Perseverance and aspiration

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Part I — Discourses

The Guru and the hostile forces1

While I was standing in front of you today during the meditation and I was about to bless you in the inner world, there was a tremendous attack. A very strong hostile force was going to attack my dearest X. While I was looking at him I noticed this. Immediately I took that force into myself for a few seconds and then I threw it into the Universal Consciousness.

I tell you people, unless one is fully realised, one should not accept any disciple or play the part of a Guru. The force was following X, but immediately I took it because he is so dedicated, so devoted, so close. I took it here and then I threw it into the Universal Consciousness. That power I have. And where is the Universal Consciousness? It is in my possession. But if somebody else had tried to deal with that force, he would immediately have fainted or done something extremely frightening. Please forgive me, I am only telling you people that to deal with disciples without being fully realised is to make the greatest mistake. Also, it is a great injustice to the disciples.

Very often, when I stand in front of some of the disciples, consciously or unconsciously they hurl arrows at me. If you entered into the inner world, you would see that my whole body is bleeding profusely. Actually, I swim in a sea of blood. I do it, but immediately I have the power to throw all these arrows into the Universal Consciousness. If I did not have the power, by this time I would have been in the other world. All the spiritual Masters must have this power if they have accepted disciples in the true sense. If they have not accepted any spiritual disciples, if they have only accepted human beings as members of their organisation, then they can have thousands and millions of followers and there is no responsibility on their part.

Many times, before a disciple is about to be attacked, the force comes and strikes me as hard as possible. Why? Because my identification, my oneness with the disciple is so thick. It is just like when somebody wants to strike the child in front of the mother, because the child has done something wrong. Immediately the mother comes and says, "I know that my child has done something wrong, but don't beat my child. He is mine. Beat me instead." In my case also, I do the same for my spiritual children. But this is only true of those who have accepted me fully and unreservedly. Otherwise, in spite of my best intentions, the Supreme will not allow me to do anything for you.


  1. PA 1. A talk to disciples during a Centre meeting on 24 March 1968

Perseverance and aspiration

God-realisation is not an easy task. Some of the disciples who were with the Buddha, the Christ, Sri Krishna, still have not realised God. It entirely depends on the Supreme's Grace and the seeker's capacity. Speed is necessary and God's Grace is necessary: from above, Grace, and from below, speed. If one prays and meditates sincerely for twenty or thirty years, that doesn't mean he will be able to realise God. It entirely depends on God's Grace and the individual's capacity and receptivity. Just because here some of my disciples will stay with me to the end does not mean they will run the fastest. Do you think all my disciples will realise God in this incarnation? I will be glad if I get one or two or three. God-realisation is a most difficult thing. It is not the number of years you spend with a Master, but how fast you can run.

It is not that they don't have an intense cry. An intense inner cry you can have, but the only thing is, how long can you maintain the intense cry? Early in the morning for an hour you maintain an intense cry. Then, if you go to our press to print my books, your intense cry goes away. Jealousy may start or other wrong forces may start. Afterwards, in two hours' time, your consciousness starts descending, descending, descending, descending.

I can't deny your morning's intensity. But how long do you maintain it? If you can't remain meditating for five hours, then for four hours you enjoy real vacation, relaxation. A seven-hour meditation we had recently. Out of seven hours, there were some who did not meditate for seven minutes. They were glued to their seats, but they were thinking of their breakfast or of all kinds of divine things. At the time you think they are meditating for seven hours, but you don't have occult vision. They are thinking of their breakfast, their boyfriends, their girlfriends. But when you look at them, you feel those people are most devoted. You say, "How I wish to be like that." But what is in their mind, God alone knows. Some elderly women stood up once to meditate. The audience was so moved. They never saw elderly women doing such wonderful meditation. But what was going on in their minds? Tomorrow morning's breakfast and how they have pleased their husbands and what they are going to wear. But everybody thought they did the best meditation because of the way they looked.

The Master's physical presence

When I am on earth, in the physical, it is the greatest opportunity for the disciples. In one incarnation you can make the progress of forty or fifty incarnations. Here, if you are depressed, if you need me, I can console you. But when I go to the other world, it will be infinitely more difficult. Then, if you are depressed, you will have to telephone me. But that telephone call is so expensive; the price is called aspiration.

When the physical goes away, it is difficult. Why do disciples of other Masters come to me for progress? Because they are unable to keep their contact with their Master. They enter into ignorance and then they do not hear their Master's voice. When the Master is in front of them, talking in a human language, it is so easy to hear him. Whether they want to abide by the Master's dictates is another matter. But if the Master wants to speak from the top of the tree, from the other world, the disciples don't hear because he is very far away. At the foot of the tree he is using a human language, but at the top of the tree he is using some other language which is very different.

When the Master leaves the body, then he can take a little rest. At that time if his children and grandchildren are fighting what can he do? But now I cannot take any rest. I am shouting and barking. When the mother is sleeping, the children go out and strike each other. But when the mother is awake, then the children have to behave.

When the Master is in the physical, you may doubt him. "How is it that he insults us and scolds us?" Then, when the Master leaves, you forget the physical and suddenly you have tremendous faith. But that faith lasts only for two days or two months. Only a few disciples will miss the Master's physical presence to such an extent that they will want to leave the world when he leaves. They will feel that they cannot function without the Master's physical presence.

Transformation of the seeker's consciousness

I wish to tell you that when you enter into the spiritual life, very often you see that the play of the vital world or your subconscious life comes to the fore and your mind becomes full of filthy, dirty thoughts and ugly ideas. Now what happens? You feel, "Oh, I was far better before I accepted the spiritual life. These thoughts did not appear in those days. I came into the spiritual life in order to have a better life, a life of joy, success and progress. How is it that instead of making progress, I have once more become miserable? Such uncomely thoughts keep coming to the fore!"

I always say that the past is dust. But if the past looms large and comes to stand in front of you with its imperfections, limitations and bondage, do not be afraid. Do not be afraid of your imperfect lower nature. This is the last blow that your vital wants to offer you. You should feel that on the strength of your genuine acceptance of your Master, he has taken full responsibility or your emotional life, your vital life, your sex life.

If you have accepted your spiritual Master really and truly, then he is bound to take your imperfections, your vital and emotional turmoil from you. He has the capacity and also he has been commissioned by God to do this. He hasn't come into the world to take only your aspiration and your divine qualities. He has come to transform your undivine qualities as well as to augment your divine qualities.

Some people have accepted their Master only in name. They say, "Oh, I have a Master," and then they enter into emotional life, the life of enjoyment, with the feeling, "My Master will take the responsibility.' I wish to say that this is wrong .You cannot live a double life: coming to the Master to give him your life of devotion and going home or elsewhere to enjoy animal life. The Master is helpless if a seeker cherishes the animal life. This animal life has to be thrown into the Master's transcendental Consciousness if the seeker really wants to be purified. In that Consciousness the Master is not the body; he is the supreme Self.

If you feel that your undivine qualities are not being transformed, you cannot blame your Master. It is you who are not offering your undivine qualities to your Master. You are ashamed to offer them; you want to hide them. But this is the wrong attitude. You have to think of yourself as a child. A child is dearest to his mother precisely because he is like an open book to her. His very nature may be to go out and play and become dirty, but when his hands are dirty and he has sand all over his body he comes running to his mother. Then she embraces him and cleans him so that he becomes pure again. But if the child thinks that he has to be pure in order to approach his mother, then he will never become pure.

In the spiritual life it is the same. If the seeker has a Master, he has to be fully prepared to throw his emotional world into the Master's highest Consciousness. He cannot feel that he will keep his emotional life apart from his spiritual life. He has to give what he has and what he is. If he is creating divine qualities, let us say aspiration, that is wonderful. He is offering his aspiration to his Master. But if for some time he is wanting in aspiration, this state of consciousness he has also to offer consciously to the Master. If he can't meditate well one day and if he feels miserable, then that miserable condition he has to offer to the Master. And if he is successful in his meditation, then the joy that he gets he also has to offer. When one jumps into the vast ocean, one jumps with all that one has, even if a particular limb or part of the body is full of darkness and filth. When both your success and your failure immediately come to me spiritually, you will be the happiest person on earth.

So if you want to be totally pure and if you really want to be identified inseparably with me, you have to give both your divine qualities and your undivine qualities to me. You can become one with me because I have consciously and soulfully told you that you have every right to consider me as your very own. I have given you my soulful promise that I have accepted you wholeheartedly and you also have given me your soulful promise that you have accepted me wholeheartedly. So you have to give me what you have: imperfection, ignorance and vital life. Let your possessions in the vital world, in the mental world or in any other inner world of yours be mine. You will see that where transformation is necessary, your Master will do it; where the increase of divine qualities is necessary, your Master will do it. Your Master will do everything. He will multiply the divine qualities into infinity and the undivine qualities he will transform into divine qualities. But this I can do only on the strength of your real and implicit acceptance of me.

Unfortunately, some of you have an inner fear that you may one day leave the Centre because of depression or other wrong forces. But where will your Guru be at that time? Do you think he will be snoring? No. Even at the last moment, even if you actually leave our boat, if your soul pleads with me, "Bring my body back," I can do so. And even if this doesn't happen, your soul will maintain its connection with me forever.

Sometimes, if you have been with us for, say, five years and the body is constantly revolting against the soul's decisions, the soul may become disgusted. The soul may say, "I have tried to transform you, illumine you. Now wait; wait for God's Eternity, wait indefinitely." If the soul is disgusted, then you have to wait. At that time there is no hope, although the person could have benefited from being with me. But when there is no revolt, then don't worry; there is no chance, no possibility of your leaving our Centre. And even if you go, your soul would bring you back. It depends on the soul's eagerness, the soul's need.

You may be far from God-realisation, but some of you have made twenty incarnations progress by staying with me. Even though you are still far from illumination, if you had not accepted the spiritual life, the progress you have made, I assure you, would have remained a far cry. These things will be proved by your own soul's realisation. When you get illumination, you will see what your past would have been like if you had not accepted a spiritual path, any path. My disciples feel an affinity for our boat. It is our mutual love, our feeling of mutual oneness that keeps us together.

Interview with a priest1

Ten years ago I came to America. I was inwardly commanded by my Inner Pilot to come to the West and serve Him in the aspiring Western souls. Since then, I have been trying to serve Him according to the capacity He has kindly granted me. I have given talks at over one hundred fifty universities with only one intention and that intention was to offer my dedicated service to the young generation. At the university, the students usually get the knowledge that helps the mind. But the knowledge of the mind does not lead us very far. It is only the wisdom of the heart that leads us to the highest and the deepest realities of life.

We have a path called love, devotion and surrender. This love is divine love. This devotion is divine devotion. This surrender is divine surrender. The difference between human love and the divine love is this: human love wants to possess. But before it possesses, unfortunately it is itself possessed. Divine love wants only to serve and illumine. And while serving and illumining, it is equally served and illumined. Human devotion is nothing short of attachment. Divine devotion is our intensity for the fulfilment of a divine cause.

Human surrender is a forced surrender. It is the surrender of a slave to his master. Divine surrender is a spontaneous surrender. It is the surrender of the lover to his beloved. Here the God-lover is the seeker in us; here the beloved is the Absolute Supreme.

I am also fortunate to be connected with the United Nations. Twice a week I offer my devoted service to the soul and the body of the United Nations. There, some of the members of the United Nations join me in my prayer and meditation. We are all spiritual seekers. We are trying to bring about world peace in a spiritual way, in the way we are well familiar with. The diplomats and delegates want to bring about world peace in their own dedicated way, the way that is known to them. Our way is the inner way. Their way is the outer way. Both the ways are equally effective. One way is to climb down the tree, the other way is to climb up the tree. A climber has to know how to climb up and how to climb down. If he cannot climb up, he will not be able to collect the fruits. If he cannot climb down, then he will not be able to distribute the fruits to hungry humanity.

What a seeker needs is satisfaction. But unless and until he has satisfied his countless brothers and sisters of the world, he can never be totally satisfied. So his own divine satisfaction and God-manifestation on earth go together.


  1. PA 5. Sri Chinmoy made the following remarks during a conversation with a priest in Milan in 1974.

Part II — Question and answers

Question: What is the distinction between the vital and the physical?

Sri Chinmoy: The physical as such is blind and very limited. By nature, the physical is lethargic; it doesn't want to budge an inch. The vital is sometimes dynamic and sometimes aggressive. The vital very rarely will take rest. And the vital rarely cares for inner light. It is like a mad elephant. When the spiritual light enters into the vital, if the vital is not ready to receive, the vital will be crushed, broken to pieces.

But when the vital receives some of the soul's light, or when it has surrendered to some extent to the soul's dictates, it will undoubtedly have some purification. And that vital, instead of standing in the way of God-realisation, will help considerably. It will serve the soul in accelerating its onward journey.

There is the vital proper and there is the physical vital. The physical vital is inside the body and, at the same time, around the body. This is the vital that is deeply connected with the gross physical. But the vital proper is not part and parcel of the body. It is in the body, but it has its own independent existence. It is like the difference between the mind proper and the physical mind. The physical mind is in the physical acting the way the physical wants, whereas the mind proper has its own existence. Similarly, the vital proper will never be identified with the physical vital, The vital proper we use only when we try to fulfil a great aim or great mission on earth. Mighty kings and potentates are usually born with that kind of vital. Great leaders — not the so-called political leaders, but leaders of mankind — are born with that kind of vital proper, dynamic vital.

The physical can easily be distinguished from the vital, because the physical, by nature, will not open. It is like a blind child. It does not want to aspire. Constantly we have to feed the physical as we feed a child. But this physical eventually begins to aspire and it becomes proud of its inner reality. The physical is the cage and inside is the soul, the bird. When the cage, the outer body, becomes conscious of the fact that it has an invaluable treasure inside it, then it tries to exert its own power to help the soul, the heart, the mind and the vital in their combined aspiration and in their combined efforts to fulfil God's Will.

Question: Is the vital a form of energy?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes we use the term 'vital energy.' But the vital proper is a sheath. It is an inner sheath. When we say mind proper, it is a mental sheath that we are speaking of. When we say the physical, it is the physical sheath. When we speak of the vital after death, we have to say that the vital is a sheath.

Question: Does the gross physical have more power than the vital?

Sri Chinmoy: The gross physical has inertia. This matter does not aspire. When you go very high, into deepest meditation, if you happen to see that the physical is cooperating, well and good. At that time it becomes part and parcel of the soul itself. Otherwise, it will be like a dead body, a corpse, and it is just a heavy load. The Light is descending, descending. But the lowest is the physical, and here the Light finds it extremely difficult to operate. The physical is the last obstacle to the descent of Light.

Question: What is the difference between vital music and spiritual music?

Sri Chinmoy: When we play vital music, we starve our soul and feed our body. The creator is like the father and humanity is the child. When the creator plays vital music, the father is drinking something, but the son is starving for something else, for milk. But when the creator plays spiritual music, both the father and the son are drinking nectar at the same time. Even looking at the father's face, the child will be able to drink nectar. The very fact that the father is drinking nectar is enough for the child.

Soulful music is soft, subtle and delicate. It offers delight rather than vital excitement. Vital excitement is one thing and soul's delight is something else. The soul's delight is most powerful, most intense; but, at the same time, it does not create any kind of undivine, sensational pleasure in the body. It just transports; it carries the entire being into the Highest like a balloon and then, when the balloon breaks, you are swimming in the sea of Bliss.

Question: if someone wants to become your disciple, is it necessary to see the person's picture or actually see the person in the physical?

Sri Chinmoy: No, it is not at all necessary. When a person wants to become my disciple, it means a portion of his soul is hovering around me. When it is time for me to decide on the physical plane about this particular person, immediately his soul will appear before me. That is why when I go through the seekers' pictures, sometimes I flip through very quickly without even pausing. It is because the soul appears before me and it is not necessary for me to concentrate on the picture. Sometimes, though, it is not the soul but the mind or the vital or the heart that wants to become my disciple. Then I have to concentrate for a second or two to bring the soul, so I can see if the person is meant to follow my path or not.

The reason I ask seekers to send in a picture is for the human aspect. If they think that I want to see their picture, then they feel that I care about them. It helps to convince their mind and makes them feel more familiar with me. But to be frank, it is not at all necessary.

Question: How can we get in touch with that energy that is moving all life?

Sri Chinmoy: Either by diving deep within or by crying most soulfully, we can get in touch with the life-producing, life-transforming, life-illumining and life-fulfilling energy. A seeker either has to go deep within and touch the inmost recesses of his consciousness or he has to bring to the fore his inmost cry.

Question: I read once that we have more than two eyes. Is that true?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, there are seven major eyes. You know about the two eyes. Then, between the eyebrows and slightly above is the third eye. Of all the eyes, this third eye is most powerful, most effective. With the third eye we can see the past, present and future. Now, above the third eye there are two more eyes, in the crown centre. With these eyes one can read somebody else's mind. One of the eyes in the crown centre is the eye of identification. If you are totally identified with me, then everything that is in my mind you will be able to know. Then, if you go up and open the other eye that is in the crown centre, you will enter into infinite Peace and infinite Light. If you don't want to come back to this world of sorrow and suffering but only want to remain in infinite Peace, Light and Bliss, you have to open up this eye and stay there. There are also two eyes in the feet.

'Eye' means light. All the chakras are full of light, so whenever we open up a centre, we can say that we are opening up an 'eye'. Actually we have more than seven eyes. Wherever we have light, we have eyes. Spiritual Masters and occultists know that there is light at the tip of the finger. Many times a spiritual Master will use his finger to touch someone or something. He doesn't have to use his third eye or his physical eyes; just by touching, the Master can see the person or thing clearly. Spiritual Masters and occultists use all the eyes whenever it is possible.

Question: How should a spiritual person feel if he earns his living teaching children in school?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to be extremely grateful to the Supreme for giving you the opportunity to teach children, for it means that you are being given the opportunity to become a child yourself. Now you are twenty-two or twenty-three, but your aim is to become a child, the eternal child, so that you can make constant progress in the spiritual life. If you are all the time grateful to the Supreme, then you can make the fastest progress.

When you teach children, do not think that you are serving them because the school authorities are paying you. No, you are serving them because you want to be another child. And there is also another reason that you serve them. When they offer you a smile, feel that this smile immediately comes from the Supreme. Each time a child smiles, it is the expansion of God's Dream-Reality on earth. So, if you remember that, then you will try to serve the Supreme most soulfully and constantly.

Question: How can I know what role the Supreme wants me to play in my outer life?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to go deep within. Right now you are a beginner. Every day you have to go deep within in order to know. Today you dig one inch, then tomorrow it will be two inches, the day after tomorrow, three inches. The deeper you go, the clearer your vision will be. If your aspiration is intense, easily you will be able to know what the Supreme wants you to do in your outer life.

Question: In your Liberty Torch book, you mentioned in an aphorism that America sometimes did things conditionally but always unreservedly. How can America do something conditionally but unreservedly?

Sri Chinmoy: When India wants wheat or something else, America automatically says, "You have to do us a favour in return. If you help us, or if you don't speak to Russia for five days, we will give you the wheat." Some condition is there. Then, when America sees that India has kept its promise, America is pleased and gives a very, very large quantity of wheat — much more than it originally promised. So here it is giving unreservedly, but it started with a condition.

Question: in your book Death and Reincarnation, you said that we make certain promises to God before we reincarnate. Is there any way to recall these promises that we made?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, if you enter into the spiritual life and go deep within, you are bound to recall your promises. When you practise the spiritual life for a few years, the messages come to the fore from the soul itself. So it is only a matter of time. And once you become aware of the promise that you made to God before you entered into the world-arena, you try hard to fulfil it.

Question: Is Grace the most important thing?

Sri Chinmoy: Grace is most important. But Grace will descend only on that particular person who cares for Grace. Grace will help you to have discipline. Grace does everything. Grace is like sunshine. If you keep your windows open, then only can the sunlight enter. But if you keep your heart's door closed, then how can sunlight enter? There are spiritual people who keep all their doors and windows open so that the inner light can enter and illumine their entire being. But there are others who will enjoy sleep when the sun is out. You are up praying and meditating but your brother is fast asleep. True, the sunlight is for everyone. But you are utilising the Grace most divinely, whereas your brother is not utilising the Grace at all. Grace is for everyone, but how you utilise it is of paramount importance.

Question: If we think good thoughts, are we manifesting something for earth?

Sri Chinmoy: If you can do one thing divinely, then three hundred sixty-five divine qualities you are manifesting on earth. Only one good quality, one good thought, one divine thought, if you can maintain it for half an hour, it will be manifested in some form. But it can't be for just a second. When one is realised, even if for a fleeting second that person offers his good will, then in that one fleeting second that good will is established in the earth-atmosphere. But for those who have not realised God, if they can maintain a divine thought for half an hour, let us say, then their thought-power, which is a divine action, will be able to manifest itself in humanity. So if you have a good thought, or if you have done something good, try to keep up the spirit or the thought or the action at least for half an hour. Then rest assured, either on the inner plane or on the outer plane it will be received by earth.

Question: Is it a form of attachment to find pride in other people's achievements?

Sri Chinmoy: When a seeker who is on the same path as you achieves something and you feel proud of him, it is not your attachment that is making you proud; it is your oneness. That person has become part and parcel of your life and you have become part and parcel of his life on the strength of your inner feeling of oneness. When a spiritual brother realises God or is getting high experiences, if you become proud of him, then it is your soul's inner identification that is coming to the fore. At that time, the pride you feel is not the pride of ego. No! It is a feeling of oneness which is expanding your own limited consciousness.

Pride can exist in different forms. Somebody has done well in school and he is proud of this. Somebody has stood first in sports and he is proud of his achievement. Somebody has done something excellent in the human world, so naturally he is proud. In human pride, ego is always present. Here we are caught by ego. I am proud because I have done something, because my friend or my brother has done something. It is all mine, mine. But when it is a matter of divine pride, the ego does not interfere. Divine pride is all the time freeing us from bondage, from imperfection, from limitation, from ignorance and, finally, from death.

Divine pride comes only on the strength of our true oneness with the highest Supreme. When the son of God said, "I and my Father are one," this was based on his inner realisation of his inseparable oneness with God. The rest of us think that God is far away in the blue skies or somewhere other than where we are. But the seeker can easily say, "I am God's child ". When he says this, immediately he feels that he cannot enter into the dark prison cell of ignorance. It is beneath his dignity. So the divine pride says, "I am God's son. I cannot see ignorance; I cannot be affected by ignorance. I can only be led by the inner light within."

So we have to know which kind of pride we are dealing with: the pride that binds us or the pride that frees us. When we say, "I am the Brahman," if we can consciously feel this, then we will feel that it is beneath our dignity to enter into ignorance. That kind of pride can never bind us. That pride will only free us and liberate us. And while we are being freed, the entire world is also being freed, because we and the world are inseparable.

So, as a seeker. you have every right to feel proud of the achievement of your brother and sister disciples, and you can also feel pride in your Guru. This kind of pride will not bind you. On the contrary, my inner life is living inside you and for you, for your own highest realisation.

Question: I am concerned basically with disciplining myself. Does this require conscious effort?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, but you should feel that this conscious effort is not just the result of your physical discipline or mental discipline. No, it has a deeper source. There are many who cannot stop smoking. Why? Because they have not got in touch with their soul's will or the determination of their inner being. It is just an idea to which they are giving some importance; they are giving more importance to one idea than to another. But they are not touching the source, where the tendency can be nullified or negated. It is only in the soul or the inner being that the actual determination can take place. If it comes from there, then easily you can stop smoking. Even if you have been smoking for twenty years, you are going to succeed. Just because you have heard from someone that eating meat is not good, you will not be able to stop eating meat. No, it is impossible. It is just an idea, and another idea will come and fight it. Your determination has to have a connection with a deeper source. The outer mental discipline, the physical or vital discipline, cannot succeed unless and until it is backed by the soul's adamantine will power. So the success that you have achieved in your inner life is all due to your soul's will power; it is not due to your conscious physical effort.

Question: Do you have to be a divine person and meditate well in order to realise God?

Sri Chinmoy: Some people who work very, very hard for a spiritual Master will get realisation. They may be nasty to everybody, but they serve the Master like anything.

The Buddha had a cousin who used to speak ill of him. When the cousin died, somebody said to the Buddha, "What will happen to him?" The Buddha said, "Long before you people realise God, he will do it." They said, "How is it possible?" The Buddha answered, "He has already gone very high. All the time he was thinking of me; I was always involved in his life. He was speaking ill of me, criticising me, but he was always thinking of me."

The Buddha did something very nice when he realised God. His mother was in Heaven and there he helped his mother spiritually. I have also done much for my mother and father.

Question: Can you realise God in other people?

Sri Chinmoy: As soon as you realise God in yourself, you will be able to realise God in others. If you start by trying to realise God in others, it is very difficult. But if you become the seed, then it is easy for you to feel that you are also the tree, the branches and the leaves. Again, if you think of the leaves first, it will be very difficult for you to go to the seed, the place from which all this has come into existence. If you look at a tiny leaf, for you to think of the source, which is the seed, is very difficult. But if you feel that you are the source, then it becomes infinitely easier for you to think of the flowers and fruits and everything else as your very own.

So, certainly you can see God in others, but it is a difficult process; whereas if you see God and feel His Presence in yourself first, it becomes very easy to see and feel God in others. It is better to do the easier thing first. Once you see God in yourself, just spread your hands and arms and you will see that others are the branches and leaves. Then you are bound to see God in them. If you try the other approach, doubt may appear in your life. But if you feel that you are the seed, that inside you is the seed, the God-seed, then you are seeing it, feeling it and growing into it. Then where can doubt be? As soon as you see it, automatically your consciousness starts to expand. You see that the same God whom you feel within you is also there in your father, mother, friends and relatives — inside the whole of humanity. So the quickest and most effective process is to see God in yourself first. Then you are bound to see God in everybody.

Question: I find it easier the other way around.

Sri Chinmoy: Today you are seeing God in others. You feel that others are meditating twenty-four hours a day, whereas you are not meditating for even one second. Or you feel that others are doing good things which you are not doing. But once you go deep within, you will say, "Oh, I didn't know he was such a bad fellow." The deeper you go, the more you will see that the people who you think are far superior to you are not so superior. Right now, because you have not properly entered into the spiritual life, you have built up a very high opinion of others. But if you go deep within, you will see that your own Source is the same as theirs. You will see everything within you.

First you have to go deep within to reach your own Source. Then you will be able to reach the Source of others in whom you have faith. Otherwise, a day may come when you will be totally frustrated if the persons who enjoy your high opinion do something undivine. Then all your hopes in God, all your feelings towards God, will be shattered.

So it is better always to go deep within first. Then, when you solve your own problems, you will see that the problems of the world at large will also be solved. Otherwise, if you try to see the divinity in others, when inside you there are all undivine thoughts, then I tell you it will be a very, very arduous and long process. I am not saying that others do not have any divinity. No, no, they do have divinity, but the God in you wants you to feed Him first. So let your God be fed. Once your God is fed, you will look around and see that the same God has been fed in others.

Question: Guru, you tell us to see the Presence of God inside our children. Is that correct?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. When your daughter smiles, at that time you really see the Presence of God. But the moment she screams and does a few undivine things, at that time do you see God there? No, you simply say, "This is my fate. This kind of God I do not want." I always tell the parents to feel that God is inside their children. The parents shouldn't strike the children. Then, what happens? For one day they listen to me and the following day, when the children do something undivine, the parents don't see the Presence of God. They beat the children.

So it is true that you have to see the Presence of God inside your children, inside humanity. But this moment you will see something divine and the next moment you will see imperfection. Then immediately you will change your opinion and say that God is not there. But if you feel the Presence of God inside yourself first, then it is easy to see the Presence of God inside others. If you maintain your own divinity within you, then no matter whom you see, that person will be a projection of your own divinity.

Question: I'm a doctor. Shouldn't I serve God in my patients first?

Sri Chinmoy: No, no, no. You are a doctor, true. But early in the morning, before you even see a patient, you have to think of God, meditate on God. Only then are you doing the right thing. Right now, you are seeing God in your patients. That is your heart's magnanimity. That is wonderful. You are seeing God in your patients, so you will be more careful, more soulful, in your dealings with your patients. That is what God wants. But this very soulfulness, this sympathy, this love and concern for your patients — where are you getting it from? You are getting it from your own heart, from your soul. But if you don't meditate, do you think you will get it? If you do not observe silence or feel peace for a few moments in the morning, you won't get it. There are many doctors who are very undivine, callous, because they don't do the first thing first.

Early in the morning you meditate before you go to the hospital. Just because early in the morning you are praying and meditating to God for a few minutes, that means that you have love for God. Then, when you go to the hospital, you are showing your love and devotion to the Supreme in others. So you are really doing two things and both are of considerable value. You are doing the first thing first; but you feel that only the second thing that you are doing is the right thing. No, both are equally right. You go from one step to the second step. You cannot take two steps at the same time. First you step on one leg and then on the other leg. So, in your case, you are doing absolutely the right thing. Early in the morning you are praying to God; that is your love for God. Then, the same love you are spreading to your patients, who are your brothers and sisters.

Question: When we achieve realisation, how will it change our daily lives?

Sri Chinmoy: Realisation is bound to change our daily lives because realisation is not only the conscious awareness of the Divinity within us, but also the conscious acceptance of the Reality within us. When we accept the Divinity and Reality within us as our very own, it fully claims us. Right now we ourselves are responsible for what we do and what we say. But there comes a time when we see that we do nothing; we realise that it is Someone called the Inner Pilot who does everything for us. As a matter of fact, He has already done everything for us, but now we become aware of it. We come to realise that there is an Inner Pilot who is all Light and Delight and we see that we are His instruments. He is acting in and through us.

There was a time when our friends and neighbours saw nothing but darkness within us and without. Now, the same neighbours and acquaintances see something totally different in us and around us. Why? Precisely because our Inner Pilot is acting in and through us and His actions are always perfect. Why is He acting in and through us? Because we want Him to do it. When we aspire, when we cry to God to mould us and shape us into His own image and take full charge of our lives, this changes not only our lives but also the lives of others who are around us. When He is working in and through us, He is illumining us; and this illumination is constantly spreading. It is a Reality that spreads its Light and Delight. When we are being illumined, the ones around us are also being illumined. According to our receptivity we are being illumined and according to their receptivity they are being illumined.

Question: How can we run very fast on your spiritual path?

Sri Chinmoy: The seeker can run very fast through inner aspiration and outer dedication. This is the only way. Aspiration is the inner cry to dive the deepest, to run the fastest and to fly the highest. Dedication is the conscious feeling of oneness with one's spiritual Master and with his mission to spread the Light of the Supreme. One should try always to feel his conscious oneness with the mission and to be ready to extend himself.

There is no such thing as sacrifice in the inner or outer life it; is all oneness, extended oneness. On the physical plane, we say "He made such a sacrifice." But when someone extends himself, he enlarges his consciousness. When the hand does something for the leg, it is doing something for the whole body as well. In the spiritual life also, as an individual extends his consciousness, his capacity, he gradually becomes universal. God's Reality and man's reality are one and the same: love. In His Love He unconditionally descends; in our love we soulfully and gratefully ascend.

Question: What special message can be learned when disciples work for you for many hours without sleeping?

Sri Chinmoy: The moment the disciples do something for me soulfully and devotedly, I give them far beyond their imagination. Just the other night they worked for me all night, and for that I showed them such gratitude. Plus, during our Thursday night meditation, I gave them in a fleeting minute what it would have taken them ten months of rigorous prayer and meditation to achieve. Even in ten months, not a single disciple, I tell you, could have got the thing that I gave them in a minute. If they had meditated sincerely, devotedly and one-pointedly for a minimum of ten months, they would have got a certain amount of Light from their prayer and meditation, or from the cosmic gods or, let us say, from God. But that Light, I wish to say, I gave them in one fleeting minute. And this is not a lie, because I have it. I have Peace, Light and Bliss in infinite measure. Or if you want, you can say that I have an iota more than you people. So, just because I have a few more dollars than you have, I can give this wealth to any disciple who has pleased me.

The other day I was giving an interview to X. He is a very rich man. I said if I worked regularly at his place for six months, he would give me a salary. Two hundred or four hundred dollars, let us say, he would give me every month. But if he has the money, he can take six months' salary and give it to me right now. Because he has the money, he does not have to worry; he does not need my six months' regular service. So the person who is the possessor of any power — material power or Light, let us say — if he is pleased with certain individuals, then he can give those persons something that is far beyond their imagination.

The Light that I brought down, I was literally injecting into the disciples. It was far beyond their capacity to receive. Some people were not receptive, even, so I had to force myself inside them. If it had been some other time that they were not receiving, I would have said, "Well and good. I brought it and if they don't receive it, it is too bad." But when I am flooded with compassion, then I say, "All right, they have worked for me but at this moment they are not in a high consciousness, a divine consciousness What am I going to do?" Out of my overflowing compassion and blessingful gratitude, I enter into them and give them Light. So when people say that they have done something for me, I wish to say that I have done infinitely more for them.

When a child finds a penny on the street and offers it to the father, the father is so pleased that he immediately gives the child a dollar. The father knows that the child could have used this penny to buy a piece of candy. But because the child gave the penny to the father, the father gives the child much more in return. For a child, the penny that he offers to his father is everything he possesses; it is his entire wealth. But when a grown-up gives one day of his earthly existence to some cause, he is not giving proportionately as much wealth as the child. A child's whole treasure is one cent, whereas the adult's capacity is much more than that. You people have worked for me for twenty-four hours. If I had requested, you could have worked perhaps another twenty-four hours. That is easily within your capacity. But ask the child to bring another penny and he will be totally lost. He won't be able to do it because the one penny was the only thing he had.

Once in a blue moon a disciple may spend quite a few hours doing selfless service or working for me. But no disciple of mine will say that he or she has worked for me for many, many hours for several days or even a week. Who will say he has worked for me fifteen hours a day for one week? I want to see the face of that brilliant child and I will expedite his God-realisation overnight. I don't have that kind of fortunate disciple. One day someone will work and then he will make up for it. He will sleep during the day or sleep during his meditation the following day.

I will never ask any disciple to do anything for me unless I have already given him the capacity. And it is not I, but the Supreme in me, who has given him the capacity. I will never ask a three-year-old boy to carry a heavy load on his shoulders, no. I will ask only those in whom I have perfect confidence. I always make a selection. I have over three hundred disciples in the New York area. Out of three hundred disciples, why do I select so and so to do something for me? I make a selection because I have perfect faith that this particular person will do the job satisfactorily. And when he does it satisfactorily, I must say he does it on the strength of the love, concern and unmistakable confidence that I already have in his capacity.

Those who work for me know that they are only working for their own expanded reality. When I work for the disciples, I don't feel that I am working for a third person. Only I feel that I am working for a reality which is constantly expanding, expanding. You are a reality and I am a reality, but by expanding my own reality as such, I become one with you. So first you and I become one. Then, when a third person comes, we try to expand again. In this way, when somebody works for me, he works only for his own expansion.

It is a great honour, a great blessing, when the Master asks a particular disciple to do work for him. First of all, this disciple has been chosen out of all the hundreds of disciples to work for the Master. So chosen people should feel that they are really fortunate. And then, when they do the work satisfactorily, they please someone who can do something really divine and immortal for them, and that is the Supreme in me. So, when you want to know the gain or loss in this game, I wish to say that for the disciples the gain is enormous. At the same time, I am not the loser — not in any way. I have repeatedly said that my achievement is your achievement. Last Sunday I wrote 360 poems. But I repeatedly told the disciples that it was their inspiration, their aspiration, that worked hand in hand with my inspiration and my aspiration. It was their inspiration and aspiration that enabled me to write 360 poems in one day. To be very frank, it is not correct for me to say that I wrote them. You all wrote them in and through me. But if we go deep within, we will again say that this is wrong. I did not write. You people did not write. Who wrote? It was the Supreme in us. He is the inspiration, He is the Creator, He is the creation. He inspired us and, again, He became the flowering of His own inspiration, which was creation.

Question: Before I came to you I was doing a lot of reading. I was advised to stop all that and I have. But I'm starting to feel that maybe I should continue.

Sri Chinmoy: If you study my writings, then you are getting my consciousness. If you study other spiritual Masters, no harm; there is no quarrel between me and the other spiritual Masters. Everyone has the right to speak the truth in his own way. But if I say one thing and another Master says this same thing in a different way, you may be confused. Since you want to be in my boat, then it is better for you to study my writings. Then afterwards, if you read others, at that time your foundation will be strong since you know where your home is. Once you are well-established in your spiritual home, at that time you can go to the other house and see what they have. But I always advise people first to know where their own house is.

Question: When you came into the room and began to stare at everyone, I had a strange experience. Everything was turning white. The whole room was white, like a snowflake. Was that part of your energy coming to us, or was it my imagination, or what?

Sri Chinmoy: As soon as I come in, I bring down Light, Peace and Bliss from above. I bring down a sea of Peace, Light and Bliss, and this moves around like waves of the ocean. It is not your mental hallucination; far from it. I bring down the sea and I represent the sea as well as the waves. In that wavy movement when I look around the room, I am actually entering into each disciple. This white light is the light of purity, inner purity, and also it is the Consciousness of God in the feminine form; that is to say, it is the Light of the Supreme.

Question: What about the light that surrounds you? Sometimes I see blue light.

Sri Chinmoy: Very good! Blue is the light of Infinity, the light of spirituality. White light represents the Consciousness of the Divine Mother and also the soul's purity. Similarly, blue represents Infinity and the essence of spirituality. My predominant colours are blue and gold. All the colours I embody, but the important colours in my life are blue and gold.

Question: Do you always bring down the same thing or does it depend on us?

Sri Chinmoy: I bring down almost everything, but it is up to the disciples to achieve it or receive it. Suppose that today you need purity. Then you will receive purity more. The next time you may need light, so you will receive light. It depends on what you need. I am like a shopkeeper. I keep all things in my shop. It is up to you to buy whatever you want. If you want to buy this particular food, you buy it. If you want to buy something else, you can buy that. Here, when you buy, money-power is not necessary; you buy with aspiration. The more aspiration you can show, the more you are able to get the things that you need: Peace, Light, Bliss, Purity. Some days the shopkeeper sells one particular item more than other things. So, three or four or ten persons may see a white light today, because they need purity. There are many people who need peace. Most of the disciples need peace of mind. So I bring peace, and this peace you can take to your heart's content. Anything else you want you can also have.

Question: Can one be reborn during one's lifetime?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, through the development of one's inner consciousness. If someone says that he has had a new birth, it means that he has achieved something in his inner life. A new world, a new consciousness, has dawned in him. Then you can say that it is a new birth.

In India, the brahmins at the age of twelve or thirteen are invested with the sacred thread. In the Jewish system also, at the age of thirteen, a boy gets a new life. It is a new consciousness that enters into the particular boy. In our case also, when we launch into the spiritual life and get higher experiences, deeper experiences, these experiences determine our new life.

So, in spiritual terms, we can have many lives in one human lifetime. So far as the question of evolution is concerned, inner evolution, we have many, many lives, countless lives.

Question: Why do you give out prasad?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes seekers want to get some tangible thing or some tangible reality from the Master. On the inner plane they have felt their soul or grown into some reality. Inner food they have got while meditating with me, but it is not enough. They also feel the need of outer food. They want something on the outer plane which will convince their physical minds. They feel that the outer offering also has conscious power. So I give them blessingful prasad, sanctified food, which has been blessed by my Inner Pilot, who is everybody's Inner Pilot. Outer nourishment they get when they come into physical contact with me. So, when they get both inner and outer nourishment, their satisfaction is complete.

Question: Can one get a firsthand experience from meditation right off, without having to wait one or two years?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the soul's development. Mentally you will feel that you have not followed a prescribed course. You have not been going to school for two years or three years, whereas others have been studying in their schools. But you do not know when you actually started this journey. In your past incarnations, perhaps you meditated for years. If you have practised the spiritual life in your past incarnations, then even in your first attempt in this life you may get some spiritual experience.

Again, it can also happen through the Grace of the Supreme that you will get a firsthand experience after your first attempt. So there is no hard and fast rule. Many people get a spiritual experience when they meet their spiritual Master, even if they had not previously practised spirituality. Why? Because they enter into the soul of the Master with intense devotion; and when the devotion enters into the soul of the Master, his blessing or, you can say, his compassion or his light, immediately responds to the seeker's devotion. Then the seeker gets a firsthand experience.

Editor's introduction to the first edition

In this book, Sri Chinmoy speaks about the life of aspiration and answers disciples' personal questions about how to run the fastest along his path.