Perfection and transcendence

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Perfection and transcendence

Perfection and transcendence

Perfection in the mental plane has its own form and shape and combination. But if it is in the psychic world and the heart's world, then perfection entirely depends on the soul's ever-illumining, ever-increasing, ever-fulfilling and ever-transcending oneness with the Absolute Supreme.

If we want perfection in the mind or for the mind, then there is a fixed goal. If we can arrive at a particular place on the mental plane, then we feel that we have reached our goal. But if perfection is a finished product, then there is no joy in it. In the heart we feel our identification with the Source. The heart will not be satisfied with anything that is finite. If we do not see or feel the perfection that is in the soul's world, then definitely our idea of perfection will be a finished product before our mental vision. But real perfection is an ever-progressing reality. A child grows slowly and steadily. At first he cannot even crawl. Then there comes a time when he can crawl and, while crawling, he feels that he can achieve perfection. After some time he starts walking and finally he runs fast, faster, fastest. This is his progress. In the spiritual life, the day we start meditating, even if we meditate only for a fleeting second, I tell you, that day is the beginning of our progress. Our achievement at that time is our sense of perfection. Each time we come one more step out of ignorance and a new vision dawns before us, it is perfection. Anything that lifts up our consciousness is our perfection. Perfection is continuous progress, higher achievement and deeper fulfilment.

We are trying to be in the Infinite, with the Infinite and for the Infinite. Right now we are earth-bound, but we don't want to remain bound; we want to become free. How can we do it? Little by little we have to enter into Infinity itself. When we enter into Infinity, we feel that the Supreme Himself is also progressing. If we say that God is everything, God is infinite, these are just mental terms. With these terms we are only confining ourselves. But if we say that He is always transcending Himself, then we can't bind Him and we can't bind ourselves. If He is always going beyond, beyond, then how can we bind Him? We pray to God because we feel that we are bound and He is not bound. We have one dollar of spiritual wealth and He has billions of dollars, and even that is constantly increasing. Gradually we are trying to increase our limited capacity, but in His case we can't even count His Wealth because it is constantly increasing.

Perfection is continuous progress in the inner life and the outer life. A kindergarten student will consider his perfection to be a Master's degree or a Ph.D. He knows how much more he has to learn before he grows up. But he doesn't give up. He continues to study. If the highest degree is his idea of perfection, then he has to aspire always for more illumining, more fulfilling knowledge. When his inner hunger is constant, then only he feels that he is really getting the message of perfection. His ultimate goal is to complete the university course; right now that is his idea of perfection. But finally, when he completes his university course, he sees how much more he has to learn. Then where is his perfection? His previous perfection is now only the beginning of a new dawn, a new life. When we compose some beautiful music, we feel that it is perfection. But if we meditate, we see that we can add something to it or go far beyond it. The difficulty is that the human mind always finds it difficult to continue. It doesn't have enough perseverance to go beyond, beyond, beyond its present achievement. It has achieved something and it knows that the world will appreciate it. When we create something, a kind of satisfaction comes from the outer world. If we get human satisfaction, then we don't want to go beyond our achievement because we look around and see that nobody else has come near it. But if it is divine satisfaction, we don't take it as success or glory; we take it as a divine experience. If we get divine satisfaction, then there is an inner urge to go beyond.

Acquiring good qualities

Question: What is the easiest way to evoke our divine qualities?

Sri Chinmoy: Through constant soulful gratitude you can easily invoke your divine qualities.

Question: What is the relationship between love and gratitude?

Sri Chinmoy: If it is true love, the love that expands, then its source is gratitude. Gratitude is the creative force, the mother and father of love. It is in gratitude that real love exists. This love is not the human love, it is divine love. Love expands only when gratitude is there. Limited love does not offer gratitude. Limited love is immediately bound by something-by constant desires or constant demands. But when it is unlimited love, constant love, then gratitude comes to the fore. This love becomes all gratitude.

Question: What is the best way to increase our gratitude?

Sri Chinmoy: The best way to increase our gratitude is to cry more soulfully and more spontaneously than a little child who is crying for milk or for a toy.

Question: Is there any outer sign of spiritual progress?

Sri Chinmoy: The outer sign of progress is inner joy. This inner joy is not like a mad elephant. This inner joy is something very sweet, intense and all the time fulfilling: fulfilling in our thoughts and fulfilling in our actions, at every moment, for whoever is in touch with us and whoever thinks of us. This is inner joy.

Question: How can I get satisfaction right this minute?

Sri Chinmoy: Go deep within. Satisfaction is there. That is the simplest answer.

Question: How can we achieve self-poise?

Sri Chinmoy: We can achieve self-poise by realising the fact that the world does not belong to us; it belongs only to God.

Question: How can the confidence of the heart be brought into the mind and made to stay there?

Sri Chinmoy: We can bring the confidence of the heart into the mind very swiftly, effectively and fruitfully only when we feel that the heart is the mother-the mother of love, affection, light, patience and forgiveness. Once we truly feel that the heart embodies all these divine qualities, if we can also think of the heart as a member of our being, then we will be able to bring the confidence of the heart into the mind. We must feel that the mind is a restless child, without wisdom and maturity, and that the heart is the mother who embodies all divine qualities. Naturally, whatever the mother has, the child can claim because the mother is ready to give whatever she has to the child. So when we think of the heart, we have to think of the Divine Mother, whose boundless qualities enter into the child while she instructs him. Then, automatically, like the flowing of a river, the heart's qualities will enter the mind.

Question: How can we develop detachment?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a great difference between detachment and negligence. Negligence means that many things are happening, but you don't pay any attention to them. Negligence is nothing short of carelessness. Detachment means that you are not affected by what happens. Whether you have succeeded or failed, whether people have extolled you to the skies or spoken ill of you, you are not affected. Sometimes when somebody appreciates and admires you, your ego comes to the fore and destroys you, or success comes and you lose your balance, and are lost. On the other hand, when people speak ill of you, you are doomed to disappointment, and here too your ego comes to the fore. That means that you are affected. But only when you are not affected have you achieved real detachment. Detachment in no way indicates indifference to the activities of others. It only means that you will not be affected. At the same time, you will not be involved in their activities with the idea that you have more knowledge or more wisdom than they have. If you feel that you have more light than others, then you will be miserable. Again, if they are really in difficulty, then naturally you will go and help them with a sincere heart. Detachment is not indifference; far from it. But often it happens that you feel that others need help from you when actually they don't need your help at all.

Question: Should I pray for purification of the mind?

Sri Chinmoy: You should always pray for purification of the mind. All the negative forces will attack you unless and until you are purified. When you pray and meditate, consciously pray or meditate on purity inside the heart first. When purity is well established there, then all your wrong forces are bound to disappear. Eventually, the undivine forces will not even be able to enter into you.

Question: How can we find lasting peace?

Sri Chinmoy: My first poem in English runs thus:

"A sea of peace and joy and light
Beyond my reach I know."

Almost every aspirant feels at the dawn of his spiritual life that peace is beyond his reach. The mind is always bothering us. The mind is constantly taking us from one place to another, from one object to another in the inner world and in the outer world. But a day comes when we feel in our inner life that there can be nothing worth achieving but peace.

It is peace that operates in the inner world and the outer world in the life of an aspirant. Eventually a day comes when he cannot separate himself from peace. Now he is crying for peace. He does not have peace here, there or anywhere. But as the mounting flame of aspiration within him gets the opportunity to reach the highest, the inner peace starts functioning most intensely and most powerfully in him. Then one day he notices that he abides in the sea of peace; he can never be separated from peace. His existence, inner and outer, is flooded with peace. For that experience, what we need is aspiration. Aspiration is the key.

Question: How can a disciple manifest the qualities of a divine warrior?

Sri Chinmoy: He has to be brave. He has to be indifferent if necessity demands. People will say that he is very bad, very callous, but he has to remain with his conviction. Each individual here has the capacity to be a divine warrior, but he or she does not exercise that power.

Question: Guru, I find it very difficult to have faith in myself. Will my faith develop as I try to lead a spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. You have to know that you are God's son and not God's slave. If you can call God your Father, then you can say, "My Father, He is rich. My Father, He is great. My Father, He is kind. If He is kind, then a portion of His kindness He is bound to give me. If He is great, then a portion of His greatness He will give me. If He is rich, then a portion of His wealth He will give me." This is the feeling a son will have.

But instead of that, if you feel that God is the Lord and you are His slave, then how are you going to have faith in yourself? A slave will immediately say, "Today he is my master. Tomorrow he may kick me out." A slave cannot claim his master's wealth or capacity as his very own. But a son can claim it. A little child is seven years old, but if his father is very rich, very great and very learned, then he is sure that he is going to get these qualities from his father. And the father will gladly give them to him. But if he has the attitude of a slave, then he will immediately think, "Oh, the master will only exploit me, so I won't be able to claim any of his good qualities as my own."

So if you want to have faith in yourself, first you have to feel what kind of connection or relationship you have established with your Inner Pilot. If it is the relationship of Father and son, or Mother and son, or lover and Beloved, if it is the relationship of two most intimate, absolutely closest friends, then you can expect anything from Him. But if you can't establish that kind of sweet oneness between yourself and God, then how will you have faith? If you think, "He is very aloof; He is the Lord Supreme and I am just a meaningless creature," then there is no feeling of oneness. If you think of yourself as a tiny ant and God as a huge elephant, then naturally you will say, "Oh, how can I have such strength, such capacity? I am so weak and insignificant." But if you think of God as someone who is more than eager to give you what He has, then you will feel, "The strength that that elephant has is all for me when the time comes or when I need it." When you have established that kind of feeling, when you feel that your Father is going to give you everything that you need, then automatically you will have faith.

If you have faith in yourself, then you will say, "I am God's son, so how can I do something undivine? I am His son. How can I make friends with ignorance? It is beneath my dignity." In this way you will run closer to your real divinity. So, in the spiritual life, always try to feel your oneness with God as something extremely sweet, pure and fulfilling. Then automatically you get faith. If you feel, "He is mine and I am His," then automatically you will have abundant faith in yourself.

Question: Is faith a gift?

Sri Chinmoy: It is true; faith is a gift. Every good quality is a gift from God. But faith you can also develop. Faith came, and everybody had an opportunity to become divine. But still there are quite a few who are not exercising their faith. Faith can be developed like a muscle. Today you have little faith, tomorrow you will have more faith in yourself and in God.

Again, faith is like a box with a jewel inside. We have the box, but we are not opening the box in order to see the jewel. If we go to the Source we will see that we have faith in infinite measure. An infinite supply we have inside ourselves as an achievement or as a reality. But we are not utilising it; we are neglecting this quality of faith.

Question: How can you attain inner serenity and peace when you look around and see war, poverty, hunger, drugs and death in the world?

Sri Chinmoy: If somebody is not satisfied with the outer world, then he should have the inner hunger to enter and dive into the inner world. I have twenty or thirty disciples who once upon a time used to take drugs. They did many wrong things, but they found that this was not satisfying to them. Then they felt the inner hunger. They were starved with inner hunger and they came to me and entered into the life of aspiration. They wanted to see if there was any truth, any light, any fulfilment there. And when they entered into the inner life, they found the answer.

The individual has to see and feel if the outer life has satisfied him or not. If the outer life has failed him or disappointed him, at that time he may wake up and say, "This shore has disappointed me; now let me see what the other shore has to offer." So naturally he will try to enter into the inner world. Then, from inside he will bring forth his inner life. As we sow, so we reap. If I cry for light and dive deep within, then I see the light and grow into the light. The light that I see and possess becomes part and parcel of my inner life. Then I try to bring that light to the fore and offer it to mankind. At that time, mankind receives according to its own receptivity.

Question: Don't you feel frustrated in trying to reach inner peace when you see what the government is doing to your fellow men?

Sri Chinmoy: No. If one has a sincere inner cry, then God will give him the light of patience. He who has accepted the inner life, the spiritual life, will be given enough patience.

The seekers who are now crying for light know that there are people who have already seen, felt and realised the light, so they are encouraged and inspired. If we dive deep within and follow the inner life, then sooner or later we shall also be inundated with light and peace. Peace of mind is bound to dawn at that time.

Question: How can I become truly humble?

Sri Chinmoy: You can become truly humble only by discovering, by feeling and by knowing what true humility is. True humility is conscious awareness of the transcendental and universal Reality. True humility is God's supreme Nature manifested on earth in mankind and for mankind. Of all God's qualities, humility has no parallel.

Question: How can I have inner obedience?

Sri Chinmoy: There are many things I have told you to do inwardly. I have told you not to doubt God's existence, not to doubt me, not to doubt your own spirituality. Nevertheless, there are times when you doubt whether your own spiritual life is worth pursuing. There are times when you doubt whether you have done the right thing in accepting my path. Sometimes you are totally disgusted and you even say there is no such thing as God. You feel it would have been better if you did not believe in God, since others who are not practising the spiritual life are happy. If inwardly you behave in this way, that is called inner disobedience.

Disobedience is all inside the mind. If you doubt your own spiritual strength and capacity, if you doubt my capacity for offering you blessings, love and compassion, if you doubt God's unconditional Love, unconditional Forgiveness, unconditional Compassion, then it is all inner disobedience. I have told you that I am always there. God is our Eternity's beloved Supreme and I am His representative for those who are following my path. I am the captain and you are the soldiers. If you have faith in what I am saying and if you continue the spiritual life in this way, this is inner obedience. But this is all general. Everybody knows if he is obeying me and listening to my philosophy, if he is doubting himself or his own spiritual capacity. If you are not doubting my realisation or God's unconditional Compassion, Light and Bliss, then you have inner obedience.

Question: How can I strengthen my devotion?

Sri Chinmoy: Before we enter into devotion we should pay attention to love-inner love, divine love. Devotion is fed by devoted love. If there is no love, then there can be no devotion. Ordinary human beings are attached to others. Why? Because human love is prompting them. In the spiritual life we use our devotion instead of attachment. If we want to strengthen our devotion to a cause, to our Master, to our own spiritual life or to God, then we have to feel the utmost necessity of love. We have to feel that we cannot exist on earth without loving our Master or the Supreme. If an aspirant feels that he cannot exist even for a brief second without loving his Master and being devoted to him, then automatically his devotion will be strengthened. Then he has to go one step ahead. He has to know why he is loving this person or this cause.

There are two ways to love God. One way is to please God according to our own way of seeing the truth. The other way is to devote ourselves to God and to please God in His own way. If an individual seeker wants to strengthen his devotion, he can do it in abundant measure if he has the inner strength, or capacity, or willingness to say, "I love God for God's sake. Him to please in His own way, I exist on earth." If this is the seeker's will, if this is what he wants from his life, then automatically God's adamantine Protection, unconditional Concern and unconditional Compassion will descend on that seeker. At that time the seeker's devotion to God or to any divine cause is bound to be strengthened in abundant measure.

Question: How can one become more dynamic? The more there is to do, the slower I go. How can I overcome this?

Sri Chinmoy: If you find it difficult to bring down dynamic energy from above through meditation, no harm. You can become dynamic by repeating the word "dynamism." As soon as you utter the word "dynamism," you are bound to feel tremendous strength either in your arms, or in your other limbs, or in your head or in your heart. Each time you repeat the word "dynamism," a portion of your body will be surcharged with dynamism. Immediately you will feel a flow of dynamic energy in your legs, head, forehead, shoulders, or arms.

The word "dynamism" has tremendous power, like the word "peace." If you can soulfully say "peace," then automatically a part of your outer being will respond. And there will come a time when the inner being will also respond. Right now only a portion of you responds to the word 'dynamism'. But there will come a time when, from the sole of your foot to the top of your head, dynamism will flow when you repeat the word.

Sincerity and purity

Question: How do we begin to develop sincerity?

Sri Chinmoy: One can develop true sincerity provided one starts his journey with soulful gratitude. Say that a seeker has come to attend one of our Centre meetings. His parents have not come with him, his relatives may be watching television, his acquaintances perhaps have gone to a bar or a cocktail party. He could have also done the same things that his family or acquaintances have done, but he did something different. He came to a spiritual gathering. Who has inspired him to do the needful? Someone from within him. If it was left to him alone, perhaps he would have gone the same way as his friends, relatives and acquaintances. But he knows that there is a higher Power that brought him to this place for meditation. He should come with a gratitude-heart because already he has achieved something. When he comes with a gratitude-heart, he has already established some sincerity. Gratitude is a reality, and gratitude always embodies sincerity. So a sincere heart and a gratitude-life must go together.

Question: How can I become more sincere in my spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: You can become more sincere in your spiritual life just by feeling that sincerity gives you tremendous joy. Suppose you are about to say or do something wrong. Immediately stop and think, "How can I do this undivine thing? It will take away all my joy." Then you will not do it. You will find that by abstaining from some undivine activities, you are getting infinitely more joy than if you had allowed yourself to do something undivine. So it is joy that will always help you do the right thing. But you must distinguish between joy and pleasure. If you do something wrong and feel a kind of joy, then that is not real joy; that is pleasure. But if you do the right thing and then you get some joy, that is real, divine joy. Joy and pleasure are two different things. Pleasure is followed by frustration, but joy is followed by more joy, abundant joy, infinite joy. The real in us is joy; other things are all false. So if you don't do the right thing, the so-called joy that you get is nothing but undivine pleasure. But if you do the right thing, then you will get abiding, eternal joy.

Suppose you have told lies and you have not been caught by any human being. Still your conscience has caught you. Your conscience has caught you even before you told the lies. Then what do you do? On the one hand you are caught by your own conscience, so you feel miserable. On the other hand, you get tremendous joy because you have been caught. It is like hide-and-seek. When children play hide-and-seek, the one who is caught also gets joy. His motive is to hide, but when he is actually caught, he is so thrilled. In the spiritual life also, when you are caught by your divine qualities, you should be so happy that at last you have become aware of the tiger inside you. Previously you thought that inside you there was only a deer running very fast. Then, all of a sudden, you see inside you a tiger with all kinds of animal qualities. When you discover that you have a tiger inside you, you should be very happy. For only then will you be able to control the tiger. Otherwise, the tiger will come and devour all your good qualities.

In the spiritual life, if there is no sincerity, nothing can be achieved. And to whom are you being sincere? You are being sincere to yourself. You have a higher reality and you have a lower reality. When you become sincere, immediately you pull your lower reality up to your higher reality. Just like a magnet, your higher reality pulls up your lower reality so that it can take shelter in the higher reality.

There are times in your life when you are really happy. Why are you happy? Because you are really sincere about jumping into the sea of spirituality. Again, you are unhappy when you are hesitant. At times you say, "Oh, if I jump into the sea of spirituality, there will perhaps be some water animals there, and these water animals will devour me." But instead of worrying about what will happen, you should say, "If I just jump, if I dive into the sea of spirituality, then I will be able to get the most precious gifts from the sea."

Question: How can I grow more sincere in my spiritual search?

Sri Chinmoy: Please try to remember the consequences in your life of insincerity. If you told a lie and were caught red-handed, then naturally you were embarrassed; you felt miserable. Anything that you did wrong in the past will have unfortunate consequences. Again, anything good, anything divine, that you have done will have good consequences. The joy that we get by being sincere is unparalleled. Real sincerity brings us boundless Joy and boundless Love from the Absolute Supreme.

We have to give due value to sincerity. Only if we value sincerity and give due importance to sincerity, will we be able to increase our sincerity.

If we see somebody is sincere, we may say, "I can also become sincere." But there is a great difference between saying "I can" and saying "I have become." Others do many things that we feel we can also do. We feel that it is only a matter of giving ourselves a chance. But we have to prove that we can do these things. In the ordinary, unaspiring life, there are many, many people who are sincere, even though they are not interested in following the spiritual life. So we feel that just because we are leading a spiritual life, sincerity is something that we can easily acquire. Only we don't do it.

But this is a mistake. It is very difficult to become sincere. It may take years to make sincerity a reality in our life. Our goal is God-realisation, which is still a far cry. We have to feel that, like God-realisation, total sincerity is also very difficult to achieve. If we have total sincerity for God's Will, then we are on the verge of God-realisation.

Question: What does sincerity actually mean?

Sri Chinmoy: Sincerity means constantly living in the presence of light; that is to say, seeing light within and without at every moment. If you feel light and see light constantly, then automatically sincerity grows. But in order to see and feel light within us, we have to make the mind calm and quiet. If the mind is restless, then we can never be sincere in the purest sense of the term. At that time, from the highest point of view, we are bound to be insincere. If the mind is wanting in peace, then there will be many waves and surges of falsehood inside the mind-sea. These waves have to be brought under control through aspiration. Otherwise, no matter how many years we practise the spiritual life, there is no sure guarantee that we will become sincere.

Question: What can a seeker do to become sincere?

Sri Chinmoy: Each human being on earth has some sincerity, because inside each individual God abides. God has all divine qualities. Just because God is within us, God's divine qualities have to be in us. We cannot separate God from His qualities. So sincerity is also within us. But we can develop this quality, just as an athlete develops his muscles, by exercise.

A sincere seeker has definitely been sincere many times in his life. Let us say that an ordinary seeker is sincere for one day and for ten days he is insincere. What happened the day he was sincere? No matter what happened, even if he failed in some examination, he was happy. But the moment he became insincere, even when he achieved so-called success in his life, he was not happy. Something inside him was missing. Insincerity always means dissatisfaction. The sincere seeker tries to succeed in the battlefield of life. Sometimes he succeeds and sometimes he fails. If he fails he says, "God, I have tried, but You did not appear before me in the form of success. You came in the form of failure." But the sincere seeker knows that whatever happens will offer him some kind of satisfaction. But when he is not sincere, there is no satisfaction, even if he succeeds.

How can we become sincere? We can become sincere when we know that there is something which comes first and foremost in our life. If a seeker considers his physical body and his own existence as first and foremost in his life, then he is mistaken. God has to be the first and foremost thing in his life. Early in the morning, before the seeker starts his day, if he does the first thing first, he will pray to God to make him what God wants him to be and give him what God wants him to receive and achieve. If he does this, then naturally God will give him everything. If he is wanting in sincerity, then God will give him sincerity. If he is wanting in peace, then God will give him peace. Anything that he lacks, God will grant him. But he has to do the first thing first. When the day dawns he has to pray to God to give him what God wants him to have and not what he himself wants.

If he wants two cars or three cars, he will have only frustration because he is in the desire-world. No matter what his achievement may be in the material world, he will not be satisfied. But if he prays to God to give him what God wants to give him, then God will give him peace of mind and Love, boundless Love. From this boundless Love, he is definitely going to get satisfaction.

If we want sincerity, let us go to the One who has Sincerity in infinite measure. Let us go to Him instead of going to somebody else. If we pray and meditate early in the morning, then naturally God will grant us the thing that we need. He always wants to give us the thing that will be soulful and fruitful in our life. If God thinks that sincerity is what we need, then definitely He will flood our outer life with sincerity. The seeker has to pray not for the fulfilment of his desire-life, but for the manifestation of God-satisfaction in his life of aspiration. Then he will reach the ultimate goal, which is the inner sincerity that he is longing for.

Question: How does one discern his sincerity in the beginning? What certitude does he have that he is sincere?

Sri Chinmoy: We always know whether we are sincere or not. Sincerity is not something that we have to be taught; it comes from deep within. When something comes to the fore from the inmost recesses of our heart, we are bound to be sincere. But very often something comes from the mind, which is constantly negating itself. This moment we think that it is true and we fight for it, but the next moment we discover that it is absolutely false. When our own realisation is so dubious, we cannot build on it. At that time what we do and say becomes all insincere.

If our focus of concentration is in the heart and not in the mind, then what comes to the fore will be all sincerity. Inside the heart is the soul, and what comes from the soul cannot be anything but a flood of sincerity. More than that, it is also a flood of spirituality. Through the heart, the soul speaks most powerfully and convincingly.

If we spend more time in our heart than in our mind, then we are bound to know what sincerity is. Inside our heart we have an inner vessel and this vessel is every day filled by God's Purity. There we can grow. When our existence grows there, then we will see that we are collecting a bumper crop of sincerity every day.

Question: How do we achieve sincerity and perfection in our nature?

Sri Chinmoy: If we want to be absolutely sincere when we do something, we have to do that thing with utmost purity, without any motive behind it. We will perform the action with utmost sincerity, and while we are doing it we have to feel that our action is flooded with purity. When we do something sincerely, in our action there must be purity. Purity has to flood our sincerity. Then, while we are acting, we have to feel that this very act is being done in and through us by a far higher Power.

Let us call this higher Power our Inner Pilot. While the Inner Pilot is acting in and through us, we have to be most grateful to Him precisely because He is utilising us in this way. He could have utilised somebody else. Today He is accepting us, but tomorrow He could throw us aside if we don't please Him in His own way. So we have to be very grateful that He has chosen us and not somebody else. We have to offer our constant gratitude to the Inner Pilot, and at the same time, we have to feel that the result of our action does not belong to us. It will come to the fore in the form of failure or success, but since we are not the doer, we are not bound by the result. So immediately we will offer the result of our action to the Inner Pilot. While He is utilising us, we have to feel that we will give our body, vital, mind, heart and soul to the cause for which He has chosen us and make ourselves worthy of His Divine Grace. When we can combine all these devoted attitudes in our nature while the Inner Pilot is acting in and through us, then only can perfect Perfection dawn in our nature. When we do something unique in our life of aspiration, then perfect Perfection automatically dawns.

Question: What is the difference between purity and sincerity?

Sri Chinmoy: Sincerity begins in the finite and goes to the Infinite. Sincerity is of the mind. It begins in the mind and then it expands in the vital and in the physical. On the other hand, purity is in the heart, of the heart and for the heart. Purity embodies God, the real Reality. Purity eternally is. Purity existed the day God created His Vision. God's Vision and purity go together. We cannot separate them.

Sincerity is the door. But if you do not have the key, which is purity, how can you open the door? You have to come to the door with sincerity. Then with the purity-key you can open the door. So purity is everything. If you do not discover purity, then no matter how sincere you are, you will not succeed. In purity, sincerity grows. Sincerity, like a muscle, can be developed. But eventually purity and sincerity must go together.

Question: Can purity be had overnight?

Sri Chinmoy: No. As we cannot have realisation overnight, also we cannot have purity overnight. It is impossible, impossible, impossible. Your elder brother has been studying for nineteen or twenty years to get his Master's degree. If you are in kindergarten, you cannot get your Master's degree in one day. But again, impossibility exists only in our human world. If the Supreme wants to give you purity overnight, do you think that anybody on earth can prevent you from receiving it? The Miracle-Capacity of the Supreme does exist, but as a general rule He manifests His Reality through gradual progress. Each rule admits of exception, but that kind of exception we very rarely see.

Purity is like a muscle, that can be built up through exercise and practice. You need many years of practice and also God's Grace. If you try to achieve purity, certainly you will get it. If you don't get it today, you will get it in ten years or in your next incarnation. Total purity in the physical, the vital and the mind takes time. You are crying for purity in the heart. You may get it in a few days or a few months, let us say. But it takes more time to get purity in the mind. In the vital it is still more difficult. In the physical, God alone knows how many years it takes. Comparatively it is much easier to get purity inside the heart. The soul is all pure so if you identify with the soul, at that time you are all pure. There you are purity itself. Then from there you are drawing a little bit of purity into the heart. The heart gets it very easily. The heart is like the first room, the mind is the second room, the vital is the third room and the physical is the fourth room. When the flow starts, naturally the heart will be purified before the other members.

Patience-light

Question: How can a person feel a longing for God and, at the same time, have patience? It seems like a contradiction.

Sri Chinmoy: It is not a contradiction at all. To have a sincere longing does not mean that one cannot have patience. A kindergarten student sees that his brother has got a Master's degree, whereas he is still studying in kindergarten. He has a sincere longing for a Master's degree, but he knows that time is a factor; it will take him twenty years to get that degree. But if he does not pay any attention to his studies now, then he will not pass his examination. Then how will he go on to high school and university? Right now he is the seed. Gradually the seed will germinate and become a tiny plant. Finally it will become a huge banyan tree. Does the seed think that by some miracle-power it will turn into a banyan tree overnight? No, it is absurd. There has to be an evolutionary process of gradual development. We have to progress gradually. If we lose our patience, then we lose our inspiration and aspiration and we will never reach our destined goal.

Everything that we want to accomplish, we have to do on the strength of our sincerity. If we are students, we have to study. If we are seekers, we have to pray and meditate. Sincerity is of paramount importance. If the child knows at the very start of his life that he wants to get his Master's degree, he will become sincere. Then he has to remain sincere all his life. Even after he has reached his goal, he has to be sincere in distributing the light that he has received from his goal.

If we are sincere and patient at every moment, then we will have real satisfaction in our achievement. When the child goes to primary school and high school, he will get satisfaction from his constant progress. Our present satisfaction may not be the ultimate satisfaction, but just because we have got some satisfaction on the strength of our sincere cry, we can rest assured that the ultimate satisfaction is bound to grow and evolve in us. Sincerity and patience must go together. We start our journey with sincerity and then sincerity and patience together continue the journey. If they are separated, then satisfaction can never be achieved by the seeker. Through gradual progress he reaches his goal. When he covers one step, he has to feel that that is his goal. Then tomorrow he will cover another step. But if he wants to reach the ultimate goal all at once, it is impossible. Whenever we are sincere, we are bound to get some satisfaction. This satisfaction may be limited but, at the same time, it is most precious. Then from the limited satisfaction he will grow into boundless satisfaction.

Question: What is the difference between patience and lack of aspiration?

Sri Chinmoy: Some people do something and then they wait for the result. A farmer sows the seed; then he waits for rain. After three months, four months, or six months, he gets the result. You study something and then you wait with patience to see if you passed the examination. Some people won't do anything, but they expect a result. That is a false way of utilising patience. Patience says, "I will do my part in the spiritual life and place the result at the Feet of the Supreme. Whether He gives me success or failure, is all up to Him."

In the ordinary life, unaspiring life, there is no action. If there is no action, there is no need for patience. It is only surrender to ignorance. When we don't aspire, there is only our conscious surrender to ignorance. We hope for something or expect something from the world, but how can we expect anything if we don't aspire? It is only stupidity. But when we do aspire, then we can expect a result, and the result will come either in the form of success or failure, according to God's Will.

Question: How can I be more patient and understanding with my daughter?

Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme is all-Patience and all-Understanding in your life. If you see what He is doing for you and if you are grateful, then naturally that very thing you will want to do for your sweet child. Since you see that someone is doing for you the very thing that you are trying to do for your daughter, only infinitely better, then there is every possibility for you to do the same for your child.

Maintaining one's spiritual height

Question: Is there anything we can do to maintain the inspiration we have at the beginning of the year? Usually by March, I've just given up hope on my New Year's resolution.

Sri Chinmoy: Instead of one resolution, you can have twelve projects. This is the month of January. In January, feel that you will accomplish one project, not by hook or by crook, but with your best vigilance, your best aspiration. Then at the end of the month, if you do not succeed, forget about it totally. Feel that that month did not exist in your life. If you think, "Since in January I have failed, there is no hope of my succeeding in the month of February," then you will be totally lost. If you fail in January, feel that the month of January does not exist on your calendar. This is not deception; this is called wisdom. Anything that does not allow you to run the fastest on the way to the goal is your enemy. Again, if you succeed, then you can be wise and say, "I won the case in the month of January. Now I must also win in the month of February.

Many years ago, my boss wrote something that I could not believe. Now, over the years, I have come to understand it. He wrote, "Neutrality is very bad. If you are neutral, then you are my enemy." I said, "How can it be?" He said, "When you are not wholeheartedly taking either my side or the other person's side, but you are taking fifty per cent of each side, then you are my half-enemy." So neutrality we have to take as our real enemy. When a new month starts, anything positive from the old month we shall keep; anything negative we shall discard. We shall not be neutral. We shall be one hundred per cent for one cause, one goal.

But you have to know that neutrality is not indifference. Most of the disciples remain indifferent. This is very, very bad. Real detachment, spiritual detachment, is transcendence. When we have that kind of detachment, we are independent, we are above the turmoil of this world. At that time, natures dance cannot affect us. We transcend the happenings of the world.

Question: Guru, how can we aspire when we are working in the outer world?

Sri Chinmoy: In the morning, when you pray and meditate, feel that you have gained real wealth in the form of Peace, Light and Bliss. As you keep your money inside your wallet, so you can keep your Peace, Light and Bliss inside your heart. Then, when ignorance comes, with your spiritual wealth you can threaten or conquer the undivine force that is approaching you. With money-power you can buy anything you want. Similarly, the spiritual power you get from prayer and meditation is a real power. When people are shouting, screaming and behaving undivinely, just bring forward the inner power which you have kept inside your heart. Think of how much Peace, Light and Bliss you got early in the morning. Peace is power, Light is power, Bliss is power, just as money is power. Just bring it forward and you will not have any difficulty at all.

Question: How can I maintain the peace that I feel at the Centre when I get home?

Sri Chinmoy: You can maintain this peace if you imagine this place and what you have felt here. Your soul is carrying it permanently, but your mind perhaps will lose it the moment you enter into your car. As soon as you reach the street, the forces from the street may enter into you and steal away your peace. But if you can constantly imagine what you received, then you are safe.

Imagination is the precursor of creation. Without imagination we cannot do anything. Imagination is not everything, but we always start with imagination. First we imagine that our spiritual Master will be like this or our peace will be like that. Then we go deep within and see that from imagination we have got inspiration. From inspiration we get aspiration, and from aspiration we get realisation.

If you meditate at home every day, then it will be very easy for you to maintain the peace that you receive at the Centre. But if you have problems at home, or if you are working or studying at a place where it is impossible for you to maintain peace, then please try to imagine what you felt here. Let your mind be surcharged with the imagination of the peace that it carried from here. Imagination alone is not the answer; only it is helpful in the very beginning.

Another thing you have to do is to meditate every day without fail. Early in the morning is the best time, before the day dawns. Every day begins with new light, new hope. New life is entering into us every morning, so morning meditation is indispensable for anybody who would like to follow the spiritual path.

Again, if you can mix with spiritual people, they will be able to help you. Others you will not ignore or hate; far from it. Spiritual people have no right to hate mankind, but you have to be cautious. You have to know that your power, your capacity, is very limited. As long as your capacity is very limited, you cannot mix with all and sundry. So when you leave this place, try to mix with spiritual people and meditate regularly. When you have enough inner strength, then you won't lose anything no matter what you do. Whatever you get from here and whatever you get from your own meditation you will be able to preserve. But right now, always mix with spiritual people and come to the Centre regularly. Please do everything to allow peace to be assimilated inside you. Before assimilation takes place, there is every possibility that peace will disappear. But once it is assimilated in the spiritual system, then you can never lose it.

Question: How can I maintain my joy and simplicity in the midst of the mental activity that my school work demands?

Sri Chinmoy: Your school work demands mental activity, but you have to feel that while you are studying you are doing something to please a higher authority inside you, that is to say, the Supreme in me. If you were allowed to make a choice between your school studies and selfless service, dedicated service, immediately you would want to put aside your school studies and do the thing for the Centre, for the mission. But while studying you should feel, "No, this thing I am doing because I have been asked to do it from within, by my Master." The moment you feel that you are the instrument and not the doer, then you will only try to please the Inner Pilot. While pleasing the Inner Pilot, the joy that you get will always remain with you. Although you are doing something mechanical, something intellectual, or something which is absolutely unaspiring or uninspiring, just because you have been asked to do it from within, it will give you the greatest joy. You are studying, but you have to feel that it is an inner command that you are fulfilling. By fulfilling the command, you feel the greatest joy because you have been chosen to do this thing. Whom do we ask to do something? We ask only someone whom we love, someone in whom we have confidence, someone in whom we have hope. So when God asks you to do something, you have to feel that it is something that He needs and He wants. In that case, obedience itself is the greatest joy.

But if you feel that God is not involved and that your spiritual life is not involved in what you are doing, then there can be no joy. You are touching, say, mud and clay, but who asked you to do it? If your Inner Pilot, your Guru, asked you, then it is the right thing and you will get joy. At that time you are not the doer; you are only a server of the higher Reality. A sincere seeker is he who serves the inner divinity, the Source. So if you can have the feeling of serving, then there can be no greater joy. But if you are not asked from within or by a higher authority, then the problem starts. At that time you are the doer, and joy is nowhere to be found.

So feel that you are not the doer; you are just executing a higher order. Then you can get joy no matter what you do. Even if you become almost a machine itself while working on some machine, you will get the greatest joy because you are serving a higher cause. Something within you is doing something and you are just an instrument. You are only allowing the higher Source to have an experience in and through you.

Question: How can I help myself aspire in the rush of classes at school?

Sri Chinmoy: Pray more sincerely and meditate more sincerely to overcome each wrong movement in your life. Be more careful, more conscious, more pure and more divine. If in every aspect of your life you do these basic things, then your aspiration is bound to become more intense.

Question: How can I maintain spontaneous delight?

Sri Chinmoy: You can maintain spontaneous delight by thinking of what you were and feeling gratitude for what you have already become. See the progress you have made and, on the strength of that progress, feel that you are running towards the goal. Feel a continuous flow of life-reality glowing inside you. When you are aware of this flow, then you can easily maintain your heart's spontaneous delight.

Question: Guru, very often I feel full of love and joy before I fall asleep. If I want to go to bed early and I turn out my light, I may remain awake without any conscious thoughts except gratitude. But I am worried about getting up in the morning. I want to be rested, but instead, I get maybe three or four hours of sleep.

Sri Chinmoy: Do undivine thoughts come to you?

Answer: No, they don't come. I am very, very elated and very happy.

Sri Chinmoy: That is very good. Why don't you try to meditate again? If you cannot fall asleep and undivine thoughts are not bothering you, if you don't feel like meditating, then you can read my writings or some other spiritual books. If wrong thoughts are not entering into you, then the best thing is for you to study and prepare yourself for meditation. God has given you an opportunity to meditate more. But on the following day are you tired?

Answer: Well, I usually feel wonderful coming here in the morning, but then I am afraid always that my meditation won't be as good as it should be because I haven't slept enough.

Sri Chinmoy: Why? If there are no disturbing thoughts, no disturbing elements, then you should be very happy that you can utilise that time for meditation. But don't torture yourself by denying yourself the necessary sleep. If sleep comes, you will allow it. But again, if sleep is not torturing you, then you should feel fortunate that these hours you can use for your own purpose.

Question: What is the best way to maintain the inner cry?

Sri Chinmoy: The most important thing is to offer your gratitude every second to the Supreme. Your inner cry comes from God's Concern and Compassion. When you offer your gratitude, immediately your cry increases; it becomes continuous and constant. When you offer gratitude, your inner cry mounts to the highest.

Question: I think that every day we have to surrender, that one day is not enough. Is this right?

Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely right. We have to make a fresh surrender every day. Again, I wish to say that this surrender has to be made not only every day, but every hour, every minute and every second. Every second we have to renew our surrender. Otherwise, early in the morning we shall surrender to God, but during the day, when we get some bad or frustrating news, then immediately we shall stand totally against God. In the morning we feel that God is a merciful God, so we can surrender to Him. Then during the day we get all kinds of bad news, so we say that God is the worst possible being. We won't surrender to such a cruel God. This moment we are pleased with God, so we say, "God, I can surrender to You." Before the next moment comes we think, "Now I have to surrender again. How will I do it?"

While we are reading or eating or cooking or talking, at every moment we have to feel that we are in the Lap of the Supreme. A child feels that when he is in his mother's lap, he is perfect. When he is in his mother's lap, it is the mother's responsibility to take care of him. Similarly, in the spiritual life you have to feel that you are in the Lap of the Supreme.

Every second, twenty-four hours a day, nobody can meditate. Twenty-four hours a day nobody can say, "I am making my surrender." But we can all the time keep in our mind or right in front of our vision the idea that we are in the Lap of the Supreme. We can just imagine and that very imagination will work the miracle that will eventually make our surrender constant. But that we don't do. We meditate only for an hour or half an hour, then for ten hours we don't meditate. In the evening we again start meditation. But before we start again, we see that many, many problems have entered into our lives. Who allows these problems to enter into our lives? It is we who allow them, because between our first meditation and our second meditation we have left a big gap. We can easily avoid this gap if we can make ourselves feel that we are all the time sitting in the Lap of the Supreme.

Question: Is surrender the same thing as praying to the Supreme to let His Will be done?

Sri Chinmoy: No, no! Surrender is not a prayer. Everybody prays in the morning to make his will one with the Supreme's Will. In the morning perhaps you will say, "O Supreme, make Your Will my will." But real surrender is not your prayer or your meditation; it is your action. If something is happening in your mind or in your life, at that time you have to see whether you have surrendered your own will to the Supreme's Will.

Silence and truth

Question: Is it proper to answer a question with silence, or when we are asked a question are we obliged to tell the truth?

Sri Chinmoy: Here we have to know the real truth. Suppose two young boys have quarreled and now they are fighting. They start by using their fists and, finally, they take out their knives. Then, one of them feels that he is the weaker of the two and runs away while the other one chases after him. You are meditating at the foot of a tree and you see the victim go hide in a cave. The other one says to you, "Did you see him? Where has he gone? I want to kill him!" You know the truth. Are you ready to say, "Yes, he is hiding there in the cave"? If you tell the truth, then what will this boy do? He will immediately go to kill the other one. This kind of truth is nothing but stupidity. At that time, you have to remain silent. You won't say anything. You know the truth, but that truth will be more damaging than the actual problem. So at that time you have to remain silent.

In this world we have to know immediately whether our truth is going to fulfil God's Vision and God's Reality on earth. It is very good to tell the truth, but we have to know the immediate result of the truth. If we tell the truth and someone is killed, in God's Eye we will be the culprit along with the person who does the actual killing.

I always say, "Tell the truth, but remain in a soulful consciousness. Then you will know what God wants from you. " If we remain in our ordinary consciousness, then we always try to derive joy or pleasure from truth in our own way. But we can run into great difficulty if we try to utilise the truth for our own sake. But if we use the truth for God's sake, then immediately God will give us the wisdom to know when to open our mouth and when to keep our mouth shut. Truth is good, but in this limited world we have to see the ultimate Truth the way the Divine, the Supreme, wants us to see, realise and become the truth.

Question: Guru, would you please say something about this meditation of yours from Food for the Soul: "I tell the truth. The world is hurt. I tell a lie, God is hurt. What am I to do? Silence. I must live in silence and become the smiling breath of silence. Lo, the world loves me and God blesses me."

Sri Chinmoy: In our day-to-day life when we tell the truth the world is not ready to hear it. The world immediately is hurt. If we flatter people, they like it. They don't deserve our flattery, but they like to hear it. Whenever they don't deserve something and we give it, they are pleased with us.

Truth is so painful. We have to know whether by telling the truth we are awakening the divine consciousness in others or creating more hostility in them. Sometimes we tell the truth just in order to say, "I know the truth and you should also know the truth." But by telling others the truth with that attitude, we are not doing them any good because they may not utilise the truth properly, face-to-face, which is the way we want them to see the truth. They will not see the truth. They will simply be hurt. Then they will become more hostile toward us and, at the same time, more hostile toward themselves. Out of arrogance and fear they will try to destroy even the little possibility of truth that they have. So let us be very careful and remember that when we tell the truth, the world is hurt. The world is not yet ready to listen to the truth and accept the truth. The world is ready only to hear from us appreciation or flattery. Truth is very painful.

When I tell a lie, naturally God will be hurt. So I must live in silence and become the smiling breath of silence. Lo, the world loves me and God blesses me. If we really live in silence, in purest silence, then automatically love, purity and inner joy grow within us. Silence does not remain alone. In silence there is joy; there is a kind of inner delight and inner assurance. So when we are in highest silence, the people around us will automatically get the divine qualities that are enveloped by silence. At that time the world will deeply appreciate us.

We may think that by remaining silent we are simply not antagonising anybody. But our very silence, if it is divine silence, emanates inner divinity. And this inner divinity enters into those who are around us. Then they will really love us, for unconsciously they will feel something beneficial coming from us. They may not actually know what we are offering them, but they will feel that we are giving them something solid, something soulful, something significant which they need. At that time they will deeply appreciate our offering.

God will immediately bless us if He can turn our existence into a sea of silence. And if we can free ourselves from this world of turmoil, worries and hesitation, then God will again bless us. In the sea of silence grows our true divine life. The divine life can grow in each individual only if he can have silence within and silence without. This silence is not the silence of a dead person. It will act most dynamically, most powerfully, but not in an aggressive way. It will act with the soul's power. While we are acting, inwardly we remain calm and poised. Again, while we are silent, we are running very, very fast, even though there may be no outer movement or outer gesture. Everything is done in the inner world, the soul's world, where silence is most dynamic and most fulfilling. When we have that kind of silence, naturally God will bless us, because we have discovered the Truth and we are living the Truth.

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