reaches the highest Height. And when we meditate most soulfully, peace, light and bliss descend into us in abundant measure. When we can reach the highest Height or feel ourselves inundated with peace, light and bliss, the wrong forces within us are automatically illumined and perfected.

MUN 310. 17 May 1974.

Question: When I feel that my spiritual progress is not fast enough and that my meditation is not deep enough, sometimes feelings of depression and frustration enter. How can I deal with this?157

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, you have to know that when you are not making the fastest progress, it is because you are making some mistake. But if you become depressed, then you are making your problem worse; you are making another mistake. Depression is not the answer. In the spiritual life, you have to try to be as cheerful as possible. If you can be cheerful, then automatically half your spiritual fever is gone, and you can walk faster.

Why are you not running fast? This is the important question. Sometimes it happens that a runner slows down because he knows that the goal is very far. Since the goal is very far away, he says, “I can go slowly and, without fail, I will reach the destination. Why try to run the fastest and become totally exhausted?” But the runner has to know that there are not one but three goals. When he reaches his first goal and realises the highest Truth, he cannot stop and relax. He has gone only part of the way. There are two more goals: the revelation of the Truth and the manifestation of the Truth. If he loses his enthusiasm and relaxes before he reaches even the first goal, then God knows how long it will take him to reach the farthest goal.

If you have three things to study, you will not relax as you would if you had only one thing to study. If you know there are three things you have to learn, you will be more alert, more conscious, more devoted, more aspiring. So please feel that in order to make the Supreme happy with your spiritual progress, you have to study three subjects one after the other. Do not feel that you have Eternity at your disposal. No! You have to feel that every moment is either helping you to reach your goal or preventing you from reaching your goal. So utilise each moment to dive deeper, run farther and fly higher. Then you can easily make the Supreme happy.

MUN 311. 18 October 1974.

Question: Can an individual have a feeling of insecurity because of a feeling of separation from God?158

Sri Chinmoy: In the beginning, we look upon other human beings as strangers; they seem alien and, therefore, unreal. The rest of the world, we feel, is for someone else or something else; it does not exist for us. Because we feel separated from the rest of the world, naturally we feel insecure. But as our consciousness expands, we will think of our brother, sister, friend and neighbour. Then, after some time, our consciousness will expand further and we will think of the whole world. Each time our consciousness expands, we become less insecure. If eventually we can feel that the rest of the world is of us and for us, if we can feel that there is no difference between our existence and the existence of others, then we will never feel insecure. If we can think of everyone as our very own, as part and parcel of our own existence like the limbs of our body, how can there be insecurity?

After all, what is the feeling of universal oneness? It is the realisation that there is only one Existence, but this One has become many — like a tree with many branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. If we can feel our oneness with our Source, with the root of the tree, then naturally we will feel our oneness with the other branches and leaves. We are bound to feel insecure as long as we do not feel the living Presence of God, as long as we feel that we are separated from our Source. But if we can feel that our Source is Light and Delight and that, at the end of our soul’s journey, we shall return to Light and Delight, then we shall never feel insecure.

We can feel that our Source is God only when we aspire. When we do not aspire, when we do not pray and meditate, we are bound to feel that our Source is something unknown and forever unknowable. But the seeker who has launched into the spiritual life will feel that what is unknown today will become known tomorrow. Today our God is unknown but knowable. Tomorrow our God will be known and the day after tomorrow our God will be at once the Knower and the Known. If we have this kind of feeling, we will never be insecure.

When we know who the Source is and who is piloting us at every moment, we cannot be insecure. When we feel that we are responsible, that we are doing and must continue doing everything, then we are full of insecurity. But if we feel that there is a higher Force guiding our destiny and that we are mere instruments, if we feel that we are cheerfully, soulfully and unconditionally executing God’s Will at every moment, then how can there be any sense of insecurity?

MUN 312. September 1973.

Question: I do not know what is going to happen to me in the future and I worry a lot about my destiny. Is this right?159

Sri Chinmoy: No, we should not worry! We should have implicit faith in God our Inner Pilot or in our spiritual Master. We have to feel that God knows what is best for us and He will do what is best for us. We worry because we do not know what is going to happen to us tomorrow, or even the next minute. As long as we feel responsible for our own life, we will always be worried; we will not know how to properly utilise even two minutes a day of our time. But if we can feel that there is Someone who thinks of us infinitely more than we think of ourselves, and if we can consciously offer the responsibility for our life to Him, saying, “Eternal Father, Eternal Mother, You be responsible for what I do and say and grow into,” then our past, present and future become His problem.

Right now we feel that if we do not do something for ourselves, then there will be nobody to do it. But this is not true. There is Someone who will do everything for us and that is our Inner Pilot — provided we consciously surrender to His Will. The reason we suffer is because we do not surrender to His Will. When we consciously surrender to His Will, we feel that He is the Doer and that we are only His instrument. At that time we will not worry or be afraid of our destiny, for we will know and feel that it is in the all-loving Hands of God, who is doing everything in us, through us and for us.

So let us consciously offer our very existence, what we have and what we are, to God. What we have is the aspiration to grow into the very Image of God, into infinite Peace, Light and Bliss. And what we are right now is ignorance, the ignorance-sea. If we can offer our aspiration-cry and our ignorance-sea to God, then all our problems will be solved.

MUN 313. 30 March 1973.

Question: Could you speak about the need for individuals to defend themselves?160

Sri Chinmoy: Before you defend yourself you have to know whether you ought to defend yourself. If you do something wrong, it is a mistake to defend or justify yourself. You have to pray for forgiveness to the Supreme inside the individual who has been the victim of your wrong action. But if you are doing something right, it is a different matter. If you are attacked, you should always try to be calm, quiet and tranquil within. Peace is the greatest strength. If you have inner peace, then you have a lion’s strength.

Spirituality is not the same thing as stupidity. There is no wisdom in surrendering to circumstances and saying, “I am helpless. What can I do?” If you yourself have the power to take action, there is no wisdom in remaining silent and waiting for the person who is harming you or exploiting you to reap his karma. Somebody has deceived you or harmed you, and God has awakened you so that you are aware of it. Now God wants to use you as His instrument to prevent this person from ruining your divine possibilities and, at the same time, to prevent this person from ruining his own divine possibilities by continuing to commit wrong actions. So God wants you to defend yourself; it is your bounden duty to do so.

If you remain silent, the other person will go on exploiting you. You will be continually at his mercy and your own sense of justice will disappear. You have to see the truth as it is, on its own level, and to utilise the truth in its own way. When a new divine thought dawns, you have to use it to build a castle of truth. This is called the sincere approach to reality. Sometimes ignorance cleverly will enter your mind and tell you to wait, since Eternity is at your disposal. If you listen to ignorance, you are not defending truth. Truth needs immediate recognition and acceptance. You have to accept the truth and try to manifest the truth. You have to live the divine Truth for only in this way can you justify your own existence and acknowledge your own divine birthright.

MUN 314. 9 August 1974.

Question: If we find that certain situations disturb us, should we avoid the situations or try to face them and cope with them?161

Sri Chinmoy: Avoiding a situation is not the right answer. You have to face the situation with your soul’s light. If you avoid a particular situation today, the wrong forces in that situation will only acquire more strength. Either they will think you are avoiding them because you are weak, or they will think you are avoiding them because it is beneath your dignity to deal with them. In either case, they will come against you with more power.

If you try to escape, you may escape temporarily, but eventually you will be caught. It is best to face a problem when it arises. But you should not face the situation in a military way; it is not that somebody is challenging you and you have to strike him. No, that is silly. Try instead to bring the divinity of the circumstances forward. If some undivine quality is inside an individual, it is not by striking or hitting him that you will overcome it but by becoming more friendly. You have to bring forward the divine qualities in the human being or in the incident that is causing the problem. Accept the situation with compassion and love, and eventually these unpleasant circumstances are bound to become pleasant, soulful and fruitful.

MUN 315. 18 July 1975.

Question: How can we not bother about other people's opinions of us?162

Sri Chinmoy: At your journey’s close, when you come and stand before God, He will not ask, “What did this person think of you?” or “What did that person think of you?” Since God is the Boss, He does not need others’ recommendation. God will only ask, “What did you think of yourself?” or “What did you think of Me?” He is not going to ask if others appreciated you or admired you; He will only ask whether you paid attention to your life of aspiration and dedication.

Suppose someone speaks highly of you. Is that person really lifting you up to the top of the Himalayas? Again, by deprecating you, by speaking ill of you, someone cannot bring you down. World opinion has no value. You are to God what you actually are: what you think of yourself and what you think of God in yourself. Your assessment is your own value. Again, our assessment may not always be right. Sometimes we think we are pure although we are not; but no harm. When we make a wrong assessment, God is there to show us Compassion and Kindness. But God does not want us to waste a single minute worrying about what others think of us. Your life is God’s Life. God’s Life and your life are inseparable and God does not need the world’s opinion to assess what you are doing. Your action is your certificate; your action is everything in God’s Eye. If you are praying and meditating, you are an excellent seeker.

MUN 316. 18 July 1975.

Question: How can we feel safe from the dark forces in us?163

Sri Chinmoy: You can feel safe from the dark forces within you provided you have faith in Someone who is infinitely stronger than these forces. You have to feel that the divine forces and the undivine forces are like two little boys. The divine one is afraid of the undivine one because the undivine one wants to strike him and he feels he does not have enough strength to put up a brave fight. But if he sees that his father is standing beside him, he knows that his father will protect him. So if you can feel the Presence of the Supreme inside you, you will feel safe. Just as the little boy knows his father is beside him to protect him and save him, you also have to feel that the Absolute Supreme is inside you to do the needful. Provided you have confidence in Him, He will do everything for you and He will not allow the undivine forces to come and attack you.

MUN 317. 18 July 1975.

Question: How can I lose my suspicion of the outer world?164

Sri Chinmoy: First you have to ask yourself whether your suspicion has helped you in any way. The answer will be no. It has not helped you at all. On the contrary, it has only lowered your consciousness and lowered your aspiration. If you are wise, you will discard anything that stands in the way of your God-discovery and your soul’s manifestation on earth.

Then you have to know where your suspicion comes from. There can be suspicion in the physical and in the vital, but the suspicion that exists in these places is negligible. But the suspicion that is in the mind is like a mountain. So you have to enter into the mind and tell your suspicion, “Look, I have got nothing from you except misery, so why do I need you? For a long time I considered you to be my friend, so I allowed you to remain inside my mind. But now I see that you are only my enemy, so you have to leave. This is my house, absolutely mine! Here you have no place.”

Again, you have to realise that nobody and nothing can remain an eternal enemy. Nothing can always remain undivine, for God’s Vision is eventually to make everything divine. But in the meantime, you have to cast aside those things that stand in your way inwardly and create problems for you. You have to tell them to remain far away so you can reach your destination. Then, from the destination, you can bring infinite light to them. Or you can say, “Once I reach my destination, if you want to come and visit me, I shall allow you because at that time I shall have the capacity to transform you.” Once your mind is illumined, either suspicion will come to you for its transformation and illumination, or your illumined mind shall enter into suspicion to illumine it.

MUN 318-319. 9 January 1976.

Question: Is the best way to get rid of anxiety just to ignore it?

Sri Chinmoy You can get rid of anxiety for a short time by ignoring it, but if you want to get rid of it permanently, then you have to bring light into it. In the beginning, if you can convince your mind that anxiety does not exist, then you can get temporary relief. If, even for one day, you can be free from anxiety, then you will have accomplished something. And during the time it is away, you may acquire or achieve light. Then when anxiety returns you can inject light into it.

If you do not have enough light or illumining power inside you, the best thing is to ignore anxiety and wait for God’s Capacity, which is light, to develop inside you. But if you do have the inner capacity to transform your anxiety right from the beginning, why delay further? Right now you can enter into your anxiety with your soul’s light to illumine and perfect it. Then it will no longer exist.

Question: If we are confused and nervous, how will meditation ever be able to help us?165

Sri Chinmoy: In the physical world if somebody is sick, we do not say that he will never be well again. If he goes to a doctor and takes medicine, there is every possibility that he will be cured. If somebody is assailed by physical ailments, medicine is the answer. If somebody is assailed by anxiety, worry and confusion, then meditation is the remedy. Just because an individual right now is a victim to inner suffering, we cannot say that his case is hopeless. The meditation-solution is there, provided the individual wants to be cured.

MUN 320-322. 29 October 1975.

Question: Is it really necessary to seek help when we are suffering from mental problems? Can't we just meditate by ourselves and find the answer?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us say that you are suffering from certain mental difficulties. You have surrendered to frustration and depression owing to countless problems in your life. You feel that there is light inside your heart, but you find it difficult to go deep within and bring that light into your mind. What you have to do is go to someone who can bring to the fore the light that you have within you. The light that you so desperately need is in your own house. But you have misplaced the key and you do not know how to open the door. So a friend of yours comes and helps you look for the key. After he finds it, he opens the door for you and then he goes away.

If you are ready to search by yourself for the key that you have lost, then you can try. But if you take the help of an expert friend, then you will have more confidence in finding the key. A spiritual teacher is an eternal friend who helps you in your search. He will advise you and offer light so that you can free yourself from your mental suffering.

Question: You speak of night and light. Do you believe that parts of life are dark and imperfect?

Sri Chinmoy: Life is composed of perfection; only we say that there is lesser perfection and greater perfection. We do not say that this side is black and that side is white; we say that on this side there is more light and on that side there is comparatively less light. There is no negative and positive; there is only positive. But the thing that is less positive has less capacity and sometimes we call it negative.

Question: How can we overcome our ego-motivated life and self-centredness?166

Sri Chinmoy: We can transcend our self-centredness and our ego-motivated life if we can feel that we are of the One who embodies the many. Only our dedicated joint effort will bring about success. No matter what we do, what we say, what we achieve and what we grow into, it is all valueless unless we feel that we are of the One who embodies the many and that we are of the many who have to fulfil the One. We belong to a large family, and if we do not carry the members of our world-family to the Destination, then we shall never be fulfilled. If we see the Face of God without our friends and dear ones, then we will not be satisfied. Only if we carry them with us consciously and devotedly will we ever find true satisfaction and fulfilment.

MUN 323. 7 March 1975.

Question: After we stop meditating, how can we maintain the level of consciousness we reached during our meditation? I know it is difficult at work, but I find it equally hard at home.

Sri Chinmoy: How can you maintain a high level of consciousness? You can do it through constant remembrance. If you want to maintain your height, then your aspiration should be flowing constantly. It is difficult right now for you to meditate for a long period. But for half an hour you can easily meditate. Then, for the next half hour, you can read spiritual books. After that you can sing spiritual songs or listen to spiritual music. You can also go to the house of one of your spiritual friends or, if that is not possible, you can call up someone on the phone and speak about spiritual matters.

Again, you can write down your own experiences, not with the thought of publishing them but just to help your own consciousness. While you are writing them down, you are not only keeping them alive inside you, but you are perfecting your spiritual nature. As soon as you have written down your experiences, you have created something. The creator always wants to enjoy his creation. After the gardener plants a rose bush and tends to it, he gets enormous joy when he sees the beautiful roses. Similarly, you also may get joy from reading about your experiences.

Then, during the day, you can try to remember the experiences you had while you were meditating early in the morning. It is like charging a battery. You are charging your memory with your achievement or with your spiritual progress. Each time you think about your own experiences, you will be transported back to that time and you will once again feel the peace, light and bliss that you experienced then. In this way you will be able to maintain your standard until it is time for your next meditation.

Question: How can we avoid tension when doing a project under pressure?167

Sri Chinmoy: Before we enter into a project, we must sincerely feel that we have been given the necessary capacity to accomplish it. Then, once we undertake it, we have to bring to the fore our inner determination and inner faith. After that, in silence we must say to ourselves that the project that we have undertaken has already been done on the inner plane.

Let us take the inner plane as a higher plane and feel that we have a free access to this higher plane. Let us envision a tree right in front of us. The topmost branches, where the fruits are, we can call the higher plane. Once we climb up and pluck some fruits, we have accomplished our project on the inner plane. But this particular plane is not the plane of manifestation which is at the foot of the tree. So it is obligatory for us to climb down to reach the outer plane.

If we feel that we have already climbed up the tree and plucked the fruits and that now we only have to climb down, we will have much more confidence. If we are sure that something has already been achieved on the inner plane, it is much easier to manifest it on the outer plane. From beginning to end, the one thing that is of paramount importance is confidence. We have to feel that we can do something, that we shall do it and that we have already done it. If we say we can do it, we are not fooling ourselves; if we say we will do it eventually, we are not fooling ourselves. And if we say we have already done it, we are not deceiving ourselves either. For on the inner plane we have already done it on the strength of our inner faith and determination.

MUN 325. 8 March 1978.

Question: Sometimes I feel hopeless and helpless.168

Sri Chinmoy: If you feel that you are hopeless, then you are worse than hopeless. And if you feel that you are helpless, then I wish to say that you are really helpless. At that time, I cannot help you and no one else can help you. But you are not hopeless and you are not helpless either. You are God’s child. The ancient Vedic seers told us, “From Delight we came into existence, in Delight we grow and, at the end of our journey’s close, into Delight we will retire.” This is what you must feel.

MUN 326. June 1978.

Question: Why has God made it so difficult for us to reach Him?169

Sri Chinmoy: He has not made it difficult for the sincere seekers. For the sincere seekers the road is very short. Only for the doubtful seekers is the road long. This moment you feel that God is very kind to you, but the next moment you get some blow or pain and you lose faith. Some unconscious part of you says, “O God, why are You so cruel to me? This morning I meditated well, so how is it that now I am suffering?” Instead of this, you should say, “Although I am suffering such pain, perhaps something infinitely more serious was going to happen to me and God saved me. God is so kind to me.” Like this, if you can change your attitude towards God, immediately the road becomes easier.

The road is long only for those who do not feel gratitude to God. If you feel that something is bad and deplorable, then immediately think, “Oh, it could have been infinitely worse. It is out of God’s infinite Compassion that He has not allowed a worse attack to come.” If you have that kind of attitude, then the road becomes very, very easy.

Who actually causes you suffering and pain? It is not God. It is the hostile forces. They come and attack you in the form of suffering. When hostile forces attack you, unconsciously you cherish them. Most human beings cherish suffering. Otherwise, it would not last for long. You have to tell these forces all the time, “I do not need you, I do not want you. I only want God.” Then your road to God will be shorter than the shortest.

MUN 327. 18 July 1978.

Question: What does destruction mean in the spiritual life?170

Sri Chinmoy: In the spiritual life, nothing is totally destroyed for good. If you feel destruction means that something is gone forever and that never again will you see its face, then you are mistaken. From the spiritual point of view, you have to know that destruction means the transformation of the limited consciousness into something vaster.

MUN 328. 8 March 1978.

Question: How can we maintain a good spiritual standard consistently instead of going up and down?171

Sri Chinmoy: Please feel that every day is equally important. Suppose that a runner has to run one hundred metres in order to reach his goal. After covering twenty metres at top speed, he knows that he is going to reach the goal in just a few seconds. Then relaxation comes, and for ten or twenty metres his speed may decrease considerably. Then again, if he sees that some other runners are going ahead of him, he realises that his speed has fallen and once more he starts to run the fastest. But as soon as the starter has fired the gun, the runner has to maintain top speed from the beginning to the end if he wants to be pleased with his result.

In the spiritual life the same thing happens. If today we do a wonderful meditation, then tomorrow we feel we can relax. We feel that easily we will maintain the same speed tomorrow because it is our due. But it does not happen that way. Tomorrow again we have to try most sincerely. Our difficulty is that when we do something well, we feel we deserve some relaxation. It is our due. But every day when we meditate we have to feel that it is our last day on earth, and that tomorrow we are going to die. We know that we are in the Heart of the Eternal Supreme, but each day we have to regard as our last day to aspire. Today if we fail, we will get zero; we will be out of the race. If today is the last day, our sincerity, our aspiration, all our divine qualities will come to the fore and we will run the fastest. Then, when tomorrow comes, again we have to feel, “Today if I do not realise God, then I am doomed. I shall have to wait another five thousand years.”

Whenever you sit down to meditate, you have to feel that the hour has struck. The teacher will give you only two hours to complete your examination. In two hours’ time, even if you cannot complete your papers, the examination is over. Either you pass or you fail. Forget about yesterday’s examination. Also, do not think that tomorrow the teacher will stand in front of you again and give you the same examination. If you feel that opportunity will come again and again and knock at your door, then you are lost. Neither the past nor the future exist; only the present exists for you. Here in the present you have to succeed.

If you feel that today is your absolutely last chance, then you are bound to have a good meditation. But if you feel, “Oh, now I am only twenty-eight. At the age of seventy-eight I will realise God,” then you will never realise God. Perhaps at the age of thirty or forty God will call you to the other side. When the time comes for you to go to the other world, you have to go. You do not know when it will be, so you should make yourself feel that today is the last day for you to achieve everything that you are supposed to achieve. If today is your last day, then your sincerity, your aspiration, all your divine qualities, will come to the fore.

MUN 329-330. 11 August 1978.

Question: How can I get rid of expectation?

Sri Chinmoy: You can get rid of your expectation by realising that expectation ends in frustration. So do not expect anything; just do the needful. Then you will get infinitely more than you expected. If you follow the path of expectation, then at each moment you will want something more. But if you do not expect anything and only do what you are commanded to do from within, then you will be fulfilled beyond your imagination.

Question: How can you reinforce your spiritual aspiration when you feel it is wavering?172

Sri Chinmoy: You have to know that the spiritual life is neither a bed of thorns nor a bed of roses. There are always deserts to be crossed in life’s journey. Everybody has to go through these deserts. When your aspiration is wavering, there are various ways to reinforce it. If you find it difficult to meditate, what you should do at that time is read inspiring books written by seekers who are searching for God. Try to feel that the seeker you are reading about is no one other than yourself. Take each inspiring thought or each cry of aspiration as your own. The writer has used his name, but it is your feelings and your aspiration that he is writing about. As he wants to go towards the light, you should feel that you also want to go towards the light. You can also read the writings of great spiritual Masters. When you do this, you should try to feel that compassion is being showered on your soul, heart, mind and vital from these sacred books.

Another thing you can do is mix with seekers who are not having the same difficulties. You can go to a place where spiritual people are praying and meditating, or you can talk to spiritual people on the phone and mix with them. They will be able to help you immensely. You know the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” In the spiritual life, it is absolutely necessary to have spiritual friends. If today you are feeling disappointed or disheartened, a friend who is near you will be able to lift you up. Then tomorrow, when your friend is down, you will be able to lift him up. In the ordinary world you can create new friends overnight. But to have a true spiritual friend is a great Blessing from God.

Eventually you may feel the necessity of finding a spiritual Master who has the capacity to help you expedite your soul’s journey.

MUN 331. 15 August 1978.

Question: What can we do if we feel that although we are inwardly struggling, spiritual qualities like joy and aspiration are abandoning us?173

Sri Chinmoy: We have to know whether it is a real inner struggle. It is very easy to use the term ‘struggle’. If a lazy person has to budge an inch, he says it is a struggle. If we have to get up early in the morning, if we have to face reality for a fleeting second, we call it a struggle. But each individual has to realise what real struggle is. For a sincere seeker, real struggle is the struggle to conquer ignorance in his own life and in the world around him. If a seeker is really struggling to conquer himself and be the ruler of his own life, then in his very effort he is bound to get joy. While struggling against falsehood, inertia, darkness, imperfection, limitation and bondage, he is bound to feel a kind of inner joy, provided he is struggling sincerely.

We have to know how hard we are trying to realise the Highest, how many minutes of our daily life we are consecrating to the Supreme in us, how sincerely we are struggling to see the light within ourselves and within others. If we are wholeheartedly trying, then our divine qualities are bound to increase. It is the divine qualities within us that are inspiring us to fight against teeming ignorance. So how can they desert us when it is they who have asked us to fight? If we are really making a sincere spiritual struggle, then we are not going to lose our divine qualities. On the contrary, our inner qualities will increase in boundless measure.

MUN 332-334. May 1978.

Question: Could you please speak about ego and pride?

Sri Chinmoy: There is human ego and divine ego. Human ego is something that binds us. Human ego is always saying ‘my’ and ‘mine’. The moment we identify with a particular part of our existence, we become that part. When we identify with the body, we feel that the vital, mind, heart and soul are all our enemies. When we identify with the vital, at that time the heart and soul become foreigners or strangers. The human ego identifies only with our limited human self.

Again, there is divine ego, which is actually not ego at all but divine authority. We identify not with our limited self but with our enlarged, expanded self, which is the whole of humanity. Divine ego feels its oneness not only with our physical body but with the entire universe. When we feel that we are everywhere, then who can bind us? Divine ego is our feeling of omnipresence, our feeling of oneness with the divine Reality, our Source. This feeling can only come when we pray and meditate. Without prayer and meditation, we can never claim that realisation as our own; we will only be fooling ourselves. The Christ said, “I and my Father are one” on the strength of his highest realisation. It is true, in essence, that we are all God’s children. But if we say the same thing that Christ said without having the inner realisation, then people will only laugh at us.

Just as there is human ego and divine ego, so also there is human pride and divine pride. My human pride makes me feel that I am one inch above you. With my human pride I can insult you or lord it over you. Human pride only breaks the cosmic rhythm of life. Like human ego, it comes from our feeling of separativity, from the feeling that we do not belong to others and that they do not belong to us. Because I feel separate from you, naturally I feel proud when I do something that you cannot do. But when I feel my oneness with you, there can never be any sense of superiority or pride.

I use my right hand to throw the shot-put because my right hand is stronger than the left. But my right hand will not lord it over my left; both hands feel their integral oneness with one another. My head never thinks that it is superior to my feet. That would be sheer stupidity. My head only says, “If I had no feet, then how would I walk?” My head has more light than my feet because it has the mind, but it does not feel proud. My mind lets me read and write, but I also need my feet to take me to school. Each has its own role to play.

Everything is necessary. This moment God is using my head to do something, the next moment God is using my feet to do something. How can my head feel superior when it knows perfectly well that God also uses my feet? Similarly, this moment God is giving me the opportunity to be His instrument and the next moment He will operate in and through someone else. The actual Doer is God. Today He needs my existence to do something for Him; tomorrow He will need your existence to do something. Pride comes only when I can do something that you cannot do, or if somebody is using me and not using you. Since God uses everyone, there can be no pride.

Again, divine pride is different. Divine pride makes us feel, “How can I mix with ignorance if my Source is God? If He is my all, and if I am with Him, in Him and for Him, then how can I not be good and divine?” This kind of pride, which makes us aware of what we truly are, is a great benefit.

From divine pride we get a feeling of divine confidence. Divine confidence says, “I can conquer ignorance because God is within me.” It is like a child who feels confident of his wealth because he knows that his parents are rich. Here, our money is our spiritual wealth. We feel that God, who is our Mother and Father, has infinite Peace, Light and Bliss. When we feel His infinite Light, infinite Peace and infinite Bliss within us, we feel that we can easily defeat ignorance.

Question: Could you speak a little about how a spiritual person should handle the pleasures and problems of daily life?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us deal with the problems first. You have to ask yourself whether these problems existed before you entered the spiritual life. Immediately the answer will come: yes. So how is it that now you are aware of them, and at that time you were not aware of them? You were not aware of them because you did not consciously want to conquer them. If you do not want to conquer something, then the problem is fast asleep. But now that you have entered into the spiritual life, you are challenging all your problems. So the hostile forces have taken their side and are feeding your problems.

It is like this. When you lead an ordinary, unaspiring life, the hostile forces very often leave you alone because they know you are their slave. Since you are at their feet, they cleverly say, “All right, since he is fast asleep in ignorance, let us not bother him.” But the moment you get up and try to shake off your ignorance-sleep, they attack you. These forces know that ultimately they will be defeated, only they are trying to delay their defeat.

If you do not challenge them or if you try to avoid your problems, they will only attack you more vehemently. You cannot hide from your problems; you have to conquer them here and now. If you say, “I will have more strength tomorrow, so let me wait until then before I try to conquer my problems,” I tell you that tomorrow will not come. Each second is a golden opportunity. If you misuse this golden opportunity, then you are only strengthening the forces of ignorance.

Now let us speak about the life of pleasure. You have to know what you have received or achieved from the life of pleasure. If you are sincere, immediately you will say, “All that I have gained from this life of pleasure is frustration.” Not only that, but you have come to realise that you have no hope of coming out of this frustration unless and until you are destroyed totally. In the life of desire, you start your journey with temptation. Inside temptation you find pleasure and inside pleasure you find frustration, which always leads to destruction. What today you call pleasure, tomorrow invariably becomes destruction. Then after destruction, nothing remains.

So the life of desire, the life of pleasure, is the negative approach. The positive approach is what we call the life of aspiration. Aspiration is the inner cry that makes you feel that you have come from the Infinite, that you are in the Infinite and that you are for the Infinite. Aspiration makes you feel that you embody and shall always embody peace, light and bliss. These are your eternal treasures; only you have to bring them to the fore. Right now you have Someone called God inside you, but you are not conscious of Him. If you have aspiration, it means that you are trying consciously to be aware of God.

Each person has a friend and an enemy. If a person aspires, he feels that desire is his enemy and aspiration is his friend. If he does not aspire, he feels that desire is his friend and aspiration is his enemy. At the beginning of his journey he is familiar only with desire. Even if it is not fulfilling him, he is aware of its reality in his life, whereas aspiration is a stranger to him. So he feels that desire is his friend. But there comes a time when he realises that his true friend is aspiration. At first he may feel that the life of aspiration is not meant for him because from the very beginning he has not led a spiritual life. But I wish to say that he is making a big mistake. Aspiration is for him; realisation is for him. Only he has to accept them as his own, very own.

Before you accepted the spiritual life, you thought that the life of ignorance, the life of pleasure, was the right life. You looked around and saw that everybody was enjoying it. So you said, “If my friends, my neighbours and everybody else are all in the same boat, then I do not want to be an exception.” But now you have received an inner call, a higher call. The time has come for you to follow something else, to do something else. So now you are diving into the sea of aspiration to bring forward your real inner treasure.

Question: I would like to stop finding fault with others, but sometimes the work that I have to do — for instance, proofreading — requires looking for others' mistakes.174

Sri Chinmoy: When you do something, you have to keep in mind your ultimate goal, which is perfection. In many jobs, it is absolutely essential to work with other people to achieve this goal. If your job in the group is proofreading, you are not trying to find fault with others or to uncover their mistakes. Only you are doing your part in helping the group to achieve perfection. Other members of the team have done what they can and now you are doing what you can. It is only through this kind of teamwork that perfection can be achieved.

Let us say that you are proofreading a speech. If the typist has made some mistake or if the speaker has made a mistake due to lack of concentrated attention, then naturally you will do the needful to make sure it is corrected. You are not deliberately looking for mistakes in other people’s work. But in doing your own job, which is proofreading, if you clearly notice that mistakes have been made, then it is your duty to fix them.

When you approach reality, which now takes the form of a mistake, what is of primary importance is your attitude. You have to know whether you are trying to show off your superior mental capacities or whether you are exercising the power of your oneness-heart to bring about perfection. If, with a oneness-heart, you feel that you are working with others in your group towards the same perfection-goal, then you are doing absolutely the right thing. You are not criticising or finding fault with the achievements of others; only you are working alongside them to achieve perfection. If you find a mistake, it does not matter whether it is someone else’s mistake or your mistake. It does not matter whether it is a glaring mistake or a minor one. A mistake is a mistake and it has to be corrected. We are all enemies of imperfection, and together we shall try to correct whatever needs correcting and bring it to perfection.

That is the right attitude, not only when we are working with others but also when we are dealing with our own lives. In our own lives we have to soulfully and devotedly try to perfect our nature on the strength of our heart’s aspiration and inner cry. Unfortunately, instead of trying to increase our aspiration, sometimes we give too much importance to our shortcomings. Let us take mistakes, which come from the unlit part of our nature, as darkness. If we are always thinking of darkness, then we shall never arrive at light or be able to invoke light. If we focus all our attention on our mistakes and weaknesses, then we will only become disheartened and angry with ourselves and we will never arrive at perfection.

So let us pray and meditate for the illumination of our mental darkness and for the transformation of our nature’s imperfections. Let us invoke light from Above to descend into our imperfect nature so that our shortcomings, weaknesses and mistakes will all be illumined and transformed. When they are finally transformed, at that time they can be utilised to manifest the divine realities within us.

MUN 335. 7 February 1992.

Chapter 11: Inner qualities

Question: You often encourage us to dive deep within. Can you explain what this means?175

Sri Chinmoy: When we dive deep within, two things usually happen: we see all our good qualities and we see all our bad qualities. In our daily life, when we see our bad qualities, we become frustrated. We feel that we are full of imperfections and that in every field we are weak and useless. But when we go deep within and see these same imperfections looming large, we are not disheartened at all because we see our good qualities at the same time. Along with our bad qualities, we see our love for God, our love for mankind, our cry for beauty, peace, light, harmony and bliss. Then it is up to us to choose either imperfection or perfection. When we choose perfection, we feel tremendous strength in ourselves. We feel that our good qualities can easily overcome the imperfections that we see within and around us.

But there is no end to our inner journey, and we can go still deeper within. When we go very, very deep, at that time we do not see any imperfection either in ourselves or in anybody else. What we actually see is that we are having an experience and that others are also having an experience. This experience is neither good nor bad. The distinctions of good and bad are all in the mind, which is very limited. If we go just a little within, we see good and bad as two different things. But if we can go to the deepest, we realise that there is nothing bad. All creation and all experiences are good.

If we are unable to dive deep within, we may feel that everything and everybody is bad — our friends, humanity, our spiritual path, even God. But when we go deep within, we will feel that even our so-called enemies are good because they are also God’s children and God is having a particular kind of experience in and through them. An ordinary human being may find it difficult to accept his enemy as his own. But a spiritual person will try to feel his oneness with the whole world. The moment we accept the spiritual life, the life of God, we cannot have an enemy. We only have friends whose views may be different from ours.

If I want to play an instrument and my right hand plays well, then my right hand becomes my friend. But if my left hand cannot play at all well, shall I call my left hand my enemy? No! The right hand has the capacity, so it plays, and I am very happy with it. My left hand does not give me the same result as my right hand, but that is no reason to hate it.

In the spiritual life, if I see that somebody cannot do something, I should immediately try to become one with that person’s incapacity. If somebody is helpless, hopeless and useless in some field, I can become one with that person in his weakness and imperfection. Just because I have established my oneness with that person, I can go deep within and bring from there peace, light and bliss in abundant measure to pour into him. And when I pour these into him, I see and feel that the person receiving my inner wealth is none other than myself.

Right now we feel that the outer world is one thing and the inner world is something else. In the inner world we feel safety, purpose and a sense of perfection. In the outer world we feel that everything is chaotic, meaningless, useless, hopeless. But the more we dive within and stay in the inner world, the easier it becomes for us to control our outer life. Then we see the outer world as an extension of our inner life.

To dive deep within means to cry for perfection without. I go deep within for the perfection, harmony, peace and bliss of my outer life. The outer life is mine and the inner life is also mine. But if I do not have the seed, how am I going to get the plant and the tree? They must go together. The seed is the inner life and the tree is the outer life. If I sow the seed today, in a few months I will get the plant, which will gradually grow into a giant banyan tree. Without the seed, the tree cannot come into existence. And again, when there is only the seed and no tree, how will the world appreciate the capacity of the seed or get any benefit in the form of fruit? The ultimate capacity of the seed is the fruit, and it is with the fruit that we fulfil our daily need and hunger. But the first thing is the seed. So let us go deep within, to the life of the seed, and let us then grow into the life of the tree and the fruit. When the seed of the inner life has grown into the strong and sturdy tree of the outer life, the outer world and the inner world will perfectly harmonise.

MUN 336. January 1974.

Question: Is there one divine quality which encompasses all the rest or does a seeker have to meditate on each one?176

Sri Chinmoy: For a seeker one quality is enough, and that quality is gratitude. And in God’s Life one quality is also enough, and that quality is Compassion. Inside your gratitude you can feel the presence of all your divine qualities, and inside God’s Compassion you can easily feel all the divine qualities of God. If you want to see all God’s good qualities or all your own good qualities individually, you can easily do that too. But if you want to see one good quality that embodies all the good qualities, then in God’s case it is His Compassion and in man’s case it is his gratitude.

MUN 337. 9 January 1976.

Question: What is gratitude?177

Sri Chinmoy: To feel gratitude means to become a flower in every part of your being — body, vital, mind and heart. Everything in your being will exist as a single, fully blossomed flower with all its petals completely open. There are thousands of nerves in your physical body and 86,000 subtle nerves inside your subtle body. But these will all disappear and you will feel that you exist only as a most beautiful flower ready to be placed at the Feet of the Supreme. This is gratitude.

Recently, somebody was having difficulty understanding one of my aphorisms about gratitude. The aphorism says, “One second of gratitude to God is worth three hours of intense meditation on God.” He thought it meant that just saying “thank you” for one second was worth several hours of meditation. But gratitude is not like shaking hands or saying, “Thank you!” It may take hours, days, months, years or many incarnations to achieve one second of true gratitude. The preparation it takes to come to that stage may take quite a long time.

So when I say that gratitude is something most difficult and important, I am referring to this kind of gratitude. When everything of yours has melted and you exist only as a flower ready for worship, when you have placed yourself totally at the Feet of your Beloved Supreme — this is gratitude.

MUN 338. May 1978.

Question: Does gratitude also help to increase our receptivity during meditation?178

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, a gratitude-heart is of paramount importance. You can be most receptive on the strength of your own simplicity, sincerity, purity and humility. When you bring to the fore these divine qualities, which you have inside you, then you can receive the utmost. And inside simplicity, inside sincerity, inside purity, inside humility, you should try to feel a sense of gratitude to your own Inner Pilot. If you have a gratitude-heart, you will be able to receive the utmost. It is a gratitude-heart that can receive from Above peace, light and bliss in boundless measure and also manifest them here on earth.

MUN 339. 1975.

Question: Are human gratitude and divine Compassion all-encompassing because there is a feeling of oneness in them?179

Sri Chinmoy: In oneness you get everything. A child has established oneness with his parents, so he knows that if the parents have material power or any power or capacity, then it is all his; the parents are going to give it to him. If you are one with someone, that means all his qualities are your very own, and vice versa. So if you establish your oneness with God’s Compassion on the strength of your gratitude, then inside God’s Compassion you will get everything.

But again, if you find it extremely difficult all the time to think of God’s Compassion or your own gratitude, then try to bring to the fore individual aspects of God’s Capacity. If God’s Power is what you want, then concentrate on God’s Power. If you want God’s Love or God’s Peace, then try to bring these to the fore. Anything you need, you can bring forward individually.

But if gratitude is there, then inside gratitude you will find power, love, peace and all the divine qualities because gratitude means oneness. God plays His role by giving; you play your role by expressing your gratitude. By giving, God shows His oneness with you; and by offering your gratitude, you become one with Him.

MUN 340. 9 January 1976.

Question: What is the best aspect of the Supreme to concentrate on for transformation?180

Sri Chinmoy: It is always advisable to concentrate on the Compassion aspect of the Supreme for our personal transformation or world transformation because it is the Compassion aspect of the Supreme that expedites our progress. If we concentrate on His Heart aspect or Delight aspect or Peace aspect or any other aspect, we may have in our mind the idea of give and take. We have given the Supreme a drop and now He may give us the ocean. Always there is a feeling of an exchange. He is infinitely richer and more powerful than we are. So if we give Him what we have, then He will give us what He has, which will be infinitely more. If we have that kind of feeling, then transformation will occur very slowly.

But if we approach the Supreme through His Compassion aspect, we feel that we are in no way adding to what He has or offering Him anything that He needs. Instead, we feel that we need our own transformation and world transformation and, out of His infinite Bounty, unconditionally He is giving this to us. If we have that kind of feeling, then our heart’s gratitude will overflow and it will accelerate our progress. Gratitude is the fastest way to make individual and collective progress, and gratitude comes when we approach the Compassion aspect of the Supreme.

MUN 341. 16 August 1977.

Question: What is most important in keeping the inner cry?181

Sri Chinmoy: When you aspire for the inner cry, you should know that that inner cry comes from God’s Concern and Compassion. So the most important thing is to offer your gratitude. If you offer gratitude, then immediately your inner cry increases. It becomes continuous and constant. When you offer gratitude, your inner cry mounts to the Highest.

MUN 342. April 1978.

Question: Could you speak on Grace?182

Sri Chinmoy: God has various kinds of Power, but His most powerful Power is His Grace. The moment He uses His Grace for a seeker, He offers His very Life-Breath to the seeker. God and God’s Grace can never be separated. The divine Grace is constantly descending upon us. He who is aspiring sincerely is consciously aware of this divine Grace, whereas he who is not aspiring is keeping his heart’s door closed to it.

If we approach God through His Grace, then we will find Him more accessible. When we think of God, if we immediately feel that God is Grace within and without, then we will find it easier to approach Him. The moment we think of God’s Grace, we feel that His infinite Peace, Light and Bliss are already entering into us and becoming part and parcel of our inner and outer life. But if we think of God as omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, then His divine qualities we do not necessarily see flowing through us. From now on, let us not feel that by going to God we can get His Grace. Instead, let us feel that it is through the Grace of God that we can go to God. Let us think of God’s constantly flowing Grace and let the flow carry us to the Source.

MUN 343. June 1978.

Question: What is the significance of the enormous amount of talent someone might have in sports, music or art? Is it necessarily a gift of Grace from the Supreme?183

Sri Chinmoy: Ultimately, everything is the Grace of the Supreme. Some people have receptivity for this Grace while others do not. The sun is available to everyone. But if you leave all your doors and windows open, then naturally more light will enter into your room than into a room where all the doors and windows are closed.

The ultimate Reality is Grace. Some people are receptive to light, so naturally light can function in and through them much more powerfully. Each talent is only an opening of either the heart or the mind or some other part of our existence to the Highest.

MUN 344. April 1978.

Question: Is there any relationship between the light that the seeker receives and the light that the earth receives?184

Sri Chinmoy: The Light of the Supreme is descending to earth in infinite measure. Each seeker is receiving this Light according to his capacity or receptivity. Earth embodies the seeker and, at the same time, the seeker represents Mother Earth. When the seeker receives light, immediately this light enters into the earth-consciousness. Again, when Mother Earth receives light, she immediately offers it to her children. When the soul of the earth receives light, she shares this light with her seeker-children. And when the children receive light, they share the light with their Mother Earth.

MUN 345. 7 March 1975.

Question: How can we be most receptive?185

Sri Chinmoy: Try to live a life of utmost sincerity, humility and purity. In that way you will be able to receive divine peace, light, bliss, delight and power in abundant measure according to your own inner receptivity.

MUN 346. May 1978.

Question: Is there something that we can consciously do or practise to cultivate humility?186

Sri Chinmoy: You can meditate on a tree. A tree that does not have fruits, that has nothing to offer, stands proudly erect. But a tree that has hundreds of fruits always bends down with utmost humility and offers its fruits to mankind. When it bends down to offer its fruits, it is not looked down upon by others. On the contrary, the tree is appreciated, admired and adored. When you see how humble the tree with fruits is and how it is appreciated by others, this will help you develop your own humility. When you have some fruits, some achievements, you are of greater necessity to mankind. And when you offer your fruits with humility, the world needs you and loves you infinitely more than it would otherwise.

A mother may be tall, but when she wants to offer her food to the child, she bends down. The child sees that the mother is tall and could easily have remained at her own height. But out of love she does not do that. So the child’s love for the mother and gratitude to the mother increase considerably when she bends down. Similarly, when we have something and want to give it to the world, if we do so with humility, then we get appreciation and admiration from the world in boundless measure. When we realise this, then we can easily cultivate humility.

MUN 347. 18 October 1974.

Question: How can one accept and love one's fellow man?187

Sri Chinmoy: First of all you must feel that your fellow man is part and parcel of your own existence. I have two eyes. If my left eye does not function as well as my right eye, do I become angry with my left eye and take it out of my body? Do I keep my left eye closed or cover it and say, “I will not let you see?” No! I simply accept my left eye as less capable than my right eye, but still as a part of me. When I have to look at something, I use both eyes, and the eye that is more powerful naturally does more work.

You must regard the persons around you as limbs of your own body. Without them you are incomplete. You may feel that you do not need them, but they also have their own role to play. Your thumb is much more powerful than your little finger, but the little finger also has its job. If you want to play the piano or type, you need all your fingers. God created the human hand with five fingers and, although some are shorter and weaker than others, all are necessary if the hand is to be perfect.

You can love the people around you only when you feel the necessity of real perfection, for their perfection is part and parcel of your own perfection. If you remain isolated as an individual, then your achievement will be limited. Your very sense of perfection will be limited. But if you want to have unlimited achievement and unlimited perfection, then you have to look to your wider self; you have to love humanity and accept humanity as your own, very own. For it is only by accepting humanity as part and parcel of your own life, and by perfecting humanity with your own illumination, that you can fulfil yourself.

MUN 348. 26 January 1973.

Question: Goodwill is love in action and a first step towards true spiritual love. Should it not be the main quality to be fostered in mankind?188

Sri Chinmoy: You are absolutely right. Goodwill is love in action and it has to be fostered in mankind. But in order to foster goodwill, we have to know where it comes from. Does it come from the physical mind? No! Does it come from the dynamic vital? No! Does it come from the alert body? No! Goodwill comes only from the aspiring heart, the heart that cries to see its Beloved Supreme in itself and in all other hearts. This goodwill, which comes from the aspiring heart, is undoubtedly love in action. And without fail it has to be fostered in order to accelerate humanity’s progress.

MUN 349. 20 May 1977.

Question: Are love and awareness the same thing?189

Sri Chinmoy: No, they are not. Love is oneness; awareness is not oneness. You can be aware of a person or a movement or an incident or an event; but that does not mean that you are inseparably one with the person or the event.

MU 350. April 1978.

Question: What does power mean in the spiritual life?190

Sri Chinmoy: In the ordinary life, power means supremacy. If you have power, consciously or unconsciously you will try to be one step ahead of me or one inch above me. Human power tries to lord it over others. It does not allow you to be one with someone else. But spiritual power, divine power, is the power of expansion, the power of identification, the power of oneness. When you first achieve spiritual power, it takes the form of identification. Identification can last for an hour, half an hour, a minute. For a short time you will identify yourself with the rest of the world; for a while, the sufferings and joys of all human beings will become yours. If you see a person suffering, you will momentarily identify with his suffering. If you see someone in a very cheerful frame of mind, you will identify yourself with his happiness for an hour or so. But when the particular person is not in front of you any longer, you do not know whether he is suffering or in a happy mood. So it becomes “out of sight, out of mind.”

When you go higher and deeper in your spiritual life, you go beyond identification to conscious oneness. When you have established oneness, no matter where the person is, in some way that person’s suffering or joy will become part and parcel of your life. When you have oneness, it lasts for twenty-four hours a day.

After achieving oneness, you have to reveal and manifest your oneness. It is one thing to embody oneness, another to reveal it, still another to manifest it. Each represents a different kind of power. Let us say that you have the capacity to write a poem. This is also a form of power, which right now you embody. When you actually write the poem, you reveal the power. Anybody can see it if he comes and asks to see it. Then, if the poem is published and people are getting benefit from it, that is called manifestation.

In the spiritual life, power will enable you to identify and establish your oneness with the rest of the world. Then it will help you to reveal your capacity, and finally it will help you to manifest your capacity — all without any sense of supremacy.

MUN 351. 1974.

Question: How can I have more will-power and clarity?191

Sri Chinmoy: When you think of will-power, unfortunately you think of it as being inside your mind. But it is not true. Will-power is inside the third eye, and the third eye is not inside your physical mind. Real will-power enters into the third eye from the soul. The soul’s light is will-power, real will-power. And the soul is inside the heart. So the easiest and most effective way to cultivate will-power is to concentrate on the heart.

People feel that the heart is feminine and the mind is masculine. In the mind there is a tiger, a lion or a bull that will fight. This is our human conception. But this is a mistake. Inside the heart is the soul, and the soul has infinitely more capacity than the mind. So if you want adamantine will-power, then you have to look inside the heart, not the head.

You also want clarity. Now you are in darkness, but if you have a little light, then you can see what is around you. If you can get even an iota of your soul’s light, then you will be able to see everything even if you walk along the darkest path. So if you want clarity in your mind, concentrate on your heart and dig there. Think that you have a tool to dig with and every day dig deeper. If each day you dig a little further, eventually you will be able to feel and see the light. First you feel, then you see, then you become. First you will feel that there is something inside, like a very tiny insect: that is the light. Then you will see it with your inner vision or even with your human vision. Finally you will grow into it.

MUN 352. April 1978.

Question: How can I live in God's Beauty?192

Sri Chinmoy: The best approach is to see and feel that you are the very thing that you are seeking. You eternally are this reality, but right now you are not aware of it. Therefore, you have to cry for that which you already are. But it has to be a psychic cry. If you really want God’s Beauty, then just cry and cry. But first you have to ask yourself if you really want God’s Beauty. Is it just mental curiosity that is driving you to this reality or do you desperately need it? If you feel that you desperately need this reality, if you feel that you want God’s Beauty not because it will give you something but because without God’s Beauty you cannot exist, then it becomes the only reality in your life. There can be nothing else for you. At that time, naturally you will be living in God’s Beauty.

MUN 353-355. 18 July 1978.

Question: How can I have more patience in my spiritual journey?

Sri Chinmoy: If you know what patience is, then it is very easy for you to have more of it. If you feel it takes a certain length of time to achieve a particular thing, then you will become impatient when the time is up. Suppose you have set a time limit for your God-realisation. After that time, if God is still hiding from you, you become impatient.

You have to feel that it is not your role to set a time for your self-mastery. You should say, “I shall realise God at His choice Hour.” God has not asked you to set the time when He will come to visit you; that is for Him to do. You be responsible only for your prayer and meditation; let God be responsible for the Hour. Each one can take care of his own business. Prayer belongs to you, but the time belongs to the Supreme.

Question: Is patience always necessary?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, patience is always necessary. But we have to know the difference between patience and tolerance. Sometimes when we surrender to something or tolerate something, we mistakenly think that we are showing patience. But we have tolerance only because we feel there is no other way for us. This tolerance is not patience at all.

In real patience there is always satisfaction, because patience sees some progression towards the goal. The progress may be very slow, but definitely there is movement. Real patience will wait for Eternity while the individual progresses. But if it is only tolerance that is playing the role of patience, then there will be no real satisfaction.

Question: How can we develop patience?193

Sri Chinmoy: In order to develop patience, we have to feel that we have launched into a spiritual journey, an inner journey, which has a Goal, and that this Goal wants us and needs us as much as we want and need it. This Goal is ready to accept us and give us what it has, but it will do this in its own way at the choice Hour of God. God is definitely going to give His Wealth to us, but only when the time is right.

Patience will never tell us that spirituality is a hopeless task. Patience will tell us either that we are not ready or that the time is not yet ripe. Although we may feel that we are ready, we have to know that our integral being, our whole being, may still be unprepared. Our soul may be ready, our heart may be ready, our mind may be ready, but our vital and physical may not be ready to reach the Goal, which is Light and Truth. Only when our whole being is ready will the Goal itself dawn inside our aspiring consciousness. When the hour strikes, the Goal will draw us towards itself like a magnet.

In the spiritual life we have to feel that patience is not something passive. On the contrary, it is something dynamic. In patience we develop our inner strength and will-power. It is true that if we have will-power, we can easily acquire patience. But it is equally true that when we have patience, our inner will-power develops itself in a special way.

MUN 356. 1 February 1973.

Question: Is it important for a spiritual aspirant to have satisfaction?194

Sri Chinmoy: Let us say that you have worked hard at something, and now you are going to get the result in the form of an experience. If the experience comes in the form of failure, and if you can accept it as cheerfully as success, then your satisfaction will be perfect. If you can gladly accept the result of your action no matter which form it takes, whether success or failure, then satisfaction is bound to dawn.

But if you do not work at all just because you are afraid that you will fail, then you will get zero; you will not pass the inner examination. True, there are people who do not work, yet they appear to be satisfied. But they are not actually satisfied. A lazy person, an idle person, can never, never be satisfied even for one minute. On the physical plane, a lazy person’s satisfaction means not having to work or not having to even climb down the staircase. But although he is satisfied on the physical plane, on the mental plane evil thoughts are making a big hole in his mind. He has stayed in bed five hours after the sun has dawned. He is so satisfied because he did not have to budge an inch from his bed. But while he is wallowing in lethargy, all kinds of hostile, undivine forces, unlit emotional forces, have come and entered into him. So what kind of satisfaction can he have?

If wrong forces enter into you and you enjoy vital thoughts, then after an hour or two you will get up and cry. When the soul comes forward you will say, “What have I done? My first mistake was not to get up early in the morning, and my second mistake was to indulge in these vital thoughts.” This is what is happening in the spiritual life of many seekers. So I always say, do the right thing right from the beginning. Early in the morning, meditate. After meditation, if you are not very happy, if you feel that peace has not descended, just offer your experience up to God. This very act of offering will be your satisfaction.

MUN 357. 18 July 1978.

Question: How can I get satisfaction right this moment?195

Sri Chinmoy: We have to do first things first. Who has satisfaction? Who is satisfaction? God. So if we pray to God and meditate on God, then satisfaction is at our disposal. If we go deep within, we see that satisfaction is always there.

MUN 358. April 1978.

Question: What is the spiritual significance of balance?196

Sri Chinmoy: In the spiritual life, balance is of paramount importance. When the result of an action elevates our consciousness, we feel that we are running towards our destined Goal. When our inner cry takes us to the loftiest heights, our whole being becomes a sea of delight. But when we do not have this kind of success, it does not mean that we are not running towards the Highest. Sometimes defeat is a blessing in disguise, or a reality that is secretly preparing us to run the fastest. When undivine thoughts fill our mind, we should feel they are like passing clouds. Soon they will disappear and once again our inner sun will come to the fore. If we have inner balance and do not become sad or depressed, only then can we make the fastest progress. We need equanimity of mind in order to make the heart receptive. We need balance in order to achieve real satisfaction.

MUN 359. 18 July 1978.

Question: How can we increase our purity?197

Sri Chinmoy: Nothing is as important as purity in the seeker’s life. Every day the seeker should invoke purity or meditate on purity. One very good way to invoke purity is by repeating a mantra, and there is no better mantra than ‘God’ or ‘Supreme’. If you practise spiritual breathing, every time you breathe in and every time you breathe out, you can repeat ‘God’ or ‘Supreme’ seven times. If you cannot do it seven times, then you should do it three times. Each time you breathe in, if you can say ‘Supreme’ three times or seven times, you will feel that you are bringing down universal purity into your physical system. And while you are breathing out, you will feel that you are expelling all your impure thoughts and ignorance. This will help considerably.

MUN 360. 11 August 1978.

Question: What are some of the worst impurities?198

Sri Chinmoy: The worst impurity is a negative thought. When you are impure, you think, “I cannot do the right thing. I cannot think of God or meditate on God. I cannot see the light or the truth.” Self-doubt, insincerity and the feeling of unworthiness are all negative ways of thinking. All these negative qualities are self-imposed.

We always have to see the light in a positive way. If I say, “I do not have any light at all. All I have is darkness,” then I am not only fooling myself but also digging my own grave. If I feel that I am all darkness, I will not even try to go towards the light. If I constantly think, “I am impure, I am insincere,” then I really become impure and insincere. Even if I say that I have light or purity only in infinitesimal measure, at least there is some hope of increasing it. So it is always better to take the positive approach.

When somebody says, “I am impure,” very often in the back of his mind he feels that he is at least one iota better than his neighbour or friend or somebody else. He tries to make others think he is sincere by exercising his false modesty. But all that he is doing is demonstrating his insincerity. Again, if an ordinary human being says that he has abundant purity and boundless light, then he, too, is being insincere.

Whatever we see and feel inside ourselves we try to exhibit outwardly. If I have impure thoughts, I will also have impure acts. If I am inwardly insincere, then I will take refuge outwardly in the house of insincerity. But if I am sincere and pure inside, then outwardly I will take shelter in the house of purity and sincerity.

MUN 361. 11 August 1978.

Question: How can we acquire practicality in a divine sense?199

Sri Chinmoy: Divine practicality means that before you start an action, you feel that the action does not belong to you. Then, while acting, you feel that you are not the doer; it is Someone else who is acting in and through you. And, when the result of the action comes, you do not feel it belongs to you; so you share it with others. You feel that it was not you who accomplished something but the Person who inspired you and was acting in and through you. If you can feel the divine inspiration behind each action and share the result with others, then you can have divine practicality in your life at every moment.

MUN 362. April 1978.

Question: How can we more fully surrender to the Supreme?200

Sri Chinmoy: The easiest and most effective way to fully surrender to the Will of the Supreme is to increase your necessity for Him. In this world, when you feel the necessity of something, immediately you surrender to that necessity. If you feel the necessity for money or material power, you surrender to the necessities involved in getting and keeping a good job, you surrender to your boss and so on. If you want to be a good singer, you surrender to the wisdom and capacity of your singing teacher because you feel that he is superior to you and will be able to show you how to attain your goal. By surrendering to a real authority, you learn how to achieve your necessities.

The highest Authority within you is the Supreme. How do you surrender to Him? First, you must feel the necessity of oneness. When you feel the necessity of inseparable oneness with Him, immediately you offer your will to His Will. Next, you must ask yourself if you want this oneness to be constant. If it is not constant, at one moment you will be inseparable from Him and the next moment you will be totally separated from Him. This moment if the Supreme says, “Go and sit down,” you will do it. But the next moment you may refuse. Only if your necessity for oneness with the Supreme becomes unconditional and constant will you be with Him, in Him, of Him and for Him twenty-four hours a day.

When you are in your office, you have to think of office activities; otherwise, your work will not be satisfactory and your boss will fire you. But while you are working in the office or talking to your boss or your colleagues, if you can remember how devotedly you prayed to the Supreme early in the morning, that will give you tremendous inner strength and confidence. On the mental plane you will give all attention to your office work, but on the inner plane, on the psychic plane, you can think about God and try to feel God’s Presence.

If you have a large amount of money inside your pocket, nobody is going to see that it is there. Similarly, if you keep the light and peace that you felt during your meditation inside your heart, nobody will know what wealth you are hiding there. And although it is possible for someone to steal the money from your pocket, from your heart-pocket no thief can steal anything. So when you meditate, please feel that you have stored up a divine treasure trove inside your heart. If you can establish a permanent feeling of God’s Presence inside your heart, then it will not be difficult at all for you to listen to the Dictates of the Supreme and be one with His Will all the time. Even when you mix with people and enter into all kinds of activities, you will not lose your oneness with the Supreme. It is not only possible and practicable to do this, but in the course of time it will be inevitable.

MUN 363. 24 May 1974.

Question: If our fulfilment lies in our utter consecration to the life divine, could you say something about consecration?201

Sri Chinmoy: In the divine life, consecration is fulfilment. But it is not the kind of fulfilment we get when we achieve something in a particular field. That kind of outer fulfilment we call success, whereas divine fulfilment comes only in progress. Progress means an upward, inward or forward journey. Each time we consecrate our body, vital, mind, heart and soul to a higher or inner cause, we are proceeding forward; we are climbing upward and diving inward. And this movement is continuous progress.

Consecration is self-giving to the Divine. It is through self-giving that we eventually become godlike. So let us consecrate all our good qualities, our very existence, to the Divine in others. Each human being houses a few good qualities and a few bad qualities. If we offer our own good qualities to the good qualities of others, it is like two persons joining in a tug-of-war against ignorance; naturally the divine forces shall win. This is the correct and safe way to transform ignorance and change the face of the world.

MUN 364. 10 May 1974.

Question: How can self-offering be distinguished from other kinds of actions?202

Sri Chinmoy: Somebody may do something to fulfil his own purpose without a higher goal or a higher ideal. Each thing we do is not necessarily self-offering. You may be working in an office — your physical is working, your vital is working, your mind is working — but your attitude need not be spiritual. Self-offering has to be done with a consecrated attitude inside the entire being. If the attitude is spiritual, only then is it self-offering. While working, you have to feel that this is what the divine within you, the Supreme within you, is asking you to do. And then you have to go one step ahead. You have to feel that God Himself is acting in and through you for His own Satisfaction. This is the divine attitude. Only when you embody this attitude is your work an act of self-offering.

It is the attitude inside the action that determines whether the action is selfless self-giving or whether it is something done in a subtle way for self-glory. If an action is motivated and inspired by a higher cause, then only can you call it self-offering. Otherwise, here on earth people do thousands and millions of things just because they have to meet with earthly responsibilities and earthly obligations. There is no divine inspiration; there is no inner awakening. If there is no inner awakening, if there is no inner awareness of what you are doing, why you are doing it and how it should be done, then you cannot call it self-offering.

MUN 365. 8 January 1976.

Question: What is charity?203

Sri Chinmoy: Charity is a form of self-giving. If we have ten dollars and give five pennies, then we feel we have done an act of charity. In charity, we usually give just a little. Although we have a large quantity of something, we give just a portion of it and feel that this is more than enough. We justify ourselves by saying, “We have given only this little portion, but who has the right to tell us to give more? We did not have to give anything at all!”

When we give something with charity, we have a kind of inner feeling that the world will come to know of our kind action and appreciate and admire us. We tell others that we are giving and then we wait like a beggar to see who is appreciating us or who is acknowledging our charity. So always there is some expectation or condition associated with our gift.

There is a great difference between charity and self-offering. In the spiritual life, when we speak of self-offering, it means that we are trying to give what we have and what we are unconditionally to God or to mankind. Self-giving is a giving of the entire, integral being; it comes from the body, vital, mind, heart and soul. What we have and what we are, we are giving wholeheartedly to a divine cause. Charity is also a form of self-giving, but in only a very, very limited measure; it comes from an infinitesimal portion of our existence. It is by no means complete self-giving. Complete self-giving comes only when we have the capacity to identify ourselves with the infinite light and the infinite Vast. In real self-giving, we feel that we are giving to our own expanded self. In fact, we do not feel that we are the givers; we feel that it is the Divine in us who is giving to the Divine in others.

MUN 366. June 1978.

Question: How can I be more selfless?204

Sri Chinmoy: You can inspire yourself to be more selfless by watching people who are not selfless and by watching people who are selfless. People who are not selfless, who are greedy and miserly, can never be happy, whereas people who are selfless and sacrificing are happy. Since you want to be happy, you will be inspired to try to become more selfless. It is you who have to make the choice, either to enter the domain of selfishness or the domain of selflessness.

MUN 367. 18 January 1975.

Question: How can I become self-giving with spontaneity and joy?205

Sri Chinmoy: Joy, spontaneity and self-giving always go together. If you have a joyful and spontaneous heart, that means you also possess a self-giving heart. Self-giving is the hyphen or connecting link between joy and spontaneity. Again, inside joy you will find spontaneity and self-giving.

You ask how you can become self-giving? You can become self-giving by constantly feeling joy in every part of your existence, from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head. If you can feel that a river of spontaneous joy is flowing in and through you, then automatically you become self-giving in whatever you say, do or grow into.

MUN 368. 12 November 1976.

Question: What is the best way to establish joy in every part of the being?206

Sri Chinmoy: The best way to establish joy in every part of our being is by feeling constant gratitude to the One who is responsible for our having accepted the spiritual life. At every second we have to remember what we were before we became consciously spiritual. No matter how far away the Goal still is, we can easily see the distance we have already covered.

We can offer gratitude to God, or to our spiritual teacher, or to our path; we can even offer gratitude to our own good qualities or to the inner cry that started us on our spiritual journey. Whatever we offer gratitude to, it ultimately goes to the Source, to the One who has inspired us to see a higher reality and run towards the Goal. We offer gratitude to the Source because it has created in us an inner urge to return to it and seek fulfilment there. And gratitude in its various forms gives us total joy in every part of our being.

MUN 369. 10 August 1976.

Question: When we feel spontaneous inner joy, how can we preserve it?207

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes you get tremendous joy, which you cannot account for or explain. There is no outer reason, but you are just feeling spontaneous joy. It is because your soul has come to the fore at that particular time. If you see that your joy is going away while talking to someone, then immediately try to shorten your conversation with that person. If you are doing something that is taking away your joy, then immediately stop doing that thing. When you get joy from within and it is still very fresh, do not do anything that diminishes it until that joy is strengthened inside you. No matter how long it takes to assimilate this joy — whether it is a half hour or an hour or even two hours — just give yourself the time. Once it is assimilated into your system, then it is safe. Before you are secure in your joy, even one word from someone can take it away totally. So always be extremely careful when your soul comes to the fore and gives you spontaneous joy. Immediately you should try to go deep within and assimilate it.

MUN 370. April 1978.

Question: How can I acquire lasting inner joy?208

Sri Chinmoy: You can acquire lasting inner joy through constant, unconditional self-giving. Each time you give something of yourself unconditionally, God immediately gives you in return something of His own. If you give to humanity what you have — just a little concern or love — immediately and spontaneously something divine will enter into you. Suppose you give five dollars to a human being. Naturally you expect something in return, if only a smile or a ‘thank you’. Give and take is the law of life on earth. But when you give unconditionally, you have to feel that your task is to give the person five dollars because you have received an inner command. As soon as you have given, your role is over and the transaction is complete. That is the divine way of giving.

Inside the particular person you gave the money to is Someone called God, and in some way God will immediately give you joy by expanding your heart, your consciousness, your aspiration. But if you expect to get something from the other person, you are the real loser. God simply says, “All right, since you want to settle your own account, I will not be involved. You gave him five dollars and he will give you something in return. The shopkeeper and the customer are there; it is a business deal. They do not need Me in their business.” If you behave in this way, you will never get real, abiding joy. Even if, after you do someone a favour, that person gives you something in return that is far beyond your imagination, still you will not get abiding joy. But if you just give what you feel from within, whether it is money or love or concern or anything else that is yours, then God immediately will give you His Love, His Pride and His boundless Peace, Light and Bliss.

Unfortunately, in today’s world we do not do anything unconditionally. We do not even meditate unconditionally. When we sit down to meditate, we expect a little light or a little joy. But are we beggars? The Supreme is our Father and Mother; He is everything to us. If He inwardly asks us to think of Him and meditate on Him, we should do it out of our boundless love for Him, and not expect anything in return. What happens after that is entirely up to Him. The inner cry that makes us want to pray and meditate has come directly from Him. If He has given us the capacity to pray and meditate, will He not also give us the capacity to receive His Light and Bliss? Giving is a kind of capacity and receiving is also a kind of capacity. He will automatically give us this capacity if we do not expect or demand anything from Him.

We make our lives miserable because of what we expect from relatives, from friends, from associates and from others. Even when we expect something from ourselves, which we think we can legitimately expect, we are disappointed. Not only are we disappointed but also our expectation ruins the divine nature of our selfless actions. The moment we expect something from someone, consciously or unconsciously we push or pull beyond our capacity. Then we enter into terrible confusion. But if we love the reality and divinity in ourselves and in others, then the Supreme in that reality and divinity will give us much more than we expect.

No human being on earth can give us lasting joy; it is only the Supreme within us who can inundate us with lasting peace and bliss. We simply have to play our role, and the Supreme will offer us abiding joy in His own Way. We do not know what His Way is, so let us leave it up to Him to do as He pleases with us and for us.

MUN 371. 22 February 1974.

Question: Is there any difference between delight and bliss?209

Sri Chinmoy: There is only a slight difference between delight and bliss. Delight is like water; it flows and spreads like a liquid. Bliss is something thick and dense. It does not have the capacity to spread, nor does it want to spread. It has everything, and it stays in one place. But delight wants expansion, the expansion of its capacity. Also, in delight there is subtlety and transparency, for inside delight there is light in a flowing form. Light is flowing in delight.

MUN 372. April 1978.

Question: Can you give us some suggestions on how we might use in our jobs the light, joy, bliss and other qualities that we receive in our meditation?210

Sri Chinmoy: When you meditate you do get something — either peace or light or bliss or some other divine qualities. These divine qualities are your treasure. In the outer world, you keep your money in your wallet and use it whenever you want to buy something. When you meditate, you earn money in the form of peace, light and power and keep it in your heart-wallet. Do not feel that you only have this inner wealth when you are meditating consciously. No! This divine wealth you have earned through your prayer and meditation; it is absolutely yours, and you can use it any time you want to. Ordinary money-power you use to buy the things that you want. But your light-power or peace-power you can use to conquer something. You can conquer ignorance by inundating it with your inner light and peace.

Right now your spiritual life is a tiny, fragile plant that can easily be destroyed, so on the inner plane you have to be very careful. In your office you have to associate with many people who are not aspiring at all. They have their own world, their own life, which can easily devour your aspiration. But you have the power to protect yourself from the world-ignorance. You must be constantly aware that you have this inner power; otherwise, you will not remember to use it to solve your problems. This very often happens. Even now, we are all inseparably one with God, but we have forgotten. Only by practising meditation for years and years do we become consciously aware that God exists inside us and come to realise what it means to be inseparably one with Him. People who have realised God say that He was always there within them, but they had totally forgotten.

When you pray and meditate, try to keep the experience that you get constantly alive inside you. You have something, but it is up to you to utilise it. If you do not utilise it, then after some time it will lose its power. When you meditate you do get peace, light and bliss. Peace is power, light is power, bliss is power; all the divine qualities are power — power to stand against the ignorance of the outer world. Always try to remind yourself of the divine qualities that you have achieved during your meditation. Then it will be quite easy for you to stand against ignorance. If you just remember the qualities that you have achieved, these very qualities will fight against ignorance on your behalf.

MUN 373. October 1973.

Question: How can I develop and maintain a feeling of worthiness and self-respect?211

Sri Chinmoy: You have to realise that the thing you want and need in order to discover your worth is already there. God is already there, but you do not see Him. You are an instrument of God; His Capacity, His Vision, His Reality are there and He wants to manifest these in and through you. But how can you be conscious of it? You can become conscious of it through your dedicated, soulful aspiration and service. If you pray and meditate most soulfully, you will become aware of God’s Presence in your life and you will see that He is manifesting His Divinity in and through you. If you become more soulful, devoted and sincere in your approach to the Inner Pilot, you can easily become conscious of your own divine qualities. For you will realise that everything that God has, you are going to have as your own.

Divine confidence is of paramount importance. And what is divine confidence? It is confidence in God and in yourself. Unless you have confidence in God and in yourself, you will never feel yourself worthy of being God’s instrument. Your self-confidence tells you that you will do everything for God. Your God-confidence tells you that He is more than eager to do everything in and through you. When you have confidence in yourself and confidence in God, you will be able to see your inner progress; and inside that progress you will see that you are really worthy of God’s Compassion, Joy and Pride.

MUN 374. 18 July 1975.

Question: Can you tell us the role of good character in the spiritual life?212

Sri Chinmoy: In the spiritual life good character is of paramount importance. To have good character means that soulful and boundless life-energy is operating in and through the seeker. If the seeker does not see and feel boundless energy, peace, light and bliss, then how can he remain in his highest consciousness?

If one is a seeker, then he has to be a person of character; otherwise, his life will be contradictory. God is all purity. If one wants to make real, solid, tangible progress and realise God as fast as possible, then purity must come first. Purity is the ladder we climb up in order to reach God’s Abode. If there is no ladder, then how can we climb up?

Without good character, there will be no purity. And if one does not have purity inside the heart and inside the physical, then how can he make progress? Purity and character go together. If someone has inner purity, then he also has good character. And if somebody has good character, it means he is maintaining in his inner life tremendous purity.

MUN 375. 3 October 1975.

Question: How can we become childlike in spirit?213

Sri Chinmoy: In the outer life we see that when the grandfather talks to his grandchildren, if he is wise he becomes like another child. He knows that only by acting like a child will he be able to give the children satisfaction and get satisfaction from them. We have to feel that God Himself is a Divine Child who is always playing with us. A child is ready to play twenty-four hours a day. And we have to become like a child in order to play with God.

If a boy of nineteen does not have the capacity to draw something from the world or offer something to the world, if he remains aloof and feels that he does not need anything from the world, then he is ninety-nine years old in spirit. On the other hand, if somebody of ninety-nine wants to learn the inner language — the language of divine love, the language of divine peace, the language of inner wisdom, the language of inner light — then he is a child in spirit.

If someone wants to get only information from the world, this will not help him to be childlike. For this kind of information is given by the mind and received through the mind. And if a person lives in the mind, he will never be able to act like a child. Who cannot act like a child? He who cares more for the intellect than for the heart. He who cares more for outer achievement than for inner achievement. He who cares more for the society around him than for the God within him. If you really want to become a child, then you have to feel that there is Someone who is thinking of you constantly. You have to feel that there is Someone who is not only thinking of you and meditating on you, but who is also taking responsibility for you.

A child always feels that his mother or his father will take care of him. All the time he feels that there is protection, guidance and assistance. So naturally he has confidence in his life. Because he is always in the heart, a child feels he can rely totally upon his parents. He feels that there is no need which his parents will not fulfil. If he lived in the mind he would immediately think, “Oh, perhaps my father will not be able to do this. Perhaps my mother will not be there to help me.” Then he would become fearful, doubtful and anxious.

In the spiritual life, no matter how old you are, you have to feel that there is Someone with infinitely more wisdom-light who is constantly thinking of you, loving you, guiding you and protecting you, and that this Person is God. And you have to rely upon God with a child’s heart. Only then can you receive God’s Peace, Light, Love and Bliss in infinite measure.

No matter how old or sophisticated he may be, a student is always a child in the presence of his teacher. The moment we feel that we know everything and can do everything, we lose our childlike qualities.

In the spiritual life, we learn something every day, every hour, every minute, every second from our Father, God. If we constantly have the childlike feeling that we are learning in the inner world, there is no end to our ability to receive and achieve God’s Divinity. We can become childlike when we know that there is always something to learn and that God is there to teach us.

MUN 376-377. 2 March 1973.

Question: It seems to me that it is easy to have this feeling if one is living in a spiritual community with all his needs provided for. But what about someone who is a separate individual living in the world?

Sri Chinmoy: What you are saying is absolutely true. In a spiritual community it is much easier to be childlike, for there one will have a Master whose concern one can feel constantly. But even a person who is living in the world can have a childlike attitude towards God. To be childlike does not mean to be childish. We can be simple, sincere and spontaneous in our dealings with the sophisticated world without being stupid or foolish. We can have implicit faith in God’s Protection and Guidance even while living and working in the ordinary world. To have this faith, we must feel that whatever job we are doing was given to us by God, out of His infinite Compassion. It is He who has given us the necessary capacity to do the work satisfactorily and keep the job, and it is He who will enable us to find another job if we lose the one we have. This kind of childlike faith is not foolishness. Far from it! It is the spontaneous trust of a child in his father or mother. This kind of feeling will never stand as a hindrance in our outer life.

While following the spiritual life, if we do not take a childlike attitude, our speed will be hampered. It is only a child who can constantly be moulded. A child is like a lump of divine clay. He can easily be shaped into something divinely beautiful. If someone tries to maintain his independence while following the spiritual life, he will not make much progress. There is only One who is truly independent and that is God. The more we can be dependent on that One, the faster will be our progress. Human individuality does not last. No matter how hard we try to maintain it, we must eventually give it up if we sincerely want to become close to God and one with God. If we try to expand our human personality, very soon it bursts like a balloon. But our divine individuality, which is the supreme individuality, is already infinitely vast. It can embrace all our human individuality.

Question: How can we become aware of truth?214

Sri Chinmoy: It is through prayer and meditation. Right now this body that we claim as our own is our only truth. This body, which will live for sixty or seventy years, is our life. But when we pray and meditate, we see that this body is not our entire existence. We also have a soul, which lives in eternal life. Here on earth for seventy years or so we play a specific role; then we leave the body and take rest. After some time, again we will come back to earth to love and manifest God.

How can we be eternally aware of what we have within us? We can be eternally aware of our inner existence, of our eternal life, only through constant prayer and meditation.

MUN 378. 13 June 1975.

Question: How would you define ultimate Truth?215

Sri Chinmoy: In the world of the mind, we feel that if we can get our Ph.D., then we will have the ultimate Truth in terms of outer knowledge. But when we actually get our Ph.D., if we are sincere, we feel it is just the beginning — a starting point for a vaster, more profound knowledge. We feel that there are millions of things that we do not know even on the outer plane, not to speak of on the inner plane.

Ultimate Truth cannot be defined. Like the ultimate Goal, it is constantly going beyond its own height. As there is no end to our progress, no end to our achievement, so also there is no end to the ultimate Truth. What we achieve in our eternal Godward journey is the experience of the ever-transcending Truth.

In the spiritual life, the ultimate Truth or the ultimate Goal is only the farthest horizon of today’s vision. As far as we can see, from where we stand, is the ultimate Truth for us, so we try to go there. But the closer we get to that Goal, the farther we can see beyond it. At first we think the ultimate Truth is to become inseparably one with God. But when we become inseparably one with God, we see that we can go much farther if we want to. We can become conscious and surrendered instruments, divine instruments of God. God-realisation is just the starting point for God-revelation, which takes us to a higher level. Then comes God-manifestation, which again can be infinitely expanded.

Today’s ultimate Truth for a seeker can be the attainment of divine peace, light and bliss. But when he gets these qualities in abundant measure, he wants them in infinite measure. And in Infinity there is no boundary, only constant transcendence. In the spiritual life, the ultimate is never a finality, a fixed place, because the inner urge is always to surpass and go beyond, beyond, beyond. The ultimate Truth of today is the starting point for another, higher ultimate Truth to-morrow. And the day after tomorrow that new Truth becomes the starting point for the realisation of a Truth still higher. This process is happening to God even in His own Life. God created the world and He Himself is evolving ever higher in and through us. In the process of evolution we cannot say what the end will be.

MUN 379. 22 February 1974.

Chapter 12: The spiritual dimension

Question: What is spirituality?216

Sri Chinmoy: Spirituality is the science that teaches us how to achieve peace of mind and supreme satisfaction. Right now we are hankering after many, many things, but nothing we get satisfies us. Spirituality tells us that satisfaction can be found only if we lead a good and divine life — a life of simplicity, purity and humility. When we lead a divine life, we try to transform and illumine our bad qualities and expand our good qualities. In doing this, we are to some extent satisfied with what we have and what we are. But at the same time, we are all the time trying to go beyond what we have and what we are in order to become more receptive to higher realities. By following the path of spirituality, eventually we achieve the divine love that illumines our entire being and offers us perfection in life. Through divine love and divine perfection, we achieve oneness with God, which is nothing short of supreme satisfaction.

Spirituality is very complicated for those who do not practise it. But for those who practise it, spirituality is very simple. If we expect from spirituality peace, joy, love, closeness to God and oneness with God, then spirituality is bound to give us these realities. But if we expect from spirituality earthly name and fame, earthly prosperity and so forth, then spirituality will disappoint us. Only divine things — peace, light, bliss, joy, happiness and satisfaction in the purest sense of the term — will spirituality give us.

The source of spirituality, according to Indian tradition, is yoga. Yoga means union with God. From yoga, spirituality has come into existence and from spirituality, religion has come into existence. Then, from religion, philosophy has come. Philosophy reminds us that this is not the only world, that there are many higher and inner worlds, and it tells us to enter into those worlds.

MUN 380. 24 April 1981.

Question: Can you define the soul?217

Sri Chinmoy: The soul is subtler than the subtlest, finer than the finest and, at the same time, larger than the largest. This is the description of the soul that you get in the Bhagavad Gita and in our sacred Upanishads. This truth can be seen, felt and realised when we meditate.

The soul is the representative of God here on earth, a spark of the Divine. God the Omniscient, the Omnipotent, the Omnipresent is one; but here in this world of multiplicity each soul represents a different aspect of God’s multiplicity. When the soul takes human shape, it tries first to create possibilities and then inevitabilities by manifesting the Truth that it has already achieved. It tries to transform the world of ignorance into a world of light and delight.

There is an unmanifested Self, which we call Purusha, and again, there is a Self that is going to manifest on earth through the soul, which is called Prakriti. Purusha is not indifferent, but it will always remain on the highest, transcendental level of Consciousness. The other Self, Prakriti, will take part in the Cosmic Game through the individual soul.

When we become one with our soul, we enter into the highest Consciousness, which we call Sat-Chit-Ananda. This is the triple Consciousness, where Existence, Consciousness and Bliss come together. When we live in the soul, eventually we enter into this triple Consciousness.

MUN 381-384. 1976.

Question: You say that when the body dies the soul goes back to its own world. What is the soul's world?

Sri Chinmoy: As earth is our body’s world, so also there is a world which we call the soul’s world. We are all God’s children. A child always has a home. After going to the playground for a few hours, he returns home. Then, after taking rest, the next day he goes out again to play. Similarly, the soul comes here on earth to play for a few years and then it goes back to its own region, to where it came from. After taking rest for some time, it returns to earth in another body.

The soul’s original abode is Sat-Chit-Ananda. It means ‘Existence-Consciousness-Bliss’. There is a Bengali song, Phire Chalo, which means, “Let us go Home”. The aspiring soul is returning home, to a place where it is all light and delight. In this home there is no death, no suffering, no sorrow, no decay; it is all joy, light and delight.

Question: Can the soul experience sorrow?

Sri Chinmoy: No, the soul cannot experience sorrow. It is the vital — the outer senses and the emotions — that feels frustration and sorrow. The soul, which is in constant touch with the Source, is the fountainhead of constant joy.

Question: If a soul is more evolved, will it take on a body that is more physically beautiful, or is there no correlation between physical beauty and spiritual development?

Sri Chinmoy: There is no correlation at all. There have been many saints and spiritual Masters who were physically quite ugly, and there have been many who were very beautiful. It depends entirely on God’s Will and the individual soul’s will what kind of house the soul will live in.

If somebody has plenty of money, even then he may not care for a big mansion. He may feel that a small room is adequate. Again, somebody who has very little money may spend everything he has to rent a big house to show off.

The beauty that we see in saints and spiritual Masters is the soul’s beauty rather than physical beauty. The soul’s beauty does not create any problems either for its possessor or for others. If we have aspiration, we are able to see the inner beauty of a spiritual figure and appreciate him because of it.

Question: I have read in the writings of a modern Western philosopher that the soul and the body are inseparable. Can you please tell us your own philosophy on this matter?218

Sri Chinmoy: Body and soul are like a house and its owner. The soul is the owner and the body is the house. We may call the body a temple. Inside the temple is the shrine, the heart. On the shrine is the deity, the soul. But let us speak only of the soul and the body since that is your question. The soul can exist without the body, but the body cannot exist for more than a few hours without the soul. As long as the soul is inside the body, we can hope to realise and manifest something. When the owner is there and the body is in perfect condition, then the message of the soul can be revealed and fulfilled. But when the owner leaves the house permanently, the house is of no more use.

We have to know what the soul can offer us and what the body can offer us. When we enter into our soul through meditation, we realise peace, light and bliss. Then we offer this inner wealth to the world through the body. Each time we look at someone or say or do something, the physical is manifesting what the soul has experienced or realised. We have been meditating here for about twenty minutes. All of us have entered into the soul’s realm according to our capacity and received peace, light and bliss from the soul. Some have greater aspiration, so naturally they have entered deeper into their souls, and their physical consciousness has received more. Those with less aspiration have not gone very deep, and they have received less. But whatever we have felt in the inner region will now be manifested by our physical. If we stand in front of a mirror, we will see the difference between what we were an hour ago and what we are now. This obvious physical difference in us is due to the fact that our physical consciousness is manifesting the light that the soul has invoked from Above or brought forward from within.

If the soul does not try to inspire and illumine the body, the body will remain blind, ignorant, obscure and impure. The soul works inside the body, as well as with the body, through the body and for the body-consciousness. The body needs the soul for its realisation, but very often the body is not aspiring for the inner light and truth that the soul can offer it. Again, the soul needs the body for its manifestation. Without the body’s co-operation, the soul will remain unmanifested — almost useless. Often we see that the soul is crying for manifestation through the body, but the body is not responding to it. But when both body and soul are functioning properly, the body offers its capacity in service and the soul offers its capacity in meditation. In this way they go together perfectly. So this is my philosophy on the relationship between the body and the soul. Body and soul are not inseparable but complementary; they need each other for their total mutual fulfilment.

MUN 385. 6 April 1973.

Question: Does the body have to be perfect in order to be a perfect instrument of the soul?219

Sri Chinmoy: It is true that the body has to be a perfect instrument of the soul. But to be a perfect instrument the body need not be a perfect body. The world’s best athletes, the world’s strongest men, are not necessarily manifesting the divine Will. Physical perfection does not indicate receptivity to the spiritual message or the light of the spirit. The message of the soul, our heart’s inner cry for God, for truth, for light — these things are not connected at all with bodily strength. We become aware of our inner life only through prayer and meditation.

If our body is strong enough and healthy enough to perform its natural functions, and if it is capable of sitting quietly for two or three hours without any unusual difficulty or discomfort, that is more than enough. The body has to be a fit instrument, but that does not mean we have to become the strongest or the most powerful of human beings. It is sufficient to have the amount of strength our body requires to stay on earth and play our God-ordained role. The body needs adequate strength to be able to receive and manifest the message of the spirit. More than that is not required.

Suppose we want to meditate in the morning. If we are physically weak, if we have a headache or some other ailment, then how will we be able to meditate well? So we do have to give due importance to the body. But due importance does not mean extravagant concern. Early every morning, if we exercise for a few minutes or so, and if we have a proper diet, that is sufficient. Western exercises are definitely beneficial, but if we do Indian exercises, asanas, we get a special kind of relaxation that helps in meditation. Again, one can become expert in the Indian system of exercises without attaining any spiritual advantage. There are hundreds of Indian villagers who can do these exercises, but how many incarnations will it take before they even begin to accept the spiritual life?

I do not deny the role of the body. But we have to know how much we can expect from the body. If this body is five feet eight inches, then it will remain five feet eight no matter how hard I try to make it taller. A runner may reduce his time in the 100 metres if he practises, but eventually he will reach his maximum speed. The body’s capacity is always limited. Its height, its strength, its speed all have a point beyond which they cannot develop. And, in the course of time, these capacities will gradually decrease.

But as long as we continue to pray and meditate, our inner capacities will go on increasing until we grow into something infinite and boundless. Our inner power, inner light and inner wealth have no limit. There is no boundary for the soul within us. Peace, light and bliss can be increased in infinite measure. So eternal progress and infinite peace, light and bliss are what we can expect from the spiritual life, whereas temporary fitness is all we can expect from hatha yoga or any other form of physical culture, no matter how faithfully and devotedly it is pursued.

MUN 386. 1975.

Question: How can man live forever?220

Sri Chinmoy: We have to know what we mean by man. If we mean the physical body, then it is impossible to live forever. The five elements that constitute the physical body cannot last. If an individual identifies himself only with the physical body, naturally there can never be immortality. But if he identifies himself with the soul, then he knows that he is immortal. The body will die but when it is a matter of consciousness — which every human being has and which every human being inwardly is — man is eternal and immortal.

MUN 387. 21 April 1976.

Question: What actually is illumination?221

Sri Chinmoy: Illumination is our conscious awareness of the soul. Illumination is our conscious vision of the Reality that is going to be manifested. Illumination is possibility transformed into practicality. Illumination is like God’s divine Wand. An ordinary magician uses his wand to make one thing turn into another. But when God uses His Illumination, immediately the finite consciousness of earth enters into the Infinite and becomes the Infinite.

Illumination is humanity’s first realisation of God’s omnipotent Power, boundless Compassion, infinite Light and perfect Perfection. It is our illumination that makes us feel what God really is. Before illumination, God is theoretical; after illumination God becomes practical. So illumination is the divine magic power that makes us see the Reality that once upon a time was only imagination. When illumination dawns in a human being, God is no longer just a promise but an actual achievement.

Illumination can be in the mind and it can be in the heart. When the mind is illumined we become God’s Choice. When the heart is illumined we become God’s Voice. Here in the physical world the mind has evolved considerably. Because man has developed his intellectual mind, he has become superior to the animals, for the standard of the intellectual mind is higher than the standard of the physical or the vital.

Man has cultivated the capacity of the mind, but he has not cultivated the capacity of the heart, which is far greater than he can possibly imagine. When we cultivate the unique sense in our heart that we are of God’s highest Vision and for God’s perfect manifestation, then illumination will take place in our life.

MUN 388. 26 January 1973.

Question: What do you mean by perfection?222

Sri Chinmoy: My sense of perfection need not and cannot be the same as your sense of perfection. Everyone has to define perfection according to his own receptivity and his own realisation of the truth. But however we define perfection, it always has to include one thing: satisfaction. And what gives everyone satisfaction is progress, which is nothing less than self-transcendence. According to me, perfection is self-transcendence; perfection is constant progress, which is always transcending itself. It is in self-transcendence that we can get real satisfaction. And where there is continuous satisfaction, glowing satisfaction, illumining satisfaction, we have to know that that is perfection. Perfection is in the satisfaction that glows and grows inside our hearts.

MUN 389. 18 March 1977.

Question: How can we bring enough perfection into our own lives and into the world to be truly satisfied?223

Sri Chinmoy: The perfection of the body lies in its conscious awareness of the ever-progressive Truth. The perfection of the vital lies in its acceptance of the Truth in a dynamic form. The perfection of the mind lies in its acceptance of the Vast, the Infinite, as its very own. The perfection of the heart lies in its soulful oneness with earth’s cry and Heaven’s Smile. In order to have complete perfection, we have to achieve perfection in our body, vital, mind and heart.

I feel that perfection has to be total and integral. In our human nature we have imperfection and at the same time we have limited perfection. If imperfection right now looms large, we have to brave that imperfection and transform it into perfection. Through our conscious prayer, concentration, meditation and contemplation, our past imperfections can be perfected and our darkness can be transformed into light. Through our conscious awareness and acceptance of the ever-increasing, ever-transcending Reality, we can see, feel and manifest perfection in our everyday life.

Hunger for perfection is like any other hunger. If we have an immense hunger, a very little portion of food will not satisfy us. If we have a hunger for infinite peace, light and bliss, our outer being will not be satisfied when it receives only an iota of these things. It will be satisfied only when it has peace, light and bliss in infinite measure. And from the highest point of view, we will be totally satisfied only when the entire humanity has peace, light and bliss in infinite measure.

The more we achieve inwardly, the clearer will be our concept of perfection. If an individual’s inner attainment is small, he might feel satisfied with the perfection that he has achieved. But it can never satisfy the inner hunger of someone who cries for absolute perfection in his nature and in the earth-consciousness. The higher we go, the more we receive and achieve, and the more we become aware of the possibility of achieving integral perfection in our nature and elsewhere.

Each seeker has to discover within himself at what point he wants to stop his inner quest for truth and light. If he is ready to continue, to march on and dive deeper within, if he feels that there is no end to his achievement, only then will he be ready to receive the message of ever-fulfilling and ever-transcending perfection. This message tells us that what we call perfection today, we may call imperfection itself tomorrow.

A child’s perfection is his ability to scream and shout and strike others. But when the child grows up, his idea of perfection may be just the opposite. And if he enters into the spiritual life, then his sense of perfection will be something far more illumining and fulfilling. He will try to conquer his fear, doubt, jealousy and other negative forces. Then, after he has achieved what he wanted for himself, when he goes deep within he will feel that only his limited self has been satisfied. He will realise that his larger self, which is the entire humanity, is far, far from perfect, and that his own integral perfection will not come about until each and every human being on earth is also perfect. So he will try to remove fear, doubt, anxiety, worry and other undivine forces from humanity. If he calls himself a child of God, then others are also children of God. If he does not share with them what little he has, then how can he call himself their brother? They may be travelling a few miles behind him or they may be fast asleep, but they must also reach the Goal before perfect Perfection can dawn on earth.

MUN 390-391. 4 January 1973.

Question: Will the process of striving for perfection ever come to an end?

Sri Chinmoy: It will never come to an end because God Himself does not want to end His Cosmic Game. What today we feel is the ultimate perfection, tomorrow we will call the starting point of our journey. This is because our consciousness is evolving. When our consciousness evolves to a higher level, our sense of perfection simultaneously goes higher. Let us take perfection as an achievement. When we are a kindergarten student, our perfection may be found in playing games. But from kindergarten we go to primary school, high school, college and university. And even after we have got our Ph.D., we may still feel there are many things more that we have to learn. Then we will study further and enlarge our consciousness still more. If the child thinks that a Master’s degree or Ph.D. will always remain unattainable, then he is mistaken.

Similarly, the spiritual ladder has quite a few rungs. If we do not step onto the first rung, then how can we climb up to the highest rung? We start with inspiration, and from there we move on to concentration, meditation and contemplation. And these three words — concentration, meditation, contemplation — are included in one word: aspiration. We start with inspiration and continue with aspiration. There is no end to our aspiration, and there is no end to our achievement of perfection.

Question: I always felt it was selfish to look for salvation. I thought that this would come of itself if one did the right thing.224

Sri Chinmoy: You are absolutely right. Salvation will come in its own way, at the chosen hour, if you do the right thing. And what is the right thing? The right thing is to pray, to concentrate, to meditate. If you climb up a tree, then you get the fruit. But if you do not climb up, then the fruit will always remain out of reach. In the spiritual life when we climb up, we see that we do not have to struggle all the way to the top. As soon as we climb up a little way, God’s Grace descends.

Getting salvation is like getting a salary. You work at the United Nations. On a specified day your salary is bound to come. But that is because you have played your part; you have come to work every day. Similarly, if you do something for God, for mankind, then salvation will come. If you live a life of aspiration instead of a life of desire, if you live a life of dedication and devotion, then salvation will definitely come. It is not by saying, “Give me salvation, give me salvation,” that you will get it. Salvation does not come that way. But if you lead a spiritual life, a life of dedication and devotion, then certainly you will get salvation at God’s choice Hour.

MUN 392. 5 January 1973.

Question: What can we do to bring perfection to godless people in the world?225

Sri Chinmoy: We are living in a godless world. What can we do to bring truth and light to earth? We have to start with ourselves. If we focus our attention on the physical plane, immediately we see that on the physical plane we have lethargy and we mix with ignorance. Then, if we focus our attention on the vital plane, we see that our vital is like a hungry wolf that wants to devour the world. Julius Caesar said, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Our vital says, “I came, I saw and I became. I came and saw imperfection and then I became one with it here in the world of imperfection.”

When we concentrate on the mind, we see that it is constantly doubting; it is doubting the reality within us and also the reality around us. This moment our mind says that somebody is a good person, the next moment it says the same person is very bad and the following moment it is unable to decide whether that person is good or bad. The mind is always uncertain and confused.

We also have a heart. This heart, on the strength of its inseparable oneness with the Absolute, can become all Divinity. But right now this heart is all insecurity; it is singing the song of insecurity. But this same heart, on the strength of its oneness-capacity, can become one with the Universal Heart.

When we focus our attention on ourself, we see tremendous imperfection; we see a tremendous need for perfection-light. Even though the world may be much more imperfect than we are, as long as we have even an iota of imperfection, we will not be in a position to teach others. A schoolteacher who has more knowledge than his students can teach them history or geography or arithmetic, even though he does not have the highest degree. But in the spiritual life we are making a terrible mistake if we try to teach others God-realisation without being illumined ourselves. Here we are dealing with the life-principle of the individual. God-realisation is a different kind of subject from geography and history; it involves the student’s entire life.

So when we see a godless attitude in someone, we have to be aware of our own capacity or incapacity. If we can perfect ourselves on the strength of our inner cry, our love of truth and light, then we, as individuals, will no longer belong to the world of imperfection. Then, if somebody else can do the same, the world will be blessed with two divine souls, two divine instruments of God. Today you become perfect, tomorrow he becomes perfect and the next day I become perfect. In this way it progresses from one to many and the whole world becomes perfect.

When we, as individuals, become good, divine and perfect, the world around us sooner or later becomes perfect. For the light that we have will not remain inside us; it will have its own spontaneous means of self-expression. In this way the world around us is gradually transformed and illumined. The outer world is not only outside us; it is also inside us — it is in our mind, in our vital, in our body, in our heart. When we become perfect within, the world without also becomes perfect.

MUN 393. 1976.

Question: How do we know if it is the proper time for us to enter into the spiritual life? Can the spiritual life help us to overcome frustration?226

Sri Chinmoy: We can begin the spiritual life only when we feel the need. When we feel hunger, we eat. Similarly, when we have the inner hunger, we feed ourselves with peace, light and bliss.

Ordinary human life is full of frustration. How many days begin with a new disappointment, a new sense of despair and total failure! We can conquer these unaspiring forces only when we consciously feel that there is something far beyond them. First we have to feel that there is something divine in us that is far beyond these forces, and then we have to cry within to bring our soul’s divinity forward. If we have the conscious cry or conscious hunger for our soul’s light, which is able to transform our frustrations and failures into radiant achievements, then our soul will eventually manifest its light and transform our lives. Our human life cannot and will not end in failure precisely because the divine in us will never accept failure.

Sooner or later everyone will aspire; it is only a matter of time. God Himself will aspire in and through each and every individual when the hour strikes. But if we consciously fight on the side of the inner truth and inner reality, if we listen to the dictates of our inner voice, then we hasten our soul’s progress and the progress of all mankind.

Frustration exists just because we do not see anything beyond it or do not consciously want to go beyond it. Let us take frustration as a thing that can be captured and offered at the Feet of God or offered at the feet of any happiness or good experience that we have had — even if it was ten or twenty years ago. The power of our happy experience will destroy the power of our frustration or transform our frustration into glowing inspiration, which is the precursor of inner awakening and outer realisation.

MUN 394. 4 January 1973.

Question: Why should spiritual people accept life around them?227

Sri Chinmoy: If you say that those who enter into the Himalayan caves and neglect society will find less difficulty in realising God, I may agree with you. But if they do not accept humanity, what do they ultimately gain? If I love God, my Father, and if I see that my brothers and sisters cannot yet approach Him, if I am a good person, what will I do? I will offer my light and my achievement to my brothers and sisters.

MUN 395. 3 June 1971.

Question: What is the best code of life?228

Sri Chinmoy: The Sanskrit word for code is dharma. On each plane there is a code: on the physical plane, on the vital plane, on the mental plane and on the psychic plane. But the best code is surrender to the inner Divinity. Each approach to truth can always be justified since each code of life does bring some satisfaction. You do this or you refrain from doing that, and then you are satisfied. But real satisfaction comes when one surrenders to the highest principle in life, to one’s own real Divinity. Sri Krishna told Arjuna, “There can be no higher code of life than to surrender to the inmost Divinity.”

Divinity is everywhere. Divinity in infinite measure is in the Source; again, Divinity is also inside a tiny ant. Similarly, on different planes we may say that different codes are absolutely correct. On different planes Truth is definitely there. But the capacity of Truth on these planes may be limited. The human mind will say that something is absolutely correct, but the capacity of the mind is very limited. But on the highest plane, the capacity of Truth is unlimited and the mind cannot fathom it. If we surrender to our own highest Divinity, at that time we become one with the highest capacity and the highest Truth. Only then can our code of life on the physical, vital, mental and all the other planes be transcended.

MUN 396. 10 August 1976.

Question: How can an individual truly know what God's Will is for him?229

Sri Chinmoy: There is a very simple way to know what God’s Will is for us as individuals. Every day we build our own world. Every day we make our own decisions. We feel that things have to be done in a certain way: I have to deal with this person in this way; I have to say this; I have to do this. Everything is I, I, I. We all do this.

If, instead of all this planning, we can make our minds absolutely calm and silent, we can know God’s Will. This silence is not the silence of a dead body; it is the dynamic, progressive silence of receptivity. Through total silence and the ever-increasing receptivity of the mind, God’s Will can be known. When the human mind works powerfully, the divine Will cannot work. God’s Will works only when the human mind stops working. When the mind becomes a pure vessel, the Supreme can pour into it His infinite Peace, Light and Bliss.

When the mind is silent, we see that we are not the doer but only the instrument for carrying out God’s plans. When we realise this, God is able to act in and through us most powerfully. At that time, we see and feel that God is the Doer and He is also the action. He is everything; we only observe.

MUN 397. 9 February 1973.

Question: How can I trust my discrimination and know what is the right thing to do in my life?230

Sri Chinmoy: How do you know whether you are making the right decision? God has given you something called conscience. Conscience will tell you how to discriminate. Perhaps a friend of yours is going to steal something and he wants you to help him. In this case, your conscience will simply say, “No!” You do not want to be a thief, not because you are afraid of being caught red-handed and put into jail but because your inner being, your conscience, tells you that stealing is something wrong.

In the spiritual life also your conscience will tell you what to do and what not to do. But in order to use your conscience as a guide, you have to be very careful. You have to remain calm and quiet; otherwise, your vital being will imitate the voice of your conscience and confuse you. It will make you feel that what you are doing is right even though it is wrong. You do not have to learn how to meditate in order to be calm and quiet for a few minutes. Many times when you are tired and exhausted, you just sit quietly. So while sitting quietly, try to hear the voice of your conscience. It will say either “Yes!” or “No!” Only two words it has: yes and no. You want to do something; if it says, “Yes!”, then you can do it. If it says, “No!”, then never do it. You should not argue with your conscience; you should listen to its voice.

Again, you have to know that there is a great difference between knowing what is right and wrong and achieving the right thing. Someone may know in a mental way that God-realisation is good, but he may not cry for realisation. His mind may know that God-realisation is good, but he may not work for it. In your case, you not only know that God-realisation is good but you also go one step further: you pray and meditate. So you are bound to have realisation one day.

You started with conscience. Your conscience or your inner being told you that it was good to meditate. It told you that if you meditated you would attain peace, light and bliss. You believed the inner message when you got it, and you launched into the spiritual life. When you enter into the spiritual life, you not only know what is right but you also get the inner strength to do what is right. Even a child knows the difference between right and wrong, but he may not have the capacity to do the right thing. But when one follows the spiritual life, one gets the inner strength to do what is right. So now that you have launched into the spiritual life, you can rest assured that you will be able not only to know what is right, but also to do what is right.

MUN 398. 18 July 1978.

Question: How does spirituality help one decide between what is right and what is wrong?231

Sri Chinmoy: Seekers of the infinite Truth, who walk along the path of spirituality, will be able to know what is right and what is wrong because at every moment they try to listen to their inner voice or, you can say, their conscience. The further we go along the path of reality, the deeper within we go, the clearer it becomes to us what is right and what is wrong. When we live on the surface, it is next to impossible for us to distinguish what is right from what is wrong. But when we follow the inner life and have the capacity to bring forward the messages we get from within, then at every moment we are safe.

The very purpose of spirituality is to have conscious oneness with the ultimate Truth. If somebody has this conscious oneness, naturally he will be able to distinguish right from wrong. Whoever practises the spiritual life has a special advantage as well. When he gets an inner message, he also gets the inner urge to obey the message. He gets additional inspiration or, let us say, aspiration, to do the right thing. But an ordinary person very often does the wrong thing in spite of knowing that he is doing something wrong. Why does he do it? Because his inner urge is not strong enough to compel him to do the right thing. In the case of a spiritual seeker, it is otherwise. When a seeker feels from within what is the right thing to do, he also gets abundant capacity from within to do it.

MUN 399. 3 June 1971.

Question: Is the difference between materialism and spirituality that the one tries to possess the outer world and that the other tries to possess the inner world?232

Sri Chinmoy: When we practise spiritual philosophy, we want to capture the inner world, not the material world. We do not want to possess God’s creation as our own. We only want to possess God and use Him for our own purpose. But when we go deeper into spiritual philosophy, we want to possess the person or thing not for our purpose but for their own purpose. And if we go higher still in divine philosophy, we do not want to possess at all. We only want to enter into infinite peace, light and bliss so they can play their respective roles in and through us here on earth — in their own way. The truly divine soldier will always seek truth, light, peace and bliss for their own manifestation and fulfilment. The divine philosophy is not “I want for myself.” The divine philosophy is “Let Thy Will be done in Thine own Way.”

MUN 400. 13 June 1975.

Question: What is the best way to inspire others to follow the spiritual life?233

Sri Chinmoy: The most effective way to inspire others is through your own aspiration. If you become the embodiment of aspiration, then automatically others will be inspired. Again, you have to know that not everyone is ready to be inspired. You cannot go into the street and tell the whole world, “I have discovered peace, light and bliss. You can also find it by praying and meditating.” If you say that, the world will just laugh at you. So you have to dive deep within to get an inner feeling regarding whom you should approach. When you feel from within that so-and-so would at least listen to what you have to say, then only can you offer your inspiration. So first try to discover from within who will accept your message, your love, your truth and your concern. Then, when you find the right person, there is every possibility that you will succeed in inspiring him.

MUN 401. 10 August 1976.

Question: Why are people afraid of spirituality?234

Sri Chinmoy: People are afraid of spirituality because they do not know what spirituality is. Spirituality is not something foreign; it is not something vague. Spirituality shows us our true life and our only goal, and that goal is the realisation of the Infinite within us and without. If people knew the real significance of spirituality, they would in no time embrace it. Spirituality seeks to energise humanity. Without spirituality, humanity would remain always in the dark.

MUN 402-403. April 1978.

Question: Should we try to justify our spiritual practices to others?

Sri Chinmoy: No, that would be a mistake. When we try to convince others that what we are doing is right, in a certain sense we unconsciously try to convert them. If we know that we are doing the right thing, then we should simply do it. For us we know that the right thing to do early in the morning is to pray and meditate. But we will not go to our neighbour, who is fast asleep at the time of our meditation, and tell him to get up just because we feel it is the right thing to do. We will not say, “Look, I am praying and meditating; I am doing the right thing. You must not sleep at this hour; you also must get up!” If we say that kind of thing, then our neighbour will simply say, “Mind your own business!” In the spiritual life we do not try to justify ourselves; we just live for the God within us. God has told us to pray and meditate on Him. When the time comes for others to pray and meditate, then God will illumine and awaken them. But if we go to them prematurely and try to awaken or illumine them before they are ready, we will not be helping their spiritual progress in any way.

Justification is not illumination. The mind is so tricky; it can never be convinced.

But the heart never has any need for justification, for the heart is all illumination. If we know that we are doing the right thing, then we do not have to justify ourselves or our actions to anyone. Let us become like the sun. The sun does not have to justify its light because light is its own justification.

Question: What is your view on the equality of the sexes?235

Sri Chinmoy: God is both male and female. Both men and women are of equal importance in God’s Eye. Both men and women should march together towards their common Destination. Women need not lag behind; they can run soulfully, devotedly and speedily. Also, women should not remain always under the control of men; they should stand on their own feet. But although man and woman are of equal importance, they need not play the same role. If we take man as God’s Face, we have to take woman as His Smile. If we see a face without a smile, we do not appreciate the face. The smile immediately conquers our heart. But if there is no face, how can there be a smile?

MUN 404. 7 March 1975.

Question: How can we fulfil the hearts and souls of the children of the world?236

Sri Chinmoy: We can fulfil the hearts and souls of the children of the world only by becoming the hearts and souls of the children of the world. This means that at every moment we have to be eager to learn something illumining and fulfilling — to learn more about truth, light and delight. It is our eagerness to learn that will give us a childlike heart and a childlike soul and enable us to fulfil the hearts and souls of the children of the world.

MUN 405. 16 November 1976.

Question: From the spiritual point of view, does the new year have any specific significance?237

Sri Chinmoy: From the spiritual point of view, the new year has a specific significance. On the eve of the new year, a new consciousness dawns on earth. God once again inspires each human being with new hope, new light, new peace and new bliss. God always wants us to move ahead; He does not want us to look back. We know that if a runner looks back while he is running fast, immediately his speed decreases. Similarly, if we constantly are looking behind at the year that we are leaving, we will think of our sorrow, misery, frustration, failure and so forth. But if we look forward, we will see hope dawning ahead of us and a new light illumining our consciousness.

Each new year is like a new rung on the ladder of consciousness which we have to climb up. When the new year dawns, we have to make ourselves conscious of the fact that we have to transcend our present capacity and present achievement. When we have that kind of firm determination, God showers His choicest Blessings upon our devoted heads. God says, “As the new year dawns, a new consciousness is dawning within you. Run towards the destined Goal.” The new year energises us, encourages us and inspires us to run towards that ultimate Reality.

MUN 406. January 1975.

Question: The degradation of the earth is so far advanced right now that the great mystics, shamans and spiritual people are saying that we have already crossed the line of no return regarding the oceans, the soil and the forests. What is your opinion?238

Sri Chinmoy: If we start doing the right thing, the earth can always start making progress again. Because of our stupidity we are destroying the ocean; we are turning it into a few drops. But if we start doing the right thing, then eventually the drops will form an ocean again. Sometimes it happens that there are no plants in a garden. But when a most skilful gardener begins working there, once again the garden will start producing most beautiful plants, flowers, trees and fruits.

MUN 407-408. These two questions were asked by Mrs Hanne Strong, wife of Maurice Strong, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, when Mr and Mrs Strong met with Sri Chinmoy at UN Headquarters on 25 February 1992.

Question: But if the soil is dead, it is dead. If a forest is gone, it is gone. If the ozone is gone, it is gone.

Sri Chinmoy: We must not underestimate the power of spirituality. Prayer and meditation mean new life. When we pray and meditate, at every second we are invoking God’s Compassion. We are saying that Mother Nature is being destroyed. But we have to know that Mother Nature is nothing other than God the creation. We are praying to God the Creator to save God the creation. So He who created this earth can once again create a new creation on the strength of our prayers and meditations.

Question: Do you see the day when your spiritual work will be done?239

Sri Chinmoy: No, my work is not like that. It is a slow and steady process. We are in the process of consciously becoming in the outer world that which we have always been in the inner world. But this process of growth has no end; we can grow eternally. We need never stop.

We have sown the seed, and right now we have a tiny plant. If storms of doubt and hurricanes of jealousy come, then naturally the progress can be very slow. But if there is implicit faith and devoted oneness, the plant will very soon grow into a tree. Previously there was only a seedling, but now it has germinated into a tiny but healthy plant. So there is every hope that it will weather all the buffets and blows of human doubt and weakness and grow into a huge tree.

MUN 409. This question was asked by a journalist from United Press International (UPI) when he interviewed Sri Chinmoy at UN Headquarters on 15 June 1977.

Chapter 13: World religions

Question: Why is there religion and what role should it play in our lives?240

Sri Chinmoy: Religion plays a most significant role in the life of the aspiring seeker, for religion is our spiritual home. We start in our spiritual home and then go to the Home of God. Religion is the home we live in until we enter God’s Palace and establish our conscious, constant oneness with God.

It is not good to be afraid of God; God is all-loving. But it is better to think of God with fear than not to think of Him at all. Most of the time an unknown or unconscious fear looms large in those who practise religion. If they do something wrong, they feel that God will punish them. This fear is what compels them to think of God and pray to God. This is the situation most of the time, but not always, with those who practise religion. First they approach God with fear, and only afterwards do they approach God with love, innocence and oneness. But when we practise spirituality, it is never out of fear. Where there is oneness, there is no fear. It is out of sheer necessity that we practise spirituality. Necessity compels us to love God.

MUN 410-427. 31 October and 14 November 1975.

Question: What is the goal of religion?

Sri Chinmoy: The goal of religion is to bring God into one’s multifarious activities. God has to be felt as a living Reality. Otherwise, if we are just believers in God, we cannot and will not accomplish much. The role of religion is to make each person feel that God is Somebody living and real and that God has infinite Peace, Light and Bliss. This conviction can be brought to the fore by religious feeling or by following a religious faith.

Question: What is the original significance of religion?

Sri Chinmoy: The original significance of religion was to have man see, feel and consciously dedicate himself to the existence of the One in the existence of the many. There are many countries, many faiths, many creeds, many sects. Religion has to make a synthesis and combine them all. Among all countries religion has to establish a sense of oneness. The length and breadth of the world have to sing only the song of oneness. This is why religion came into being.

Question: The family has always been seen as the centre of both religious and social activities in most religions. Can you explain the sacred and divine purpose that the family is supposed to have?

Sri Chinmoy: The sacred and divine purpose of each family is to enable an individual to discover his real Reality. If one does not discover the real Reality in himself, then he denies the promise that he made once upon a time in the soul’s region. When the individual was in the soul’s region, he chose to take birth in a particular family out of the millions of families on earth in order to fulfil the promise that he made to God, in order to do something special for God. He promised to realise God, to reveal God and to manifest God, and he felt that taking birth in this particular family would help him fulfil his promise.

This sacred promise can come to the fore only when the individual becomes conscious of his divine birthright. If he claims God as his very own and feels that one day he shall become one with God, then he is destined to reach his Goal. He will achieve this higher Reality only by transcending himself. While transcending himself, he comes to realise the sacredness and divine purpose of his own existence and of the family that he belongs to.

Question: Can religion help mankind achieve a world of true brotherhood and love?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, but one has to know what religion is. Religion is a code of life that connects each of us with the rest of humanity. If we feel that our life has a special connection with others’ lives, then only can we eventually achieve oneness with others. First we have to feel an inner connection; then only can we think of establishing our inseparable oneness with others.

So if you follow a specific religion, then you will feel that you have something in common with others, that you have some inner connection with others. Then, from this connection you have to go deep within in order to establish your inseparable oneness with them. And once you establish your oneness with the rest of the world, naturally you will see inside you and around you brotherhood and love.

Question: How can religion overcome its narrow outlook and accept all other religions as true and necessary?

Sri Chinmoy: Religion as such cannot overcome this narrow outlook. Only when religion takes help from spirituality, its elder brother, does it become possible for it to expand its vision. Religion lets the seeker see God, but spirituality shows the seeker how to become God. Religion can go as far as believing in the light or even seeing the light. But spirituality goes much higher and deeper. It helps the seeker or the votary of religion consciously grow into the light itself and become one with God-Consciousness and God-Light. So if religion takes help from spirituality, then it is quite possible to overcome all narrow outlooks found in religion.

Question: What does God like best in a religion?

Sri Chinmoy: What God likes best in each religion is a big heart. Let each religion tolerate the others. If tolerance is there, then let each religion go one step further and also recognise other religions. Once recognition is given, each religion has to feel sincerely that other religions are as good and as true as itself. It has to feel that each religion is right in its own way and that all are equal.

Tolerance is the first step. But in tolerance there is always a sense of separativity. If I tolerate you, I feel that I am separate from you. So once a particular religion gives due value to other religions and sees their existence as an expression of truth, then that particular religion has to go high, higher, highest and deep, deeper, deepest in order to feel and establish its conscious oneness with the other religions. At that time it will realise that there are not several religions but only one religion.

When a religion comes to realise that all religions form a single, eternal religion — an eternal Eye of Truth or an eternal Heart of Truth — then that religion becomes perfect. This kind of discovery and achievement is what God likes best in a religion.

Question: What is the difference between religion and spirituality?

Sri Chinmoy: Religion tells the seeker that undoubtedly there is Someone known as God. Spirituality tells the seeker, “I can not only show you where that Person is; I can also help in making you a conscious, constant and inseparable friend of that Person.”

Question: When the follower of one religion meditates on the ideals of his religion, will this produce the same results as when the follower of another religion meditates on the ideals of that religion?

Sri Chinmoy: Each religion has its own ideals. All religious ideals cannot be of the same type and the same standard. Also, the meditation cannot be of the same height and the same standard in every religion. So the result will depend on the type of meditation and the height of the ideal of the particular religion. If the ideal is high and, at the same time, if the meditation is very soulful, then the result will be extraordinary.

Question: What are the major obstacles to praying meaningfully?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two major obstacles. When one does not have enough feeling for one’s own religion, one cannot go very far. So first one has to develop a sincere feeling for his religion. Then he has to make his religion a living reality, just as his body, vital and mind are living realities. Unless one knows and feels that his religion is a living reality, he will not be able to make progress through his religion.

Question: Why don't religions love and respect each other more?

Sri Chinmoy: They do not love and respect each other more precisely because their heart’s capacity is limited. They do not care for the universality of the heart; they care only for the individuality of their existence. If they could feel the universality that abides in the heart, then automatically all religions would have abiding love and respect for one another.

Question: If each religion claims to teach the truth, which religion is most true?

Sri Chinmoy: Each religion not only claims to teach the truth but actually does teach the truth. But merely teaching or preaching the truth is not enough. A religion has to live the truth and bring to the fore the living breath and reality-light of the truth. The religion that lives the truth in all its aspects — in its height and depth, in its universality and transcendence — that particular religion is the most true. The religion that embodies and lives the ultimate truth of love and oneness is by far the most significant, the most important and indispensable religion.

Question: If one has great faith in one's own religion, how should he view other religions and those who follow them?

Sri Chinmoy: If one has great faith in his own religion, then he should cultivate the same type of faith in other religions, since all religions are important in God’s Eye. Only he should not try to follow all the religions. Religion is like a road. If someone tries to walk along every road while heading towards his destination, then his progress will be very slow. This moment he is on one road, the next moment he is on another road and the following moment he is on a third road. Each time he changes roads in order to reach the destination naturally he is losing time. So the thing to do is to feel that each religion is true in its own way, but to walk only along the path of one’s own religion.

Question: Is mutual understanding and respect possible between the different religions of the world?

Sri Chinmoy: It is not only possible but practicable and inevitable. If there is no mutual understanding, then there can be no respect; if there is no mutual respect, then there can be no mutual understanding. Mutual understanding and mutual respect go together. If there is mutual understanding and mutual respect, then only can the different religions live together in abiding harmony.

Each religion has to realise that in order to be complete, perfect and whole, it has to feel its presence in the heart of all the other religions. Likewise, the other religions also have to feel the presence of that particular religion. Each religion must feel its presence in the heart of other religions. Also, each religion has to feel that it is only a branch and not the whole tree. The tree is God or Truth. Some religions do not believe in God or find it difficult to reveal the existence of God, but they do believe in the existence of Truth. There is no religion on earth that does not believe in the existence of Truth. So if a religion believes in the existence of Truth, that is more than enough. This Truth-existence is the Reality-tree of life on earth. If Reality is a tree, then naturally it will have a few branches, and each branch is a different religion.

Question: How can we as individuals encourage a worldwide recognition of the basic unity of all major religions?

Sri Chinmoy: There is only one way we can encourage a worldwide recognition of the basic unity of all major religions. First we have to become perfect ourselves as individuals. If we become real God-lovers and all the time serve God in humanity, then our perfection will encourage and inspire others to become perfect. When we become perfect, automatically our perfection will permeate the votaries of other religions. No matter which religion we belong to, if we can become perfect then our perfection will spread the fragrance of the divinity-flower that is meant for everyone to appreciate and to grow into. Once everyone grows into his own divinity-flower, then everyone will see and feel the basic unity of all religions, which lies in their worship of the ultimate Truth in life.

Question: What is the difference between Hinduism and Zen?

Sri Chinmoy: The root is Hinduism. From Hinduism came Buddhism and from Buddhism came Zen. Let us take Hinduism as the grandfather, Buddhism as the father and Zen as the son. Let us think of Hinduism as an eternal religion, or as a form of self-discipline that will one day allow us to feel boundless joy, peace and love. When we think of Buddhism, immediately the compassion-aspect of reality comes forward into our mind. The world needs compassion badly; with our mutual compassion we exist together on earth. In Zen, the main thing is awareness. We have to be fully, consciously and constantly aware of what we are doing, what we are seeing and what we are growing into. If we are meditating, we are aware of it; if we are eating, we are aware of it; if we are talking to a friend, we are aware of it.

At the highest point in Zen there is something called satori or illumination. Before illumination there is darkness on one side and light on the other side, and we are in between. But if we go and take shelter in illumination, then our own inner effulgence envelops and encompasses the whole world. For millennia we have lived in ignorance, but once illumination takes place, there is no ignorance in us at all. Everywhere is light and we become one with the Vision of the Absolute. So the greatest gift of Zen is illumination — the highest, all-illumining, all-fulfilling illumination.

Hinduism is based on yoga. Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means oneness. When we follow the teachings of Hinduism, we sing the song of oneness. If somebody is suffering, then we become totally, inseparably one with his suffering. If somebody is in the seventh Heaven of delight, then we become one with him in the seventh Heaven of delight.

The goal of yoga, or Hinduism, is to become one with God. When we become one with God, we not only achieve illumination but actually become illumination itself. We become one with God’s infinite Light. In our constant oneness with what God Himself is, as well as with what God has offered us and what God is going to offer us, we become perfect. We become His perfect instruments to reveal and manifest the Highest on earth. So yoga is oneness and perfection, whereas Zen is illumination and liberation.

Question: Does this mean that Zen and yoga have different goals?

Sri Chinmoy: They are like two members of the same family. They deal with the same basic thoughts and ideas; only in practice each may take a slightly different approach. Here is the goal. The father is reaching the goal from one direction and the son is reaching the goal from another direction. In going towards the goal, to some extent they may use different methods. But the goal always remains the same. If one becomes liberated from ignorance as a result of spiritual discipline, then naturally he is illumined. And if one identifies himself with light and illumination itself, then naturally he also is illumined.

I identify with water and immediately get the consciousness of water. I identify with a wall and immediately get the consciousness of the wall. Again, if I identify with the feet of a saint, then immediately I get the consciousness of the saint. This is yoga: oneness, oneness, oneness. In the Zen process, we get what the saint has by concentrating on what we want. The process in yoga is to identify oneself with the goal. But the goal that we reach by concentrating in Zen and the goal that we reach by identifying with someone is the same.

Question: Is there no sense of strong discipline in yoga?

Sri Chinmoy: The Zen process demands a strict discipline, almost like military discipline. But the yoga process is relaxation based upon confidence. It is like a child’s confidence that comes from his oneness with his mother and father. A child does not have even a nickel, but if his father is very rich, then he feels that he also is very rich. Even if right now he does not have a single dollar, in a few years’ time he knows that he will be able to utilise all his father’s riches. Whatever his father has, he rightly and legitimately claims as his very own. If his father has a car, then immediately he feels that it is his car. He does not think that it is his father’s car or that it belongs to his family. No, he will tell his friends, “Look, this is my car.” He is absolutely right on the strength of his oneness. And when he gets older, he is going to be the one to drive that car. In the yoga process, you feel that God is yours, that He loves you and you love Him. Because you feel your oneness with Him, you know that when the Hour is right, He is bound to give you what He has and what He is.

In the Zen path, you have to prepare yourself. If you follow strict discipline and do this, then you will get something; otherwise, you will not get that thing. In Zen it is all personal effort, personal effort. But in yoga we believe in Grace. We feel that the Father will show His Affection, Love and Compassion and the child will reciprocate with love, devotion, surrender and gratitude. But with Zen, first you have to become something and then only will you deserve to get something, which is illumination. And to become something you have to follow strict discipline.

Question: What is the purpose of yoga?241

Sri Chinmoy: From yoga and the spiritual life we can derive peace of mind, divine joy, divine love and a sense of true accomplishment. On earth we do many things and feel that we have accomplished something. Then, a few years later, we feel that our accomplishment was only the fulfilment of some desires, which did not give us total satisfaction. But if we follow the spiritual life and the inner discipline of yoga, then at each moment we feel a true sense of satisfaction no matter what we achieve outwardly. Outwardly we may not achieve anything or receive any recognition, but inwardly we feel that our prayer-life and our meditation-life is itself a real achievement and accomplishment.

In the outer life, if we see that the results of our actions are successful, then we feel that we have accomplished something. If we have not achieved success, then we feel that we did not accomplish something. But in the spiritual life, failure as well as success are both accomplishments since they are both a form of experience. Yoga is a continuous inner march, and each moment that we are marching towards our goal we are accomplishing something for God and for ourselves which will last permanently in our inner being.

The ultimate purpose of yoga is to receive the truth and light here on earth. Man and God are one, but right now man is not conscious of his inner divinity. We love and need God, but our love and need for God are not constant and conscious, despite the fact that we are studying and practising spirituality. We have read dozens of books dealing with God’s existence, but God is not a living reality for us yet. We are all instruments of God, but we are unconscious instruments.

When we practise yoga, we dive deep within and see and feel firsthand our relation with God. If we practise yoga, we come to feel that God is first and foremost in our lives. Inside God, we come to see humanity and, inside humanity, we come to see God. Inside Divinity, we see the aspiring humanity and, inside humanity, we see the manifesting Divinity. This is what yoga does for us. It elevates our consciousness to the highest plane and brings down infinite light, peace and bliss from Above so that our life of obscurity, impurity and imperfection can be elevated, illumined, perfected.

Yoga means conscious oneness with God or God-realisation. That is the goal of yoga. A God-realised soul is he who is consciously aware of God and God’s Reality at every moment in his life. He is consciously aware of his oneness with God even while carrying out his multifarious activities. In his case, God is a constant, practical Reality.

MUN 428. 13 June 1975.

Question: The yogi believes in realisation on earth after a series of reincarnations; the Christian believes in salvation after death through Christ. How can one synthesise these two great beliefs?242

Sri Chinmoy: There is no conflict. In the East, especially in India, we speak about realisation. In the West, the ultimate achievement is salvation. Salvation is freedom from sin, from darkness, from bondage, from ignorance. These things are not our own; they are strangers or enemies that have come and attacked us, and now we are trying to save ourselves from them. But realisation is self-discovery: the discovery of what we truly are. What are we? We are God’s representatives; we are inseparably one with God and with God’s ultimate Reality. So realisation is our conscious awareness of our highest Reality or our conscious, inseparable oneness with the Highest.

These are two ways to approach reality, but they are not contradictory. We only synthesise when there are contradictory ideas. Salvation through Christ is one way. Realisation is another way. Realisation has to be achieved here on earth through prayer and meditation. Salvation is achieved in Heaven.

God wants us to realise, reveal and manifest Him on earth. This is His Playground. In Heaven He wants to play with us in a different way. Here we are trying to know what we eternally truly are and bring to the fore our inner realities and inner divinity. Here, at every moment, we are fighting against ignorance and wrong forces in the battlefield of life. After fighting for a certain number of years, naturally we need rest. The soul’s world, Heaven, is for rest. So Heaven and earth have different objectives. Here we enter into the hustle and bustle of life in order to realise, reveal and manifest the Highest; there we go to rest.

You also spoke about reincarnation. The Indian belief is that this is not our first or our last life. We believe in reincarnation because we feel that God wants us to be happy and fulfilled both in the desire-world and in the aspiration-world. A desire we may have had since the age of four may take forty, fifty or even sixty years to fulfil. In the aspiration-world, it takes years to achieve even an iota of peace, light and bliss. If we want boundless peace, boundless light, boundless delight, it is impossible to get these things in the short span of one life. If God’s unconditional Grace descends, then naturally we will be blessed with peace, light and bliss. But usually, even to get peace of mind takes many, many years. So we feel that God-realisation, which is the ultimate achievement, cannot be achieved in a single life.

MUN 429. 18 March 1977.

Question: Are you part of a particular organised religious body, and is the meditation you teach derived from the Hindu religion?243

Sri Chinmoy: I appreciate and admire all religions, and my teachings embody the quintessence of all religions. But I do not belong to any particular religion. I was born a Hindu; therefore, I know the ins and outs of the Hindu religion. But I do not practise Hinduism or any other specific religion. My religion is to love God and to become a humble instrument of God. Hinduism is like a house; Christianity is another house; Judaism is another house. We each grow up in our particular houses, but then we come to one school to study. This school is spirituality. Through spirituality we discover our oneness with God.

MUN 430. 15 June 1977.

Question: Do you feel that parents should give young children religious instruction, or should children be free to choose their own form of worship when they are old enough?244

Sri Chinmoy: When a child is young, he does not know which food is nourishing and which food is bad. So, as a parent, it is your responsibility to give him what you feel is good for him. This is not an imposition; it is an offering. You have discovered that something is true, that something is good or bad. Is it wrong for you then to offer your discoveries to your child? If we do not feed the child because we do not know what he will like, he will simply starve to death. In the spiritual life also, it is your bounden duty to feed your child right from the beginning by teaching him to be good and generous, to have faith in God and pray to God or repeat God’s Name. Otherwise, how will he learn these things?

When the child is thirteen or fourteen and his mind has developed, at that time he can make his own choice. When the child is old enough to make his own discoveries, let him discover his own path. If the child does not stay with his parents’ path, if he feels that he knows everything better, then that is his business. But at least the parents have given him some foundation upon which to build a good life.

America is the land of freedom, so right from the beginning parents give their children endless freedom to do anything they want. Then, when the children grow up to be ignorant and undisciplined, the parents say, “Oh, I never expected my children to be like that.” But it is the parents’ fault. When their children are growing up, the parents cannot simply lead their own lives and ignore their children. They must give them boundless love, affection and concern. If one day their children do not respond to their love, the next day they must be ready to give more. They have to give unreservedly today and, even if they do not get any response, tomorrow they have to give again. Parents’ business is to give, give, give and not to expect. They have to know the meaning of patience. When the time comes, the children will be grateful.

MUN 431. 18 May 1973.

Question: How can the different religions best respect and value each other?245

Sri Chinmoy: Each religion must feel that it is nothing but a branch. If there is a branch, then there has to be a tree; and the tree is love of truth. Truth finds fulfilment only when it embraces the Vast as its very own. Each religion has to feel the necessity of embracing other religions for its own satisfaction and perfection. Alone it can never be satisfied; alone it can never be perfect. Only when all the religions join together will they be able to create something beautiful, soulful and fruitful. But when you go deep within, you do not see each religion as something separate. You see only one Reality operating in and through many forms, many ideas, many ideals and many religions.

MUN 432. 14 November 1975.

Question: Can we transcend our religion for a more vast spirituality?246

Sri Chinmoy: Religion is good, but eventually we have to go far beyond religion. Religion will tell us about God; sometimes it will create fear in us when we do something wrong. The religious approach to God often places great emphasis on fear. But the spiritual approach to God always gives paramount importance to love. It is not out of fear that we approach God but out of love. We want to establish our inseparable oneness with Him. I do not want to say that religion does not have love for God, because it does. But fear of God very often looms large in people who practise religion. People who practise spirituality do not have that kind of fear. They have only love of God and the desire to establish oneness with God.

Religion feels that there is Someone called God who is high above, in the sky or in Heaven or somewhere else, and that all peace, light and bliss are with Him. But spirituality will say that where I am is where light, peace and bliss can be found; where I move around is where truth is. Spirituality will say truth and I are inseparable. Religion does not claim that kind of oneness. Religion will say that truth is somewhere else, and only if we pray and meditate will we one day see the face of truth and light. But spirituality will say that I myself am the very thing that I am looking for and crying for; everything is already inside me, only I have forgotten it, I cannot recognise it or I have misplaced it. Spirituality tells us to discover our inner wealth and bring to the fore what we eternally have.

MUN 433-438. 21 November 1975.

Question: Is it possible to reach the state of God-realisation by devotedly practising one's religion?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, by practising one’s own religion one can definitely realise God. But one has to feel that there is something higher and deeper than religion and that is our constant inner cry. Religion as such will tell us there is a God. It will tell us that we have to be good, we have to be kind, we have to be simple, sincere and pure. This much religion will offer us. But there is also something called spirituality, which is higher and deeper. It will say that it is not enough just to know that God exists. We also have to see Him, we have to feel Him, we have to grow into Him. And this we do through prayer and meditation.

Question: Why does the reference to God or religion embarrass so many people?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two reasons. First, people have become very sophisticated; they now have a machine-like consciousness. Anything that they do not or cannot know immediately, or anything that they do not have an immediate need for in their life, they do not value. And anything that does not give them satisfaction on the physical, vital or mental plane, or anything that does not exist right in front of their nose, they feel is unreal and embarrassing.

But the really religious people never create embarrassment. Actually, who should be embarrassed? Not he who has seen the light or he who is crying for the light! Only he who does not care for the light should be embarrassed. If I as an individual have seen the light, then why should I feel embarrassed to speak to you? And if you as an individual need light and are crying for light, then why should you be embarrassed? We should be embarrassed only when we do not have something good and divine and do not care for that very thing or appreciate those who have it. We should be embarrassed only then.

Question: Please explain the difference between 'religious fervour' and 'delight'. Can the two complement each other?

Sri Chinmoy: No. Religious fervour or religious joy we get mainly on the vital level, though sometimes we get it in the mind. And it satisfies us only on the vital or mental level. But when one experiences delight, it permeates one’s entire being. Delight is something infinitely higher than religious fervour. It is on the strength of our oneness with the Absolute Supreme, or on the strength of our total dedication to His Will, that we get delight. Delight deals with our own birthless and deathless inner existence, with the full manifestation of the divine within us. So these are two different things.

Question: Is religion indispensable for our self-realisation?

Sri Chinmoy: Everything within us that is good is responsible for self-realisation. But if you ask what is indispensable, then I will say that only one thing is indispensable and that is our constant inner cry for God.

Question: How does religious discipline differ from spiritual discipline?

Sri Chinmoy: Religious discipline may tell us to go to church once a week and pray to God. But spiritual discipline will tell us to try to remain conscious of God twenty-four hours a day and to pray and meditate at least twice a day — in the morning and in the evening. Spiritual discipline is a constant process. It is infinitely more significant than religious discipline since it asks us to try to become a conscious, constant, living instrument of God so that God can manifest in and through us in His own Way.

If we follow spiritual discipline, then at the end of the road we will feel that we have grown into the very image of God; whereas if we follow religious discipline, at the end of the road we will say that we have seen the Goal. Religious discipline at most can lead us to the Goal, whereas spiritual discipline or yogic discipline will not only take us to the Goal but also make us feel that we are nothing short of the Goal itself.

Question: How can the various world religions respond more co-operatively and effectively to humanity's aspiration?247

Sri Chinmoy: It is the followers of religion who have to come forward and offer the qualities of their respective religions to other religions. It is the followers of religion who can and must work effectively to create humanity’s sincere aspiration. Religion as such cannot do anything, but the people who give life to religion and who breathe in the breath of religion must come forward and create a new aspiration in humanity’s heart. If this is done, then all religions will be able to work together without losing anything of their own. On the contrary, by singing the song of oneness they will gain everything.

MUN 439-445. 9 January 1976.

Question: Are people growing away from organised religion and moving towards meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: In some countries it is true that people are growing away from organised religion and running towards meditation. In other countries people are still practising their religions faithfully, and some feel that religion is the only answer. Over the course of time, many people from various religions have practised meditation without feeling that it presented any obstacle to their religious beliefs. On the contrary, they saw that meditation increased the power and the light of their own religious beliefs.

Question: People are often afraid of practices like meditation, which are not prescribed by their own religion. Why is this?

Sri Chinmoy: In the West, especially, prayer is given much more importance than meditation. So some people feel that if they meditate instead of praying, they are being disloyal to their religious beliefs. Also, many people are not accustomed to meditating, whereas all along they have been praying. Anything that is new to our system, to our mind and to our understanding creates a kind of conscious or unconscious fear in us.

Question: Can one find the fulfilment of his life in religion?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends entirely on what kind of fulfilment an individual wants and needs from his own life and what kind of religion he is practising. If his religion is not broad and all-embracing, then he is not going to get a fulfilment that is everlasting and complete. If he wants total fulfilment, however, then he has to enlarge his vision and his heart’s capacity. His vision and his capacity have to increase so that he can see and feel the functioning of his own religion in and through all the other religions.

Again, if one really wants fulfilment, then one has to know that it will not come just by following a particular religion or even by following all religions. Real fulfilment can and will come only from a sincere inner cry for God. Religion is like a house. Either in this house or in that house you can remain. But if you do not aspire while you are inside the house, then there can be no real fulfilment. It is by practising the principle that inwardly dictates the form of a religion that one can find real fulfilment. And this principle is what we call spirituality: aspiration, prayer and meditation.

Question: Is what you teach a religion?

Sri Chinmoy: No, mine is a path. A path cannot be a religion, but it gladly accepts the votaries or followers of all religions. Since it is a path, anybody can follow it. People from different countries, different cultures and different backgrounds can walk along the same path, but perhaps they will not be able to follow the same religion. One can walk along the spiritual path regardless of religion, regardless of culture, regardless of inner or outer growth.

Question: How can religion be made more spiritual?

Sri Chinmoy: Religion can be made more spiritual just by bringing to it broader beliefs, more illumining compassion and more fulfilling satisfaction, all of which are founded on the devotee’s consecration to God’s Will. In order to make religion more spiritual, spirituality in its pristine purity must be brought into the heart of religion.

Question: Is there any real difference between one religion and another?

Sri Chinmoy: If you dive deep within, you will see there is no fundamental difference between the religions because each religion embodies the ultimate Truth. Only they call it by different names. Each religion is right, absolutely right, because each religion conveys the message of Truth in its own way. Your religion may say one thing and my religion may say something else. But our religions will never differ when it is a matter of the highest Truth.

On the way to the Goal we may quarrel and disagree; we may misunderstand each other. Why? Precisely because there are many roads that lead to the Goal. Some will follow one road and some will follow another road. I will say that my road is by far the best because it is inspiring and satisfying me. You will say that your road is best because it is fulfilling you. But when we reach our Destination, we will both be at the same place: Truth. In Truth there is no quarrel, no conflict; Truth or God-realisation transcends all religions.

Chapter 14: God and the universe

Question: You have written an aphorism which says: "God is at once finite and infinite. He is space. He is beyond space. He is measured. He can be measured. He must needs be measured. He is measureless. He is boundless. He is infinite." Could you please explain this, particularly how God can be called finite?248

Sri Chinmoy: God is finite and God is infinite. You have stressed the word ‘finite’. It means that you find it difficult to see how God can be finite. We normally feel that God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Let us take this divine quality that we call omnipotence. If God can be as vast as the universe but not as tiny as the tiniest atom, then where is His Omnipotence? When we think of omnipotence, our human mind has the idea of vast and measureless power. But real omnipotence means that the Supreme has the power to be immeasurably vast or inconceivably small, according to His sweet Will. It means the power to be finite or infinite, limited or unlimited.

God is infinite, but He has entered into this finite body of ours which lasts for fifty, sixty or seventy years. God is infinite, but He houses Himself in each tiny child. Here in the finite, He wants to enjoy Himself and play the tune of the Infinite; it gives Him the greatest joy. It is in the finite that the Supreme in us is aspiring towards the Infinite. Finite and infinite: to our outer eyes they seem to be opposites, but in God’s Eyes they are one. The finite and the Infinite always want to go together; the one complements the other. The finite wants to reach the absolute Highest, which is the Infinite. The Infinite wants to manifest itself in and through the finite. Then only is the divine Game complete. Otherwise, it will be only a one-sided game. There will be no joy, no achievement, no fulfilment. In and through the Infinite, the finite is singing its song of realisation. In and through the finite, the Infinite is singing its song of manifestation.

MUN 446-447. 1970.

Question: Can God and the universe be separated?

Sri Chinmoy: God is the Owner and Creator of the universe, and the Creator and His creation are inseparable. In the ordinary world, the creator or owner of a thing can pick it up or put it down; he can keep it or give it away. But, in the case of God and the universe, it is not like that. If you look at God, you will see the universe inside Him. And, if you look at the universe with your spiritual eye, your third eye, immediately you will see God inside it. Human possession comes and goes. Today you have millions of dollars; tomorrow you may be an absolute beggar. But in God’s case, the Possessor and the possession can never be separated.

Question: All around us we hear of wars and conflicts. I want to know if these conflicts are all part of the divine order?249

Sri Chinmoy: It is true that sometimes life is a divine Game; the good and bad in everybody comes to the fore and finally the good is victorious. Again, there is something called an attack by the undivine forces within or around us. After you leave here, somebody may come and snatch away your wallet. Is it karma or some wrong action on your part that caused you to be robbed? Far from it! You have prayed, you have meditated, you have done everything right. But there are many undivine forces around us, and no matter how spiritual or divine we are, they attack us. So we have to pray to God for constant protection.

With regard to the present-day political situation, it is not the intention of the Divine to let the forces fight it out so that out of evil good will come. At times we say that the divine Game is being played; that the Divine and undivine play and finally the Divine wins. But right now, it is not like that. The present-day wars are not God’s intention; they are the product of human weaknesses.

MUN 448. 26 October 1973.

Question: What is God? Where is He?250

Sri Chinmoy: God is everywhere. But if we do not see Him or feel Him inside our heart, then we will not be able to see Him anywhere. First we have to see Him within us and talk to Him inside our heart. If we can do this, then only will we be able to see God elsewhere. If inside our heart God is missing, then we shall not be able to speak to God or mix with God anywhere.

What is God? God is both formless and with form. He is pure energy without beginning or end; at the same time, He is the most luminous form. It depends on how the seeker wants to see God. One person may want to see God in a human form, but as absolutely divine, supreme, perfect. He feels that if God appears to him with form, then it will be easier for him to recognise God or realise God. So he likes to see the personal God. But again, if someone says that he wants to go beyond the personal God, beyond form, beyond duality, and remain always in the infinite peace, light and bliss, that also can be done. And the same seeker who cries in the morning to see God with form can, in the evening, cry for God as formless, boundless energy.

MUN 449. 3 October 1975.

Question: Why should one give his time to God?251

Sri Chinmoy: One gives his time to God because he sees that, unlike him and unlike others, God is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the beginning; He is the end. He is this; He is that. And, at the same time, He transcends what He eternally is.

God is all-pervading; He is everywhere. Whatever we do, whatever we say, whatever we grow into is nothing short of an expansion of His own Reality-Existence. Right at the outset we have to know that He alone exists. Just because He alone exists, no matter what we do, we know that our action is motivated by Him and also finds its result in Him. Not only that, but He is the One acting in and through us. Our action fulfils itself, our capacity is increased and our realisation is strengthened only because He exists and He is. Therefore, either consciously or unconsciously, either cheerfully or dolefully, God has to come into the picture.

MUN 450. 31 October 1975.

Question: What do you think of a person who is an atheist?252

Sri Chinmoy: We say that someone is an atheist because he says that there is no God. I say there is a God, but he says, “No God, no God, no God!” When he goes to that extreme, he will see that his negative feeling itself is a form of positive feeling. At the extreme, he says that there is nothing. But what he calls nothing is, for us, something; and that very thing we call God.

Sometimes the sky is overcast with clouds and no moon or stars are visible. We know that when these clouds are dispersed, we will immediately be able to see the moon and the stars. But an atheist cannot see beyond the clouds.

MUN 451. 18 July 1978.

Question: Why did God create evil?253

Sri Chinmoy: What you call evil, that very thing I call ignorance. There is a great difference between ignorance and evil. Ignorance is an experience that ultimately will lead us to a higher truth. We go from lesser light, to greater light, to greatest light. What you call evil and sin are actually experiences of bondage and imperfection. Evil is in our mind. In our aspiring heart there is no such thing as evil. What the mind sees as evil, the heart sees as imperfection. And this imperfection can easily be perfected when we pray to God for light, peace and bliss.

MUN 452-453. 13 June 1975.

Question: What is the sound 'AUM'?

Sri Chinmoy: ‘AUM’ represents God in His three aspects: God the Creator, God the Preserver and God the Destroyer or Transformer. God the Creator has created us. God the Preserver preserves us. But while preserving us He notices some imperfection in us, which He tries to perfect. When He is perfecting us, He becomes God the Destroyer. But ‘Destroyer’ is the wrong term; God is not destroying anything; only He is transforming us. Anything that is undivine in us God transforms and illumines. ‘A’ represents God the Creator, ‘U’ represents God the Preserver and ‘M’ represents God the Transformer. So when we chant ‘AUM’, we invoke God in His three aspects.

Question: When does God want His Name spoken?254

Sri Chinmoy: God wants His Name to be spoken by every human being at every moment and at every place. If each of us can be aware of our Source, we will become more illumined seekers, better instruments and more fulfilling hero-warriors of God for God’s manifestation on earth.

MUN 454. 26 November 1976.

Question: What is your basic philosophy?255

Sri Chinmoy: Our basic philosophy is love, devotion and surrender. We love God not in a human way but in a divine way. In human love there is constant demand. If I give you something, then I expect you to give me something; it is always give and take. But in divine love we give unconditionally. Human love ends in frustration and frustration ultimately is destruction. But divine love is constant illumination. In divine love, we love God unconditionally; then it is up to God to give us what He wants to give us. And when we love the world in a divine way, at that time we see the world as only an expansion of our own selves and our heart becomes universal.

Human devotion is attachment; divine devotion is dedication to a higher purpose or ideal, to a higher way of life. Divine devotion grows out of our soul’s promise to manifest our inner divinity here on earth.

Human surrender is the surrender of a slave to his master. It is done out of fear. But divine surrender is the surrender of our less illumined part to our higher part. Right now we are not fully aware of our highest Height. But once we become aware of who we are, we try to surrender our lower self to our higher Self. The tiny drop is not aware of the ocean. But when it merges with the ocean, it becomes the ocean itself. In divine surrender, the finite in us surrenders to the Infinite in us and becomes inseparably one with it.

MUN 455. 11 March 1977.

Question: Why is darkness impermanent and light permanent?256

Sri Chinmoy: Light is permanent precisely because our Source is all Light. Since our Source is Light, we also have to grow into Light. We come from Light, in Light we grow and through Light we fulfil ourselves. God is the eternal Source and we are His children; eventually, we have to grow into His very Image. God-realisation, the flood of infinite Light, is our birthright.

Right now we are enveloped by darkness because we have been sleeping for a few years or a few incarnations. But a day will come when the infinite Light will dawn inside us and make us feel what we truly are. At that time our inner sun, which is infinitely brighter than the physical sun, will dispel our ignorance-night of millennia.

The more we go deep within, the easier it becomes for us to realise that there is something within us that is everlasting. If we can live in our inner existence, even for one minute a day, we will see and feel Light in abundant measure and feel the possibility of growing into the effulgence of Light. So let us try to go deep within and enter into this inner cosmic sun. There we shall see the infinite, permanent Light waiting for us and crying for us. It needs only our conscious approval and co-operation to come to the fore.

What is Light? Light is Delight and Delight means Nectar, the immortal Nectar. In one of our Upanishads it is said that all human beings come into the world from Delight. Again, Delight is Light, God the Light. Although at every moment we are growing in Delight, we do not see or feel Delight right now because we are living the surface life in the meshes of ignorance. But we shall continue to grow and, at the end of our journey’s close, we shall again enter into the effulgence of Delight. “We came from Delight, we grow in Delight and, at the end of our journey’s close, we shall retire into Delight.”

This experience of Delight we get only when we meditate, for only then do we get inner peace or peace of mind. Delight is visible, palpable and tangible only when we have peace of mind. Unfortunately, the modern, intellectual, doubting and sophisticated mind does not care for Light and Delight. It cries for outer information or it cries to achieve the Truth in its own way. But even while achieving the Truth, it negates the Truth. The mind sees the Truth for five seconds and then, when it is about to achieve the Truth, it doubts the possibility and potentiality of Truth. Then who is the loser? It is the mind. But if we live in the heart or in the soul, which is within the heart, then we identify ourselves with the Truth and immediately become the Truth. At that time there is no doubt; there is only a flood of certainty.

MUN 456. June 1978.

Question: I was wondering if there is a spiritual reason why earth is suffering from so many disasters at this time.257

Sri Chinmoy: Disasters do take place occasionally. From the spiritual point of view, we have to take everything as an experience. In God’s ultimate Vision, each human being will eventually have boundless perfection and infinite satisfaction. But God works in ways beyond our comprehension. Human beings do not know what God’s ultimate Vision is. Here on the physical plane somebody will die and we will be sad; but on the inner plane perhaps God sees that dying at this time will expedite that soul’s progress. So the best way is to take so-called disasters as an experience that God is giving to the individuals who are immediately involved and to those who are observing the situation.

Again, we have to know that wrong forces can operate in and through the earth planet because earth is not perfect. Some things God initiates and inspires, some things He approves of and some things He just accepts or tolerates. When we see earthquakes, floods or famine, we have to know that these are things God is just tolerating. If some wrong forces destroy a group of people or destroy some places, God is just tolerating it. Again, there is a higher purpose to these things. Today God tolerates this suffering, but tomorrow, inside the persons who have suffered, God’s deep Compassion will flow, and in some way He will compensate. But that compensation we will not see with our human eyes; it has to be seen with our aspiring consciousness.

We have to know that the catastrophes and disasters which make us feel that the downfall of the human race is approaching are only what we are seeing in the outer world. Because we live on the physical plane, we notice whatever is happening there. But catastrophes can take place on the inner plane also. The undivine forces, the hostile forces, can also operate on the inner plane.

Look at the conflict between faith and doubt. If doubt destroys our faith, then on the inner plane it is like the explosion of an atom bomb.

MUN 457. 6 August 1976.

Question: Where did God originate?258

Sri Chinmoy: God originated Himself out of His own Silence. He was One, but He wanted to become many in order to divinely enjoy the cosmic Game. You cannot enjoy a game with only one person. If you want to play a game, you need more players. So the Creator multiplied Himself and became the creation.

MUN 458. May 1978.

Question: How did we ever lose God?259

Sri Chinmoy: God is within and without. We have not lost God; it is only that we do not care for Him. If we do not want to eat a particular food, if we feel that it is not meant for us, then how can we go and blame others when we do not eat it? It is up to us to decide what to eat. Food, in this case, is God-realisation. It is there for us, but we do not want it. Right in front of us are both ignorance and knowledge. Unfortunately, we make friends with ignorance; that is why we live in constant doubt. Instead of remaining in the soul, we stay in the unlit physical mind, which does not know anything. Because the mind is all ignorance, what we say one minute the mind will doubt or forget the next minute. But if we remain in the soul, we will see and feel our constant oneness with God.

He who lives in the soul, he who cares for God and cries for God, will never say that he has lost God. The moment a child cries for something, he gets it from his father. If we cry for peace, light and bliss from our Eternal Father, then He will give them to us. If we cry for God, then He will come before us. So nothing is denied us; only we do not care for it. If we do not feel a sincere need for God, then we say that there is no God. But if we cry for God and feel our need for God, then we will see that we have never lost God at all.

MUN 459. 18 July 1978.

Question: How can we see through God's Eyes?260

Sri Chinmoy: We can see through God’s Eyes only when we feel our conscious, constant and all-loving oneness with our Inner Pilot, the Lord Supreme. First of all, if we live in the mind or in the vital, we have to establish a free access to the inmost recesses of our heart. But if we already live in the heart, then we have to feel the Presence of the One who lives in the inmost recesses of our heart, our Lord Supreme. When we feel His Presence, at that time we have to go one step farther and feel our inseparable and eternal oneness with Him. Once we feel our inseparable, eternal oneness with Him, then no matter what we do, we will feel that He is doing it in us, with us and through us and we are doing it in Him, with Him and through Him.

MUN 460. 26 November 1976.

Editor's preface to the first edition

This book consists of questions answered by Sri Chinmoy during his twice-weekly meditation sessions for delegates and staff members at United Nations Headquarters in New York. These sessions date from April 1970, when the Peace Meditation Group at the United Nations was founded in response to an invitation from Secretary-General U Thant.

The majority of the material in this book is drawn from the 1970s. After that time, Sri Chinmoy usually chose to observe silence during the meetings, having found silent meditation to be more useful and fruitful in establishing inner peace than answering questions. Delegates and staff members also found that silence offers a welcome balance to the daily pressures of working for international co-operation.

In addition to these tranquil interludes, Sri Chinmoy: The Peace Meditation at the United Nations has sponsored a variety of other programmes, including ones honouring individual countries and world luminaries, as well as musical performances, an annual prayer breakfast, peace walks and a peace run.

This volume complements The Garland of Nation-Souls, a collection of Sri Chinmoy’s talks at the United Nations which was published by Health Communications (USA) in 1995 as a special tribute to both the 50th anniversary of the United Nations and Sri Chinmoy’s 25 years of dedicated service to the world-body.

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