The quintessence of Knowledge-Sun

Return to the table of contents

Part I — The quintessence of Knowledge-Sun

QKS 1-3. These questions were asked by N on her birthday, 24 December 1976.

Question: How can I be sure that I won't have any regrets at the end of my life?

Sri Chinmoy: Regret is a very peculiar thing. Some people regret the very beginning of their life's journey. They blame God and they curse themselves for taking human incarnation. Again, some people have regrets as soon as they have ended their desire-life, vital life, emotional life. Although they have now entered into the aspiration-life, they feel miserable that they enjoyed or had to go through the desire-life. They feel that if they had not gone through the desire-life, if right from the very start of their journey they had entered into the aspiration-life, then by this time they would have realised God and achieved boundless peace, joy, light and bliss.

Some people, at the end of their journey, regret that they have not accomplished what they wanted to accomplish in life. If they are spiritual, they feel miserable that they have not accomplished what they were supposed to accomplish for God. If they are unspiritual, they feel miserable because even now, when they have one foot in the grave, their desires have not been fulfilled.

Sometimes we achieve something that we have really worked for, but we regret it because the time, the energy and the money-power that we spent to achieve that particular thing could have been utilised for something infinitely higher and better.

Regret can assail human beings at any moment. No matter what we achieve, regret can plague us. Whatever we get, we feel that we could have gotten something else far better and superior. Regret is constantly coming to us in the form of subtle temptation; but unfortunately we do not recognise that inside regret temptation is looming large.

All this I am saying from the philosophical point of view. In your case, if you are consciously and devotedly doing everything that you are supposed to do — prayer, meditation, selfless service — and, at the same time, if you are not expecting anything either from the Supreme or from yourself, then you can have no regret. At every moment you have to convince yourself that you as a human being do not need anything from your life, not even yourself, and that your life does not need anything from you — from your physical body, your earthly existence. Again, you have to know that there is someone who does need you, and that is the Supreme.

Now the question may arise: are you ready to fulfil the Supreme's Need? If you feel that you have not fulfilled His Need, that you cannot fulfil His Need and that you will not be able to fulfil His Need, then you may feel regret. At that time, you should feel that what you have done so far has been to continue your preparation, which you started at the time you entered into our path and began to do what God wanted you to do in His own Way. From the day you entered into our path and accepted me as your Master, you have to count your life as the life of Eternity. The day you accepted our path was the day your earth-bound life entered into Eternity's Road consciously, soulfully and devotedly. You are now walking along Eternity's Road on earth. Forty, fifty, sixty, seventy years is nothing when we think of Eternity. You have to feel that this earthly life is travelling on Eternity's Road and that it has blended with Eternity.

Once you begin to walk along Eternity's Road, you see that there is only one way to travel. You have to remember that it is not a two-way road: it is a one-way road. On a one-way road you cannot return. You may go very slowly; you may at times enjoy sleep. But the road itself will carry you because the road is like an escalator. It is not an escalator that is going up or down: it is going always forward. Eternity's Road is like that. Once you are on that road, the road itself will take you to your Goal. If you are conscious, then you know that you have a destination and you are going there. If you are unconscious, then you will still go towards the destination, but you will not have the satisfaction, the real satisfaction, of knowing that you are reaching your destination.

At the time of your departure from this world, which will take place after many, many years, do not think of how much you have achieved or how much you were supposed to achieve. Many spiritual Masters and many, many great figures have said, "So much to do, so little done." From the poetic point of view and from the philosophical point of view, this is correct. From the spiritual point of view, it is only to some extent correct. At the end of your life's journey, you have to feel only that whatever the Supreme wanted to accomplish in and through you in this incarnation, He has accomplished; and that whatever more He wants to accomplish in and through you, He will accomplish in your next incarnation. Once you know that the Supreme has brought you to His own Eternity's Road and that He has given you His escalator to take you to the Goal, then there can be no regret.

Do not take each second away from the hour. Do not take each hour away from the day. Try to connect each day with the sun, the life-giving creative force, but do not take the sun away from the universe or from God's Infinity. Do not separate the limited from the unlimited. Your life here on earth, the short span of your human life, is limited. But do not separate it from the unlimited, from Eternity or Infinity. Take the drop as one with the ocean. Take the finite, the fleeting second, as a portion of Infinity and Eternity. If you accept your life in that way, then at the end of your life you will have no regrets. Regret is only in the limited consciousness. When we remain in the limited consciousness, we always feel that something else would have been better for us to achieve. But when we remain in the unlimited and eternal consciousness, there is no cause for regret because if we have not accomplished something today, we know that tomorrow we will be able to accomplish that very thing. Therefore, we will have no regrets.

Question: Is your ultimate feeling about the disciples one of frustration or satisfaction?

Sri Chinmoy: My ultimate feeling, from the human point of view, is that most probably our mission will be a disaster unless the instruments that I already have totally change their attitude towards the spiritual life, or I get new instruments. If I do not get new instruments, and if the instruments that I already have do not change radically, then my mission will be a failure. But as I told you before, I will not accept defeat or failure. So if the instruments that I already have do not change — the close ones or dear ones, the good ones and also the bad ones — then new ones will come and replace them.

I have kept these instruments for a long time, a very long time. They are like water in a vessel. Now the water is not pure enough or clean enough to be drunk. I have to purify this water, or I have to throw out the old water and bring in pure, new water. The mirrors that I need to see through, which are my disciples, have become clouded and dusty. I cannot see my face in them any more. Either I have to clean them or I have to get new mirrors so that I can see inside all the disciples an exact prototype of the Supreme within me. Either I have to get the inner assurance that I will be able to clean the mirrors and make them clear enough so that I can see my highest Self reflected there, or I have to throw away the present mirrors and get new ones. It entirely depends on the disciples' acceptance or rejection of me and on my acceptance or rejection of them.

There is a saying: morning shows the day. But that saying can easily be challenged and nullified. We know there have been many, many great human beings whose early lives were dark, obscure and meaningless, but eventually they became very great. Here also, some of the disciples could not make a brilliant start at the very beginning of their lives. They went very slowly. Their earthly lives were not at all satisfactory from the spiritual point of view. But once they joined our path, they ran fast, faster, fastest. In their case, you can say that morning did not show the day. In the beginning they went through all kinds of undivine, unaspiring experiences. They did not pray right from the dawn of their human existence the way some Indian seekers have done. But even if they did not aspire right from the age of four or seven or ten, even if they first entered into the ordinary life, the desiring life, the emotional life, once they accepted our path, at that time they ran very, very, very fast.

Each spiritual Master has two sides: the human side and the divine side. Although the Master is totally one with the Absolute, he sometimes measures the earthly success and the earthly progress of his children in an earthly way, because he has taken a physical body. When he is in the physical body, at that time he judges and he has to judge many things according to earth's capacity, using earthly measurement. When he judges the disciples' ignorance, lack of receptivity and other shortcomings — their doubt, disbelief, lethargy, insecurity and so many other discouraging qualities — then he feels sad and miserable, because he has come into the world to conquer these very things. He does not separate himself from his disciples; he feels that it is he who has failed, for he was the one who challenged the disciples' ignorance. He hoped that the disciples would come to realise that they are not ignorance as such. Ignorance is something from outside that has entered into them and now they are trying to get rid of it.

When the Master accepts a disciple, it is understood that ignorance the thief has already entered into the disciple's house. The Owner of the house is the disciple, and the Master is his friend. The friend and the owner of the house have agreed to search for the thief, catch him and throw him out of the house. But what has happened is that the owner does not sincerely try to search for the thief and throw him out of the house. Here is where the problem lies.

In spite of having the divine reality as his own, very own, the human in the Master becomes one with the earthly reality. The Master feels sad because he wanted to accomplish something for earth with the human capacity helping him at every moment. But then the Master’s divine wisdom and his inseparable, compassionate oneness with humanity's incapacity come to the fore. With his divine aspect, with his compassionate aspect, he becomes one with humanity's incapacity. At that time, his sadness disappears, because oneness — compassionate oneness itself — gives him satisfaction. He feels that all is not lost since Eternity is at his disposal and at the disposal of his disciples. He has nothing to lose and nothing to gain. As long as he is of Eternity and his disciples are sure of Eternity, there can be no dissatisfaction.

But again, the Master has come into the world for a short period of time, and his instruments are also on earth in this particular incarnation for a short time. If the Absolute Supreme wants both the Master and the disciples to work together and accomplish something at a given time, then the human in the Master suffers, the disciples suffer and also the compassionate aspect that compelled the Master to touch the earth plane suffers.

The compassionate aspect of the Master has two roles: one is identified with Heaven, one is identified with earth. The one that is identified with the earth-consciousness in the gross physical form feels sad because here everything is limited and bound, and things are not accomplished at the given time. But the aspect that is Heaven-free does not touch the earth-bound consciousness. It deals with human incapacity on a higher level — you can say in a theoretical way, not in a practical way. On this higher level, compassion becomes the observer and not the doer. When compassion becomes the observer, at that time there is no dissatisfaction. But when compassion becomes the doer, then it wants to achieve something for the Absolute with earthly human beings in a human way. And if its goal is not achieved at a particular time during a short life-span, then that compassion-aspect feels sad.

If we accept only the spiritual aspect of life as our own, then there is no time limit; we are bound to be happy no matter what we achieve or do not achieve. But when the Master touches the physical here on earth, then he feels miserable because he has not accomplished what he should have accomplished.

Question: Most of us have a habitual way of operating no matter how many times you say you are displeased with us. Is it likely that we will change that habit after such a long time and make new progress?

Sri Chinmoy: There are various reasons why you do not make progress and why, even when you do make progress, you cannot maintain that progress. First of all, you expect everything from your Master but you are not prepared to give anything in return. Sometimes you want to give only according to your willingness and not according to your capacity. Willingness and capacity are two totally different things. You have the capacity to give your body, vital, mind, heart and soul completely, but you are willing to give only the heart — not the mind or the vital or the physical reality. Yet you do have the capacity to give yourself unreservedly and unconditionally. When I use the term 'unconditionally', I sincerely mean it; and I know that you can do it. Unconditionally you can give your physical existence, vital reality, mind and heart to me. You can give everything. This is your capacity. But your willingness is only to give a portion, an iota of your heart's love and concern to me.

Now the question is whether or not the disciples will change. I wish to tell you that they do change for a few seconds or a few hours or a few days or weeks, but it does not last. Why does it not last? The first reason is constant demand, constant demand. If somebody has done something good in the inner world or the outer world, then the Master may smile at that person. But the next person may not have done anything good. On the contrary, he may have done something very, very wrong. But that person often expects the same kind of smile from the Master. A disciple will say, "Guru has to do this for me, since I am in his boat." Or a disciple will feel, "He spent so much time with this person. Why did he not spend time with me?"

But you have to know who is the boss here. The boss is not a human boss who has to deal with everybody in the same way. If everybody has to be dealt with in the same way, then there will be a terrible disaster immediately. If you put a lion, a cat, a goat, a dog, a cow and all the other animals together, what happens? They will just kill one another. My smile and my outer attention are like two kinds of food. Different disciples need different types of nourishment from me, just as different animals need different kinds of food. If an animal is supposed to eat meat and I give that animal grass, will that animal be able to survive? And if an animal eats only grass and I give it meat, then will it survive? You have to feel that the food that I give you at a particular point in your spiritual life is the only food that will be nourishing for you. If I give you the food that is meant for somebody else, then it will be a terrible mistake on my part. A little child will eat something very easy to digest, while an adult can eat something that is harder to digest. In my spiritual family, everybody seems to think that he can eat the food of the eldest member of the family or of one who is more mature. Spiritual maturity is not measured by age: it is a different matter.

Right now my disciples are making me suffer like anything. When I look at a person, I try to give him something spiritually while I am giving prasad. I use a particular way of benediction or blessing so that that person can receive most effectively from me. But the persons who are behind him observe it and they expect the same treatment. Suppose you are sick; you have got a headache and I am giving you some blessing with my prasad so that this nourishment will cure you and add to your strength. If somebody else has got an upset stomach, then I have to give him some other treatment. But if that person thinks that the medicine I gave to the first one should be given to him also, then he is making a deplorable mistake. So I have come to the conclusion that whenever I give something, I should give it privately.

For the last few days I have been thinking of doing something new. When I give you prasad in the future, I will sit in a room and each individual will pass through the room. I will not allow two persons to remain inside the room together. One by one you will come so that you do not see what others have received from me. You should be satisfied with what you have received and not make foolish comparisons.

But again, there are always some tricky people. I was brought up in a spiritual community where this treatment was carried out for some time. But some people were so clever. When they were with their spiritual Master all by themselves, even if the Master meditated on them only for three or four seconds, before leaving they wasted as much time as possible. The Master was finished, but they wouldn't budge an inch. They looked around the room for some time; then they moved out like a turtle, slower than the slowest, so that they could prove to others who were standing outside that they had spent more time with the Master. Once or twice this happened to me, believe it or not. In my house on the third floor I have that tiny meditation room where I now keep my musical instruments. Some people meditated with me there for only four or five seconds, but it took them three or four minutes to go out of that room and downstairs. They wanted to show that they had been with me for a long time. If people have deception in mind, then they can deceive at every moment. But who are they deceiving? They are deceiving their own spirituality.

What is constantly taking away spirituality from the disciples is that they are constantly comparing what others are getting with what they are getting. They should try to feel that what they are getting is by far the best for them, and what others are getting is by far the best for those people. If they think that only what others are getting is meaningful and fruitful and that what they are getting is all rubbish, then they will be able to make no progress. What they have got, what they are getting and what they will get is absolutely the best thing for them.

The disciples have to know that I also have a superior. As I am asking you to do something, my superior, the Supreme, is also asking me to do something. If they know that I have a superior, that I am one with His Will and that I have to account to Him for my actions, then they can have nothing against me. But if they feel that I am acting like an autocrat or a dictator, according to my own sweet will, then they will become angry with me. They will feel that I am doing something wrong, that I am partial. But their own sense of impartiality will be total partiality in the Supreme's Eyes; it will be spiritual disaster. If the disciples feel that I have no superior, that I do everything in my own way, then naturally they will feel that their boss is not listening to the Supreme. Next they will ask themselves why should they stay in his boat. That is the time for them to leave the path. Many have come to that realisation and they have left.

If the disciples stay on our path, then I wish them to stay with satisfaction. If somebody is staying on our path with satisfaction, then only he will get everything. But some unfortunate disciples only stay because they feel that if they leave the path they will be jumping into the unknown. So they feel the best thing for them is to stay. They say, "After all, it is just one life. After thirty or forty years, we shall leave the body and pass beyond the curtain of Eternity." In so many ways you can console and justify yourself or make yourself feel that it is not worthwhile to change your path. But I wish to say that unless you are totally satisfied with the path and with what you are doing, God-realisation will not come from this path. This you have to know.

The eagerness, the joy, the enthusiasm that each individual had when he or she joined the path must be kept alive every day. Inside eagerness is newness. You are eager to get something, to receive something. But how can you get it? You can get it only if you value newness in life. When that eagerness goes away, the sense of newness does not come. In the case of most of the disciples, eagerness has gone away. When you joined our path, you saw something new. Every day something new in this path, in your life, in your activities you saw. You have to know that newness is still coming into your life every day in a different form when you achieve more peace, more light, more joy, more harmony and more oneness with the Will of the Supreme which is operating in and through me. But if you lose eagerness, if the sense of newness is not coming to you, then you have to feel that you are dead. And if you are dead, then what are you going to achieve, what are you going to do for God, for the Supreme?

Every day, think of the day when you first made a total commitment to our path. How eager you were, how happy you were! Then try to go one step ahead. Remember that the goal is not stationary but constantly dynamic. It is flowing, growing and glowing. So remember the first day of your total commitment and then feel that now, every day, you are trying for a higher goal, a brighter goal, a more illumining goal, a more fulfilling goal. If you have that kind of attitude towards your life, towards the path, then I assure you that every day you will be in the process of change and transformation. But if newness has gone away, then there will be only sadness frustration and depression. You will think. "Oh what have I done? Now I am stuck. I can't go to this side and I can't go that side. I am getting nothing from the spiritual life from this path but there is no guarantee that I will get something if I go to some other path. So the best thing is to stay here. Human life does not care for change. Once our human life is fixed, this is our karma, this is our fate." No, this kind of attitude you cannot have.

Always we have to see that our human life is flowing, climbing, growing and glowing. Movement is constant. If we know that there is a constant flow, then our life will be like a river. We will have constant eagerness to run, to change, to move and flow and reach the sea, the infinite sea. Every day, dear ones, if you have eagerness to transcend the goal which you already reached when you accepted our path, then you will definitely make progress.

Something more I wish to say. Some of you think that as long as you do not consciously accept ignorance, embrace ignorance, or enjoy ignorance, then you are safe. But I wish to tell you that the life of temptation is like fire. If you touch fire, you know you will burn yourself. Again, in an unguarded moment your apartment may catch fire and burn you totally, even though you yourself have not consciously or deliberately touched fire. You think that as long as you do not touch fire, which is temptation-life, you are safe. But I wish to say, no: you may not deliberately touch fire, but temptation-life can come and touch you. The result is the same.

If you identify yourself with your right hand, you may think that as long as your right hand does not touch your left hand which, let us say, is temptation-life you are safe. But you have to know that your left hand also has the capacity to come and touch your right hand. You feel that you have conquered temptation; so you will not be caught by temptation. But temptation-life has its own reality. You may feel that you are not interested in temptation-life, but temptation-life will not forget you. If you allow it, it will come and touch you. Then you are destroyed.

Some of you always have this kind of feeling: "I won't be caught by this desire; I won't be caught by this temptation; I can't be, no, no. I have meditated for so many years; how can I be caught?" But I wish to say, yes, you can be caught. First of all, your assessment of yourself may not be correct. It may be totally false. But still your superior air of pride says, "No, I can't be like that; I can't be caught; I won't be destroyed." That is your feeling. But if ignorance comes and catches you, then what are you going to do? You will not touch fire, but fire can touch you. You will not enter into desire-life, but desire-life can enter into you. You will not go out of your house; therefore you think that you will not see the face of your enemy. But how do you know that your enemy will not come into your house uninvited? If you do not keep your doors and windows carefully guarded, your enemy may come in the form of a friend and enter into your apartment, into you, and then ruin you. You have to be very careful at every moment. But instead, you even enter into temptation-life or desire-life, feeling that you will not be caught, that you will not allow yourself to be caught. But temptation-life is a very powerful force that can come and catch you.

The best thing is not to go out and mix with your enemy, temptation, and also not to allow your enemy to enter into you. Remain totally separated from temptation. All of you have the feeling, "Since I won't embrace ignorance, I will not be captured by ignorance, by the lower forces or the vital life." But these forces will come and attack you. So always feel that you are not going to do anything wrong and also that you will not allow others to do anything wrong in your life. Otherwise, you will be totally ruined, because when the wrong forces of others consciously and deliberately attack you, you will just allow them to come in. You may think that this has to be something reciprocal: if you do not attack, if you do not enter into that person's life, then how will that person attack you? But that person can do anything. What he does is not up to you. You may say, "If I don't look at someone's face, why will that person look at my face?" But you know it is not like that. That person may look at your face even if you do not want to look at him. You may not do anything undivine, but others can consciously or unconsciously do undivine things in your life.

These are the reasons why you cannot make progress; these are the things that prevent you from making satisfactory progress. You have to know what others can do against you with their wrong forces. You think that you are not responsible, and you may not be responsible. But somebody else can make your life miserable and ruin your aspiration. So always remain on the alert. Feel that at any moment you may be attacked on any plane — on the physical, vital or mental plane. Be always alert, alert, alert, and then only go forward, go forward.

Always you have to feel the necessity of asking a question before you do anything: "Will Guru be pleased with me if I do this, if I say this? Will Guru approve of it? Will Guru like the idea?" Always ask these questions. If the answer is “no”, identify yourself with the answer and do not do the thing. If it is “yes”, identify yourself with the answer and do it. The moment you get the answer, just execute it. Then how will it be possible for you not to make any progress? Every day, every second, only ask yourself if you are going to please your Guru by doing this, by saying this or by becoming this. Before you do anything, ask this question. Then act according to the answer. You will definitely make progress.

Another difficulty is that the disciples, after accepting the path and making some progress, cherish a superior feeling. Consciously or unconsciously they feel that they are superior not only to others in the outside world who are not following any path, but also to their brother and sister disciples. I tell you, with this superior feeling you are destroying yourselves. Superiority and inferiority lie only in your mind. How much oneness have you established with your Master? That is your only success, your only progress. You want to establish your oneness with the leaves or the flowers or the fruits of the tree of life without touching the root and the trunk, which is the Master. The leaves are also the Master, but if you do not first claim the root and the trunk, then you are making a serious mistake; you are totally lost. You have to start from the source, which is the Master.

So, dear ones, I am telling you once and for all that if you think that you are better or more advanced than others just because you do not have this difficulty or that difficulty, this shortcoming or that shortcoming, then you are totally mistaken. You yourself will have no shortcomings only when you become consciously and constantly one with the Will of the Supreme and, at every moment, do the right thing according to the message that you get from within. Otherwise, your attitude or feeling of superiority will almost invariably cause you to make some deplorable mistake. And if you make a serious mistake once, then for six months your inner progress can stop. Or if you have made a serious, deplorable mistake, then six months' progress which you have already made can be destroyed or nullified. Again, if you do one thing right to please the Supreme in me, then rest assured that you have made six months' progress in one fleeting second. In one second you can make astonishing, astounding progress, which can last for six months. And again, in one second if you do something seriously wrong, then the Master loses all his faith in you. Once he loses faith, then your progress is totally destroyed. So always make the Master feel that he can have implicit faith in you, in your action, in your capacity, in your sincerity, in your devotedness.

You have to remember all the time that there are two worlds: the inner world and the outer world. For most of you, the inner world does not exist. Just because it does not exist for you, you think that it does not exist for me either. But this is absolutely untrue. You are not aware of the inner world. That is why you feel that whatever happens in your mind is between you and your mind. How am I going to hear it or keep track of it? But I wish to say that anything that happens in your mind, your soul knows, and your soul will immediately tell me what your mind is doing. Never think that your mind's best friend is your soul and that, therefore, your soul will hide anything undivine that is happening in the mind. No, your soul is my best friend, and it will tell me everything. Your soul will immediately tell me what your mind is doing, what your vital is doing, what your physical consciousness is doing. Again, your soul is not treacherous — far from it. Your soul and the realised part in me have undertaken the same responsibility: to make you perfect. When the other members of the family — the heart, mind, vital and physical — are doing something wrong, at that time they become lame, blind, dumb. Then your soul tells me, the doctor, that I have to come and cure you. So to all of you I am saying that you cannot deceive me, precisely because you have a soul and your soul and my existence are inseparably one.

Some of you think that I cannot read minds. But that capacity God granted me at the age of twelve. I use it hundreds and thousands of times, but I do not tell outwardly that I am doing it. If I tell outwardly, then I will lose all the disciples. I have told you before that at the age of nineteen or twenty I had a young friend who was suffering from vital problems. He had a girlfriend and he had many problems with his vital life. But my love for him was all compassion. One day we were eating together and he asked me by way of joke, "Can you read minds?" I said, "All right. Let us see whether I can read your mind or not. You just write down whatever is in your mind. Then I will tell you what you have written. Right now if I tell you what is in your mind, you will deny it. So the best thing is for you to write it down." He wrote it down and then I told him word for word what he had written. He said, "How did you do it?" I said, "It is already written on your forehead."

I lost that particular friend by telling him what was in his mind. He had been my friend for five or six years, but then he said, "O my God! That means all the evil thoughts that are in my mind, you know. Today you know and tomorrow perhaps you will tell the whole world." I said, "Have I nothing else to do?" But he said, "How can I trust you? Since you know it, you won't keep anything hidden. Today you know it; tomorrow you will tell." So he left. Even now, I have never exposed him. I am telling you about the incident, but I have never said the name of the person. But I lost that friend for good.

Sometimes when you come to me for prasad or I see you on other occasions, you try to hide the evil thoughts that are in your minds. Again, sometimes you feel that it is not necessary to try to hide them because I do not know what is inside your mind. But both times you are fooled. When you think that you are successful in hiding your thoughts, you are mistaken. And when you think that I do not see them, again you are mistaken. You will be wise only when you immediately throw your evil thoughts into me as soon as they come, and desperately tell me inwardly, "Take them, take them, take them! I am dying! I have got a spiritual heart attack. Please save me!" At that time I will become one with your heart attack and I will say, "He is suffering. Let me take it." But if you want to hide, if you do not want to take the doctor's medicine, then it is not the doctor's fault if you die. When you try to hide your undivine thoughts, you are making a serious mistake, and when you think I do not see them, you are also making a mistake.

I have the capacity to read minds, but I do not use this capacity to expose you people. I use it not to know how bad you are but to save you. So I have to use it. When you come into a room that is illumined, automatically the illumined consciousness of the room sees you. Similarly, when you come to me, my light which is all around me sees you — not to expose you but to illumine you. Unless it sees what is wrong, how can it illumine? So you do not have to be embarrassed or afraid.

Many, many times I get personal letters about vital problems, absolutely the lowest vital problems and all that. But do I get angry? On the contrary, I see the person's frankness and sincerity, and I try desperately to save him or her. But if you feel that since lower forces are bothering you, you should be ashamed, then you are making a serious mistake. You should be ashamed of your conduct only when you do not throw your suffering into me. Only when you hide it should you be ashamed. Only when you feel that I do not know what is going on should you feel ashamed. But no matter on which plane you are attacked, on the physical plane, the vital plane or the mental plane, if you immediately throw the wrong forces into me, then you are safe. Your sincerity will save you.

I have scolded you people many, many times. After each scolding I have noticed a little progress, and sometimes appreciable progress, inside some disciples. Sometimes for a few hours you make progress, sometimes for a few days, sometimes for a month or two. Then, in most cases, the progress disappears. If the disciples could maintain their progress for a few months and then transcend that progress, I would be extremely grateful to them and proud of them.

What actually happens is this. When they get a serious scolding, they feel that their spiritual life is at stake, so they have to make progress. But then, after a few days or a few weeks, again they become complacent. They feel that as long as they remain in the boat, it is enough. They say, Guru always barks, but he never bites," which is absolutely true. I bark, but I don't bite. But good disciples will say, "Why should we allow him to bark? Why should we make him play the role of a dog? He is representing God for us. G-o-d is God, d-o-g is dog. If we see God before us, we follow Him. But in the case of a dog, the dog follows us. If we really want Guru to be our God-representative on earth, then naturally it is we who have to follow him, and not the other way around. He must not play the role of a dog and follow behind us, barking and barking. Our attitude has to be totally changed. What we should do all the time is think of the Master as the representative of God, especially for us. It is we who are supposed to follow him. Whatever he does or whatever he tells us to do, we have to take it as the right thing for us."

Dear ones, I have told you so many reasons why you people do not make progress or, when you do make progress, why you cannot maintain it. At every moment you have to make yourselves feel that you have only one name: sincerity — sincerity in the physical, sincerity in the vital, sincerity in the mind, sincerity in the heart. And immediately feel that sincerity will offer everything to me. If it is good, if it is a beautiful flower, then give it to me. Again, if it is some dirty, filthy thing, then give that to me also. When a child gets a beautiful flower, he runs and gives it to his mother or father, to his dearest one. And again, when his body is besmeared with mud and dirt, he goes to his dearest mother or father. When he is the possessor of something good, he goes; when he is the possessor of something bad, he goes. He does not keep either the good thing or the bad thing for himself. He gives that very thing to his dearest one and the dearest one does the needful. If it is bad, his dearest one transforms it into good. If it is good, he transforms it into something infinitely better. Your lives also should be like that. When a wrong movement comes, give it to me to transform it. If something good enters into you, then give it to me so I can make it infinitely better, more illumining and more fulfilling.

Now your heart has to accept what I have said. After your heart has accepted it, the next thing is for your mind to have faith in your heart's acceptance. Then the vital and the physical have to accept what the mind has accepted from the heart. If you can do this, then you will become my perfect instrument and you will realise that I am your perfect Master. Otherwise, you will be imperfect and I will be imperfect. With two imperfect souls, God can achieve next to nothing.

Part II — Questions and answers

QKS 4-15. These questions were asked at the New York Sri Chinmoy Centre on 10 July 1976.

Question: I was wondering about the power your inner beings have.

Sri Chinmoy: The power that my inner beings have depends to a great extent on how much receptivity you have. It is all due to your receptivity. Dulal had a friend named Judd. He and his wife went someplace one night and left their children and their dog at home. While they were away, their house caught fire. Judd was driving home slowly and he heard my voice say, "Judd, drive as fast as possible!" He never drove so fast as that night, and when he got home he was able to save his children. Only the dog was not saved. It was one of my inner beings that saved his children. Otherwise, he would never have driven so fast. My inner being was telling him, "Drive as fast as possible; just go!" So his children were saved.

And now where are they? When we are in need, we have faith not only in God but in everybody and anybody. When everything goes wrong, at that time we make friends with God and with anybody in the street who will help. But when everything is all right, at that time we can tell spirituality and God to remain silent. When our purpose is served, we no longer need God. We don't have faith in God and we don't have faith in anybody else. Judd would have lost his children if it had not been for the protection of my inner beings, and he knows it. But now that he is happy with his outer life, he does not come to the Centre any more.

Question: What happens to very unaspiring souls that don't want to spend a long time in the soul's world after they die? Can they reincarnate again right away?

Sri Chinmoy: When they go back to the soul's world, common human beings usually take about six years to reincarnate. Some don't even take six years. Ordinary human beings who live an absolutely animal life may not be inclined to go to the soul's world. They want to enjoy the physical world, the pleasure-life. After six months or even three months, they may take incarnation again. In this way they progress a little faster, if you want to call it progress, because they start their journey very soon. After leading a most unaspiring life, for three or four months they take rest in the other world before coming back again.

Often it is the good souls, great souls, that take rest in the soul's world for only six or eight months or a year. Ordinary souls take six, eight or ten years. But sometimes an ordinary soul, not one with tremendous animal propensities but an ordinary soul with just a little aspiration — not very high or very aspiring and, at the same time, not very bad — wants to come back to earth very quickly. If it is God's Will or if any spiritual Master intervenes, then this soul can come back sooner. These human souls are not the lowest: they are of the common run. They have earthly desires, and they are tired of Heavenly life. They go to Heaven and after two or three years they become tired of Heavenly life; they are fond of earthly life.

Our Sarama had a mother who died not quite three years ago. Her mother kindly descended a few months ago. Her mother was tired of Heavenly life, and she was able to descend because she had a Guru and her Guru did her a favour. She has come back very soon, not because she has led an animal life, but because she was aspiring slowly, with Indian bullock-cart speed. She felt that here on earth she would be happy. There are also other souls among our departed disciples who want to come back as soon as possible, not to take part in our mission, but to lead an ordinary earthly life. In their cases my compassion did not work. Only in Sarama's mother's case I have offered my help. But it is good to take a few years' rest in Heaven. Here on earth we work so hard! We deserve some rest.

Question: How does the will operate during meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to know what kind of will: the physical will, vital will, mental will or psychic will? If you mean the physical will, it enables you to keep your body firm, but not stiff. You will not move to and fro during your meditation. Your physical will will keep you properly stationed in one place during your meditation. Vital will controls the outgoing energy. When used in a negative way, it will make you want to dominate others. While you are meditating, you may also be thinking of your friends. You may have some desire to show them that you are far superior to them. This is what the vital will does. The mental will is operating when you think that you know much more than others.

These things are on the negative side. Although the physical will is positive when it keeps you sitting quietly, it is not enough. You can use your physical will to feel that you are receiving energy from above. When you are using the vital will, you will feel that you have spread your wings to cover each and every individual in the whole world. And when you use the mental will, you can keep thoughts from entering into your mind. Also with your mental will you will be able to project your intense life of aspiration into the entire world. If you use the psychic will, which is the heart's will, then you will feel that you have become inseparably one with the rest of the world.

Now, which will do you want to utilise during your meditation? During meditation, it is always safe to use your psychic will, heart's will or oneness. If you establish your oneness with God, with me and with the disciples, then you are safe. Psychic will is the will of freedom. If you want freedom from bondage or ignorance, or from anything else, then oneness is the thing that you need.

Question: Is the will that you need to achieve psychic will something different?

Sri Chinmoy: It all comes from the heart. If you concentrate on the heart, the heart expands; and if you have a feeling of expansion, that means your will-power is operating. But again, you may not immediately get the result of your heart's will. In that case, what do you do? At that time, use your mind's will to eliminate any thought. The best use of the mental will is to prevent all thoughts from entering into your mind. The best use of the vital will is to expand yourself, to feel that you are like a bird spreading your wings. The best use of the physical will is to feel that divine energy is descending and flowing like a river all through the body.

Question: What determines the soul's qualities?

Sri Chinmoy: The soul itself and the Compassion-Light of the Supreme. The soul imbibes and assimilates the Compassion-Light of the Supreme according to its receptivity. What the soul's qualities are depends on how much the soul can receive of the Compassion-Light of the Supreme, which has all the qualities that the soul needs.

Unfortunately, when the soul descends to earth, the divine qualities that it received from the Supreme are covered by earthly ignorance. The soul is ever-free, but when it enters into the earth arena it encounters darkness and obstacles. These things enter into the soul, and it becomes difficult for the soul to shake them off and bring its divine qualities to the fore. But all the good qualities that the soul needs come only from the Compassion-Light of the Supreme. The soul's receptivity determines which divine qualities the soul receives in abundant measure and which qualities it receives to a lesser degree.

Question: Is it possible for us to remember our stay in the soul's world?

Sri Chinmoy: Yogis and spiritual Masters can easily know. For them the physical world and the soul's world are like two rooms or two houses. This church is one house and my house in Jamaica is another house. It is up to me when I go to either one. Here I have come many, many times, and there I stay every day. But although I stay here for only a few hours every week, I know what I have here in this house. Similarly, when I am here on earth, I can easily remember what is in Heaven, which is my other house. Even when I do not go there, I know what is in that house also.

When one realises God, it is like becoming rich. In the outer world a rich man can have many houses, and can know what he has in every house. Similarly, when one becomes spiritually rich, he remembers all the houses that he has here on earth and there in Heaven. Generally, one must become spiritually rich in order to remember his Heavenly sojourn. There are some ordinary people who are not at all spiritually rich, but by God's Grace they have the capacity to remember what they have done in the other world. It lasts for a few months or a few years, especially when they are very young. But then, when the mind comes to the fore, this capacity disappears. Then they forget about their soul's abode and can't remember anything about what they saw there. But the spiritual Masters and Yogis don't forget. For them it is identification-oneness. When they are identified with earth, they know what is happening on earth, and when they are identified with Heaven, they know what is happening in Heaven. For them, it is very easy.

Question: Do some individuals take life too seriously?

Sri Chinmoy: If one has attained a very high state of consciousness and has established a free access to the eternal Life, then he knows that after life is death, and after death there is new life again. This knowing is not just book knowledge. One has to realise or discover the fact that this earthly death is only a short passage, like the tunnel to Manhattan, and at the end of it there is day again. So if one knows that there is something called eternal Life, then for him sixty or seventy years is nothing. For him it is not necessary to take life very seriously. This is just one point of view, for somebody who has realised the Highest.

If somebody has realised God, he may not want to go into the field of manifestation and work hard again. He may come into the world or remain in the world, not to help humanity but to enjoy the world, not in an ordinary human way, but as an observer.

You have played your game extremely well for so many years. Then you may not want to participate in this sort of game again. Spiritual people can say, "Let me take rest here on earth as we take rest in Heaven." There are some spiritual Masters who have done this. After realising God, they have stayed on earth twenty or thirty years longer, but they didn't enter into the field of manifestation. They only watched. They ran fast until they reached their destination. Then they wanted only to look at others to see how they were running; they got joy from observing the speed of others. But if God wants them to reveal and manifest Him, and instead they just observe, then they are making a mistake. It is all right only if God has sanctioned this, saying, "My son, you have worked so hard. Now, if you want to take rest for a few earthy years, I grant you that opportunity."

But for those who have not yet realised the Highest and who want to realise the Highest, each second is of paramount importance. If one doesn't have a goal, then one can take rest. But if one has a goal, then one should take it seriously and run towards it. Each second counts. There are many people all over the world for whom there is no goal. For them, every day is the same, and nothing is serious or important. But if one has a goal, then one does not want to waste even a second.

At the same time, we should be wise. If we take life too seriously without having the necessary capacity to deal with life successfully, then we will commit suicide. If someone wants to get his Master's degree and feels that if he does not get it, his whole world will collapse, then he is taking life too seriously. At this point, he has to be very wise. He has to know that there are thousands and thousands of people with Master's degrees on earth, and if he does not become one of them, it will not be a terrible disaster. He may not get this degree, but there are millions of other people on earth who have not got it either, and who are still satisfied. What human beings need is patience. If you do not succeed in your efforts this time, then try again later on. If the next time you also fail, then believe in reincarnation. In your next life you can start studying again. People have done many undivine things, many absurd things, when their earthly desires were not fulfilled, just because they have taken life too seriously.

People who have the inner cry, the aspiration to realise the highest Goal, should not waste time. But again, they should not set a date for reaching their Goal. If I have just started praying and meditating today, I must not say that the day after tomorrow I must realise God or I will take my life. If I am sincere, I will say that although it is my sincere wish to realise God the day after tomorrow, I know that God is all Compassion, and at His own Hour He will grant me realisation. It is not my choice but God's Grace that will grant me realisation.

One has to know what kind of aspiration one has. If the seeker has burning aspiration, then he must not waste one second in reaching his Goal. He will tell himself, "With this intense aspiration I will try always to run the fastest. Then, at God's own choice Hour, He will give me realisation." This is the best attitude for an aspirant to have.

Question: How can you tell if a fellow disciple is having a spiritual problem?

Sri Chinmoy: It will be reflected in his face. If he has a spiritual problem, he can't hide it. He may be able to hide it from you for a day or two, but he can't hide it from me for even a second. He may hide it from you when he is just in front of you, face to face. But if you secretly watch him when he turns around or goes to his desk to work, immediately you will be able to catch it. If he doesn't want anybody to know he is having a problem, for a few minutes while he is face to face with you he may fool you by offering you a very cheerful face, a face absolutely beaming with joy. But when he is off guard, he will be a totally different person.

The only thing is that there is no such thing as a "spiritual problem". The problems that affect your spiritual life are all mental problems, vital problems, emotional problems, physical problems. Doubt is not spirituality. If someone is suffering from doubt, he cannot say he is having spiritual problems. He is having mental problems. We use the word "spirituality" for everything, but to say "spiritual problem" is wrong. Spirituality has come into the world to save us, not to create problems for us. It is the forces that stand against spirituality that create problems. What is spirituality? It is man's wisdom and God’s Compassion. So how can one have spiritual problems?

If one does not have faith in God or in his Guru or in himself, it is not a spiritual problem, it is a mental problem. And if one is living an impure life, it is not a spiritual problem but a vital or an emotional problem. If one is a very greedy fellow and cannot control his weight, then he has a physical problem. If you use the term "spiritual problem", then you are blaming the wrong party.

When anything goes wrong, very often people blame their Guru or blame God. But if they were sincere, they would blame only themselves, because they are the ones who have made friends with doubt, fear, jealousy and insecurity. These things are problems to those who welcome them and embody them, but they are not spiritual problems.

To come back to your question, you can know in five minutes if someone has a problem, if you observe him at a distance and not face to face. Also, your heart of love can tell you, because your heart will not get any response from that person. When you are speaking with a fellow disciple, that means you are offering your love; you are opening your heart's door wide to him. And what do you expect? You expect him to enter into your heart so that you can give him concern, love and joy. But if you have kept your door open in vain and the guest does not come, you will know that something is wrong with him. Otherwise, he would have kept his appointment. Your oneness-heart is wide open, and you are eagerly waiting for the guest whom you have invited. But if he does not appear, then you can know that this person is having problems, either on the physical plane, the vital plane or the mental plane. But spiritual problems do not exist. We say "spiritual problems" because we are practising spirituality and we are accustomed to using that term. But all our problems are either on the physical, the vital or the mental plane.

Question: Are the goddesses working particularly at this time in history?

Sri Chinmoy: God in both masculine and feminine form supports humanity's consciousness. There are always goddesses working in the inner worlds, such as Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati — the goddesses of perfection, power, beauty and wisdom. There are many, many gods and goddesses, but these are the four main goddesses who help human beings, whom they regard as their children.

Mahakali is my favourite of the four. She is the goddess of speed and power. Each Indian family has a presiding deity, and this deity can be male or female. Our family deity is the goddess Mahakali, so she is the one I am extremely fond of. Also, she has helped me many times. In my teens, when I was practising hard for sports, she helped me considerably. Once, after I had run the four hundred-metre race, I lost consciousness and my soul left my body. In five or ten minutes the doctors would have pronounced me dead. But Mahakali took my soul and brought it back into my body. If this goddess had not shown me that infinite Love and Compassion, I would have gone back to the soul's world. So, all of my disciples should be extremely grateful to her.

There are also other goddesses working like that. It is up to the individual how to invoke them. If one individual likes one, then he will invoke her; and if another person likes some other goddess, then he will invoke that one. But in essence they are all one. They are not like four women: if you please one, the others will be displeased. They are like limbs of one body. If somebody needs my arms or my legs or my eyes or my nose for some help, the other parts of my body are not disturbed. Similarly, these gods and goddesses are absolutely one.

Question: I'm wondering what it is that makes the years of being a disciple seem sort of like a dream, and the time before that seem more real? Some of the experiences just seem too fantastic to be real; they seem like a dream. And life before being a disciple seems tangible, real.

Sri Chinmoy: To be a sincere spiritual seeker means that you are dealing with infinite possibilities. The hope-world of the past, the expectation-world of the past, has been transformed into reality, and now you are living in the vision-world of the present. The vision of Divinity, the vision of Infinity, the vision of Immortality are all around. Inside each thought you are dealing with infinite possibilities and potentialities. These ideas and ideals are overwhelming to your mind because they are the message of universal Reality. You need the physical body — arms, legs, head — to exist in the physical world. But when you deal with the spiritual worlds, if your arms and legs are not there, you don't even know. You enter into realities where physical attributes do not exist. There you are dealing with intuition, inner vision and consciousness. When you are in the aspiration-world, this vision will take you far beyond your necessity, far beyond the familiar everyday world. So you are entering into another plane of existence which has not yet become familiar to you.

Question: Is there any significance as to when your disciples' souls came to earth? When disciples were born, was there any special significance?

Sri Chinmoy: When the disciple was born and at which place the soul has taken human incarnation have a great significance, not from the astrological point of view, but from the purely spiritual point of view. Astrology, horoscopes, stars — they have their own way of judging the fate of the soul. But from the highest spiritual point of view there is tremendous significance in the circumstances in which the soul takes incarnation. But the most significant event takes place when the soul finds its eternal friend in the Guru's soul.

Each soul comes into the world to do something special. Each soul is like a soldier, a divine soldier. The divine soldier can achieve the utmost, fulfil the Supreme to the utmost, only when it has a commander-in-chief. If the soldier works under the direct guidance of the commander, then his mission on earth is infinitely more successful, because the commander-in-chief can tell the soldier what is the right thing to do. If the individual soul wants to work, it will work like a tiny drop, with the capacity of a tiny drop. But if it works under the strict guidance of the commander-in-chief and with the assistance of all the forces at his command, then it will have the capacity of the entire ocean. The commander-in-chief is the Guru, who is in touch with the Absolute Supreme and represents the Absolute Supreme on earth. Each individual soul sees it and realises it according to the soul's own evolution.

First the individual soul makes a promise to the Absolute Supreme that it will do something really good, divine, illumining and fulfilling. But in order to fulfil that promise it needs constant guidance, encouragement, inspiration and help either directly from the Supreme or from the spiritual Master, who plays the role of the spiritual commander-in-chief. The Master not only encourages the soul to fight against ignorance in the battlefield of life, but also gives the soul constant support and capacity for its victory. Victory here means to become consciously and constantly aware of the Source, the Absolute Supreme. When the soul becomes constantly and consciously aware of its Source, it becomes very easy for the individual to become part and parcel of the infinite Reality and to manifest the infinite Reality on earth.

So if the soul has reincarnated at a time and in a place where it will be able to get the guidance of a real Guru, it is a tremendous blessing.

Question: Lately I've been thinking about how to make the inspiration-bird my constant friend, and to be receptive and aware of it all the time.

Sri Chinmoy: Whether the seeker is a poet, an artist or a musician, he needs inspiration. In any field if the individual wants to achieve something, he needs inspiration. Inspiration, like imagination, is a world of its own. Some people really have free access to that world. Others have to knock at the door, and at times the door opens and at times it does not. Just now I was telling you about the soldier and the commander. Take inspiration as the soldier and aspiration as the commander. If you can please the higher authority, automatically the lower authority will be pleased with you. Aspiration is infinitely more powerful, meaningful and fruitful than inspiration. So if you can constantly aspire then automatically the inspiration-bird will come.

Translations of this page: Italian , Czech
This book can be cited using cite-key qks