Occultism and mysticism

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Part I — Occultism and mysticism

Question: Can we learn much about occultism from reading books?

Sri Chinmoy: Many of my disciples are studying books that deal with occultism. I am fully aware of it. But my honest request to you is that you do not study books on occultism if they are not written by spiritual Masters or realised souls. Most of the books written on occultism are collections of fanciful ideas which have nothing to do with reality. Then, by merely studying books on occultism, one can never acquire even an iota of occult force. Books can never give the real secret of occultism. One develops occult powers by going deep within and by enlarging one's consciousness. Or, if one has an earnest, sincere cry to bring these hidden forces to the fore and use them only for the sake of the Divine, then one can develop occult power.

One can also learn occultism from spiritual Masters who have both occult power and spiritual power. If one wants to practise occultism in order to serve humanity or awaken the consciousness of humanity, then he has to first conquer fear. He has to conquer all kinds of fear on the physical, vital, mental and psychic planes. Also, if occultism is to be practised to serve the Supreme, the Divine in humanity, one has to conquer the lower vital or sex-force. You can call it the impure, unlit urge in our human nature. These forces have to be totally conquered. Then, one has to feel that one is living the eternal life in the fleeting life. If one can have the realisation that one is living the eternal life in the fleeting life, then the Infinity, Eternity and Immortality that he has achieved in his own inner being or consciousness can be utilised to serve humanity in the Supreme's own Way. At that time, occultism is not a curse; it is a blessing.

I wish my dedicated disciples who are interested in occultism to bear in mind that first comes spirituality, then occultism; first Divinity, then humanity. Divinity is not outside humanity; Divinity is inside humanity. But unless and until we know Divinity, we cannot serve humanity. We have to remain within Divinity, and then only can we serve humanity.

Question: What kind of occultism do spiritual Masters use?

Sri Chinmoy: Real spiritual Masters do not use occultism to play a role in outer human society. The highest occultism will only be used in the inner world to help sincere seekers and to help mankind. In my own personal opinion, occultism has to be seen as something very sacred and precious. It has to be reserved for aspiring humanity, because if it enters into the social and political life and so forth, there it will immediately lose its purity and serenity. Then it will not be of any spiritual service to mankind. Spiritual occultism, pure occultism, to which I am referring, has to be used only for aspiring humanity.

Question: What is the difference between an occultist and a Yogi?

Sri Chinmoy: An occultist makes a tremendous noise. A Yogi tries to change the face of the world.

Question: A lot of times you say that you see a person has a little occult power. What does it look like when you see their occult power?

Sri Chinmoy: It is like a possession. If I see that someone has money, I can easily say that he has money. I see the capacity that he has; I see his occult power in his capacity. It can take any form. It is something inside you.

Question: Does it look like anything?

Sri Chinmoy: It can take material shape. Sometimes occult power looks like a sharp arrow; like a bullet it can go. While occult power is performing, it can take any form it wants to, but it does not have to take outer form. Occult power or spiritual power doesn't always have to be in a form for you to recognise it. It is like consciousness. Consciousness can be very solid and tangible. You can touch it, eat it, feel it. Again, it can be very flat like water.

A lump of sugar can take any form: it can look like a mountain or it can be very flat, but still it is sugar. Sri Ramakrishna used to say that ice and water are the same thing. If you see ice, it is a reality; if you see water, it is also a reality. There are only two forms that you can see. But occult power can be seen in an invisible form.

Question: Where do the different kinds of power come from?

Sri Chinmoy: They all come from God's Grace; all Power is from God's Grace. If you want occult power, I can give it to you; if you want intuitive power, I can give it to you. But you will only get it on the strength of your identification, on the strength of your oneness with me.

Question: What should we do if we want to develop occult powers?

Sri Chinmoy: From the strict spiritual point of view, developing occult powers is not necessary. God is the only Reality we need. It is up to Him to give us any power, be it physical, mental or psychic power. If it is His Will, He will grant us power when we are destined to do something for Him in His own Way. Let us pray to God to give us Light. Otherwise, any powers we get on the occult plane may create problems for us. If we pray and meditate only for Light, then when Light descends it will illumine our consciousness. At that time if God wants us to develop some spiritual power to be of greater help to mankind, naturally He will grant it to us. The secret of the highest Truth is this: do not long for anything except God the Supreme Light. We must feel in the inmost recesses of our hearts that it is the Light Supreme that we need to change our natures, to please God, to fulfil God, to serve God in mankind and to serve suffering mankind.

Question: Could you tell us what mysticism entails?

Sri Chinmoy: There are three major paths, or roads, of spirituality: Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga. Jnana is the path of knowledge or wisdom. Within Jnana Yoga there is a special branch called Raja Yoga or the Royal Road, on which one runs the fastest. You can call it a short cut. It deals with tremendous aspiration, eagerness and constant dedication. A mystic follows the path of Raja Yoga.

A mystic is not someone who is vague, or who lives in the moon-world, even though, unfortunately, people identify a mystic as such. A mystic is a seeker who, with dynamic energy, wants to discover the Truth in the fastest way, through intuition-power. Using the third eye, he will see the Truth faster than anything, faster than a bullet. But if an individual wants to have that kind of weapon, then naturally he has to give up everything that is undivine in him. Everything that is divine, he will accept and try to cultivate in his life.

A mystic is he who wants to see the Truth as soon as possible in the most illumining and fulfilling way. A mystic is not someone who spurns everything practical. But here in the West and in India also, people do not pay attention to the mystic. They simply say, "He is not practical. He cares only for God; he does not care for the world. He is only looking at the sun, looking at the moon, looking at the hills. He is not for this world." But a real mystic is he who wants to see the divine mystery in everything, in nature and in human beings.

He wants to go to the essence, to the Source, faster than any human being dares to imagine. This is a real mystic.

Part II — The unseen world

Question: Does God like magic?

Sri Chinmoy: God likes magic very much because He is the Divine Magician. Every second He is doing something, only we don't see it. God is the Supreme Magician. When we use our outer eye we don't see His Magic, but when we use our inner eye we see His Magic all the time. Again, it is one thing to use our inner vision and another thing to become one with His Transcendental Vision. At that time we don't call it magic at all, but a necessary and inevitable experience.

The outer being has no inner vision; it is blind. That is why we can't see God's Magic at all. Millions and billions of things He is doing at every moment. But these human eyes are useless. Again, the inner vision sees everything. Inner vision does not necessarily mean inner oneness, inseparable oneness. You can see a painting with your eye, but you may not become one with it. Similarly, you may see God's Magic with your inner vision, but you may not become one with it.

Question: How do you feel about people who are doing automatic writing and things like that?

Sri Chinmoy: A seeker on the spiritual path who aspires for real spirituality would never, never indulge in this kind of thing. To go to a medium to find out what is happening in Heaven, on earth, or in the vital world is not spirituality at all. Spirituality means the constant aspiration to be totally unified with God. Spirituality means one's natural oneness with God. In today's world, God has become unnatural. To the human beings who are bundles of ignorance, God has become something abnormal and unnatural. But for those who are following the path of real spirituality, God is absolutely normal and natural.

So if somebody is interested in automatic writing, mediums and trances, you have to try to kindle the flame of aspiration in him. He may not listen to you, but if he is very near and dear to you, try to show him that automatic writing is not good. Only concentration, meditation and contemplation can give him abiding satisfaction. But try to make him see that it is he who is discovering the truth and not you who are imposing some truth upon him. When one feels that he has discovered the truth from within, then that truth becomes normal and natural; it becomes a living reality. In that way you will be able to bring him to the right path. So inwardly please try; but not outwardly. Your inner effort will be much more fruitful.

Question: Astronomers have this big controversy about whether the universe is infinitely expanding or whether it is limited. Which view is correct?

Sri Chinmoy: We have to know that there are two universes. One is the geographical universe, the other is the consciousness-universe. So if the scientists are referring to the consciousness-universe, I wish to say that it is constantly enlarging itself. But the geographical universe is limited. According to our mental conception, we think of the world, then the universe, then the creation itself. Each is vaster than its predecessor. But we have to know that the things that we can create or conceive of with our mental faculties, or even with our intuitive faculties, are limited. But what is unlimited is the consciousness-universe, which is all the time transcending and enlarging itself.

When we hear that the universe is growing larger, we have to know that it is actually the spiritual universe that is expanding. I always say that the human heart is a very tiny muscle, but the spiritual heart, which is inside me, inside you, inside everyone, houses the Universal Consciousness. That heart houses most perfectly the universe, no matter how much it enlarges itself. The universe is always inside that heart.

One universe we form with our preconceived mental ideas, but it has nothing to do with the soul's reality. The universe that is connected with our soul's reality is constantly enlarging itself and transcending itself. We come into contact with this spiritual universe when we have a major inner experience or realisation. Before that, the inner universe is all mental. We try to imagine it, but even when we use our imagination-power, it is limited. We imagine an infinite expanse of green which goes on and on. We feel that our imagination is endless, but because we are using the mind, in five minutes or ten minutes or five hours, it will come to a halt. It cannot go any farther because it is in the mental world. Then, if we go beyond the mental world into the intuitive world, there again we get a glimpse of the infinite universe, but the vision is only like a tiny flame. The other day I answered a question about intuition. I said it is like a flame, but when the third eye opens up, at that time we see the difference between a flame and the sun. So until the third eye opens up, everything is very tiny. With intuition and imagination, we can know something about the universe, but we cannot change it. Only when the third eye opens up and starts functioning can we burn out all the evil deeds of our past and expedite our future progress.

Question: What will happen when the physical sun grows so old that it dies? Or what will happen when earth gets very old?

Sri Chinmoy: Dearest child, we don't know what is going to happen at the next moment. This star, the sun, is becoming cold, colder, coldest. But before it exhausts all its light, God knows how many thousands of incarnations you will take. Who knows? Long before it stops giving light, you will realise God and at that time you will be able to take care of this star. Now you are afraid that this star will disappear. But if this star really goes away, God is still there. In the twinkling of an eye, He can create another sun-star which will start again as a child and again give light.

God can replace anybody or anything. As I always say, nobody is indispensable and this present sun-star is not indispensable. God is using someone or something; that is why we say that that person or thing is indispensable. Whoever is utilised by God is indispensable. God is everywhere; only He is giving a particular individual or thing the opportunity to manifest Him. When I utilise someone, he is indispensable in my eyes. I will phone a person to ask him to print a book immediately. When I call him, at that time he is indispensable. But the next moment, if I don't want the book to be printed, then I won't give the person the job, and at that time I don't take him as indispensable. When I am painting, my right hand is indispensable because I am using it. But if I don't want to use it, if I want to use my left hand, God will give me the capacity because He is there in my left hand also.

So in God's case also, with a planet or a human being, when God uses something or someone, He feels that that person or thing is indispensable. When somebody on earth is doing some work, God really makes that person feel that he is indispensable because God's Consciousness is on that person. So, God has given the sun the opportunity to offer light. God's creation did not start with this sun-star. His Silence was His creation, His Dream was His creation. Gradually, gradually, all the planets, stars and everything else came into existence. God lives in the Eternal Now. God never thinks. God does not have the mind or the brain, like ordinary people. I tell you frankly, not only does God not use the brain, but He does not have one. You can try to give Him a brain; He will accept it with gratitude. But right now He does not use the mind. He does not calculate anything. God and calculation do not go together. God and mathematics really do not go together. That is why I was a bad student in mathematics.

If you start calculating something, your real joy goes away. When you see some bills scattered, you may think, "Ah, so much money!" Then, when you start counting the one-dollar bills, such a heap of money becomes only twenty dollars. Before counting you were so delighted; you felt that you had so much money. But as soon as you heard "twenty", all your inspiration and joy went away.

God is wise; that is why He does not count. Counting means you are binding — binding your treasure, binding your wealth, binding your realisation. God does not want to bind Himself. Therefore, He goes on creating and creating. The moment He calculates, everything is gone; His Joy goes away.

Question: Are the influences of the planets significant in our lives?

Sri Chinmoy: If the seeker is very sincere, very genuine and very highly developed, then the influence of the planets cannot affect him. Spiritual Masters are not affected at all by the planets. If something happens in a spiritual Master's life, and the planets have indicated its occurrence, it doesn't mean that the planets have brought it about. No, that is coincidence. But in the lives of absolutely ordinary human beings, the planets do play a considerable role.

The planets are like a broken record. They go on and on playing the same music. But there is a world infinitely higher than the planets. From there we can easily create and we can also delete anything in the record. If we delete what is there, then we can add something new. Your fate can also be adjusted by the Grace of the Supreme. If a seeker is very highly developed and gets considerable Grace, either from God or from a great spiritual Master, then the planets cannot influence that seeker. Even if one is an ordinary seeker, if the Master intervenes, then the planets cannot do anything. I have done this many times for the most ordinary, unaspiring disciples. It was the Will of the Supreme; that was why I had to do it. If it had not been His Will, I would not have done it at all.

Question: Do the planets and stars have a lower vital?

Sri Chinmoy: All the planets and stars have a vital-consciousness, and it is often connected with the lower vital, not the dynamic vital. The moon has a tremendous undivine vital-consciousness which often creates problems for spiritual seekers. It allows celestial beings to destroy the meditation of the spiritual Masters. When they are about to reach the Highest, when they are about to enter into samadhi and the Beyond, at that time the hostile forces go and plead with the celestial nymphs to go to the spiritual Masters and dance. These most beautiful beings come to tempt the Masters and stop them from reaching the Highest. The moon allows these beautiful nymphs to dance in such an undivine way, and very often the Masters fall. This temptation has ruined them. The planets and the stars can do the same thing.

Question: Now that people are becoming more conscious, is astrology becoming more useless?

Sri Chinmoy: People who are practising Yoga don't give much importance to astrology, because they have seen that when they pray and meditate, their fate is changed and guided by a higher force. Astrology is a science; we cannot deny it. But at the same time, there is a superior science and that is Yoga. If you have access to the superior science, you will be able to control the inferior science. If you have an atom bomb and if somebody else has a hand bomb, the hand bomb can play its role; but if the atom bomb starts functioning, naturally it will be superior.

Part III — The spiritual science of the body

Question: What is the third eye?

Sri Chinmoy: The third eye is the eye that has real vision. Real vision means seeing the past, the present and the future. The two physical eyes that we have can see only a limited distance. We can see forward or sideways, but we cannot see behind us. Also, even if we keep our eyes wide open and if there is a wall or something to obstruct our vision, we cannot see through the wall or beyond it. If we keep our eyes wide open and place our hands right in front of our eyes, we will not see anything beyond them.

But if we have the third eye open, we can see the past, present and future. We can see everything that is in the Beyond. What we have inside our heart, inside our soul, or inside our inner existence, we cannot see with the human eye. It is impossible. But with the third eye we can see everything there. The third eye embodies Vision.When the will of the soul comes forward or enters into the third eye, then the third eye starts functioning. That is to say, the third eye uses its will power. Although the eye is seeing the Vision, the actual power comes from the heart and soul. When this power enters into the third eye, the third eye functions in a most powerful way. We use the term "will power." Will power actually comes from the soul and then it enters into the third eye, and the third eye uses this will power. The third eye is the eye that envisions everything-the finite and the infinite-at its will.

The third eye may remain fast asleep. All those here are seekers. In some cases the third eye is fast asleep and has been so for God knows how many centuries. In some cases for a fleeting second it opens up and then, perhaps during a dream or when the seeker is fast asleep, he sees something very bright and vast. At that moment, the third eye is open. The third eye may open at any time-while we are fast asleep, while we are talking, while we are eating or while we are praying-it is up to the Will of the Supreme. It may happen that we have been praying for hours, days, months and years, but our third eye has not opened. When it is the Will of God, the third eye will open and we will get a glimpse of Reality, even though we may be eating at that time.

Question: I feel that the Supreme has opened my third eye. Will you tell me what I should do from here?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are convinced that He has opened your third eye, then I wish to say that your third eye has all the answers. The third eye can tell you the answer better than I. The third eye is Light and Immensity. It is all Light, Light, Light. When you are in possession of Light, what can I offer you? If your third eye is opened, it can illumine the entire universe. Your third eye can illumine not only your universe, but the entire universe of the Supreme Lord. When your third eye is opened, it will do everything for you. It will tell you what to do and what not to do, for it is all Light. You will have all the wealth you need. What will you do with the wealth? The wealth itself will tell you how it is to be used. It is not like material wealth. If somebody has material wealth, he may not know how to use it. But this wealth, this Light is different. This Light will immediately tell you how it is to be used. Spiritual Light has its own way of telling the real seeker how it is to be used in the world. When you feel the presence of the opening of your third eye during your meditation, you won't have to ask anything. The Light itself will regulate your life and will guide you.

Question: Please tell me if the third eye can be opened by the seeker's own efforts or if the seeker needs the help of someone else?

Sri Chinmoy: The third eye can be opened by intense aspiration, by chanting AUM or by the grace of the Master. In all cases, Divine Grace is needed; otherwise, it won't open. The Master can do it for the disciple if he wants to. It becomes easier for him if the disciple chants AUM. In chanting, the AUM should come either from the heart or from the back of the throat, but I prefer that the AUM should come from the heart. In the heart is the Soundless Sound. I tell my disciples that when they chant AUM, it should not come from the throat, it should come directly from the heart. When you chant AUM, especially to open the third eye centre, the "M" should be three times as long as the "AU". It should vibrate in the third eye, not anywhere else.

Question: How can we see the subtle body?

Sri Chinmoy: We have three bodies: the gross physical, the subtle and the causal. From the causal, the creation starts, and in the broadest sense we call it AUM, the cosmic AUM. Then comes the subtle body. You don't see the subtle body with your gross physical eyes; you need the third eye, or inner eye, to see it. When the seven major centres in the being open up, you can see the subtle body. You think that you are using your two ordinary eyes, but the vision that you are using is coming from the inner eye, which can see everything — even on the gross physical plane. It is not that only when you keep your eyes closed, you will be able to see with the inner eye. Even when the ordinary eyes are wide open, the inner vision, or the third eye, can perform its duty.

Question: If we chant somebody's name, especially when they are asleep, does it feed their soul?

Sri Chinmoy: To be very frank with you, if you chant somebody's name when they are fast asleep, it won't have any effect on them. You have to forgive me. You may be chanting with all your love and affection and concern for your friend or loved one, but unfortunately you will not be able to identify yourself with your friend's soul. Her soul may be somewhere, in some region, that you cannot enter. But in my case, I identify wherever the soul is. Whichever region the soul is in, at any time I can go and enter. When you become one with the soul, then it becomes effective.

When I make my fervent request to you, as your spiritual leader, to repeat the Supreme's name, I take all of you inside my heart. All of you, at that time, are absolutely in my heart, in the inmost recesses of my heart. So if you want to, repeat the name of the Supreme or your Guru's name and then say your prayer for the person. I always feel that you should repeat your Guru's name and the Supreme's name. When you repeat the Supreme's name, the Supreme Himself identifies Himself with you. He is all the time within you, whereas your friend's soul is not always inside you. The Supreme's Soul is there, and your soul is in the Supreme. So if you repeat the name of the Supreme and then offer your prayer to the Supreme, you will get the most immediate result in your prayer.

Question: Some books say it makes a difference which nostril you breathe through. Is this true?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, when you breathe through the left nostril, please try to invoke the moon, the moon aspect, which is peace. You will see that you get peace and serenity and all the other mild qualities. When you breathe through the right nostril, please try to invoke the sun, and then you will get the dynamic aspect of the Divine. If you fail to invoke this pure, dynamic aspect, you won't get peace; rather, you will become lethargic and idle. But if you consciously invoke the moon by breathing from the left side, then you get actual peace and tranquility.

Suppose you feel that you have much to do, but have a limited time. For example, if one hour is all that you can spend on a difficult task, or if you are taking heavy exercise, then you will see that both your nostrils are functioning.

There are three channels of energy in the subtle body. The left channel corresponds with the left nostril and is called Ida. The right channel corresponds with the right nostril and is called Pingala. The middle channel is called Sushumna. If your conscious energy comes from the base of the spine through the Sushumna channel right up through your forehead, and if it pierces through the thousand-petalled lotus at the crown of your head, then you are carried to the highest nirvana. If you wish, you can practise breathing through the left nostril, then through the right nostril, and then through both. You can practise this daily.

Some people do not know how to breathe properly. Another problem some people have is that they sleep right on their chest, which is an absurd way of sleeping. At that time the Ida, Pingala and Sushumna cannot function at all. You always should face the Light when you are sleeping. If you sleep on your back or your side, you are receiving some Light. But if you sleep on your chest, immediately you have obstructed the Light.

Question: At what stage of the development of the soul is the kundalini released from the base of the spine and starts moving toward the aperture of Brahman?

Sri Chinmoy: There is no hard and fast rule. There are many people who realise God without developing the kundalini power. Again, there are those who have not realised God, but who will realise God in, say, two or three incarnations, who have already developed kundalini power. It is not that the soul's development or the soul's evolution need have any direct connection with the kundalini. The soul's evolution means the soul's manifestation. There are many who have seen the gradual revelation and manifestation of their soul's potentialities and possibilities who have not developed their kundalini power. Instead, they get spiritual power from God.

Question: Which of the seven chakras is most important for the beginner to open first?

Sri Chinmoy: One should try to open the heart chakra, or spiritual centre, first. This is not only for the beginner but for everyone who practises the spiritual life and who wants to open the chakras. The Sanskrit term for this chakra is Anahata, the Soundless Sound. Its seed sound is _Yam_; this is its secret name. But you need not use the word _Yam_; you can chant "Supreme" or "God". Some people get more joy when they utter the name of God, the Supreme. In your case, "Supreme" would be the best to use if you want to open this chakra. When this chakra opens, it gives you a sense of Joy, Peace and Bliss. The outer emotions, vital emotions or disturbing emotions, will be purified by the opening of this centre. For beginner or for anyone who wants to open the chakras, it is best to open the heart chakra first.

According to Zen Buddhism, the navel chakra should be opened first; but according to the strict Hindu system of the spiritual life, this chakra should not be opened until the heart chakra is opened. If the navel chakra is opened before the heart chakra, then the lowest impure vital will enter into the heart and destroy all its spiritual possibilities. Zen Masters say that by concentrating on and opening the lower centres, purification will be effected. But I feel that it is better first to open the heart. Then if you want to go up, you go; if you want to go down, you go. In this way my teachings differ from the practice of Zen.

Part IV — Fate and evil forces

Question: Are accidents caused by evil forces, or is there just something in the universe that causes things accidentally?

Sri Chinmoy: There are evil forces all around us. Sometimes these evil forces can cause accidents. Again, sometimes a lack of concentration, or the forces within us, can result in accidents.

Question: If an airplane is going to crash, is there a lack of concentration on the part of the passengers?

Sri Chinmoy: No. There can be evil forces or it can be a lack of concentration on the part of the pilot or the karma of some of the passengers. The pilot may be good, but all of a sudden the plane catches fire. There may be twenty passengers destined to die on that day; it is their karma. It is not the lack of concentration of the individual passengers. The time has come for them. It was destined that they would die in the plane crash.

Question: But suppose there were a hundred passengers.

Sri Chinmoy: All of the hundred passengers may be destined to die. Out of millions and billions of people on earth, all the passengers may be destined to die. It is just like studying in the same class together. Students who come to school to study together stay at different houses. Each one has a house of his own. So here also, it is just like a class. Their death was destined and they are coming together. Their fate was sealed there.

This may be the case, but again, some evil forces can attack. It may not be their fate at all. Out of two hundred people, perhaps not even one person was supposed to die on that day.

Question: What can the passengers do to protect themselves against the evil forces?

Sri Chinmoy: Regular prayer and meditation is the only way. It is as if we know that we have an enemy. Let us say that we have to go out in the morning. We can't stay inside our house all the time, it is impossible. But we have to feel that we are well protected the moment we leave the house. Sometimes if our prayer and meditation are not very solid or profound, the forces may attack and do a little harm. But if there is no prayer or meditation at all, then all protection is lost.

Again, gratitude is a form of prayer, a form of protection. If we offer gratitude to the Supreme early in the morning, then immediately gratitude itself will hold protection for us. We are not asking for protection. We are offering gratitude because God has done something for us. The moment we offer our gratitude, God expands our receptivity. When He expands our receptivity, immediately Light enters into us. The function of Light is to enter into us. Light waits at every second to enter into us. And the moment we are receptive, the moment we expand our power of receptivity, it enters. Our receptivity is like a vessel. The bigger we can make it, the more it can contain.

Question: Is it possible for an airplane pilot to avert an accident that was destined by his own presence of mind and inner qualities?

Sri Chinmoy: When something harmful is going to happen, then the hostile forces know how to enter into us. They will enter into whoever is the main pilot, and they will do something in order to distract him. They will take away his wisdom.

The last time I was coming back from Europe, I was travelling first class. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred I travel economy class, but this time I was in the first class. I was sitting very near the pilot and they kept the cabin door open most of the time so I could see him. After two hours of piloting, the pilot and one of the stewardesses entered into romantic life, let us say. This young girl went to him and began talking to him, caressing his head and massaging him. All kinds of things the girl was doing. I was so shocked. There came a time when I was going to tell the pilot outwardly that he could not do these things while he was supposed to be flying the plane. Another gentleman was sitting next to me and there were two or three other persons near us. Everybody was seeing the kind of life they were leading. I was not using my third eye. I didn't have to keep my eyes closed to see inwardly, but I was praying as we were sitting there. I was thinking that the person sitting next to me was going to do something. So many people were there, watching them with open eyes. There were two hundred people on the plane, but the pilot and the stewardess didn't give any importance to our lives.

Then the food came. She brought him food and I didn't hear what she said, but all the food and everything were dropped and scattered on the floor. She was smiling and he was smiling. She was not annoyed, he was not annoyed-no anger, nothing. Now, if this is not romance, what is romance? All kinds of things they were doing in such a careless way. He was the main pilot and we were coming back from Europe on an intercontinental flight. So whose lives were they putting in danger? Is not what they were doing a lack of concentration on the part of the young girl and the main pilot? This was the fate of two hundred people on that plane.

When I went to give a talk at Farmingdale, New York, there was a young girl who worked on a plane. She came to our Centre three or four times. But she stopped coming and she wrote me a note. She said, "I have to be sincere to myself. The life we lead, even on the plane itself, is contrary to your philosophy; so I cannot come." I said to myself, "I am very happy. You remain in your life. Don't come to my Centre."

So sometimes the hostile forces can take away our concentration. Sometimes the fate is sealed, and sometimes we are at the mercy of our so-called helpers. We are in a taxi, let us say. We have implicit faith in the taxi driver, but as soon as he sees another taxi driver, he has so many unbearable things to say. His English is unbearable! What will you do? If you listen to him, you will go mad. So you go into trance while he goes on, goes on. Four or five years ago I used to ride in taxis, and I learned such language from the drivers. I said, "This is their life." One taxi driver would be going in front of another and they would have to talk. Now where is his concentration at that time? It is absolutely in the gross physical. He may think that he is an expert driver, but already he has allowed some hostile forces, some very undivine forces, to enter into him. He may be an expert, but if I am in the car and all of a sudden he does something wrong, my life goes. I am at his mercy. A taxi driver is supposed to take us to our destination, so we must have faith in him. But then some hostile forces have attacked him and he is in another world. I have to remain in this world. At that time only prayer, concentration and meditation can save me.

Question: Once I had a misunderstanding with a taxi driver but I was innocent. He thought I was cheating him, so he really cursed me. What happens when someone curses you?

Sri Chinmoy: Nothing happened to you because outwardly you did not curse him. Because your own power is quite strong, your vital was able to assimilate the power that he used. He cursed you, but you did not reciprocate, even though you did have the kind of power needed to fight back. But since you didn't reciprocate, the power that you have was there to receive his power without being disturbed or devoured. On the vital plane, if someone who is attacked does not fight back, that does not mean the victim will be totally destroyed. No, he can absorb the power that has attacked him.

Question: Suppose I did something wrong to someone and he didn't have occult power, but with all his heart he begged to curse me. Does the curse have power?

Sri Chinmoy: A curse has power if someone has accumulated power in it. If a spiritual Master who has power curses you, it can really be dangerous. The Vedic Seers used to curse right and left. They developed power by practising austerities. This power they could use to build something; again, they could use it through their eyes to destroy someone or liberate someone. If someone curses you outwardly, only the mouth is the instrument; but they could have used their eyes, which are quite powerful.

Question: I have been told that a negative entity is around me and is trying to control me. Is it true? And if so, how can I get rid of it?

Sri Chinmoy: I wish to tell you quite frankly that all your problems will be solved if you approach a spiritual Master. Thinking this way, you are only fooling yourself. These are not negative entities. Only you are cherishing some mental fascination, some hallucination which you have created inside yourself. It is all your own creation. So you should go and accept a spiritual Master.

If you do not feel anything in me, no harm. There are many, many other spiritual Masters. But only a spiritual Master can solve your problems. Please forgive me for saying it: I am not being rude to you, but I have to be very firm in this matter, because you are only creating a problem for yourself. Then there will come a time when any spiritual Master will find it extremely difficult to deal with you. The Master will simply say at that time, "It is a hopeless case." Right now it is not a hopeless case, so you should go and approach a spiritual Master in whom you have implicit faith and that spiritual Master can take care of you. These are all elemental forces which have been created by you. Gradually they will lord it over you and compel you to do things against your own will. In the beginning they will convince you that they are saying the right thing and you will do it. Then, after some time, you will discover that these forces are all undivine. But at that time, you will be helpless and you won't be able to guide your own life. So my sincere request to you is to approach a spiritual Master and let that spiritual Master guide you.

Do not try to guide your own life. The main mistake in your life is that you have been trying to guide your life by yourself, which is absolutely wrong. Even in the ordinary life you go to a teacher in order to learn, because you don't know whether this letter is A or B or C. The teacher tells you and then you know. But in the spiritual life, the spiritual Master guides you inwardly. Outwardly he also guides, but most of the time he guides inwardly, because that is the easiest and, at the same time, the most effective method. He will guide an individual seeker inwardly according to the seeker's own standard and receptivity.

Question: Do we sometimes become hostile forces?

Sri Chinmoy: It is not we who are the culprits. Some mischievous forces are moving around us all the time. We are not the destructive forces; we have not created them. But we have allowed them to operate in and through us. I am not a thief, but if I allow a thief to do something wrong, then I am as bad as a thief or I am equally responsible. The origin of these forces is not always in the physical; it can be in the subtle vital or subtle physical. These forces can come from the subtle planes. It is true that we are not the doers, but we allow them to work in us. I am not going to steal, but if I help you to steal, am I not as bad as you are?

Question: I was talking to a person who followed the occult. In a case like that, would it be best to try to leave the person as soon as possible, or to try and show him what little love and concern I have?

Sri Chinmoy: If the person is stronger than you are, then you are not going to convert him; far from it. But if you are deeply attached to the person, if he is a member of your immediate family or is very close to you, then you can try to convince him that he is wrong. Slowly, steadily, through your own spiritual progress, your whole face will shine. It will radiate your progress. But if he is not close to you in any way, you are under no obligation to convince him by practising your own spirituality. That is to say, you don't have to bring to the fore your inner knowledge, inner wisdom or inner light and offer this individual at the Feet of the Supreme.

If the person is very, very close to you, then you are obliged to some extent to say the right thing, do the right thing and show the right thing. But if somebody is just a casual friend, then he can hold his views and you can hold yours. Here you will not enter into any conflict. Let him follow his own way. And if he has a spiritual Master, the best thing is to encourage him to follow his Master and not the occult wisdom that he has read about. But you have to know that there are millions of people on earth who are doing many wrong things. If you start trying to perfect them without being totally perfect yourself, then your God-realisation will remain a far cry. So the best thing is to be wise and see how close you are and what kind of connection you have already established with the person.

Question: Sometimes when I talk to someone, I want to know what kind of person he is, but I feel helpless.

Sri Chinmoy: You see in front of you a person. Try to move very close to that person. If you can't actually hear his breathing, try to imagine his breathing. When he is breathing in, you will breathe in even though you may feel tired or exhausted. If three or six times in this way you can catch his breath, after you have identified with his breath, then immediately you know whether he is a good man or a bad man. Your answer will be one hundred percent correct. This process is very effective.

Question: Is it possible to do that while you are having a discussion with somebody? Won't they notice what you are doing?

Sri Chinmoy: Why not? While you are discussing something with someone, you just imagine or envision that you are becoming one with the person's breath. These are occult powers of the lowest class — lowest, but most effective, because children also can play with occult power. Gradually, gradually you will become an expert and at that time you can compel the other person to breathe with you, instead of waiting to see when he breathes in. So when you breathe in, if you identify with him, then his breath and your breath are becoming one.

Question: Sometimes you ask us if a disciple is in a good mood or a bad mood, so couldn't we tell if we use that method?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly you can. You try, but there is another way which you can also try. If you see someone, you don't have to look at that person's face. Just concentrate on your heart, which is eternally vast and then, for a fleeting second, open your heart's door. Your vast heart has become the house. When you open the door, the person in question will see such a beautiful vast heart and he will want to enter. At that time you will watch and see if he is in a good consciousness, if he is looking for my picture or shrine. But if he is in a bad consciousness, then he will be puzzled and try to hide. Bad consciousness people always try to hide. Even when they are in front of me, they keep their eyes closed, although they are not in trance. They are like a crow. A crow hides the jewel and thinks that because he can't see it, nobody can see it. Like this, some of the disciples keep their eyes closed and think that I won't be able to see their face. But naturally what goes on inside their heart is in their face, and I can see it.

So immediately you will be able to tell. If the person is hiding, if he has done something wrong, easily you can tell. Again, if he is looking for my picture or shrine, from the movement and gesture inside, you can know that he is in a good consciousness. But the other way, identifying with his breath, you can also do.

Experiences in the spiritual realm

Question: A few months ago I had a very unusual experience. Very early in the morning while I was still asleep, I felt a force in me, and I felt physically as though there was a lot of air in my head and no matter how many undivine thoughts tried to come to my mind, this force would not let them in.

Sri Chinmoy: For a fleeting second God, out of His infinite Bounty, opened up your third eye. It was the Light of the third eye which you experienced as force-power, which has the capacity to destroy all undivine evil thoughts. When your third eye has been opened, it destroys all your past undivine actions. And while destroying, it is also purifying your entire existence so no undivine thoughts can enter into your mind or disturb your meditation. This is a very, very high experience that God has granted you.

Many times it happens that seekers get some very, very high experience. It is not due to their own aspiration. It is merely due to a deep meditation. Sometimes, out of His infinite Compassion, God offers us some high experience. Why does He do it? He does it because once we see Light, we hope that we will see it once again, and we work very hard in our spiritual life.

It is like this. A father gives a child a dollar. Immediately, the child comes to see the value of the dollar. The father is not going to give a dollar every day, and the child knows that he will have to work for it in order to get it. Otherwise, if there is nothing for the child to appreciate, admire or strive for, then the child will not work. Here also, the Eternal Father sometimes gives us an iota of Light. Then, because we are extremely pleased with it, and we feel that we need that very thing desperately, we shall work for it.

Question: I have a feeling of pressure on the top of my head right now. What is the meaning of this?

Sri Chinmoy: There are various reasons why one feels pressure on the top of one's head. Sometimes a person will pull down Light beyond his capacity. It is as if a child is trying to pull down something very heavy from above, and it breaks his head.

Sometimes it also happens that this particular centre, the thousand-petalled lotus, is being opened through the Divine Grace and through one's aspiration. At that time also one gets tremendous pressure. But the individual has to know whether he has pulled something down from above beyond his capacity or if it is the awakening of the centre. If it happens consciously and spontaneously, it means that the crown centre is being opened up.

Question: I saw a white glow behind you. What is the meaning of this?

Sri Chinmoy: That glow is the Consciousness of the Divine Mother, the Universal Mother. White signifies purity and also the conscious Light of the Universal Mother. The Universal Mother is operating in and through me. What you see is the Consciousness-Light of the Universal Mother, who is inside me and who is leading and guiding our spiritual movement. So, out of His infinite Bounty, the Lord showed you what you can achieve. It was just an insignificant, tiny, infinitesimal amount of Light which He showed you. It came to you from the third eye in the form of Power. Others have also seen this Light. Quite a few disciples here have seen it. Please do not feel that this Light is temptation. No, far from it. The Lord doesn't tempt us. He only encourages us. I assure you, when you are fully prepared, He will give Light to you in infinite measure.

Question: Sir, I have read about astral travelling, that through meditation one can bring out one's soul and travel. Have you ever done that?

Sri Chinmoy: I have done it hundreds and thousands of times. This travelling is done in the astral body. This astral world is inside the physical body and it is in the vital world. It is not in the gross physical; it is in the inner world. If you practise spirituality, you will also be able to do this kind of thing.

There is a special Yoga called Kundalini Yoga that deals with the six major centres or chakras, starting from the base of the spine. There is one additional centre called the thousand-petalled lotus at the crown of the head. If you follow Kundalini Yoga, you can open up these centres. These centres are not in the physical proper; otherwise, doctors would have discovered them long ago. They are in the subtle body. If you can open the centres in the subtle body, then you can have all the powers which we call astral powers and you will be able to travel all over the world inwardly.

Question: Do you achieve this through meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: It is all done through meditation. But we use the term "aspiration." If you have an inner cry, that is called aspiration. If a child cries, no matter where the mother is the mother comes running to feed the child. Similarly, if you have the inner cry or aspiration, you will get Light, Bliss, Delight, Ecstasy and divine Power — not the human power that breaks, but the divine Power that energises and fulfils. All this we get from aspiration. Aspiration includes concentration, meditation and contemplation. These are three rungs of the spiritual ladder. We start with concentration. Then the second step is meditation and the third step is contemplation. After this comes the final step in which our consciousness becomes totally merged in the Absolute.

Meditation is certainly the answer. If we cry for material objects and many other things, we get them. Similarly, if we meditate on a divine object or inwardly cry for it, we are bound to get it.

Question: Could you please speak about the different colours in auras? I saw blue light around you.

Sri Chinmoy: Blue is the colour of spirituality. Blue represents infinity, and blue represents creativity in its crystal form. It is the colour blue that constantly grows in the human nature as well as in the divine nature. When it grows in our human nature, it tries to expand our limited human nature. When it grows in our divine nature, it tries to spread the Truth, to manifest the Truth that it already embodies. In human nature it tries to expand, in divine nature it tries to manifest its own Light. The colour blue, if it is sky-blue, is the colour of Sri Krishna, India's second Avatar.

Blue is my colour as well. It represents my inner realisation of the Highest, Absolute Supreme. As a spiritual Master, I have all the colours in my aura, as all spiritual Masters do. Ordinary human beings have one colour in their aura. Some have two or three if they are advanced. But usually ordinary human beings do not have more than three. But in the case of a spiritual Master, his aura has all the colours. If somebody sees orange around me, he will not be mistaken. I have blue, green, orange, red and all colours in my aura. But my favourite colour, my most prominent colour is blue. After that comes gold. Blue is the height, highest Height, and gold is the revelation of that Height. When gold colour touches the earth-atmosphere, it becomes a reddish colour. That is the Power aspect when it is being manifested. When disciples see bright red it is one manifestation of this golden colour in the physical, earth-atmosphere. Some disciples see a golden colour, gold all around me. At that time they see my manifestation on a higher level of consciousness.

Question: Is your house affected by your consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: Each house has body, vital, mind, heart and soul. All the qualities of body consciousness, vital consciousness, mental consciousness are inside the house. The heart of a house and the soul of a house are like individual human beings. When the children are at home and the parents are not there, the children feel miserable because their parents are away. Similarly, when you go out of the house, your house-child misses you. It suffers.