Obedience: a supreme virtue

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Part I — Discourses

World-perfection

World-perfection is something very complicated. What you call perfection, according to your religion or wisdom, I may not call perfection. Again, what I call perfection, you may not call perfection. Perfection has different degrees, different shades and different levels of consciousness.

Perfection means satisfaction. A child finds the ultimate satisfaction in fooling around with his friends. He strikes someone; that is his satisfaction, that is his perfection. Restlessness is what a child calls perfection. Again, for an animal, perfection is to devour other animals or human beings. That is the perfection of the animal, but we call it destruction. According to a child, satisfaction lies in restlessness. According to an animal, satisfaction lies in destruction.

For a seeker, satisfaction depends entirely on his own inner progress. His inner progress depends on how much peace he has received and how many undivine things he has been able to discard from his outer life. Let him see how few things he can live with on earth. If he is a sincere, devoted and dedicated seeker, then his list will have only one item: God-Satisfaction.

We are all seekers. So, for us, world-perfection is nothing but God-Satisfaction. But we have to know that God-Satisfaction will not take place in all of humanity all at once. No, it will take place in individuals, one by one. Today it will dawn in you, tomorrow it will dawn in somebody else and the day after tomorrow it will dawn in a third person. An individual starts his journey with his own life. He knows how much he has suffered from fear, doubt, worry and other undivine qualities. Then there comes a time when he sees that these qualities are very few in number and very limited in capacity. So he knows that he has made considerable progress. This progress is nothing but perfection in his life. Perfection is our inner and outer progress, and this inner and outer progress gives us boundless delight If we know how to make progress, then we achieve perfection through delight.

I am not speaking about total, ultimate perfection. The ultimate world-perfection will be achieved, although it will not be achieved today or tomorrow, or even in the near future. But it is bound to take place because God will never be satisfied unless and until His creation becomes perfect. There is no set time limit. The world will achieve perfection according to the inner and outer necessity of each individual. But the ultimate perfection will dawn only when all of humanity becomes perfect.

When a scientist discovers something, he will not be able to make the world benefit spiritually from his discovery. But just because the Buddha, the Christ and Sri Krishna realised God, they have been able to offer Light to the world in infinite measure. It is up to us to receive this Light from them according to our power of receptivity. The Christ embodied Light in infinite measure. We have received this Light from him; otherwise we would be in total darkness. But we received his Light only in limited measure. Still, the ultimate perfection all of us will one day achieve precisely because we have seen those who took human incarnation and became the embodiment of perfection.

We may now be imperfect. But some people who have gone ahead of us, who have gone infinitely beyond our standard, have already achieved perfection. The world-saviours have achieved something in a particular plane of consciousness, and this is their perfection. The world-saviours who have achieved perfection are human beings just like us. They did practically everything that we do; but they also cried for Truth, and God gave them infinite Truth, Light and Bliss. Just as they are God's children, we are also God's children. Because they were sincere, they got what they wanted. Just because they had an inmost cry to realise God's highest Height, they achieved infinite Peace, Light and Bliss. If we become sincere to the same extent, then we also shall realise God and become perfect.

Each individual will achieve perfection at God's choice Hour. It may not be today or tomorrow, but God has his own choice Hour for everyone. That choice Hour depends entirely on our inner progress. If we cry most sincerely, then we can expedite God's Hour. If it was to take place tomorrow, it can take place today. God's Hour entirely depends on our aspiration and inner cry. If our cry is intense, then God will accelerate our progress, which is our continuous perfection. World-perfection is bound to dawn at God's choice Hour.

A supremely realised soul

A supremely realised soul is the result of earth's concern and Heaven's special care. The soul. The soul is the eternal beauty in us. The soul is the divinely luminous spark in us. The soul not only consciously knows but constantly embodies the existence of God.

A realised soul. A realised soul is he who smiles with God and cries with man. A realised soul loves man because man needs his love. A realised soul loves God because it is God who feeds the love in him daily.

What is a supremely realised soul? A supremely realised soul is the worst foe of ignorance-night and the best friend of knowledge-light. A supremely realised soul is God's chosen instrument to elevate the consciousness of humanity, to expedite the growth of Divinity in humanity and to transform man's earth-bound mortality into man's Heaven-free immortality. What is Heaven? Heaven is the goal of the soaring bird in us. Heaven teaches us the transcendental song, the song of perfect Perfection. What is earth? Earth is Eternity's patience-tree. Earth is infinity's flowing compassion.

A supremely realised soul is the result of earth's secret concern and Heaven's special care. Why is earth's concern secret? Earth's concern is secret because Mother Earth has millions and billions and trillions of children who consciously or unconsciously try to disturb the Concern that God has for a supremely realised man. That is to say, the jealousy of human beings consciously or unconsciously tries to blunt the aspiration of the greatest seeker before he is supremely realised. What is Heaven's special care? Heaven's special care is inwardly visible but outwardly it is not so visible. If at every moment Heaven did not offer special care to the greatest aspirant who is going to become the supremely realised soul in the future, then the aspirant could never become a supremely realised soul. Heaven has to show special care. It is only on the strength of Heaven's special care and earth's secret concern that the aspirant of today can become not only a realised soul, but the supremely realised soul of tomorrow. Again, the aspirant cannot become supremely realised soul only with the help of Heaven and with the help of earth. No, the aspirant has to consciously concentrate, meditate and contemplate. He has to feel that God-realisation is the only reason he is on earth. He has to feel that it is only his God-realisation that can make him worthy of God's constant compassion and His all transforming Light, Bliss, Peace and Power.

We all have to become realised. We all have to realise the highest within us. We all have to become supremely realised souls. It is only a matter of time. If our aspiration is sincere, then our realisation is absolutely bound to come.

Love

If you take human love as a child and divine love as the mother, you will see that this moment the child comes to the mother and the next moment the mother comes to the child. When the mother comes to the child, she gives the child all her love; and when the child comes to the mother, the child gets everything from the mother.

In divine love there is protection. A little child may be tempted by the world. He is standing in front of a pool watching a kite. He is holding onto his mother's hand, but he becomes so excited that he lets go and falls into the pool. But if the mother holds the child, there will be no possibility of the child's dropping into the sea of ignorance. If the temptation-world attracts the child. and if the child is holding onto the mother, he may fall. But if the mother is holding the child, then the child will not be able to enter into the world of temptation. So this is how the divine love saves. In the divine there is always security and certainty.

The Infinite can possess the finite. But the divine will itself be imperfect and incomplete if the human in us is not perfected. The day the human in us-the vital, the mind and our other undivine, unruly, unaspiring members-surrenders to the divine love for transformation, we will have complete perfection. The human can go to the divine or the divine can go to the human. If the divine enters into us, we will always be safe. If we try to go to the divine, the human in us will go one step and the divine will go ninety-nine steps. And even this one step that the human takes is not really certain. It will go half a step and then look around to see whether it has done the right thing or whether anybody is appreciating it. Only when the divine in us comes forward will real progress be made. We don't feel the divine in us because we don't aspire, and we don't believe because we don't want to believe. If we wanted to believe, God would make us believe.

If we do not feel God's Love and Compassion, then we feel that He is conditional, which is absurd. We have to feel that God's Compassion is unconditional. When we enter into eternal time, we will feel that we and God are eternal friends. He is not our boss or our superior, no. He is our eternal friend.

If the human in you says that your Guru is much better than you, the human in me will be bloated with pride. But the divine in me will be miserable because you don't feel our oneness. If I am on the throne, you have to feel inwardly that you are also sitting on the throne. If I am on the floor, then you are on the floor.

When we separate ourselves from God's Reality, immediately we feel, "Oh, He is so great; He has no time to think of us." But if we think of God's Greatness, we will never be able to realise God. We will be able to realise God only if we think of His Goodness. Greatness does not satisfy us, whereas Goodness does satisfy us. A child loves his father, not because he is a very famous person, but because his father is all love, all compassion. We love God, not because He is Lord of the universe, not because He is the Transcendental Being, no. We love God because God is good; that is why we want to remain in God's Heart.

In the ordinary human world, many people are great, but that greatness does not fascinate us for more than five days. Greatness is always boring, but goodness will never be boring. Everything great will lose its charm, but something good will only increase in capacity and quality. Greatness has to fade, because greatness only attracts attention. When greatness looks around, it wants to see if it is getting appreciation and admiration. But when goodness looks around, goodness is grateful that it has been given the chance to be of service. Greatness says to the world, "You are lucky that you have got me as your saviour." Goodness says to the world, "I am lucky that you have given me the opportunity to be of service to you. You could have given the opportunity to somebody else." In goodness, there is no such thing as "they" or "he" or "she". Right now we are not aware of our expanded, enlarged existence, but when we become aware of our enlarged existence, we become all-goodness.

Question: How can we feel that God loves us infinitely more than we love ourselves?

Sri Chinmoy: The proof of the pudding is in the eating itself. The human in us feels that we are either the lowest or the highest. When it identifies with the lowest, it says, "I am useless, I am nothing." In this way the vital comes forward and tries to gain sympathy. But each time a doubt comes and we feel that we are not God's instrument, we fall short of our capacity. How many times we doubt ourselves, belittle ourselves, kill ourselves! The moment we doubt that God is inside us, a dark spot appears on the golden tablet of our heart. When we don't love ourselves, the face of the sun is covered with clouds. The moment we belittle our capacity and doubt ourselves, the moment we forget what we eternally are, at that time we are millions of miles from the truth. We love ourselves only when we feel that we have achieved something or feel that tomorrow or the day after we are going to do something. This is the human in us.

Who is God? God is our highest part, our most illumined part. When we as individuals enter into our highest consciousness and know that we are in all, of all and for all, at that time we do not doubt ourselves. At that time, we are everything, so who can doubt whom? We embody God and want to reveal and manifest God, so we do not even dream of minimising our capacity. Here we are spontaneously embodying and revealing the divine.

When the real, the highest, the most illumined part in us comes to the fore, at that time we really love ourselves. We love ourselves because we know who we are. Love is not a kind of outer movement or action. Love is life, and life itself is spontaneous nectar and delight. So the Supreme in us, who is infinite Delight, loves us infinitely more than we love ourselves.

Spiritual perseverance

Spiritual perseverance means renewing every day one's gratitude to the Supreme. Every day a new petal is opening; the flower is blossoming more fully. When you enter the spiritual life, you are supposed to be drinking nectar, immortalising, energising food, God's Food. But every day you do not get most delicious food. Yesterday you ate most delicious food, but today you may be eating most ordinary food. But even if it is ordinary, you do eat. If you think, "Oh, yesterday I ate such delicious food! Today's food is not good," then you will only think of yesterday's food, and today you will not eat anything. Then you will become weak. You have to eat something, just to keep your body fit. Tomorrow, again you can try to get that most delicious food.

Yesterday you had money; therefore you went to an Indian restaurant and ate samosa and pappadam. Today you do not have money, so you have to go to a coffee shop and have a sandwich. Your aspiration is like money-power. Yesterday you had tremendous aspiration; therefore, you got divine peace, divine bliss. Today you do not have much aspiration-power, so you do not get this delicious inner food. If you are surcharged with aspiration every day, then you will always get the same inspiration and joy from your spiritual discipline.

Some people are of the opinion that every seeker at times has to go through a spiritual desert. But this is not at all necessary. There are many roads that lead to the goal. If you can soulfully offer your soul's gratitude to the Supreme early in the morning before you meditate, then your road will be most beautiful, sunlit and short. But gratitude has to come first. How can you feel this gratitude? Just remember every day that your friends, the members of your family and others are still wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance. Out of billions of people, you are one of the very few who has been chosen by the Supreme to serve Him. Naturally, you can offer Him gratitude for this boon. If you look around, immediately you will see that hundreds of people you know are not aspiring. How is it that you are aspiring? You cannot bribe God; nobody can bribe Him. Just because He has chosen you to be His divine soldier, He has given you more capacity.

If you get up early in the morning one day, full of energy, and do a good meditation, then immediately offer Him your gratitude. The following day say that it was so kind of Him to grant you joy yesterday and again offer Him your gratitude. Peace, light, bliss and all the divine qualities dawn in gratitude. Again, our gratitude should be unconditional since God is giving us everything unconditionally.

It is not because you meditated for six hours that God gave you some divine quality. First, you have to ask, "Who gave me the capacity to meditate for six hours? Ten years ago, even one year ago, I could not meditate for even one fleeting minute, and today I was able to meditate for six hours. Who gave me that capacity?" God did. But that part you forget. You feel that you have done something yourself. You say, "I did it yesterday; then how is it that I cannot do it today?" If you feel that one day you are the doer, then the next day you will be the sufferer. Yesterday Somebody acted in and through you. Today also that Person can act in and through you provided you are grateful to Him.

We have to sow the seed of gratitude every day in our life of aspiration. Then we will see that every day our meditation will be most fruitful. In the meantime, if it is not fruitful every day, we have to realise that we cannot have most delicious food every day. But we do eat something every day. It is necessary for our health.

Obedience: a supreme virtue

Obedience is a forced life: this is the realisation of an ordinary human being. Obedience is the surrender of an inferior man to a superior man: this is the realisation of an ordinary, unaspiring person. But the obedience that I wish to talk about is the inner obedience. Inner obedience is the conscious recognition of one's higher life, higher reality, higher existence.

Inner obedience is a supreme virtue. Inner obedience is the achievement of one's true knowledge. When we obey the higher principles, higher laws, we love. When we love, we become. And when we become, we come to realise that we eternally are the Eternal Now.

A child obeys his parents. While obeying, he walks along the path of truth, light and bliss. In the spiritual life we are all children; we are eternally children. We listen to the inner Voice, the Inner Pilot, who is guiding our destiny, who is moulding and shaping us in His own way. When we go deep within, we feel that we are an exact prototype of His existence.

We obey our Inner Pilot not because He is all-powerful, not out of fear that He will punish us. We obey Him because He is all Love. He is our Love-power, and our life needs Love-power. Our existence wants to be one with the infinite Love. We are a streak of light that enters into the vast sun. We offer our individuality and personality to our highest Source and then we become the song of universality. Our individual consciousness is very limited; the personal consciousness that we embody is very limited. So our individual life, our personal life, we offer to something more illumined, something vaster. Our limited life, our limited consciousness, becomes universal and the universal becomes the unlimited, the Infinite One. From the finite we go to the infinite and from the infinite we go to the Transcendental Absolute.

Obedience and self-discipline in the spiritual life go together. They are inseparable. When we discipline our lives, we feel that we are no longer in the animal kingdom. We are in the human kingdom. And in the human kingdom we are aspiring for the divine kingdom. The divine kingdom is bound to dawn, and it is we who will give birth to the divine kingdom here on earth, on the strength of our aspiration.

Self-discipline leads us to self-discovery and self-discovery is God-discovery. God-discovery is followed by God-revelation and God-revelation is followed by God-manifestation. Finally, God-manifestation is followed by God-perfection and God-satisfaction.

Obedience is responsibility. When we look at responsibility with our unlit, human consciousness, it is a heavy load, an unbearable burden that we have to shoulder. But when we follow the spiritual life, we see that the more responsibility we have, the more the divine in us, the Supreme in us, will take our responsibility. The more responsibility we have, the more we are helping to fulfil the earth-consciousness. Responsibility is a supreme opportunity to grow into the Reality. Responsibility is an immediate necessity for our soul, for the ideal in us, the real in us, the ever-transcending Reality in us. In the Garden of God's Heart, a beautiful rose blossoms each time we obey our Inner Pilot. Each time we obey our Inner Pilot, deep within we experience the celestial fragrance of this rose.

A seeker tries always to obey his inner Voice. But very often a wrong voice will create unimaginable problems for the seeker. How will the seeker differentiate the real from the unreal, the right from the wrong? A sincere seeker will be able to distinguish a wrong voice if he notices that the voice wants him to get satisfaction from its message in a specific way, with specific results. If the voice makes him feel that satisfaction will come only if victory dawns, if success comes, then he knows it is a wrong voice. When defeat looms large at the end of his action, and the seeker is doomed to disappointment, then he has to know it was a wrong voice. The right voice, the divine Voice, will only inspire the seeker to right actions. The right voice does not care for results as such.

"You have the right to action but not to the fruits thereof." This is the message of the Bhagavad-Gita. The fruits of action we come to know either in the form of success or in the form of failure. But neither success nor failure is our ultimate aim. Our aim is progress. Today's success will pale into insignificance tomorrow. A child's success comes when he learns how to crawl. Then he learns how to stand and walk a few steps; he feels that it is a tremendous success. And when he learns how to walk properly, once again he is bloated with pride. Each time the child advances, his previous success seems insignificant; there is no satisfaction in it.

But when we take the path of progress, we get tremendous satisfaction. A seed germinates into a tiny plant; it then becomes a sapling. Gradually it grows until finally it becomes a huge banyan tree. At that time it embodies millions and millions of leaves. If we take life as a song of gradual progress, then life is constant satisfaction. But if we see it in terms of success and failure, then immediately our patience will be exercised. Today we don't get one kind of success; tomorrow we try to get another kind of success. And we try to achieve this success by hook or by crook, using any means-foul or fair-because all we want is something to satisfy our immediate need. But our immediate need is not our eternal need. Our eternal need is for progress. Progress itself is a continuous and continued nourishment of the eternal need. Obedience is self-giving, the offering of our unlit consciousness to our illumined consciousness. Let us take the unlit in us as our feet; and let us call the illumined consciousness in us our head. The feet and the head have to establish an inseparable oneness. Here it is not a question of obedience; it is necessity. When an individual wants to run very fast, he needs tremendous concentration-power from his mind and his heart. The mind and heart will come to help the feet. So heart, mind and feet are all running towards one goal. That is conscious expansion of our existence. When one part of the being needs special attention, another part comes to its rescue; and together they reach the goal.

When we do not obey the inner light, there is a specific place where we reside. It is called the mind-room. Here it is all hesitation. The mind-room is full of hesitation. If the seeker roams in the mind-room, he sees a tiger in front of him, a lion behind him and mad elephants all around him. So he feels great hesitation. And when he hesitates, he shakes hands, either consciously or unconsciously, with the prince of doom: ignorance. Why does hesitation occur? Because the seeker has not offered his inner existence the nourishment that it needs. He does not pray to God as his very own, as his Highest. But when he realises that the Reality in him is in God's Dream-Boat, when he realises that he is bound to cross to the Golden Shore, then there can be no hesitation. It is all divine assurance, divine certainty.

When a sincere seeker becomes an obedient child of God, he feels that it is his inner necessity and outer necessity that have compelled him to cry for God and become inseparably one with God's infinite Light, Peace and Bliss. He also feels that it is God's Necessity that constantly has need of his obedience. He acquires inner obedience because his human feelings are transformed into the divine life. He has developed the hunger for God-realisation; and God Himself has developed the hunger for His own Manifestation. Through whom? Through His devoted, surrendered instrument.

Necessity is founded upon mutual sincerity. The son has to make a solemn promise to his Father that to realise Him, to manifest Him, he will come into the world-arena again and again. His Father also makes a solemn promise that He will liberate and illumine His son and make him realise that he is another God.

The sincere and obedient seeker feels that the desire-life is dangerous. It is constantly destroying his possibilities, his potentialities. He also feels that the aspiration-life is constantly, consciously taking him away from the desire-life. The aspiration-life is the thing that is leading him to the realisation-life. So the aspiration-life is full of certainty, provided we are sincere. The desire-life and the aspiration-life are both struggling for their own survival. They both have the necessity to strive for something. Our aspiration-life cares for Light, Light in infinite measure. Our desire-life cares for materialism, especially material wealth, earthly achievement, earthly prosperity. But only the aspiration-life, which is the life of God, which is the life of our true inner self, can give us satisfaction.

The aspiration-life is the life of inner obedience. When we outwardly obey God, even out of fear, we gain something. But when we inwardly and outwardly offer our obedience to our Inner Pilot, our fastest progress is made. Our first experience is loving God. Our second experience is devoting ourselves to God. And our third experience is, "Let Thy Will be done." Let me be in Heaven or let me be in hell; let me be wherever God wants to keep me. My gift, my gift to Him, the ever-compassionate Father, is, "Let Thy Will be done." This is the crown of divine obedience.

Occultism

Occultism can be something dynamic or aggressive, something divinely powerful or divinely arrogant, or one-pointed like a spear. Occultism can be black magic of the worst sort. Again, the highest kind of occultism can be used for a divine purpose. Here it is immediate activity, immediate achievement or immediate fulfilment. For a true spiritual seeker who has not yet realised God, occultism is not only unnecessary but absolutely dangerous. Black magic, which is occultism in the lowest vital plane, is nothing but dreadful poison. I want none of my disciples to have anything to do with black magic. Even the occultism which is sometimes used side by side with spiritual power is dangerous. Very often, the so-called occultists become victims of their own deeds. They are simply standing on a tightrope. At any moment they can fall and break their legs. Very often these so-called occultists use the astral tube, which is on the subtle plane. But if the subtle tube gives way, their lives also come to an end. Many people have lost their lives because of this or they have lost their mental balance and act like mad elephants.

Some occultists work in and from the vital plane. They use spirits and ghosts of their relatives. But sometimes they are killed; they are actually strangled by the spirits in the vital world. The spirits want to serve their lord, but if their lord has nothing further to give them, then they come and destroy their lord. This is what very often happens to the so-called occultists.

There is a funny story that I am sure most of you know. Once an occultist used spirits to help him in his occult play. He told people many juicy stories about their future and their past. He took help from the spirits. But the condition was that he had to give work to the spirits constantly. If he did not give them work, then the spirits would strangle him.

A time came when the occultist had nothing more to ask the spirits to do for him. The spirits got furious and wanted to kill the occultist in the vital world. So the occultist came and took the shelter of a Yogi. The Yogi said, "Please keep a dog right in front of you and tell the spirits that you want them to straighten the dog's tail." In this way the spirits were caught. Each time the tail was straightened, it curled back again. So the spirits always had work to do. Our human nature is like the tail of a dog. Very often it is prone to crookedness.

There are some occult powers which are innocent, harmless, and really helpful and productive. These occult powers you get the moment your six major centres and the crown centre start opening. The moment any of these chakras is fully opened, you can rest assured that you will have more than a little bit of occult knowledge and occult power. But you have to know how you are utilising these occult powers. If you utilise the occult powers to satisfy your curiosity and to know what is happening in somebody's life, then you are misusing them. If you use them only when the divine within you, the Supreme within you, inspires you to help somebody in awakening his consciousness, then you are using them in the proper way.

Now if you follow the path of Kundalini Yoga, easily you can develop these occult powers. But for that you have to be extremely pure, pure, pure. Your name should be nothing else but purity. When you develop occult powers and you are all purity, in your outer life and in your inner life, then occult powers are a blessing. Otherwise, occult powers are a veritable curse. So I wish all of you to go deep within and offer your love, devotion and surrender to the Supreme. He is our eternal Father, Mother, Brother and Sister. So let Him pilot us. If He wants to give us occult powers, He will give them. If He wants to give us spiritual powers-Peace, Light and Bliss-which are of infinitely more importance than occult powers, He will give them to us. Let us meditate and concentrate and not deal with occultism at this stage of our spiritual journey.

Some of you are beginners; some of you are a little advanced. But I wish to tell you that none of you are so advanced right now, that you can without difficulty enter into the occult world. And if any of you actually are in a position to enter into the occult world, I will be the first person to teach you from the beginning to the end. But my business right now is only to take you to the Supreme. Then the Supreme will do everything for you.

Satyagraha: the zeal for truth

There are two words, satya and agraha. Satya is truth and agraha is one's eagerness to follow the principles of truth, one's zeal for the knowledge of truth. If one is enthusiastic and eager to follow the principles of truth, then it is satyagraha. Sometimes in India, factory workers will go on strike because they are displeased with their bosses, or some individuals who are disturbed by government policies will fast for several days in order to achieve their ends. Then they will say that they are following satyagraha.

There are two words in Mahatma Gandhi's life: ahimsa and satyagraha. People are always confusing these two terms, but they are not at all the same. Ahimsa is non-violence. We always care for ahimsa, because God is all love. Inside us there are many things that we have to fight against. We have to fight against ignorance, doubt, fear, worries and anxieties because these things are inwardly standing in our way. But the outer fight, from the spiritual point of view, should be avoided.

Again, it may be the Supreme's Will that we fight outwardly, as when the Lord Krishna asked Arjuna to fight in order to uproot ignorance. But fighting is necessary only on special occasions, when it is the specific Will of God. In general, there should be no violation of authority, because it destroys our inner poise. Here I am not taking sides in politics, or referring to any particular conflicts in different places. No, it is from the purely spiritual point of view that I am telling you this.

When we try to follow the man-made truth, we feel that we have to justify this truth with our reasoning mind. Somebody will say that his salary is not high enough; so according to his truth, he feels he should go on strike in order to get higher wages. In this way, he will stick to his own truth. But who knows whether his demand is justifiable or not? But in the spiritual life, when we speak of satyagraha, it has a different meaning. It refers to the spiritual truth. Here we think of the divine seeker who, with constant inner joy, is walking along the path of truth and devoting his whole life to truth.

In ordinary satyagraha, we try to get the truth by hook or by crook. Either we will keep on fasting, or we will go on strike, and in that way we try to get the thing done. But true satyagraha, from the spiritual point of view, is not like that. There we want to see the truth through surrender to the Will of God. The seeker wants to pursue the truth, but while pursuing the truth he feels the necessity of surrendering to the Will of God. He feels that it is the Will of God that is giving him the capacity to follow the path of truth, and it is the Will of God that will give him the capacity to see the truth.

In ordinary satyagraha, the individual lives twenty-four hours a day without truth, but to satisfy the demands of his physical, vital and mind, he wants to show the world that he is following the path of truth and offering light to the world. This is not at all spiritual. But in spiritual satyagraha, one sees the truth and cries to be the truth itself; one wants only to be the torch-bearer of truth. Then one sticks to the truth and offers his life to the truth. He does not cry to God for the fulfilment of his own desires. He surrenders and he says to God, "If it is Your Will, then do this for me. If it is not Your Will, then do not do it for me. I want only to fulfil You."

So in the spiritual life, satyagraha means total devoted surrender to the Will of Truth, and this Truth is God. God's name is Truth. How can we get the Truth? It is not by force, not by coercion, but only by constant aspiration and constant surrender to the Will of Truth, to the Will of God.

Part II — Radio interview at the United Nations

OSV 9-40. On 4 March 1973, Sri Chinmoy was interviewed by Walter Schonfeld on the radio programme, "At the United Nations."

Mr. Schonfeld: Sri Chinmoy, how do you help people?

Sri Chinmoy: I can be of service, but only God can help. I can be a servant. The servant serves the master according to his capacity. In my case also, I am serving the real Master, the Supreme, in each individual seeker.

Mr. Schonfeld: You talk of the Supreme, you talk of God. Is it a concept that other religions also have in their use of the word God? Jews, Christians and Moslems, for example? Or is it an entirely different concept that you have of the Supreme Power?

Sri Chinmoy: No, it is absolutely the same. Each religion has a God of its own, but there is only one God. Our religion will call Him Paramatman, your religion will call Him God and another religion will call Him Allah. But there is only one God, one Supreme Being. He is known by different names and forms, but my God and your God will always remain the same. There is only one God.

Mr. Schonfeld: How do you try to make your concept of God known to your followers?

Sri Chinmoy: I tell my followers and students that God is all Love. It is true that God embodies all qualities: He is Confidence, He is Compassion, He is Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent-He is everything. But the quality I like most, the quality I admire and adore most in God is His Love. It is His all-pervading Love that compels me to be within Him all the time. It is His aspect of Love that I try to offer to my students.

Mr. Schonfeld: You say that love is the predominant element that appeals to you. How did you discover this?

Sri Chinmoy: I have discovered it in my meditation and realisation. I see the world around me with love. Human love is all bondage. Before it binds someone, it is already bound. Divine love liberates and fulfil. First it liberates us, then it fulfils us. The love that I speak of is the divine love, the love we see and feel only in God. We bring it from God and offer it to those who are crying for that love.

Mr. Schonfeld: Sri Chinmoy, did you practise this philosophy in your native land of India?

Sri Chinmoy: I did practise it in my native land. I was in India for thirty-two years. For about twenty years I practised meditation most devotedly and soulfully.

Mr. Schonfeld: Who was your spiritual leader there?

Sri Chinmoy: My spiritual leader was God, the Supreme.

Mr. Schonfeld: But didn't you have any representative in India who inspired you or taught you?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I was brought up in a spiritual community. There I needed a spiritual leader until God revealed Himself to me. But I say to my disciples that there is only one Master and one Guru, and this is God, the Supreme.

Mr. Schonfeld: I notice that your followers, who call you their Guru, may be in some way subconsciously thinking of you as God.

Sri Chinmoy: No, nobody thinks that. If they think that, then they are making a terrible mistake. I am not God and I have told them repeatedly that I am not even the Guru. I tell them that God is their Guru. God is the only Guru, not only for me but for everyone. I am the leader, I am the messenger-boy. I come to my disciples and tell them, "Give me what you have." They have ignorance and they give me their ignorance. Then I go to God and say to Him, "Please give me what You want me to take to the disciples." God then tells me to give them Compassion and Love. So I am the messenger between my disciples and God.

Mr. Schonfeld: Do you have any text or scriptures on which you base your message, or is it all inspired?

Sri Chinmoy: My philosophy is the philosophy of love, devotion and surrender. I have written considerably on this philosophy and I have given talks at over a hundred universities. Every month I give talks here at the Dag Hammarskjold auditorium. In all these talks I give the message of love, devotion and surrender.

Mr. Schonfeld: Sri Chinmoy, I didn't notice today at your meeting any collection of money or anything like that. How do you make a living?

Sri Chinmoy: Collection is forbidden at all my Centres. When I go to Britain, if I ask them first for food stamps and then I tell them I am going to give them Peace, Light and Bliss, they will just turn away. Fortunately, I do have sincere, devoted students who meet with my outer expenses and my outer needs. I meet with their inner needs. I help them in their meditation.

Mr. Schonfeld: Are you married?

Sri Chinmoy: No, I am not married.

Mr. Schonfeld: Do you believe in marriage?

Sri Chinmoy: I believe in marriage provided it is a good and divine marriage. Otherwise it can cause terrible problems.

Mr. Schonfeld: Sri Chinmoy, I watched you as you spoke to your followers today and your eyes were closed most of the time. Some of them seemed to have their eyes closed also.

Sri Chinmoy: When I invoke Peace, Light and Bliss, I keep my eyes half-closed, not fully closed. I find it extremely easy to invoke Peace, Light and Bliss from above and offer it to those who are around me when my eyes are half-closed. If we keep our eyes totally closed, we may fall asleep. And if we keep our eyes wide open, we may strain our eyes. The forces of this world are seeking to distract us and compel us to pay attention to who is sitting on what chair, what kind of clothing someone is wearing, and so on.

Mr. Schonfeld: But did you see me come in with your eyes half-closed? I came in a little late.

Sri Chinmoy: I did see you. I saw the outer world as much as I had to. But again, at the same time I was looking at you, I was invoking Peace, Light and Bliss.

Mr. Schonfeld: Sri Chinmoy, you also use a chant of some kind. What does that do?

Sri Chinmoy: I was chanting Aum at that time. Aum is the mother of all Indian incantations or mantras. I was invoking the three principal Indian Gods: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is the Creator, Vishnu is the Preserver and Shiva is the Transformer. I was invoking these three cosmic gods to illumine our consciousness. As you know, God exists in three aspects: God the Creator, God the Preserver and God the Transformer. Aum has three sounds: a, u and m. When they are united, they become Aum.

Mr. Schonfeld: Are you referring to the triune God with three characters, or are you talking about three gods?

Sri Chinmoy: It is only one God in three aspects. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the three cosmic gods who represent the absolute God.

Mr. Schonfeld: In everyday life, do you expect your followers to change their ways and habits?

Sri Chinmoy: I have to tell you very frankly at this point that if they are doing something wrong, then they will have to change. If they are doing something right, then I will tell them that there is no end to their progress. We can always make more progress.

Mr. Schonfeld: Who decides what is wrong and what is right?

Sri Chinmoy: It is their conscience that tells them if what they are doing is right. Each one of us has a conscience. With soulful prayer and meditation, we come to know what we are doing wrong and what we are doing right.

Mr. Schonfeld: Do you believe that the human being is born with a pure soul?

Sri Chinmoy: The human being is always born with a pure soul. It is the ignorance of earth that enters into each human being and creates problems for us.

Mr. Schonfeld: How do you find a way to eliminate hatred between people if misunderstandings develop or there are arguments?

Sri Chinmoy: One can eliminate hatred and misunderstanding between individuals provided one has the capacity to bring down Peace and Love from above and inject these qualities into them.

Mr. Schonfeld: Why should somebody want to become a follower of yours?

Sri Chinmoy: There is no necessity for it.

Mr. Schonfeld: Are you seeking to convert people, like a missionary?

Sri Chinmoy: Not in the least. I am not trying to convert anybody. God has entrusted me with a shop and he has given me a few fruits to offer. Those who are interested will come to buy and eat my fruit. I have not come here to convert anybody. Mine is not the life of a missionary. As I told you before, mine is a life of service. I have come to serve mankind with what I have, which is love.

Mr. Schonfeld: You are not out, then, to tell a Jew or Christian or a Moslem to drop his faith and follow you?

Sri Chinmoy: Oh, no.

Mr. Schonfeld: What if a member of one of these religions wanted to become one of your disciples? Would you want him to retain his faith?

Sri Chinmoy: I always tell Moslems, Jews, Christians and practitioners of other religions to retain their faith. That is absolutely the best way. Each religion is like a home. One cannot live in the street. How can one remain homeless?

Mr. Schonfeld: Sri Chinmoy, you are an Indian living in the United States. What do you plan to do from now on?

Sri Chinmoy: I plan only to be of service to the aspiring souls who want and need my service.

Mr. Schonfeld: Are you going back to India?

Sri Chinmoy: No, I am not going back to live, but I may visit. I have visited there three times since coming here.

Mr. Schonfeld: Don't you think that Indians need this kind of advice that you are giving Americans?

Sri Chinmoy: There are Indian leaders in India to offer the Indians advice. For me there is no India, there is no America. I am a spiritual man. For a spiritual man, geography has no meaning. Geography cannot bind a spiritual man. The Creator feels that the entire creation belongs to Him. So the whole world is one if you are one with the Creator.

Mr. Schonfeld: That would account for your form of meditation. What do you see as the difference between the East and the West?

Sri Chinmoy: In the East people care more for the inner light than for the outer light. In the West people tend to be for the outer light first and then for the inner light. There is nothing wrong with the quest of the western world. In the outer life, the scientific discoveries of the West have taken man very far. The West tries to run very fast in the scientific world. The East cried and cried for the inner world, for the inner light. So naturally the East discovered inner peace and the West discovered scientific proof.

Mr. Schonfeld: What effect did Hinduism or Buddhism have on the West?

Sri Chinmoy: It is not Hinduism or Buddhism that is entering the West. It is Yoga that is trying to inspire the West. Yoga is not the sole monopoly of India. An Indian has a soul and an American also has a soul. When we practise Yoga, your soul and my soul become one. It is not my religion or your religion that is making us one. It is our souls that are making us one.

Mr. Schonfeld: Do you include Yoga, then, in the practise of your particular faith?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, in my faith Yoga is everything. Love, devotion and surrender are forms of Yoga.

Mr. Schonfeld: Does physical exercise go with the meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: I do not practise Hatha Yoga, the physical postures and so forth. I deal with the consciousness. I teach my students concentration, meditation and contemplation.

Part III — Question and answers

Question: What is the role of the seeker?

Sri Chinmoy: The seeker's role is to come out of the ignorance-sea and swim in the sea of light.

Question: What is Heaven?

Sri Chinmoy: Heaven is the hide-and-seek of self-giving and self-becoming. Again, Heaven is the knower and, at the same time, the possessor of love and light.

Question: Is Heaven one of the seven higher worlds?

Sri Chinmoy: Heaven itself is one of the higher worlds. Again, Heaven has different degrees. There is Heaven number one, Heaven number two, and so on. Inside Heaven there are more than seven worlds. Inside Heaven there can be many places, many stages of evolution: high, higher, highest.

Question: Is all suffering and pain a sign of purification?

Sri Chinmoy: No. Some suffering is a form of purification and some suffering is just a falling into ignorance. If a child wants to show his capacity to others and he intentionally touches fire, he will get burned. If you deliberately enter into the pleasure world, then the consequence is pain. This is not purification; it is stupidity. Or you will suffer if your resistance is down at the time the hostile forces attack.

Question: What is the purpose of evil and what is its source?

Sri Chinmoy: In the beginning there was only infinite Light and Silence. Then each individual was given limited freedom. When that limited freedom is misused, evil or Satan or whatever you want to call it gradually becomes stronger. If we properly use our limited freedom, then we go towards the Divine, towards the Light. But if we misuse the opportunity, then we become anti-divine; we become a hostile force. It is not God's intention that there should be undivine forces, hostile forces. In God's creation we are all His children. But some are good, and some are bad. God did not intend to have a bad creation. He gave us limited freedom. But that limited freedom we have misused to such an extent that we have created our own world of ignorance, inconscience and undivine forces. It is the same old story: disobedience. If we obey the inner law, then nothing happens. But when we disobey the inner law, evil comes into existence.

A cow is tied to a tree with a rope. The cow gets very limited freedom, but it destroys whatever it can. With our limited freedom also, we start wars and try to destroy the world. But again, if we have good will, if we have love and a feeling of oneness, then instead of destroying the world, we shall try to embrace the world.

The evil force is in our mind, not inside our aspiring heart. The mind wants to taste the whole world, piece by piece, whereas the heart wants to enjoy the whole world as a unit, as a whole. The heart feels that the whole world belongs to it. But the mind says, "This is mine, this is yours." The more the mind can separate, the greater the joy the mind gets. Evil comes when there is a sense of separation, a sense of separativity. When there is union, there is no evil.

Question: Isn't it really easy to get rid of undivine qualities if we just set our mind to it?

Sri Chinmoy: We all have undivine qualities, but often we don't take them seriously. We just say to ourselves, "Oh, I have the capacity to conquer them. I am physically strong; I can throw the javelin, the discus and the shotput a great distance. Lethargy, fear and all these things are very weak. If I want to, easily I can conquer them." This kind of idea comes into our minds. But no, lethargy, fear and doubt have tremendous power, tremendous power. Unless we have actually conquered something which stands in our way, we must not say that we can conquer it. First let us conquer it. Once we try to conquer it, then only will we respect its power. We feel it is something very subtle and little, and that we can crush it like an ant. But look at the power of this ant. It can simply ruin the whole being. So, let us catch hold of this ant and destroy it. Then only can we say that we are strong.

Look at jealousy. All the time we are jealous, but we feel that if we want to conquer our jealousy, we can do so at any moment. That is our human feeling. For forty or fifty years, or all our life, we are jealous of someone or something, and we think that if we want to conquer it, then we can do it in the twinkling of an eye. This much confidence we have in ourselves. But let us just try to conquer it, and we will see that it will take another fifty years to do so. Let us first conquer our undivine qualities, and then only will we be able to march forward and enter into another world.

Question: Was Martin Luther King a saint?

Sri Chinmoy: He was very pure in mind and heart. He was a lover: a lover not only of his race but a lover of all mankind. One can be a lover of mankind from any height. One can be a lover of mankind from the illumined vital, the illumined mind or the illumined heart. Also, one can become a lover of mankind after becoming a great Yogi and spiritual Master. So, Martin Luther King was a lover of mankind. But he did not become a lover of mankind after reaching the highest height. No. He did reach a certain height. From the human point of view it is very, very high, and what he wanted to offer was most significant. But it was not the gift of a saint who has established his inner and outer oneness with God. In his case, realisation was still a far cry. But his heart was so broad, so great, so magnanimous, and this gave him a most sincere feeling of absolute oneness with everyone. This is what made him so divinely great.

Martin Luther King's achievement was really extraordinary. But if you have to judge it from the strict spiritual point of view, you cannot say it was equal to the achievement of a great saint. The life that a saint lives is unimaginable. Constantly he is communing with God, the Highest, the Absolute. The saint illumines mankind. He does it like a thief, inwardly. His very presence illumines the world. When he stands in front of a tiger or an undivine creature, it will get a kind of purity, a kind of divine feeling. The very presence of a saint is most powerful. If you ask me whether a boxer is as good as a singer, I will say, "A boxer is a boxer, a singer is a singer. Two different roles they play." When one plays the role of a saint, it is totally different from the role that Martin Luther King played. So Martin Luther King's achievement was a great achievement, but it was an achievement of the vital plane — not the lower vital, but the illumined vital, the higher vital. It was something great and unique.

Question: You say, "Annam Brahma — Food is God." At what times do you say, "Work is God?"

Sri Chinmoy: Work is dedication. Dedication means expansion — not human expansion, but divine expansion. When the bird spreads its wings, we appreciate it. Why? Because the next moment it will fly. It is spreading its wings and it will soon fly. Work is dedication. Dedication is the harbinger of manifestation and the real manifestation is perfection. So it starts with work. If you know the real meaning of work, then certainly work is God. Work means self-dedication.

Question: When this world is all perfect perfection and we are in the Beyond, will we all be there together?

Sri Chinmoy: The earth will become perfect when God's Tomorrow dawns. But God's Tomorrow is not our tomorrow. Our tomorrow will come after twenty-four hours. God's Tomorrow is something different. At that time, we may be in another world. There is not one world; there are seven higher worlds and seven lower worlds. Naturally we shall go to the higher worlds because we have prayed and we have meditated. God is not deaf; He has ears, He hears our prayers. Sometimes he hears too much. We have said many nasty things, but these God wants to hide. At that time, if God becomes deaf, it is for our own good. So we shall go to the higher worlds according to our aspiration. If your aspiration is high, naturally you will go to a higher world than others. From your world you will be able to look at the earth and see that it is perfect. There are many who have prayed for the perfection of Mother Earth. Their perfection means the perfection of the earth, and the perfection of earth means their own perfection. This is the seekers' identification. But if we ask whether all those who cried for the transformation of earth or of the human nature will come back when the earth is totally transformed, then the answer is no, they will not. There are many spiritual giants and many seekers who have cried for the transformation of the earth consciousness, but they will be happy to only look on from their higher worlds when perfection is achieved.

It is like this. Let us say a father wanted to become a multi-millionaire, but he could not. But if after he leaves the body he sees that many years later his own son has become a multi-millionaire, he does not immediately return into the world to share the wealth of his son. No, from there he is happy that his son has fulfilled his desire on earth. Similarly, all those who cried for perfection on earth will be extremely delighted and proud that, although they did not see the success, the success has been achieved.

To see the success and then to come and say, "I also did something," would be to act in our human way. Here on earth when we do something for someone we say, "I have done that for him." Then immediately others come to us for help. But spiritual giants, even when they are on earth, do millions of things for their disciples and for Mother Earth. If a spiritual person does ten good things on earth in the outer life, then people will say, "Oh, he is very kind, very generous, very self-giving." But if he does ten things outwardly, then we have to know that he has done ninety things inwardly. When God-realisation takes place, spiritual seekers make the promise to God that they will do millions and billions of things for earth. If the Supreme does not want them to disclose what they do, then they will just keep it secret. But here on earth when we do something before we are realised, immediately we either tell everyone or others come to know of it because it is done on the physical plane. If someone does something on the physical plane, then either today or tomorrow others will come to know of it. But if it is done in the inner world, then only the spiritual Masters and really sincere seekers will know of it because they are constantly trying to identify themselves with the consciousness of the Inner Pilot, the Supreme. Again, very often it happens that the highest Supreme does not want even the seekers to know what is being done for them by their spiritual Master. It is only between God and His instrument through whom He is operating. So when perfection is achieved, many people will be on earth to see it. There will also be many who cried for perfection who will see it from a distance, but they will not come down to earth to see it. Perhaps there will be some who will be eager to see their achievements and to see that their aspiration has taken material form. But according to my own feeling, the really sincere spiritual seekers and Masters who cried for the perfection of the earth consciousness will not go because the thing has been done not by them, but by the infinite Grace of the Supreme. The others, who will have really only given the finishing touch, will be on earth at that time. They will pray and meditate and receive the glory. The others in the higher worlds will take the glory inwardly because they started the journey. The Supreme, who was right there from the beginning and who deserves all the glory, will give all the credit to the spiritual Masters, to the seekers and to the aspirants. He will do everything, but He will take no glory. Only we seekers will take the glory.

Now to come back to your question. When earth is perfectly perfect, we will see it from different planes of consciousness, and not all together. Some of you perhaps will be here at that time, and others will be on another plane of consciousness. Everybody will stay, according to the Will of the Supreme, on a different plane of consciousness. When it is done, everybody will be able to see, everybody will come to know that earth has attained perfection. When something takes place in a distant part of the world, we come to know of it, and it is up to us to either go and visit it or to believe it. Right now, if anything happens in Moscow, we come to know of it through newspaper and television. We may not get a firsthand look, but we know that the thing has taken place. When the astronauts go up to the moon, we believe it. They bring down the result. So also, when earth is transformed, when perfection takes place here on earth, we will be able to see it, we will be able to hear it, we will be able to feel it.

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