Sri Chinmoy answers, part 1
Part ISCA 1-8. On 25 June 1994, Sri Chinmoy invited questions from disciples who had been on his path for over twenty-five years.
Question: How can we make our inner life fulfil all our needs when our inner capacity is still so limited?Sri Chinmoy: A child has a dollar, and with this dollar he is able to buy a small toy. But if the same child has pleased his father in various ways with his affection, love and joy, then the father immediately gives the child enough money to buy ten different toys, or he himself buys as many toys as are needed to please the child and make the child happy. This is what happens in our outer life.
A similar thing also happens in the inner life. If a particular disciple has pleased the Master in various ways and the Master’s faith in that disciple is exceptionally strong, then the Master will do everything in his power to help that disciple. If the disciple has abiding faith in the Master, then the Master gets tremendous opportunities to increase the inner capacities of the disciple.
The Master always will have infinitely more faith in the disciples than the disciples can ever have in the Master. No disciple of mine will ever have the same amount of faith in me that I have in him or her, especially if the person is one of my chosen disciples. In a class there are always good students and bad students. Similarly, among those who follow our path there are definitely some very good students. These chosen disciples must always feel that the faith they have in the Master and also the faith they have in themselves is nothing in comparison to the Master’s faith in them.
What is the reason? It is because the Master sees in them the budding and blossoming God. When he looks at them he sees his own highest divinity-reality. He always sees the inner sun inside the chosen disciples, and he knows that definitely there shall come a time when their inner sun will come to the fore and illumine their mind, vital and physical.
But the disciples do not have the same kind of faith in the Master. Their faith is like a rope of sand. This moment they have faith or imagine they have a certain kind of faith. But the next moment, when the mind comes to the fore and clouds their heart, it is all gone. And when there is no faith in the Master, the Master is not able to increase their inner capacities.
The best way for the disciples to increase their faith in the Master is to imagine the Master’s faith in them. They should imagine that the Master’s faith in them is loftier than the loftiest and that they are supremely chosen instruments. There are millions and billions of people on earth. The disciples have to ask themselves why they alone have been chosen to carry the victory-banner of the Master. They have to exercise their imagination, which is a reality in itself, to feel the infinite faith that their Master has in them. In this way, by increasing their own faith in the Master, the disciples can every day increase their inner capacities. It is not only possible; it is inevitable.
Question: Which comes first: perfect obedience or unconditional surrender?Sri Chinmoy: Obedience is mostly in the mind, whereas surrender is of the entire being. Unconditional surrender encompasses the entire being: the aspiring heart, the searching mind, the dynamic vital and the body that has completely shunned lethargy. When surrender comes, it is just like falling flat at the Feet of the Supreme, absolutely prostrating yourself at the Feet of God. At that time, not only your head but your whole body touches the infinite Compassion-Ocean of our Lord Beloved Supreme.
But obedience applies mainly to the mind. If I am telling you to do something, you can either walk as slowly as a turtle or run as fast as a deer. But no matter how fast, how enthusiastically, how willingly you go, only one part of your being is going: the mind. The mind is going with the hope that it will please God or please the Master. It is saying, “If I do not go, the Master will be displeased; God will be displeased.” Even if you are going fast, whether you are doing it of your own volition or whether you are doing it under some compulsion, still you are not getting a feeling of spontaneous sweetness in the entire being. But when you make unconditional surrender, all your limbs, each and every one of your 86,000 subtle nerves — everything — is giving you unimaginable joy.
We have to know that unconditional surrender is not the surrender of a slave to his master. It is the surrender that comes from wisdom, from the realisation that Somebody knows more than we do and, at the same time, claims us as His very own and also wants us to claim Him as our own. The vast ocean always wants to claim the little drop. If the little drop has any intelligence or any wisdom, it will also claim the ocean as its own and say, “I have become the ocean.” In exactly the same way, if we can make unconditional surrender, immediately we become part and parcel of our Beloved Supreme. At that time we are not responsible for anything, because what we do or say is not coming from us; it is coming from our own highest reality. You are asking which one comes first. It depends on the individual. Unconditional surrender will definitely encompass perfect obedience; if you make unconditional surrender, then perfect obedience is bound to come. But if you have perfect obedience, you will not get automatically the result of unconditional surrender, which is sweetness. According to me, unconditional surrender is much more important and valuable than obedience, even if the obedience is based on perfect faith. Obedience can either be willing or unwilling, but unconditional surrender is always cheerful. In unconditional surrender, we say, “Use me like a football. Kick me as hard as you please, with your right leg or left leg, any way you want to.” When there is unconditional surrender, at that time the seeker becomes a perfect instrument of the Supreme.
Question: Is obedience-power the only way to please God with permanent aspiration-perfection?Sri Chinmoy: I have spoken about obedience and about surrender. Now I wish to say that if a seeker’s obedience is happy, cheerful, sleepless and breathless, then the seeker can definitely please God. But that is not the only way, no! There are various ways. One person will say, “With obedience I want to run the fastest to please God in His own Way.” Somebody else will say, “I want to run the fastest and please God through aspiration.” A third person will say, “I want to please God and run the fastest with my dedication.”
So there are many ways to please God and run the fastest. If you choose the obedience-road, then I wish to say this obedience has to be cheerful, happy and spontaneously self-giving. Then obedience becomes a most powerful way for the individual disciple or seeker to please God. If you want to run the fastest along the obedience-road, then your obedience cannot be imposed. It must not come out of fear of punishment for disobedience. No, it has to come out of love.
If you have that kind of obedience, naturally you will be able to run the fastest on the obedience-road. At that time, your aspiration, like a flame, automatically will go high, higher, highest. That is because constant, sleepless and breathless obedience cannot be separated from the highest aspiration. The higher your aspiration goes, the more you value the importance of obedience. Similarly, the more you obey God’s Will, the higher you will be able to go in your aspiration.
But on the practical level there is something else to consider. Often the seeker says, “If I go to school and do not obey the teacher, then the teacher will punish me. If I am working in an office and I do not obey the boss, then the boss will fire me. But if I do not obey God, what will happen?” When the disciples start disobeying God, most of them feel that there is no retribution. There is retribution, but it does not come immediately. If today you disobey God in a very serious way, then God may wait ten days to punish you. But again, during those ten days, you may do many, many good things to please God, so God may forgive you.
Many times it happens that we commit Himalayan blunders. But when we do not get the punishment immediately or in the near future, we feel, “Perhaps God has forgiven us, or perhaps it was not a blunder after all. Our mind made us think that we made a mistake, but perhaps our mind was wrong.” Disobedience is a destructive force in us which often hides itself. We find reasons to justify it. But if we have done something really unspiritual and have not been punished, we have to feel either that the time has not yet arrived or that God has forgiven us on the strength of our good actions.
There is something most important that the disciples do not pay any attention to, and that is remorse. People say repentance purifies the soul. Repentance does not purify the soul; the soul is above that. However, repentance definitely purifies the heart. When we do something wrong, if we shed streaming tears, then inside those tears there will be remorse and our heart will be purified. Then our heart will not permit us to make the same mistake in the future. From repentance our heart becomes strong, stronger, strongest so that it can challenge the mind and not give the mind another chance to make the same Himalayan blunder.
Question: Since you have been in the West, what has pleased you most about the disciples and what has pleased you least?Sri Chinmoy: The oneness-heart of the disciples -– without any exception -– has pleased me most, and the division-mind of the disciples has displeased me ruthlessly.
Oneness has to come not from thought or from the mind, and not even from the breath; oneness has to come from the imagination. We have to imagine that God at every moment is playing a Game, entering into us and going out of us. Let us take our body as a room. We must imagine that God, the most beautiful One, the most powerful One, is entering this room and playing His Cosmic Game in and through our physical existence. If we can have that feeling, then God will be most pleased with us.
A few things more I also wish to say. I have a heart, and my heart feels how many times you people do not take me seriously when I talk about the soul. For one day someone will value what I say about the soul: “Oh, Guru is telling me that my soul is pleased or displeased with me.” But even those who believe my utterances about the soul do not want to feel the presence of the soul or see the reality of the soul. And there are many occasions when these same disciples will even deny the existence of the soul.
For me, the soul is the most important reality. I have said that the soul can be not only felt but also seen, exactly the way I see you. If you cannot have faith in the reality of your soul, then how can you have faith in God? To realise God is infinitely more difficult than to come in contact with the soul. The soul is like a guide that takes us slowly, steadily and unerringly, according to our own speed, to the destination. If you do not believe in the guide, then how are you going to arrive at the destination, which is God?
When you die at the age of 70, 80 or 90, you clearly will see that your soul is your permanent, eternal reality. But in order to make real progress, you have to see and feel this now, while you are on earth. People who not only believe in the existence of the soul but also want to feel their soul’s presence and see their soul’s reality are pleasing me most. Again, people who are not paying any attention to their soul or who are not paying any attention to my utterances in regard to the soul are displeasing me tremendously.
I have so many Centres. On a daily basis I am getting messages from them, and I get the vibration about what is happening there. When I get a general vibration, I do not have to ask about each individual. When you boil rice and want to see if it is fully cooked, you just take a few grains and immediately you know if the rest of the rice is ready to be eaten. Similarly, I immediately get from one or two powerful souls in a Centre the correct feeling about whether others in the Centre are aspiring or not.
In this life I have thousands of disciples and many admirers, friends, acquaintances and so forth. On the physical plane, I am dealing with a few thousand people. But when I am in the inner world, the higher world, I am dealing with thousands and thousands of souls. Most of the disciples think that in the soul’s world I am dealing only with a few people like Agni and ten or twenty other disciples who have died over the years. This is a most deplorable mistake. In the inner world I am in touch with absolutely countless souls.
People who have accepted me and are close to me in this world, I shall be responsible for in the other world after they die, according to their acceptance and according to their closeness. Some people who are not pleasing me in this world think that once they go to the other world, they will all at once be close, closer, closest. But it is not like that. You people are not preparing yourselves. I am not thinking of your death — never, never! But when I am in another existence, most of you will have to come back and go through life and death again and again, whereas my Beloved Supreme has promised that this will be my last incarnation. So if you want to have a strong connection with me in future incarnations, you have to be close to me and please me now.
What will happen to people who do not think of the higher regions but think only of their earthly life and material needs? What will they have? If they do not have the aspiration to go to the higher worlds, then desire life will bind them. The more I am seeing that you people are thinking only of the material world and not of the inner world, the more I am disheartened. Each of you can imagine during your meditation that there is another world where you will one day have to go, either willingly or unwillingly. If you want to work for me and serve me when you go to that world, then do not spend all your time thinking of the material world now.
There are infinitely more things displeasing me on earth than things that are pleasing me. This is true whether I look at the disciples individually or collectively. Happiness comes only when I see that somebody has not given up. If somebody is still struggling to become a better person, a better seeker, a better disciple, then I am so happy. Many, many have given up. They are staying in the boat sleeping and snoring, but they have given up; they feel that it is a hopeless case. When it is a matter of progressing, going forward, diving deeper, jumping further and flying higher, they are not doing it.
I want my disciples not to give up. He who has not given up, she who has not given up — these are the ones who are pleasing me. People who have given up and are saying that theirs is a hopeless case already have become useless. But people who are still struggling to become good disciples, better disciples, best disciples are definitely pleasing me. I myself have not given up on them, but I have more faith in some than in others.
Again as I said before, the ultimate faith, the highest faith, the supreme faith I have in each and every human being because I clearly see each and every one as the real God. Sri Ramakrishna used to say that he saw Vivekananda as God Himself. Sometimes when I meditate on you, my disciples, in my own highest divine consciousness, I definitely see you as my Lord Beloved Supreme. I do not see you as human beings with human imperfections. No, at that time your outer bodies disappear and your souls I see as the most perfect representatives of our Lord Beloved Supreme. That is the time when I get the utmost happiness. I swim in the sea of ecstasy.
Question: What is the quickest way to overcome lethargy permanently?Sri Chinmoy: The quickest way is by repeating ‘Supreme’ as fast as possible. You do not have to shout at the top of your lungs, but you have to be able to hear it; do not do it in silence. You can be seated in your room or walking in a silent place where nobody is going to hear you, but you should not do it while lying down.
While you are chanting ‘Supreme’, starting with your toes imagine everything that is inside you. Think of your muscles, nerves, blood or anything that you want, and try to feel that the Supreme is entering into that particular part of your body. Then move to other parts of your body. You do not have to see what is inside your legs or your heart or your brain. Only imagine that something is there, and that that very thing is being touched by the word ‘Supreme’. If lethargy has already stationed itself inside your knee or shoulder or somewhere else, that portion of the being has to be touched by the very Presence of the Supreme. So each time you say “Supreme”, chanting as fast as possible, try to feel that the Power of the Supreme, the Life of the Supreme and the Divinity of the Supreme are entering into you.
This is one of the most effective ways to conquer lethargy while walking or doing something. When you want to conquer lethargy, that is not the time for you to enter into deep meditation; only let the dynamic flow of your chanting percolate through your entire body. If you enter into a higher type of meditation or prayer and are trying to be dynamic, you may succeed; but when the prayer or meditation is over, the dynamism will disappear. But the Supreme’s Name you can repeat any time. This is the only way to do it, especially for my disciples.
Question: How can spirituality escape the confines of religion?Sri Chinmoy: We know a few religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and so forth. Each religion has its own way of expressing itself with regard to the unlimited One. But unfortunately, the expression itself is limited. Religion is only a house, and nobody can claim that his house has everything. We can buy more furniture and other items, but the length and breadth of the house will always remain the same.
Once we accept the spiritual life, however, our religion becomes our love of God. And when we love God, everything inside us expands. At that time we do not feel that our body is limited to a few feet in height; no, we are seeing the expansion of the body. We are also seeing the expansion of our vital, our mind, our whole being. Our love of God is the continuous expansion of our entire reality.
Love of God is the only true religion, the only religion a true seeker should practise. Is there any religion that will tell us not to love God? But the problem with religion is that it seeks to limit our love of God. Religion will say, “Only if you love God the way I love God are you are doing the right thing.” Each religion will say, “Love God, but do it in my way. Only if you come to church, only if you come to the temple, only if you come to the mosque will your love of God be perfect. The other ways are all wrong.”
But love of God is not like that. If I love God, God will tell me, “Why should there only be roses in the religion-garden? There can be other flowers as well.” One person will come and appreciate the rose, and someone else will come and appreciate another flower. So we have to love God in every possible way — through what we say and what we do, through constant self-giving on each and every level of our consciousness. We have to love God in God’s own Way. Then only we will never be trapped in the confines of religion and we will never try to confine anybody.
What we want from religion is joy. Religion is not giving us joy because consciously or unconsciously it is trying to exercise its supremacy. But if we just love God, then we are getting tremendous joy. I am getting joy from loving God and you are getting joy from loving God.
You asked how spirituality can escape from the confines of religion. Escape is not the right word. What is needed is not escape but illumination. And we can illumine religion only by loving God in God’s own Way.
Question: If we use intuition on the outer plane, does it become less effective in spiritual activities?Sri Chinmoy: Most of the time when we use intuition on the outer plane, we use it to serve our own purposes and not to serve God’s Purposes. Spiritual Masters used to shed bitter tears when their disciples would ask them to use their intuition to answer rubbish questions. One comes and asks, “I have lost my cow. Please tell me, where is it?” Another asks, “Please tell me if my son will pass the examination or not.” On the strength of his intuition, the spiritual Master can easily say where the cow is or whether the son will pass his examination, but by doing so he is not fulfilling the Will of God.
There are so many ways intuition-power can be used for a divine purpose. If a sincere seeker comes to his spiritual Master and wants to know why he is not making progress, then the Master can use his intuitive power to see what the reason is and help the person. He may say, “Your defect is in the mind. Doubt is not allowing you to make progress.” Or he may see that the defect is fear or insecurity or impurity. If somebody is sincerely crying that he cannot make progress because of some defect in his body, vital or mind, then intuition-power can be used to really help him.
But if somebody has lost something and you use your intuition to help that person find it, what good are you doing? You are not helping the person’s spiritual life; only you are creating or increasing curiosity in that individual. If you use your intuition to tell people on the physical or vital plane what is going to happen or what already has taken place, you are only misusing your power. Some spiritual Masters used to deliberately tell the wrong answer when people asked them silly questions so that these insincere people would not come back.
Once we enter into the spiritual life, our first and foremost concern is to help people in their inner life and elevate their consciousness. To deal with their outer life, people have their own ways. So if my disciples have intuition, I ask them to use it to help seekers expedite their spiritual journey and not to know outer happenings. Otherwise, intuition is just a waste of time.
Question: What is the difference between disobedience and weakness?Sri Chinmoy: It is infinitely easier for a Master to deal with weaknesses than to deal with disobedience. Weaknesses can be strengthened, weaknesses can be illumined, weaknesses can be perfected. Although disobedience itself is a weakness, it is much more difficult to perfect than other kinds of weaknesses. It is like a huge bundle of thread full of knots. To untie all these knots and make one straight, long thread is most difficult.
The best way to deal with disobedience is either to hate it or to be afraid of it. If you hate it, you have to hate it so intensely that you will not want to keep it inside your being. You will feel that it is something dirtier than the dirtiest and just throw it out of your system. Again, if you are afraid of it, then you will be careful not to allow it to enter into you in the first place. If you feel that it is like a snake or a ferocious tiger ready to devour you, then you will stay far away from it.
But weaknesses you have to deal with in a very prayerful, soulful way. Weaknesses can be in the vital, in the mind or in the heart. You have to think of them as something that you can shape or mould. You have to regard them as something very weak and tiny that needs strengthening — like a helpless little dog that is just a few days old. If you give a tiny dog a little bit of food or energy, then it becomes strong. The food that you have to give your weaknesses is light, an iota of light. Each time you see any kind of weakness inside your vital, mind or heart, try to feel that you are bringing light into it.
Although a weakness may be small, it has tremendous power in a negative way. You can think of jealousy and insecurity as tiny insects, but they bite and bite you ferociously. So do not try to discard your weaknesses; it is impossible. Just try to turn your weaknesses into strengths by using light in a positive way. If you are weak and unable to do the right thing, if you cannot pray or meditate soulfully because of insecurity, jealousy, impurity or some other weakness, just take your weakness as something very small and unhealthy. Then try to use light to make your weak parts grow strong so you can become a good, perfect instrument of the Supreme.
This light comes usually from the silence-life, from peace. And peace comes only when the mind is silent and the heart is pure. The mind’s silence and the heart’s purity go together. When the mind is absolutely silent, the heart automatically becomes pure. Again, when the heart becomes really pure, then the mind becomes completely silent.
Part IISCA 9-19. On 4 July 1994, after a special meditation for the American Independence Day, Sri Chinmoy invited questions from his disciples.
Question: For a disciple, is it better to know your love or to feel your love?Sri Chinmoy: To know my love is only book knowledge. From a book you will know how I love humanity. To feel my love is infinitely more important than to know my love. Again, from feeling you can know. If your heart makes you feel how much I love you, then from there you will try to convince your mind, “Guru does love me, although he smiled at somebody else and not me.” The feeling you have that I love you has to be brought from your heart into your hesitant or doubting mind. Once your mind is convinced of my love, automatically you will know it. So the best thing is to feel it, and then from the feeling to know my love.
Ordinary human beings who are not aspiring can only know from books that God loves them. Then, from that knowledge someday they can enter into the heart to feel God’s Love in their entire life. But once you accept the spiritual life, the story is different. Right from the beginning you have to feel God’s Love in your heart. No matter how many books you have read or you are going to read, you will never get the feeling of God’s Love or your Master’s love from books. If the heart does not support the feeling, then it does not last.
To come back to your question, it is infinitely, infinitely more important to feel my love than to know it. While knowing, you may get confused or doubtful. But while feeling, you are bound to make tremendous progress and eventually convince your mind that I love you. How can you feel my love? By virtue of your own prayers and meditations. And once you feel my love, for days and months you will be in another world. If you know my love from reading my writings or from hearing about it from others, that will not give you real satisfaction and it will not last. The knowledge of my love will not last. The feeling of my love is the only thing that lasts permanently or for a long, long time.
Question: How can spiritual people with leadership qualities come to the fore in American politics?Sri Chinmoy: First we have to ask if spiritual people with leadership qualities really want to enter into politics, where there is no mother, no father and everybody is an orphan. In a dark forest you do not find beautiful flowers. Spiritual people with leadership qualities should enter into politics only if they have inner light in abundant, if not boundless, measure and if they are confident of this inner light and feel that they will not be corrupted. So it all depends on the inner development of the spiritual people who have the capacity to become leaders of their countries.
Before they enter into politics, spiritual people have to be fully convinced inwardly that they will be able to transform the minds of other politicians. Right now, this is practically impossible since most politicians are unbearably cynical. They do not care for the spiritual life. Spirituality is something very foreign to them. Not only outwardly but also inwardly they belittle spirituality. At every moment they say they are most sincere, whereas their opponents are only telling lies. What is worse, they do not even trust themselves. If I do not trust you, no harm. But when I do not trust myself, I cannot go even one step forward.
Before spiritual people enter into politics, they have to be absolutely sure that they have enough light. They cannot just do their best and place the results at the Feet of God. This is for people who are primarily involved in the inner life. But spiritual people who want to help mankind have to know their capacity; they have to know how much light they have. Otherwise, the darkness of the world is such that they will only cause problems, leaving the ordinary masses more confused than they were to start with.
Right now, spiritual people have to pray and meditate more and acquire more light. Then the time will come for them to enter into the political arena to transform politics into a divinely inspired experience that will allow society to make progress in a very tangible way.
Question: How is it possible for us to gain the same spiritual benefit from playing your music as we do from singing your songs?Sri Chinmoy: There is a very simple, effective way. While you are playing my music, you have to inwardly sing the melody of the song, not loudly but most hauntingly. Either you yourself have to sing it in silence or you have to feel that somebody else is doing it — your own soul or a most talented singer whose voice you deeply appreciate and admire.
If you can feel that a most soulful, haunting voice is singing the piece that you are playing, the soulful singing will enter into your music and make it very sweet. I will give you an example. When I play the Invocation in the morning, inwardly I sing along with it. When I sing in silence, I get much more benefit than when I just play and do not sing. Many, many times when I play the Invocation I get such joy when I hear my voice from within. As soon as I sing, “Supreme, I bow to Thee, I bow,” my whole world — my entire inner and outer world — offers its aspiration and dedication.
There is a great difference between singing my songs most soulfully and singing them in an ordinary way. When you sing my songs soulfully, it melts my heart. Again, when you sing the same songs like a parrot, just producing the melody and words, there is such a big difference! It is like the difference between the heart’s illumination and the mind’s mental understanding.
Most of the time when a disciple-musician plays my music, I see that his mind is operating more than his heart. But if you can feel that your soul or some inner being of yours is most prayerfully singing the melody, definitely you are going to derive the benefit. At the same time, if you can be more prayerful and soulful while playing my music, you will derive much more spiritual benefit from your performance. Naturally, it is best if you can do both. If you can play soulfully and, at the same time, feel that your soul is singing the melody, it is like using two hands instead of one; you will get more benefit.
Question: You always ask us to claim you as our very own. Could you help me think about how to do it?Sri Chinmoy: It is not a matter of thinking. It is not even a matter of feeling. It is a matter of becoming. In India when they chant shivaham, shivaham — “I am Shiva, I am Shiva,” millions of times, they become one with the consciousness of Lord Shiva. By claiming over and over again that you are something, you become that thing.
When I say to claim me as your own, very own, this can be done only by repeating, “I have become my Guru’s chosen instrument. Therefore, I can claim my Guru as my own, very own.” Claim me, claim me, claim me; then the very thing that you are saying becomes real. Otherwise, one moment you will try to think and the next moment you will try to feel, and you will never achieve anything. But if you can say, “I have become my Guru’s chosen instrument. Therefore, I can claim him as my own, very own,” then you can discard all the dirty, filthy blankets — fear, doubt, anxieties, worries, depression and frustration — that you have unnecessarily put on your back.
This is the only way: by claiming and becoming. Just say, “I have become pure. I have become a chosen instrument.” You are not fooling yourself, you are actually growing into that reality. If you say, “I am pure, I am pure,” outwardly if somebody hears, he may mock you. He may say, “Oh, you are such a bad fellow!” But if you keep on repeating, “I am pure, I am good, I am divine,” then a good consciousness, a God-consciousness, becomes yours, for you become what you are repeating.
J. (age six): Where is God and why can't I see God?Sri Chinmoy: God is everywhere, but He spends most of the time inside your heart. In your house or apartment there are many rooms, but you spend most of your time either in the living room or in the meditation room or somewhere else. Similarly, God can be found everywhere, but His favourite place, where He spends most of His time, is inside your heart.
How can you see Him? Just look into a mirror and try to feel that the person you are seeing is God and nobody else. The person you are seeing in the mirror is definitely God!
Question: What do African-American and African people need most in order to overcome the obstacles that they're facing today? And in terms of bringing African-American disciples to the path and keeping them, what do we African-Americans need more of?Sri Chinmoy: As an African-American, you have to generate more love inside your own heart for other African-Americans who have not yet accepted the spiritual life. Previously, I used to say, “Think of other African-Americans as your little brothers. It is your bounden duty to bring them to the spiritual life, for that is the only life that will help them. No human being can ever find satisfaction unless and until he finds it in a spiritual way. Everything else will fail — in your case today, in his case tomorrow, in somebody else’s case the day after tomorrow.”
But now I am seeing that it is not enough to think of them as your little brothers, just a little inferior to you. No, now I am saying that you have to feel that they are part and parcel of your own body, only you have a little more light than they do. It is like this. You have two limbs. One limb is illumined and one is not illumined. In one part of your body you have illumination and in another part of your body you do not have it. Because of their proximity, the illumined part of your body can easily bring light to the unillumined part. So if you take it this way, definitely you will get better results.
If you see other African-Americans as separate individuals with a different consciousness, then it becomes far more difficult, for then you feel that they are so far away from you. If you feel that they are somewhere else — five thousand miles or even five metres away, then it becomes a very difficult task. But if you feel that they are right here inside your body, a part of your living existence, then it becomes much easier. Every day you are using parts of your own existence. With your eyes you are seeing; with your nose you are breathing. You have to feel that your brother and sister African-Americans are like that: part and parcel of your being that you are using every day in your multifarious activities. That is the only way you will be able to inspire them.
Question: Is Thomas Jefferson appreciated in the proper way today?Sri Chinmoy: Thomas Jefferson never was and perhaps never will be appreciated in the way God wanted him to be appreciated because gratitude was not, is not and never will be born in this world. No other President, no other American, has done or perhaps will ever do so much for the progress of the American consciousness as Thomas Jefferson has done. Countries other than America that have developed inner vision will appreciate Jefferson much more than America.
People who bring new light into the world never, never get the appreciation, admiration, adoration and love that they deserve — never! I am speaking not only of Jefferson but also of Krishna, Buddha and the Christ. Did the world appreciate them, admire them and love them — not to the extent that they needed, since they did not need anybody’s appreciation or admiration, but to the extent that they deserved? No, and this will never happen, because the kind of gratitude that is worthy of their light and their vision has not been born and never will be born on earth.
Jefferson’s vision elevated the consciousness of the world in the twinkling of an eye. The light that he wanted to show his country and the light that he wanted his country to bring forward was so badly misunderstood! He never got the appreciation that he so rightly deserved and he will never get it, because humanity does not have that kind of gratitude.
Question: How do you know that you are really giving from the soul and not just fooling yourself?Sri Chinmoy: If you give from the soul, you will not look to see whether or not the other person is receiving and you will not expect gratitude or appreciation from the other person. If you give something from the soul, you feel spontaneous joy just from the giving itself. You do not feel that you are giving something away; you are giving your smile or something else just because you feel an inner, spontaneous urge. When you are giving in an ordinary way, sometimes the idea of charity or a kind of superior feeling comes to your mind. You feel that you are superior because you are the one who is giving. But in real self-giving, you do not see the other person as somebody else, but rather as an extension of your own self. In giving yourself you are actually multiplying yourself. You are going from one to two. With your heart’s oneness you are creating another self that is exactly like you, and to that other self you are giving the same things that you have. With your own divinity, you are creating another divinity exactly like yourself — an exact prototype of your existence. It is like making another person in a factory. First you are making one person; then two, three, four, five persons; then countless persons.
Question: If you have problems with people in your daily dealings, how do you know when it is best to remain silent and when it is best to say something?Sri Chinmoy: The best thing is to pray and meditate most soulfully for ten minutes. Make your mind as silent as possible. Make your entire being so silent that if somebody dropped a tiny pin, immediately you would feel it. If you can make your mind absolutely quiet for five or ten minutes, then in your meditation you are bound to get the message whether outwardly you should advise that person or whether you should keep your proud mouth shut. The answer has to come.
If from within you get the message to speak, then you also need an additional prayer. You have to pray that you will keep your prayerful meditation-consciousness while you are giving the advice, for then your advice will be more effective. Again, you have to know that you may not be able to convince the other person. The other person may be so undivine that no matter how much inner wealth you offer him, even if your advice is coming from the very depths of your being, still he may not listen.
I do feel that I tell the right thing to my disciples, but very often they do not listen to me. Still, I know that I am right. In your case also, from the depths of your meditation if you get a message in the form of advice and someone does not listen, then do not blame yourself or doubt yourself. Do not feel, “Oh, perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps the message I got from within was not correct.” No, the message was correct, but the other person is not accepting the light. If he does not listen, then after a few days or a few months, if you get the same message from within, you can try to tell him again.
Question: How can we best embody your light when teaching your philosophy in a class?Sri Chinmoy: While you are teaching my philosophy in front of seekers, two things you have to do. Before you go to the class, meditate for at least fifteen minutes. There should be nobody around you — no colleagues, nobody. You have to feel that there is no one except you and my divinity. You are meditating on my divinity, which is also your divinity. My highest divinity and your highest divinity are the same.
Then, while you are speaking about my philosophy, you have to feel that I am speaking through you. And when you are looking at the students, you have to feel that they are really me. On the one hand, I am the talker, in and through you. On the other hand, I am the listener, in and through the audience. So, if you can feel that I am speaking through you and also listening to you, then you will get tremendous inner strength.
I am coming out of you and also I am entering into you. I am coming out of your heart and entering into the hearts of the seekers. Again, I am coming out of the seekers’ hearts and entering into you. Feel that like a rainbow I am going from you to the seekers and coming from the seekers back to you. Or you can feel that you are taking me to the world at large, and again, the entire world you are bringing back into yourself. From the inner world you are carrying me to the outer world, and from there you are bringing me back again. If you can feel my presence in either one of these ways, you will be able to inspire your students and also you will be able to inspire yourself in a most tangible, productive way. Then you will be able to make the fastest progress and also the people who have come to listen to you will be able to make the fastest progress.
Question: Should we think of happiness during our meditation?Sri Chinmoy: It is fine if you want to meditate on happiness. But if you think of the pleasure-life during your meditation and call it happiness, then it is like misusing a knife. Instead of cutting a mango and sharing it with others, you are only stabbing yourself. During your intense meditation if you are getting pleasure from undivine thoughts or cherishing wrong forces or ideas, then you are only increasing their intensity. So, be careful. When wrong thoughts come during your meditation, if you cannot control them, then just stop meditating. Go and drink a glass of water or do something else.
You have to ask yourself what you want from the spiritual life. If you want happiness, spirituality is the answer. But this happiness will come only if you are prepared to make the Supreme happy in His own Way. No matter how many ways God pleases you, you will not be happy if in one particular way you are still displeasing God. God is ready to make you happy in your own way over and over again, in hundreds of ways. But your soul’s love of God is such that if in even one way you fail to please Him, your soul will not be happy. And if your soul is not happy with your body, vital, mind and heart, you yourself can never be happy. Your soul wants to be extremely, extremely, extremely proud of you. If your body, vital and mind do the wrong things, your soul tries to discipline these unruly members of its family and inspire them.
You are in the spiritual life because you want happiness. If the spiritual life did not bring happiness, who would be such a fool as to practise spirituality? When you become in tune with God’s living Breath, when you enter into God’s Breath and become part and parcel of it, happiness becomes your inner and outer name and you get infinite ecstasy and infinite delight.
Part IIISCA 20-27. On A's birthday, 10 May 1994, Sri Chinmoy spoke about obedience and invited her to ask him a few questions.
Real meditation is to make your Inner Pilot happy through obedienceSri Chinmoy: Real meditation is to make your Inner Pilot happy through obedience. This is one meditation that is most effective: to listen to your Inner Pilot. If you listen to your Inner Pilot cheerfully at every second, then there can be no inner fever — no fear, doubt or jealousy — for you have no time to think of these things.
Question: Why do I like crows so much?Sri Chinmoy: In Russia they like crows; they feel that crows bring good luck. According to Indian tradition, the crow is very stupid. If a crow wants to hide a jewel, he keeps his eyes closed, thinking that if he does not see the jewel, then other birds will not be able to see it either. So much wisdom the crow has!
In Indian villages, it is said that when a crow flies overhead, it means that some calamity is about to take place in your life. Either somebody in your family is going die or some other unfortunate thing will occur.
When I was a young boy, there were many trees in front of our house. Two or three days before my father died, a crow would come to a very tall tree that stood by our house and cry pitifully, sometimes for ten or fifteen minutes at a time. In our case, it was quite obvious what calamity was about to take place. My father was so sick, and we all knew it was only a matter of days. So the crow was acting in accordance with Indian village tradition.
You can view this in two ways. One way is to take the crow as a bad omen and say to the crow, “Do you have to tell me that my father is dying?” Then you get mad and throw stones to make it fly away, but the crow only comes back. Another way is to feel that the crow is doing you a favour by warning you that something bad is about to take place. Then you can be more careful and alert. Now I feel it is a blessing if somebody tells me some calamity may take place, for I can pray and meditate and use my will-power to prevent it from happening. But in those days I did not have that attitude; I only surrendered to the unfortunate experience.
Question: If crows are so bad, is it the ignorance in me that enjoys watching them so much?Sri Chinmoy: Why do you have to call them bad? If somebody tells you that something bad is about to happen, then you can do something about it. In the Mahabharata, Narada warned Savitri that the man she wanted to marry, Satyavan, was supposed to live only for a year, but she still wanted to marry him. Then, during the whole year she was preparing herself by praying and praying.
Sometimes when people die unexpectedly in a plane crash or car accident, their dear ones feel sad because they did not have the opportunity to prepare themselves. Again, sometimes people feel sad when a dear one is lingering in the hospital for months and months in a coma. Outwardly they are showing sympathy and acting miserable, but inwardly they are saying, “For me to go to the hospital every day is so difficult! Why can my relative not die today!”
Anyway, you like crows. At one point you did have a crow incarnation, but from the crow incarnation you did not take human incarnation. The crow is there, but after the crow I am seeing something else. You could not be so faithful to the Supreme in me if you had not had a dog incarnation.
Question: I try to think of my Inner Pilot, yet I am constantly cherishing ignorance, which is flowing through me like my blood. What can I do?Sri Chinmoy: What can you do? You have proved that you can bring victory to your Inner Pilot. How many people on earth would have succeeded in doing what you did? How many would have said to those undivine people, the way you did, “I love my Inner Pilot, I love my Inner Pilot.” Out of 3,000 disciples, perhaps only five per cent would have survived if they had gone through what you went through. So did you not prove that you love the Supreme?
No matter how many times ignorance attacks you, your mantra is always, “I love my Inner Pilot, I love my Inner Pilot, I love my Inner Pilot.”
Question: But it doesn't just attack me; I seem to like ignorance.Sri Chinmoy: Ignorance is so bad! In some cases we do cherish ignorance; in other cases we do not, but somebody is making us feel that we are cherishing ignorance. A child may not like to eat a certain food, but the mother keeps on begging him to eat it or forces the food into the child’s mouth, saying, “It is very tasty; it is good for you.” Finally, the child becomes sick of hearing the mother and says, “Yes, it is very nice.”
You have already made your choice between ignorance and wisdom, but somebody is making you feel that you are cherishing ignorance.
Question: What can I do to expedite my progress? I'm not even talking about reaching God-realisation, but just getting rid of the ignorance that is flowing into me almost intravenously.Sri Chinmoy: Do you think that you are the only one suffering from that disease? Is your insecurity telling you this? Everybody is swimming in that sea, so you do not have the worry.
Question: The Supreme doesn't get sick of it?Sri Chinmoy: He does not get sick of anything. Since you joined the path, how many things you have done for manifestation! You are working twenty-four hours a day in Annam Brahma, plus you are giving me expressions so faithfully every day. I would have to come back into this world twenty more times to pay back my debt to you. But luckily, God has told me that I do not have to come back anymore, so that is my greatest consolation. In this incarnation, no matter how much I suffer, I can always be consoled by the thought that it is my last incarnation. It may be good or bad, but whatever it is, it is the last. Some spiritual Masters, during their last physical life on earth, withdraw very nicely; they do not enter into manifestation. It is too much for them. But that is not my way.
In a football game a player knows that whether he is winning or losing, at a certain point the game is going to come to an end. Then he is not going to play again. His whole body is so badly injured: his knee is fractured, his ankle is fractured, his shoulder is dislocated. He says, “I do not want to play anymore.” But there may be a little greed in him, so he continues to play just a little bit longer. Every time I ran a marathon, I took an oath never, never to run another one. O God, how nicely I kept my promise!
Question: What can I do to please the Supreme more?Sri Chinmoy: Why do you have to think of pleasing the Supreme more? Just think of the Supreme all the time, or whenever you can. Only sincere cheerfulness will help you. The Supreme is really pleased with you, but if you want Him to be more pleased, then when I see you at the tennis ground or at Annam Brahma, just express most sincere happiness. When you see me on the physical plane at Annam Brahma or somewhere else, sincere happiness should come from the very depths of your heart.
When you see me on the physical plane, you get joy. When you see me on the inner plane, you have to get the same joy. You think of the Supreme so many times during the day. Each time you think of the Supreme in me, pray to the Supreme in me or meditate on the Supreme in me, if you can get the same kind of inner joy and inner thrill as when you see me in the physical, then definitely you will expedite your inner journey and please the Supreme more.
Where were you brought up?
Akuli: I was brought up in Indiana.
Sri Chinmoy: Many years ago, long before you were spiritually born, I was invited to give a talk at a Lion’s Club or Rotary Club. Three different men wanted to introduce me. God alone knows who was supposed to introduce me, but the man who said he knew all about me pushed the others aside. When he was introducing me, instead of saying that I was born in Bengal, India, he said that I was born in Bengal, Indiana. Then they threw him out and somebody else came to introduce me.
Akuli, since you are so fond of crows, how many of them are in Queens?
Akuli: I'm lucky if I see three a day, but maybe there are 3,000 in Queens.
Sri Chinmoy: Pulak, how many?
Pulak: Maybe about 30,000.
Sri Chinmoy: Govinda, how many?
Govinda: Twenty thousand.
Sri Chinmoy: Of you three, who can proudly justify his number? Who will dare to tell us that he or she is absolutely sure?
Akuli: You have said that it’s not how many mangoes there are in the grove, but how they taste. So it’s not how many crows there are, but how much joy we get from them.
Sri Chinmoy: Chidananda is already getting joy. Without seeing the crows, he is getting joy, so he is more advanced than you are. You get joy only after you see a crow, but Chidananda does not have to see even one in order to get joy, so he is more advanced.
Akuli, do you know the silly Indian joke about how many crows there are? Somebody will say one figure, and somebody else will say another figure. One will challenge the other and say, “I know how many there are, but you count. However, if you get more than I said, that means that some of their relatives have come. And if you count fewer than the number I have said, that means some of them have gone to their relatives.”
So if you say 3,000 and it is more, that means that some of the relatives of the crows in Queens have come. But if there are fewer than 3,000, that means that some crows from Queens have gone to the Bronx to visit their relatives.
Question: I am such a bad singer and know so little about music. I was wondering if I ever had any musical incarnation.1Sri Chinmoy: Earthly music you have not studied. But there is something called Heavenly music, and that you have studied. You may not be able to appreciate the subtleties or ethereal qualities of earthly music; you may not be able to carry a tune. But your soul will be able to make your heart aware of very, very subtle and very, very delicate things in music, and your heart will be able to appreciate them.
Many great musicians in the West cannot appreciate subtle music when it is played. There are many, many excellent singers and excellent musicians, I tell you, who get nothing when they hear very subtle music. You can say it is because of insecurity or because of jealousy, or you can blame it on some wrong forces that have entered into them. But they lack the receptivity to appreciate the subtle feeling in the music. Then, by failing to appreciate, after a while they lose the faculty of appreciating. In your case, however, you are not identifying with the person or even with what he is playing, so you are able to receive more from the music than others can.
You do not know anything about music; you are not a musician or a singer. But when subtle music is played, your heart will appreciate it so much. At that time your appreciation is going not just to the person who is playing or singing, but directly to the Source — to the One who has given that particular individual the capacity to sing most soulfully or to play most soulfully or powerfully. So you are getting Blessings from God the Supreme Singer and God the Supreme Musician.
Outwardly nobody can understand music. Music is not something to understand. It is all a matter of feeling. There are many people, especially in the West, who have become good singers and good musicians mechanically — by training and training in a very disciplined, mechanical way. When these great musicians want to play or when they want to sing, they can do it very well. Their music may sound beautiful and soulful, but there is such a thing as counterfeit soulfulness. Their hands are moving and people are saying, “How soulful!” But it is because mechanically they have learned how to play soulfully. They have trained their mind or they have achieved a certain level of expertise that enables them to do it. But inside their music there is no soul, no feeling, nothing! They are playing so beautifully, but they are thinking of such rubbish, such mundane things — absolutely nothing spiritual. And in the inner world they are only quarrelling and fighting. Very often the listener, if he is in a soulful consciousness, is getting much more benefit from the music than the performer, for the performer is not embodying the soulfulness that he is expressing.
Sometimes we can reveal something without embodying it. For example, you may be telling the absolute truth, but your consciousness is not there. You have separated your consciousness from the truth itself. So while you are expressing the truth, you are not embodying the truth-consciousness. Only mechanically you are telling something that is correct. Because your expression is mechanical, you are not getting real blessings from the higher forces that are revealing the truth to you; you are not getting Blessings from God the Truth.
So, in your case and in the case of a few others who also are not singers or musicians, you are able to get something very high from music. When a singer or a musician does something very subtle, very soulful, silently you are appreciating it. You do not know which raga he is playing or whether he is playing Mozart, Bach, Chopin or Beethoven. You know nothing about the musical structure and you do not have to know. But your heart is going up because it is feeling something so soulful and powerful, whereas others who know all about music may be getting nothing because they have lost the ability to appreciate subtle music. And you are also getting more benefit than the performer, who may not be embodying the consciousness that he is revealing.
Again, there are some who know music very well and also have the ability to appreciate the very subtle, delicate aspects of music. They have the eagerness to dive deep within and continually learn. Some musicians, once they have learned something, do not want to learn anything more. They are afraid that if they learn more, people will think that they are borrowing or copying from somebody. So they are satisfied with what they already have. But someone who truly loves music and who is really great in music will never be satisfied with what he has. In the highest music world, our aspiration is constantly going up and our soulful and divine capacities are constantly increasing.
SCA 28. C. asked Sri Chinmoy this question on 9 February 1990, his birthday.↩
Self-sufficiency or God-sufficiency1I have read your marathon letter. I am such a “great man”! Usually when I get a marathon letter, I do not read the whole thing. I read the first line and then I use my occult power to know what the rest says. But in your case I have read each and every line.
You have made it very clear to me that you want to be self-sufficient. Unfortunately, good girl, I have a different philosophy. In my philosophy I only want to be God’s Compassion-sufficient. That is my prayer to God. People who try to be self-sufficient in the financial field, the spiritual field or any other field will never be happy. People who try to be self-sufficient on the physical, vital or psychic plane, or on any other plane, are bound to be miserable.
Ordinary people want to be self-sufficient by having more money or by having more houses. They think that the more material wealth they have, the more self-sufficient they will be. But when they have more money, they start doing all kinds of bad things. And if they have four houses, they will see that these houses are only creating more problems for them. Even on the spiritual plane, if someone wants to have more spiritual wealth — occult power and all those kinds of things — he will only create headaches for himself. So if you try to become self-sufficient, not only on the earthly plane but even on the Heavenly plane, you will end up miserable.
But if, through your prayers, your meditations, your selfless service, your gratitude and your surrender to God’s Will, you try to become more worthy of God’s Compassion, then at every moment you will be happy. You will get the inner assurance from God Himself that He will make you happy — not only today, but also tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
A disciple’s letter can be private, but the answer that I am giving applies to all of you. Your mind is telling you, “If I do this and become self-sufficient, then I will be secure; I will be happy.” But this is not true. You can become secure and happy only if you become more receptive to God’s Compassion. If you pray to God, “Make me worthy of Your Compassion; make me worthy of Your Love,” then one day you will be able to receive God’s real Love, real Light, real Compassion and everything else that God wants to offer you.
So, to all my disciples I am saying this: If you think your security depends on your own self-sufficiency, then you are sadly mistaken. No human being on earth can become really secure by becoming self-sufficient. This applies not only to spiritual people, but to everybody. It is your mind that tells you that if you get a Master’s degree or a Ph.D., then you will become secure. But while you are studying, so many bad forces will attack you. Then where is your security? Where is your happiness? But if you become God’s Compassion-sufficient, if you become worthy of God’s Compassion, then God will guide you at every moment. At that time God’s own Light will be your security.
You are projecting the future with your mind and saying, “If I become this, then I will get that.” But you may not get it, or there may be something else that will sidetrack you and push you away from your goal. You may think, “Perhaps this is not the right thing, so let me do something else,” and you will become unhappy again. Again, even if you do what you wanted to do and become what you wanted to become, still you will not be happy, because these things will not bring you the security and happiness that you expected.
So, good girl, if you want to be happy and secure, just try to be more receptive and more worthy of the Supreme’s Compassion. Try to accept God’s Compassion in God’s own Way. Inside God’s Compassion is infinite Peace, infinite Light, infinite Love. Your whole letter I have read and understood, and your whole letter I have answered. When you are saying that if you do this and that, then you will not have to worry about your finances and your future — all this I have understood. But you are making a mountain out of a molehill — a mountain that will only collapse. On the other hand, if you follow the divine way, if you allow Somebody else and Something else — God and God’s Compassion — to work in and through you, then you will see God’s Light operating everywhere in your life. And that Light is the only happiness and security.
SCA 29. Sri Chinmoy gave this talk in response to a letter he had received from E.↩
Question: Does my mind have any special message for me?1Sri Chinmoy: The mind goes through three main stages. First is the sleeping stage, when the mind is fast asleep. Then comes the stage when the mind is awakened, and finally there is the stage when the mind becomes illumined. Again, there are many levels within each stage, but these are the three main categories.
Definitely your mind is not asleep anymore. You are not in ignorance-sleep. Your mind is between the awakened stage and the illumined stage. When you are in the illumined mind, when your soul’s light is powerfully working in your heart and inside your mind, at that time you are saying the right thing to the right person and doing the right thing for the right person. You are telling the right person to do the right thing, but the wrong person you are not telling this. It is not because the wrong person is your enemy or because it is beneath your dignity to tell him. No, only the wrong person’s hour has not struck, and if you tell him to do what for somebody else is absolutely the right thing, it will only expedite the other person’s destruction.
Again, when you are just in the awakened mind, at that time you show kindness and sympathy to people who not only do not deserve it but also misuse what you are offering to them. You will say that once you are kind to them, your task is over. But you have to know that your kindness can be used in a very wrong way. If somebody comes to you and asks for a dollar, because you have a big heart you will give him the dollar. But you have no idea whether the person is good or bad, or what he plans to do with the money. Perhaps he will use it to take a subway or taxi to a church, where he will pray and meditate and try to become a better person. That is very good. Again, perhaps the person will go to a bar and drink and lower his consciousness. Then who is the culprit? You are so happy that you have shown your generosity and charity, but you have actually made a mistake.
You may try to escape by saying, “I did not know.” But an unconscious mistake is still a mistake, and it can produce bad results. Even if unconsciously I touch fire, I will still burn my hand. Similarly, unconsciously you have helped someone become worse than he otherwise might have been. If you had not helped that person, at least for a short while he would have been a slightly better person.
In your case I will give you an example of what is happening. You are showing compassion to people who are misusing it and thus heading towards even greater destruction. When some people give up their spiritual life, you feel sad and miserable. You feel that perhaps if you had not said this or if you had said that, they would not have left the spiritual path — as though you are responsible for their leaving. God cannot save that person from destruction, the Master cannot save that person; but you think that perhaps if you had done something or said something, in some way you could have prevented or delayed that individual’s departure. That is a real mistake. I am saying “you,” but this applies to many people.
It is far better to remain in the awakened mind than in the mire of ignorance-sleep. But the awakened mind may not always have the necessary wisdom to do the right thing. You are awakened to the point where you want to be kind and nice to people. I am not asking you to be indifferent to people — far from it! But kindness has to be accompanied by inner light. If kindness does not carry inner light, then it can be misused very badly.
The awakened mind believes in charity, patience, compassion and so on. Because it is awakened, it feels a vast consciousness entering into it. It is like what happens when somebody’s flower-heart blossoms; at that time the heart becomes big. So the awakened mind immediately looks to this side and that side and tries to do the right thing. Unfortunately, it does not always know what the right thing is or how to use its expanded consciousness correctly.
So it is always good to use the mind that has got direct light from the soul, which comes through the heart. That is the mind that will save you. If you cannot use the illumined mind, then try to remain between the awakened mind and the illumined mind. But do not remain directly in the awakened mind. If you have got a big mind, and with your big mind you are trying to be generous, kind and hospitable, then you will be in trouble.
I am catching your mind; you have made mistakes. You have to know that, when the hour strikes, people come; and again, when the hour strikes, people go. We cannot make them stay on the spiritual path. It is very difficult, because our heart’s magnanimity comes to the fore and we want to use kindness. We see that so-and-so has been with us for so many years. For years and years somebody was on the top of the tree eating most delicious fruit. Now that particular person has come down, and there is every possibility that a hungry wolf or tiger will be waiting at the foot of the tree to devour him. But what can we do? Only at the top of the tree can he be safe.
I tell you, I make the same mistake; but in my case, I do not give up. In your case, you make the mistake and after two days you give up. But because I deal with the soul, I struggle and struggle and struggle. Some people who left our path ten or twelve years ago still very kindly show up at my heart’s door. At that time, my door is still not closed. Are you thinking of someone who left the path ten years ago? For you, enough is enough. But I go on trying to help them.
SCA 30. Question asked by N. on 31 December 1986.↩
Gratitude1A glass mirror is brittle. If it drops, it breaks into pieces. But I have come to realise that a mirror has a longer lifespan than the gratitude of human beings. In order for a mirror to break, it has to drop either from Heaven or from a few feet above the ground. So it takes time — a few seconds. But it does not take even a fleeting second for human ingratitude to come to the fore.
If anything can disappear sooner than the soonest from our heart, then that thing is nothing other than our gratitude. Again, if anything on earth is really beautiful, really meaningful and really fruitful, if anything on earth can sustain our golden connecting link with God, our Source, then that very thing is also gratitude. Dear ones, I am telling you, if you have an iota of sincere gratitude and if you preserve that gratitude as the most precious thing in your life, then the breath of that gratitude will keep you alive in the Heart of God, your Lord Supreme. You people misbehave and torture your Master in so many ways; sometimes you even want to give up the spiritual life. But I assure you, if you keep gratitude alive in your heart, the beauty and fragrance of that divine quality will save you from your spiritual downfall and destruction.
I am speaking about sincere gratitude — the kind of gratitude whose living presence you can only feel inside your heart. If you feel that gratitude is your inner name and also your outer name, if you feel that your only name is gratitude, then immediately your gratitude will jump to the fore and establish its inseparable oneness with your God-oneness-reality.
Gratitude is a most powerful weapon in your life. There is nothing undivine that you cannot get rid of by virtue of the gratitude in your life. Again, there is nothing divine in your life that you cannot increase in boundless measure on the strength of your gratitude. There is only one thing that you need in order to increase your divinity, and that thing is gratitude. If every day you consciously strengthen your gratitude — not to Sri Chinmoy but to the Supreme, who is your Guru, my Guru and everybody’s Guru — you will see how much progress you will make and how many wrong forces you will be able to get out of your system. I tell you, all the physical, vital, mental and emotional fever that you are suffering from comes from the fact that you have lost your heart’s gratitude-breath. If your heart’s gratitude-breath is functioning well, then keep it so forever. This is unmistakably the right way to run fast, faster, fastest to the destined Goal.
Gratitude is not a mere word; it is not a mere concept. It is the living breath of your real existence on earth. There is nothing that God will not do for you if you really treasure the gratitude-breath inside your aspiring heart. Please, please, to each and every one of you I am telling this: If you want to run the fastest, then discard the thing that is delaying you. The thing that is making you lame or paralysed in your spiritual life is ingratitude. If you can always maintain your gratitude-breath, then nothing can stand in your way and nobody can prevent you from doing the right thing and becoming the right person: the most perfect instrument of our Lord Beloved Supreme.
Gratitude, gratitude and gratitude. The soul you do not know; the Supreme you do not know. And at this stage in your spiritual development you do not have to know them. But gratitude you do have to know if you want to connect yourself with your own Highest, with the Supreme. If you want to connect yourself with the Real in you, then your gratitude-breath you have to claim as your own, very own.
SCA 31. Sri Chinmoy gave this talk on 16 January 1994.↩