The meditation-world

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God and the human Guru

The human Guru is only an instrument of the Supreme. I always say that I am not the Guru: the real Guru, the only Guru, the supreme Guru is the Supreme Himself. I am a representative of the Supreme for those who call themselves my disciples. Since those who call themselves my disciples want to reach the Supreme through me, they have to be in my spiritual boat. There are some disciples in my boat who have no faith, no belief in me. They are constantly doubting me and constantly separating me from the Supreme. That is to say, they feel that my boat has nothing to do with the Supreme's Will or the Supreme's Consciousness. But there comes a time when a disciple is fully ripe and lives in his highest consciousness all the time. Then he sees that there is no difference between his Guru and the Supreme.

When I tell my disciples to meditate on my transcendental picture, I take full responsibility for what I say. That is to say, the Supreme is in that picture. But the physical body that you are seeing, you may judge or suspect. You see that I am five feet eight inches tall and so many other things you see in my physical being. But inside the physical is the real spiritual existence, where my total oneness, conscious oneness, complete oneness with the Supreme operates. The disciple's capacity to realise this oneness depends on his achievement in the field of aspiration; it depends on how far or how deeply he has realised me. Somebody will take me as a spiritual Master; somebody else will take me as a philosopher and a third person will take me as a poet. All these things in the outer life can be seen. But if anybody here has ever gone really deep within and entered into me or entered into the Supreme, then he sees that in my deepest consciousness I am totally one with the Supreme. There can be no difference.

Some Gurus in India tell their disciples to pray to them. In India, automatically the disciples feel that their Guru can never be separated from God, so they pray to their Guru. They feel that it is easier and more effective to pray to the Guru than to God. Sri Ramakrishna used to say that God is like a cow. Milk is there in the cow; but if I press the tail or the leg or the nose, I don't get the milk. I get the milk only when I press the udder of the cow. Similarly, God is everywhere in this world. In this wooden plank God exists, but if I break the plank, God is not going to appear. So the representative of God, the Guru is the udder and from there we get the milk. Milk means Compassion, Light, Peace and Bliss.

Your Guru is your spiritual leader, your guide, your real pilot. He is dealing with divine Consciousness, infinite Consciousness, Infinity and Eternity. If you really want Infinity and Eternity, then you have to know that the easiest and most effective way to go to the Supreme is through the Guru, because in this way you can approach the Supreme on the physical plane as well as the inner plane. Even the outer senses are satisfied and you can get an immediate response on that level. If you think of the Supreme, it is all very vague. How many of you really have any conception of the Supreme, even in the mental world? Either He is a human being or He is infinite Consciousness or Energy; these things you may imagine. But you know who I am. You have talked with me so many times; you have meditated with me so many times and many, many times through my eyes you have seen the Light of the Supreme, the Power of the Supreme.

There is one more thing I wish to say. Sometimes when I speak, it may seem that I am repeating the same idea over and over. But I wish to tell you that even if I speak beyond your expectation, I will not say a word beyond your necessity. The Divine in me is constantly flowing through me. Even if I repeat some word six times, eight times, twenty times, there is a special purpose in it. When I say something once, I see that the mind may respond to what I say and the mind may try to listen to it. The second time I say something, I see that the vital is going to listen to it. The third time, the physical consciousness is going to listen. So when I repeat a word, please do not feel that I am repeating each sentence because I do not have more wisdom or more light. I do have an incessant flow in my inner life and outer life, but I feel it is necessary to repeat for the disciples' sake.

Entering into the Master's highest consciousness

My simple request to you is that every day for five minutes you will kindly concentrate on the daily meditation and then, either when you are depressed or when you are in a good mood during the day, you can try to concentrate on the thoughts that you have read in the morning. It will help you in your inner life as well as in your outer life. If you don't want to memorise it, if you don't want to sit for that extra examination, no harm; you don't have to do it. But I wish you to read the daily meditation and concentrate on it and get the utmost from it.

I wish to tell you that one of the most effective ways of entering into my highest consciousness is to read my spiritual writings. You do not have to read about my subway experiences: what kind of difficulties I had to go through and all that. But when you read my spiritual writings, I can assure you that immediately you enter into my consciousness. My spiritual writings are surcharged with my own consciousness. I cannot separate my realisation from my writings. So if you want to grow in your Guru's realisation, every day read these meditations and also read my writings for half an hour.

If you read my writings every day, I wish to tell you that you will get a deeper knowledge, a deeper vision, a deeper reality. Then you will see how you are progressing in your own inner life. My writings are not like a newspaper that you read in the subway and then throw away. My writings are something most significant for the disciples. Each time you read my writings soulfully and devotedly, I assure you that the next time you read you will be blessed or endowed with something more significant, more fulfilling.

It is difficult to meditate twenty-four hours a day, but it is absolutely possible to read my writings for half an hour and to do an hour of meditation daily. Twenty-four hours a day God has given you. If you don't have the time to meditate for one hour at a stretch, or if you are not able to meditate for an hour at a stretch, then I wish you to meditate fifteen minutes at a time. Do it early in the morning; then at noon, if it is possible. If it is not possible, then forget about it and try to meditate when you come back home from your job. That will be the second time. Then you can meditate again after two or three hours. The fourth time you can meditate just before you go to sleep. You can even do it while you are in bed, but you have to be in a seated position and not lying down. So these four times easily you can meditate during the day.

Again, when I say that you have to meditate for an hour, this does not mean that you have to look at your watch and all the time count the minutes. No! If you feel that you are not able to meditate properly for an hour, then I wish you to remain in your meditative mood for as long as possible. But if you are trying for two hours and you are not able to actually meditate even for ten minutes, then the best thing is to leave meditation at that time because the mind has become agitated and it will be difficult for you to calm the mind.

But you must not feel sorry or depressed. If you feel depressed that today's meditation did not come out all right, that depression will not help you in the least. That depression will only pull you back. You have tried your best; now you have to offer the results to the Supreme. You tried and you failed; but if you can offer your failure at the Feet of the Supreme, then you will get the same benefit that you would have got if you had had a good meditation. If you give only good things to God and keep the bad things, then you will see that the strength of what we call the bad things will not allow you to go to God with what you have and what you are. Two things you can get from meditation: either success or failure. If you can give both to God with the deepest joy, then your part is over.

Please forgive me. I am not scolding you at all. Only I am telling you what you can do with your meditation. The time has come for us to be absolutely sincere in what we say and do. Here we are all grownups. What has compelled us to accept the spiritual life is our inner urge to think of God and realise God. It is the divinity in us that is pulling us or pushing us to realise God. When each morning comes, I know that all of you try sincerely and devotedly. Again, I know that all of you can become more sincere and more alert in your day-to-day life. I want each student and disciple of mine to realise God in this life. But if you cannot do it, I shall cry with you, I shall shed bitter tears. I don't want to tell you people that one day I will leave the body and that you will have to stay on earth and go through hundreds of incarnations. I do not want to say that kind of thing. No, I say here and now that you can realise God, and when I say here and now I really mean it. I have the capacity and I have the assurance from above, but I need the readiness from you people. I do not want to eat all the fruit all by myself. I really love you people. I really want to give you the fruit. No parents will be happy if they see that their children are denied the fruit.

But again, the children have to be crying for the fruit, begging for the fruit. Otherwise, as Sri Ramakrishna used to say, "If I give you sweet things, sugar, then your stomach will become upset." When I give you a little experience, inner experience, believe me, you are unbalanced. I have seen some of you really lose your heads when I bring down and give a little inner aspiration or higher experience. You have to feel at that time that this inner experience is nothing in relation to your self-realisation.

So from now on, I wish all of you to devote more time to prayer and meditation. But, at the same time, this meditation should be filled with absolute sincerity and aspiration. It should not be done for the sake of counting the hours. You can meditate for eight hours, ten hours, twelve hours; but if all the time you are thinking of your friends and relatives, that kind of meditation will not help you at all.

By this time, here at this Centre, I wish to tell you that I would have got more than 150 new disciples if I had accepted everyone who applied over the last two months. You don't know how mercilessly I have rejected in cases when I saw that they had no real aspiration. I do not want this place to have black sheep. Each person here should feel the divine necessity and divine prestige of this place. Each person has some responsibility for realising God. I feel that those who are already here should stay to get the utmost from their aspiration and inner life. Let us not cry for numbers. Let us cry only for realisation. And for that I am ready, I am really ready to help you, guide you and grant you this Goal of goals.

Meditating at a fixed hour

It is of paramount importance to have a fixed time for your meditation. Even a child will cry for his mother's milk at a particular hour, at a fixed time. You work in a store. When you go to your store, if you always open the door at nine o'clock, then others will have confidence that they can come at nine o'clock and you will really be open. Everything has its own hour. The inner being, the Inner Pilot, the Supreme, always observes. He expects that a particular hour is His time. If you stick to this hour, then the Supreme has confidence in you. The Supreme says, "At this hour he is not loitering around; he is doing his meditation." There has to be regularity plus punctuality. Regularity helps a lot. But if you want to get the utmost from regularity, then there should also be punctuality.

In the ordinary life, if you eat twenty-four hours a day, you will become extremely fat and die. In the spiritual world it is not like that. While you are meditating, you are eating Light. The more you eat, the more capacity you get. Once you learn how to meditate well, you start taking more and more inner food: Peace, Light and Bliss. In the ordinary life, you may increase your capacity for a few days or for a month or two. Then there comes a time when, although you still have the eagerness to eat, you don't have the capacity. After taking ten pieces of bread, you are eager to take more, but you don't have the capacity; your stomach won't hold more. In the spiritual life it is not like that, because you are dealing with infinity.

Suppose you want to meditate at six-thirty. This is your hour. Then, if you get up at seven, what will happen? Your own lethargy, your idleness, will ruin all your possibilities. On the one hand, your lethargy acts like an enemy and does not allow you to get up at the same hour every day. On the other hand, it justifies itself. It secretly enters into your subconscious mind and justifies itself. It will say, "Oh, I came home from meditation late; that is why I could not get up." Or it will say, "For the last six days I got up every day at six-thirty. God is all kindness; so for today He will forgive me." There are so many ways that you can justify getting up late. If you say, "I came home late," it is true. But that doesn't mean that you won't do the first thing first. The first thing is meditation; the first thing is God. If you meditate at six-thirty, at your usual hour, then your second thing will be your breakfast or your reading, or mixing with friends and all that.

If you do not keep moving toward your goal, then you are lost. At that time, the hostile forces, the undivine forces, will say, "Oh, he is a useless fellow. I know that he does not have the perseverance, the inner need to reach the goal. So let me give him a little liberty. He will just go one step ahead and then tomorrow he will come back." When an insincere seeker wants to go forward, the hostile forces say, "We know your capacity. It is all only self-deception and pretence. It is all relaxation. A backwards march you will do." If a sincere seeker is not regular, if he is not punctual, then he is doomed. Because of his sincerity, he runs very fast and the hostile forces think, "Since he is sincere, he will very soon reach the goal." So if a sincere seeker takes rest after running a short way, the hostile forces will say, "Oh, we must be more careful. Today he is taking rest, but tomorrow he will try to cover a great length. The best thing is to pull him back and make him start his journey again."

Once you start your journey, if you stop at one place and think, "Today I am tired, but tomorrow again I will start from here and go on," you have to know that ignorance is more alert than your own aspiration. When you started justifying your lethargy by saying, "I did not get up this morning because I worked so hard yesterday," already your ignorance was operating.

Regularity can tell you that God is there, but still He is far away. Punctuality will tell you that you are approaching God, no matter how far away He is. Regularity will tell you that the goal is there. But if you are punctual, immediately a kind of dynamism, a kind of movement is there. Regularly you are meditating, true. But when there is punctuality, at that time it is like a motor in action. The motor is your regularity, because you know that at any time you can drive. But when you turn the key and start the motor, that is your punctuality. There the action has already started. With regularity you get only a vague idea that you will do it. But when punctuality starts, you actually do it.

The meditation world

Question: Suppose you are so tired that you can't meditate, but if you slept longer and meditated an hour later, you could meditate. Which is better?

Sri Chinmoy: The thing is that you have to know how often you do it. If you say that every week you are doing it, this is not good. But once in a blue moon it is all right. It is like in school; you study for months, and then you get a holiday. All right. But if every day you want to take a holiday, then how will you make progress? If you say that for months you have meditated at a particular hour and one morning you are tired, all right. But if every day you go to school at a different hour, then how can the teacher be pleased?

In your case also, I wish to say that regularity is necessary and punctuality is even more necessary. Always try to be punctual.

That gives inner assurance to your life. But every day if you change the hour, then you do not have enough inner strength.

Question: But sometimes I just fall asleep practically right in front of my shrine.

Sri Chinmoy: No harm. Why don't you put cold water on your eyes?

Question: I take a shower, but still I fall asleep after about five minutes.

Sri Chinmoy: Why don't you pinch yourself as hard as possible and feel that your roommate is pinching you? Then you will say, "Stop, stop, stop, stop!" When you are falling asleep, pinch yourself as hard as possible, and think that somebody else is pinching you. While you are pinching, it is actually your consciousness that is pinching your unconsciousness. But, at that time, you have to feel that a third person is doing the pinching.

Question: But then I spend my whole time trying to keep my physical awake and I don't really meditate.

Sri Chinmoy: Why do you want to meditate for half an hour or two hours? Why can't you meditate properly just for ten minutes? If you say, "Oh, I only have to meditate for ten minutes," already you will have some joy. When the child is supposed to read for an hour, if the mother says, "All right, my child, today you only have to read for ten minutes," already the child is happy. Lethargy, sleep and all these things come because interest is lacking. If interest is there, sincere interest, there will be no sleep. When a student wants to be first in school, when he has a real, sincere interest, then he studies. But some students say, "All right, if we pass the examination that is more than enough." In that way they go on without any energetic drive.

So what you should do is always try to be energetic. How? If you feel that you can't meditate for half an hour, no harm. Meditate for ten minutes. Then you will feel, Oh, only ten minutes. Easily I can do that." If your goal is very limited, then you will give it all your energy. If it is two hours, oh God! You feel that to keep running at the same speed is impossible. But if it is ten minutes, anybody can meditate for ten minutes. So, first you relax yourself with the idea that the goal is within reach. If you have to run twenty miles, then you are scared to death. But if you see that the goal is within sight, then you say, "Oh, I am seeing it. Let me run."

Question: I couldn't meditate in the morning, but I was able to meditate later in the day. Why is that?

Sri Chinmoy: There can be many reasons. When you tried to meditate in front of your shrine, perhaps you needed or wanted more sleep. Or perhaps you had not yet assimilated the peace or the light that the previous evening had given you. When the evening sets in, there is a kind of inner peace that comes. But you may not have assimilated it. Again, some wrong forces may have entered into you during your sleep.

But you did absolutely the right thing when you meditated later. It is like taking starts. If your speed increases right after you start, at that time you try to run the race. But if your speed does not increase, then later you try again. As long as you can get your meditation during the day, it is all right. If you could have started your journey properly, then the forty-five minutes you spent at your shrine would have left you totally satisfied. But since you could not meditate then, the best thing was to do it later, which you did.

Question: I'm very involved in my work, and it leaves me little time to sit and meditate. I feel that my work at the restaurant is a meditation.

Sri Chinmoy: If you feel that your work is meditation itself, there is nothing wrong with that. Meditation means consciousness, conscious oneness with the Inner Pilot, the Source. If you can feel your oneness while you are serving or dealing with the customers, if you feel that your consciousness is high, then certainly that is meditation. If you feel that it is not possible for you to set aside an hour or half an hour, then it is perfectly all right. But if it is not possible for you to enter into your highest or deepest while working, then you have to set aside time for meditation.

Question: How do we tell if we are meditating properly and not having a mental hallucination?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are meditating properly you will get joy, inner joy. It is not a self-complacent feeling, but a spontaneous inner joy. Nobody has given you good news, nobody has brought you any gift, nobody has appreciated or admired you, nobody has done anything for you. But you are getting inner joy, an inner feeling of delight. If this happens, then easily you can know that you are meditating properly.

If it is a real meditation, a sublime meditation, then you are bound to feel peace within and without. But if it is mental hallucination, you will feel that peace is within and restlessness is without. You are yearning for Peace, Light and Bliss, but outwardly you feel a volcanic turbulence. But if it is a soulful meditation, you will feel inner joy; you will feel your eternal existence. You are of Eternity and for Eternity. This conception of your own eternal reality you cannot get from mental hallucination.

Everything depends on your sincerity. All sincere efforts will eventually be crowned with success. You are aiming at the highest Reality, but are you sincere? It is your sincerity that ultimately determines your success and progress. If a seeker has conscious and constant sincerity, then he is bound to have a most soulful, sublime meditation.

Question: Is it a good idea to compare yesterday's meditation with today's?

Sri Chinmoy: Meditation is like running along a path. We see whether we are actually running, whether we are going ahead, ahead. But if we start comparing, then today we will compare and tomorrow we will compete. This is not the right way, so we don't make any comparison. Only we see whether we are still running.

In the ordinary life, if we have started doing something and do not do it regularly, then we can stop where we are. In the spiritual life, it is not like that. If we stop running, ignorance pulls us back to our starting point. Ignorance is like a powerful magnet that pulls us back again.

The disciples have to meditate regularly, devotedly and powerfully; and while they are doing this, they observe their progress. But they don't make it a point to see how long they meditated yesterday or how intense their meditation was. Only the mind will be involved in comparing, and we don't encourage the mind to calculate. Calculation is not the thing; only self-giving is of paramount importance. We are trying to offer our whole existence to God. Meditation means self-offering. And when we have self-offering, we do not make any comparisons.

Question: Is there anything I can do to always have a good meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: It is your wish to have always most delicious food. But sometimes the food is not so good. If you want to get always very delicious food, you need to have access to an expert cook. I am your spiritual cook and you can easily have access to this cook. How? Through gratitude, the gratitude that is inside the heart, not inside the mind.

I always say that the past is dust. But sometimes, just for a fleeting second, you can remember that once upon a time you were on the same footing as your friends and neighbours. Now look at the difference between you. It is like day and night. They may be rich on the material plane, but on the spiritual plane they are poverty-stricken, bankrupt. So when you see the difference, automatically a spring of gratitude will well up inside you. If you can have a drop of gratitude, inside that gratitude you will find a new creation. A tiny grain of gratitude means a world of new creation. The seed has to be sown; then it starts germinating and grows into a plant. So, when you are not getting a good meditation, the best thing is to think of what you were and what you are going to become. Once upon a time you could not even crawl; now you are running in the spiritual life. See the difference, and then you are bound to have gratitude. To whom? To the Supreme, for He is the Doer. It is He who has inspired you and acted in and through you. He has inspired you and He has given you the fruit of your action, so naturally your gratitude comes to the fore.

Question: When I meditate I get a feeling of joy and then, like a pendulum, I get a feeling of absolute desolation. Why must it be like that?

Sri Chinmoy: The joy that you get right after you have a good meditation, a sublime meditation, is of greatest importance. You need that joy. But you are making a mistake if you feel that your spiritual life has to be like the movement of a pendulum. Some people have very high experiences and then they have a dry period. But I wish to say that it is not inevitable. A few spiritual Masters have not gone through dry periods at all. Once they got inner experiences, they got delight and, on the strength of their delight, they continued getting deeper experiences. Once you get joy, please try to assimilate it and continue. Walk along the spiritual path continuously with joy and delight. When you are experiencing a higher truth and inner light, you get an inner poise and that gives you inner happiness. And with this happiness you can continue to make progress.

After you have assimilated this joy, you may experience a kind of hunger, a real hunger, as if you had not eaten for ages. But this is extremely good. It is not the hunger of a greedy person but the hunger of an eternal seeker. You have assimilated, and then you have new, very intense hunger. But that is not desolation. It is a good experience.

Question: Guru, how can we go deeper and deeper within to get out of the surface mind?

Sri Chinmoy: Every day you have to dig for some time, and then you become tired. So tomorrow again you dig. Every day you dig and every day you make a little progress. Then one day you get water. Inwardly also, if you want to reach Nectar, then you have to dig regularly. Here the digging apparatus is aspiration. The higher you go, the deeper you go. Aspiration is like a magnet. You go up and that magnet pulls you inward.

Three times a day you eat, so you can meditate at least three times a day also. And if you spend an hour for lunch, an hour for dinner, you can also spend an hour each time for meditation. This is what you feel. But you have to know that meditation is not like eating. If your mind is running all the time, you can spend hours and hours meditating, but you will make no progress. If you spend one hour trying to meditate, during that hour perhaps five minutes you can meditate well. But if you make up your mind that you will meditate only for five minutes, but meditate well, it does not happen. If you say, "I am selecting five minutes, and as soon as I enter into meditation, I will have a most sublime meditation," then usually this does not happen, especially not for the beginners.

So what all of you should try to do is this. If you are ready to meditate fifteen minutes, try to keep one hour aside. During that one hour, forty-five minutes you will spend only for preparation or for roaming in the world of fantasy. That is not the ideal thing, but that may be necessary if you are to have fifteen minutes of good meditation. But if you feel that you don't need forty-five minutes extra, that is very good. If you feel, "Once I start, I can run. I don't have to take a few preliminary starts," that is excellent. So, if it is necessary, you will take a few starts; and if it is not necessary, just from the beginning you shall cover the hundred-metre distance. You don't have to waste forty-five minutes in order to meditate for fifteen minutes.

Question: I once felt during meditation that my soul came out of the body.

Sri Chinmoy: It is a very high experience. In some cases, the soul can come out of the body. In some cases, the soul comes to the fore to such an extent that the physical consciousness either totally leaves or becomes transformed, pushed aside, or totally illumined by the soul's light.

Question: Guru, one time when I was meditating I suddenly found myself thinking about some friends who needed some help. Mentally I could never describe the power I felt at this time, but I took these friends and lifted them. Two or three days later these friends were helped. Somebody needed a job and he got it and somebody was ill and he got better. Is it related to my experience or was it mere coincidence that they were helped?

Sri Chinmoy: No, no, no. It was not a coincidence; far from it. It was your own inner being that helped them. When you meditate and enter into your highest consciousness, your soul automatically tries to help your friends. When one enters into a very high, deep realm of consciousness, automatically the power from within comes to the fore and one can help others. Sometimes the friends do not know who has helped them. But your soul knows and their souls know perfectly well that the help has come directly from you. It is not your mental hallucination or ego. No. At that time you became the instrument of the Inner Pilot, the Supreme. The Supreme wanted you to help those people and He actually made you the instrument to help them. It was not coincidence.

Question: What is the supreme purpose of prayer?

Sri Chinmoy: The supreme purpose of prayer is to become one with the Consciousness of the Supreme. Prayer does not mean simply to call on the Supreme to cure somebody who is sick. If your mother is sick, you should say, "Supreme, my mother is my dearest on earth, but she is Your dearest as well. In this life you have given me the opportunity to think of my mother and to pray for her. But I do not know what is best for her. Only You know. She may need an experience in the form of fever or some ailment. You know far better than I do." If you pray to the Supreme, "Do what is best for my mother," then you are praying that the Supreme's Will be done. Otherwise, you are only begging and begging and binding yourself to one particular desire. Today you are praying for your mother; tomorrow, for somebody else; the day after tomorrow, who knows? There is no end to your prayer. This kind of prayer is full of desire. But if you pray to become one with the Will of the Supreme, then you know that you are totally free.

If you offer your prayer to the Will of the Supreme, then you get the real result. The real result means that you enter into the experience of your mother. Right now you can never be one with her experience. She will have her own experience and you will have your own experience. But if you can become one with the Will of the Supreme, then the Supreme will make you feel the experience that your mother is going to have before your mother even has that experience.

So, pray. But always it should be done for the sake of the Supreme, not for your sake. If you can please the Supreme, then He will try to please you in every possible way โ€” even in your emotional life. But again, He will use His own Wisdom and He will not feed your wild desires. He will not let you burn your fingers, even if that is what you want.

Offer your prayer totally to the Will of the Supreme. The purpose of prayer is to be offered up to the Will of the Supreme. When this happens, prayer becomes one with Truth, one with the fulfilment of the Supreme in the way that the Supreme wants to be fulfilled.

Question: What is the best way to pray for loved ones who have left the body?

Sri Chinmoy: The best way, the only way, is to pray to the Supreme to grant the soul whatever it needs. Only do not think of the person in terms of his earthly existence. Suppose a dear one has died. If you feel that your dear one did not have peace when he was alive, or that he did not have joy or love or something else, then you may pray to the Supreme to grant the soul that particular quality. But that quality the soul may not need, only the physical or vital may have needed it here on earth. So the best thing is to pray to the Supreme to grant the thing that the soul needs.

Question: What kind of prayer or meditation should we offer before eating food?

Sri Chinmoy: Only invoke the Supreme and repeat His Name. You are eating food not to become the strongest man on earth. You are eating so that you can maintain your health. You are eating in order to become a good instrument, a perfect instrument of the Supreme. After you have eaten, you have energised your being. You have to energise the body so that you can become a perfect instrument of the Supreme.

Conversation on Olga's birthday

The following conversation took place on 4 December 1976 when Sri Chinmoy and a small group of disciples gathered in C's apartment to celebrate Olga's birthday. Olga, at the time a new disciple, was C's landlady.

Celebrating Olga's Birthday

Sri Chinmoy: We are going to celebrate your birthday. First we shall meditate and play soulful music in honour of your birthday. I shall play and all of you will meditate. Our philosophy is the philosophy of a Boat and a Boatman. It is a Golden Boat and the Boatman is our Beloved Supreme. So we are now praying to the Supreme Boatman to carry us to the Golden Shore of the Beyond. ( Sri Chinmoy plays Ore Mor Kheya.)

The real in us is the soul. Everything else is unreal. The soul inside us is the only absolutely real thing that we have. Now we are requesting the soul to come forward so that it can manifest in our physical consciousness the divinity that the Supreme has granted to it. We are invoking the soul to fly upward, move forward and dive inward. The soul is known as the bird of our heart. ( Sri Chinmoy plays Hiya Pakhi Egiye Chalo.)

Now we shall play our Invocation. This song is most important on our path. This is not a mere song; this is everything to us. Here we are invoking the Presence of our Beloved Supreme. This song is actually the Source, the Goal and the Reality-Existence of our path, which we call love, devotion and surrender. (Sri Chinmoy and the disciples sing the Invocation. Sri Chinmoy then asks Chidananda to choose a song, and he chooses Phire Chalo.)/ The soul is returning to its celestial abode, which is flooded with Light and Delight.

It is the fourth of December. The number four is of importance in the spiritual life. There are four directions: East, West, North and South. These four corners of the globe are for the divine manifestation of the Supreme. God placed Himself in four directions in order to reveal Himself and manifest Himself: God the East, God the West, God the North and God the South. There is an Indian legend which has much truth in it. Our cosmic God Brahma originally had five faces. When he had five faces he could not perform his duty because there were only four directions. So he cut off one of his faces and kept only four in order to manifest his divinity. This is a story from above which has been handed down from the past.

Whether we believe this story or not, we have to believe in the four directions. When we think of the East, we think of the height of Light; and when we think of the West, we think of the manifestation of that Light. When we think of the North, it is the height of Delight; and the South is for the manifestation of Delight. These four are the selfsame reality in different forms, in different aspects. In different places we call them different things. But where there is Light, there is bound to be Delight; and where there is Delight, there is bound to be Light. So, God the Light and God the Delight have created these four corners. They are God's four manifestations in four different ways.

Now it is my wish to answer four questions of yours. These people have asked me many questions over the years. These are your spiritual brothers and sisters. Please ask me four spiritual questions and I shall answer them with all my heart's concern and blessing. English is not my mother tongue. They tolerate my English, so you also have to bear with me.

Question: Am I ready to be your disciple? Is my status high enough to be in your group? I haven't prepared any questions.

Sri Chinmoy: That is very good. If you think of questions beforehand, then those particular questions will be from the mind. I wish to have questions that come only from the heart, spontaneous questions. So this first question I wish to answer with all my heart's love and concern. I have already accepted you as my true disciple. It is not that I have come here to accept you as a disciple. I accepted you, I think, about two years ago when I came here for the first time and I was blessing you downstairs. That moment I accepted you as a true disciple of mine. When I accepted you, I accepted at that time your conscious part, your divine, immortal part, your soul. Now I am accepting your mind. The real in you is the soul. Previously, your soul was my disciple. Now today I am accepting your mind, which was not at that time ready to surrender its existence to me. Now your mind has also surrendered. It happened two or three weeks ago. Now your physical mind will convince your body and your vital reality that you are my devoted and surrendered disciple. Long ago your soul surrendered to me. It saw my inner divinity. A few months ago your heart fully accepted me. And three or four weeks ago your mind also accepted. Today I am convincing your entire being that I have fully accepted you as my true, divine disciple. Previously, only your soul and I knew that you were my true disciple. Now, even your outer being will know that you are my real, true, divine disciple. When did you come to America? How old were you?

Question: I came when I was forty-five. I am now seventy-two. But after I got my sickness in the head, my tumour, I forgot all my languages; sometimes I forget even Russian words.

Sri Chinmoy: It is good to unlearn. Our philosophy is not only to learn but also to unlearn. If you think of Russia, many unpleasant experiences will come to the fore. You had good times but you also had bad times, unpleasant experiences, because of the first World War and the second World War. Our philosophy is, "The past is dust." Thirty years ago when you were in Russia, you had not realised God. Now for quite a few years you have been here and still you have not realised God. But you have the inner cry to see the Truth, become the Truth and grow into the Light. So, when you forget a few things, do not be disturbed. Only if you forget God, then you should be disturbed. Early in the morning and in the evening, if you do not pray, then only feel miserable. Even if you forget Chidananda's name, don't worry. Nothing will happen. If you forget God's Name, then only something will happen. If you forget Russian, no harm.

Every week I speak to my sisters and brothers in India and sometimes I try hard to speak very fast. In our family I was the fastest speaker. But now my sister speaks Bengali much faster than I do. Previously nobody, nobody could beat me. Now I am not in touch. All the time I speak English. Sometimes she speaks so fast that I have to ask her to repeat, because I cannot get it. It is not because we are thousands of miles apart, but because she is speaking fast. I am out of touch, but I do not feel sad. As long as God is with me and inside me, as long as I can speak to Him face to face, I do not worry about who defeats me in the outer world. So much the better if I forget the Indian languages.

Question: What must I do to meditate correctly? C tells me many things about meditation, but sometimes I concentrate too much on something and this concentration is much too difficult for meditation.

Sri Chinmoy: All right, now you have got a new teacher! Now, please tell me, which do you like more: rose or lotus?

Question: Rose.

Sri Chinmoy: Very good. In Russia do you see the lotus?

Question: I don't see many lotuses.

Sri Chinmoy (holding up a rose): Do you like this kind of rose?

Question: I like every flower.

Sri Chinmoy: But you like the rose more. Very good, that is enough. You have my Transcendental picture; my highest height is there prominent. But here I will give you another picture, a special picture where I am smiling. My smiling picture will be of more help, infinitely more help, than my serious picture. In the Transcendental picture, there my smiling consciousness is hiding; but here my smiling consciousness is prominent. This particular picture will help you immensely. Please look at this picture early in the morning and then, while looking, kindly imagine a flower inside your heart, a rose. Feel that the rose is not fully blossomed; it is in a bud form. After you have meditated for two or three minutes, please try to imagine that petal by petal the rose is blossoming. See and feel the rose blossoming petal by petal inside your heart. Then, after five minutes, try to feel that there is no heart at all; there is only a flower inside you called 'heart'. You do not have a heart, but only a flower. The flower has become your heart or your heart has become a flower. After seven or eight minutes, please feel that the flower-heart or heart-flower has covered your whole body. Your body is no longer here; from your head to your feet you feel the fragrance of the rose. If you look at your feet, immediately you feel the fragrance of a rose. If you look at your knee, you feel the fragrance of a rose. If you look at your head, you feel the fragrance of a rose. Everywhere you feel the rose. The beauty and the fragrance and the light of the rose have permeated your whole body. When you feel from your head to your feet that you have become only the beauty, fragrance, light and delight of the rose, then you are ready to place yourself at the Feet of the Beloved Supreme, who is my Guru, your Guru, everybody's Guru. You feel, "O Lord Supreme, now I place myself at Your Feet." Then your meditation is over.

This is absolutely the best meditation for you. It is good for many, many, so if you people want to try it, please try. They are noting it down in shorthand. You will get a typed copy in case you forget. But now what I am saying your aspiring heart is hearing; your soul is receiving. Nothing is lost. And on the mental plane you will get it tomorrow or the day after, when they give you a typed copy.

Do not meditate more than fifteen minutes at a time: in the morning fifteen minutes, in the evening fifteen minutes and during the day if you want to meditate, two or three minutes, but not more.

Question: Sometimes I have questions about my belief in Jesus Christ and now in . .

Sri Chinmoy: Me. An Indian has created problems for you?

Question: No! This question was there in the beginning for me when I started to think about your family. Now I understand it better and I think that I am ready now, absolutely ready, to be your disciple.

Sri Chinmoy: Very good. So now please tell me; I did not get the question. All right, you have already reconciled me with Jesus Christ. I am adding to your reconciliation. You can take Jesus Christ and me on different planes according to the height of your own aspiration. There will be people on earth who will think that the Christ is the only Saviour; for them there is no Krishna, no Buddha โ€” only Jesus Christ. So we salute them at a distance because of their narrow-mindedness. Sri Krishna, Lord Buddha and other spiritual Masters are also there. The Father in Heaven has sent the Christ, the Buddha, Sri Krishna and me and you and all, all, all, here to earth. There are some who will say that the Christ is infinitely superior to me. To them I say, "Granted, he is infinitely superior, infinitely better. But you are not in a position to go directly to the Christ-Consciousness; you need some help. So, either take me as the Christ's secretary or as his gateman. Let us take the Christ as a divine being. He has a house, a mansion. There will be a guard at the door or a secretary who will make appointments for the boss. So either I have to take the role of the secretary or the gateman."

But this I am telling to them, to people who feel that the Christ is infinitely superior. Again, there are some who think that we are one. They feel not only that we are brothers, spiritual brothers, but that we are the same Reality that has come into the world in different forms, with different faces. In our Bhagavad-Gita, which is India's Bible, Lord Krishna said that all spiritual figures manifestations of the same Master. We had in India a very, very great spiritual Master. His name was Sri Ramakrishna. To his dearest disciple he said, "He who is Rama, he who is Krishna, in one form is Sri Ramakrishna." It means that all the spiritual Masters that have come into the world have come from one Source, the Father in Heaven. When they came into the world, they came at different times with different names. But if a disciple of mine soulfully enters into me, into my heart, then he is bound to see the Christ-Consciousness there, because the Christ and I are inseparably one. Again, if a true disciple or follower or devotee of the Christ enters into the highest Christ-Consciousness, then he is bound to see me. This I will tell all of you, because you are my disciples. If you enter into me, then you are bound to see the Christ because we have come from the same Source Supreme. And people who are following Christianity, Christ's path, are bound to see me if they really realise the Christ-Consciousness. They are bound to see and feel me as totally and inseparably one with the Christ.

Again, if the Christ says something for a particular people and for a particular country according to their standard and level of spirituality, I need not say the same things because the world has evolved; it has made progress. Yesterday you were Olga and today also you are Olga, the same person. But yesterday, according to your inner growth, perhaps you said one thing to a friend of yours and today you will say something else. That something else does not have to be contradictory, but it may be something new. According to your own realisation, you said something to a friend yesterday, and your friend realised that thing according to his or her own standard. Today, because of your greater height or spiritual maturity, you may say something else to a friend who is also more spiritual, and he or she will receive more light from you. So, if some people find it difficult to reconcile the Christ's teachings and my teachings, I wish to say that two thousand years ago people were being formed in one pattern and today the world may be taking a different shape or outlook. Today, for those of you who have accepted me, I am the person representing the Father-Consciousness on earth. If I say something new, I am in no way contradicting the Christ or finding fault with him. Far, far from it. It is only that at that time God spoke through the Christ in a particular way and now in and through me He is speaking in a particular way. But the essence, the quintessence of the reality that God placed inside the heart of His supreme Creation, which was known as the Christ, that same essence He has put inside me also.

The Christ is my dearest friend and brother. We are absolutely one and he feels miserable when people in public meetings from time to time argue with me and insult me and say that he is the only Saviour. At that time he feels literally miserable that even now the world-consciousness has not evolved to such an extent that it can see in me the Light which has come from the highest Source. The Truth, Peace, Light, Bliss and all other divine attributes which have descended into me from the absolute Highest, it doesn't see. The Christ knows who I am and what I stand for. I am doing his job, his unfinished job, or the continuation of his job.

Question: What must I do now in my life to change my next incarnation?

Sri Chinmoy: Very good. You have already changed your life most considerably and satisfactorily since the day you accepted me. Many people on earth, thousands and millions and billions of people on earth, are not able to accept me as a Master. Or it will not be possible for them to transfer their loyalty from the Christ to me. The very fact that you have accepted me as your Master means that you have already changed considerably, far beyond your imagination. To accept me is the first step โ€” the first dynamic, bold step in your nature's transformation. This I am saying with utmost sincerity. You have already made tremendous change and progress since I saw you last by accepting me and by accepting our path.

Now comes the question of future incarnations. It is a matter of your own belief in me, how much you believe in me. I am telling you our supreme philosophy. We have got first-class, second-class, third-class, fourth-class, fifth-class, sixth-class and seventh-class disciples; and again, now we have discovered another class, eighth-class disciples. First-class disciples will always believe that what I say is absolutely authentic and true. The first-class disciple in you will always believe what I am saying. Once somebody becomes very close to me, to my heart and soul, and dedicated totally to my path, no matter how old the person is, it does not matter. You are seventy-two years old. That is not important to me. What is important to me is how soulfully, how sincerely, how devotedly you have accepted our path.

You have accepted me wholeheartedly, sincerely, devotedly and soulfully, so all your problems are over. On earth God will keep you for as many years as He wants. What happens in your future incarnation will be entirely up to me and our Pilot Supreme. At that time, you will see that you do not have to worry at all. Now, your acceptance of the Eternal Father in me is like a child's acceptance. When a child stands in front of his father, the child is not at all worried because the whole responsibility for his life lies in the father's care. Your future life is all my responsibility, not yours. If you have a child, you will be responsible for that child. If you have even a cat or a dog or anything that is innocent and younger than you in spirit, in soul, then naturally it is your duty to help it, guide it, mould it. In the spiritual life I am one inch higher than you. Since I am one inch higher than you, it is I who am responsible for helping you, guiding you, moulding you under the guidance of the Pilot Supreme. Only you have to feel that you are not seventy two years old; you have to feel from today that you are only four or five years old. The change that you have made, the transformation that has taken place since you accepted my path, could not have happened if you had felt that you were seventy-two. Impossible! At the age of seventy-two, nobody has accepted our path. You are the first one at this age to accept our path. So, already the divine child in you has come to the fore. God Himself is a divine Child. The divine child in you wants to break the old fossilised, barren mental life.

Now you are swimming in the sea of Light and Delight. A child is swimming, a child is running. You have made tremendous progress because your heart has become a childlike heart. Your whole being now soulfully wants to know more about Truth, Light, God and all divine things.

Because you have made this progress, you do not have to worry about the future. If you can feel all the time that you are four or five or six or seven years old and that I am the Eternal Father, then you will see that your future incarnation is all my responsibility. It is my responsibility one hundred per cent to deal with your future incarnation. Only think of yourself as a child.

Question: My tumour won't make any difficulty in my spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: Do not think of your tumour. Only think of God as much as you can. You may say that because of your tumour you are unable to pray to God more devotedly. If you were physically well, you could pray more, for a longer time. But I wish to say that there are many people here on earth who have sound health, good health, but they do not think of God at all. No, no! Boxers and wrestlers are very strong, but for them there is no God. You may say that because of your tumour you are unable to pray more devotedly and powerfully. But no, God gave you this tumour as an experience which He Himself is having in and through you, so you can look around and see that God's creation is full of suffering. If one suffers, then only one can appreciate and become one with the suffering of the rest of the world. If you do not suffer, you look around and you do not believe that there is suffering on earth. If you are all the time happy, then when you see suffering, you will say that it is all false; they are telling lies. "How can there be suffering when I am so happy?" Again, you have to know that there are others whose suffering is infinitely worse than yours. You have to feel, God, You are so kind to me. Just a little tumour You have given me. If I go to the hospital, I will see thousands who are suffering infinitely more than I am."

The Christ suffered on the cross for you, for me, for the entire humanity. How he suffered for humanity! He was perfect, but he became one with the suffering of humanity. God said, "Now prove your oneness," so on the cross he proved it. Even then he asked his Father to forgive them, for they were all ignorant people. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." So if you take your tumour as an experience to help you become one with the rest of the world, the suffering world, then immediately you will be so happy. "God gave me the opportunity to become one with this person, that person. Otherwise, I could not have become one."

Many people live a vital life, emotional life, animal life. Physically they are human, but their consciousness is in the animal world, absolutely animal. In your case, God gave you suffering in order to make you pure enough so that your heart can identify with the rest of the world. But the worst suffering is ignorance. Your suffering is nothing in comparison to the suffering of the people who are ignorant, who are wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance. For them there is no light. For millions and millions of years they will have to remain in darkness. In your case, you are now fully awakened to see the Face of God, Truth and Light. The most difficult disease to remove is the layer of ignorance in our mind. You have removed it. So, your tumour is nothing, nothing, in comparison to the disease that most human beings have, and this disease lasts for millennia. In your case, it is gone. You are consciously aspiring. The moment you consciously aspire, rest assured that this disease is gone from you. Ignorance has gone away. [Sri Chinmoy then blesses Olga.]

Sri Chinmoy: You are a most beautiful, most wonderful soul. I have taken full responsibility for your soul, for your soul's aspiration, for your life's dedication, and I shall take full responsibility for your future incarnations, full responsibility. Inside my Universal Heart and my Transcendental Consciousness you will eternally grow, your soul will eternally glow. Your heart will eternally feel its inseparable oneness with my supreme Existence-Reality both in Heaven and on earth.

Question (later): I have had seventy-two birthdays, but I have never had such a beautiful birthday as today. Thank you very much, very much, very much.

Sri Chinmoy: See, your soul is speaking through your mouth. It is your soul's recognition of what I am and what I stand for and what our little family stands for. These are your true brothers, your true sisters. They will offer you their purest love, concern and oneness, which you have not experienced during these seventy-two years. They are all for you, all for you.

[Sri Chinmoy gives Olga a painting of a bird.]

Sri Chinmoy: The bird symbolises the soul. This is how the soul flies to the Supreme.

Sri Chinmoy (to Olga, after the party): Once more we offer you our deepest love, our heart's deepest oneness. You are in our Golden Boat, that is to say, the Boat of the Supreme, and the Supreme has taken full responsibility for your life of aspiration, your soul of manifestation and your heart of oneness with the Supreme's infinite Light and infinite Delight.