Sri Chinmoy answers, part 10
The seeker, the aspirant and the God-lover1I would like to speak about the difference between the seeker, the aspirant and the God-lover. The seeker can pray or meditate from the heart, the mind, the vital and the physical. But the aspirant wants to pray and meditate only from the heart. The aspirant feels that the prayer and meditation that is in the heart and from the heart offers the shortest and quickest way to the Goal.
There is also a difference between the seeker and the God-lover. The seeker prays and meditates most devotedly and soulfully to reach the highest Height, where he will be able to see God face to face. But the God-lover wants God to come and stay in his heart-garden so that both of them can sing, play and dance there.
The difference between the aspirant and the God-lover is this: the real aspirant has a set goal, but if he becomes a victim to unaspiring forces and comes down one step from his level of consciousness, then his whole world collapses. He wants to overcome all the unaspiring forces in his life. But if he fails, he does not want to be exposed in front of others; he does not want them to see his shortcomings. He wants to maintain his spiritual height in their eyes and keep his spiritual dignity. So if he makes a mistake, if vital forces attack him and he descends, then he is miserable and embarrassed to the extreme.
The sincere God-lover also has his highest Goal. But unlike the aspirant, the God-lover is always happy and cheerful no matter what happens. Even if he fails every day in various things, he does not get sad and depressed. As long as his love of God is solid, he is happy; his love of God is more important to him than anything else. He is running fast, faster, fastest. If he stumbles and injures himself because of his carelessness or negligence, he does not give up. He knows that in due course his injuries will be cured and he will be able to run again. So no matter how many times he fails, no matter how many times he does stupid things or enters into undivine worlds, his love of God is so great that he is ready to stand up again. He feels that his only job is to love God devotedly, self-givingly and unconditionally. He knows that if he really loves God, then his millions of failings and shortcomings will never make God sad, for it is God's bounden Duty to perfect him.
The aspirant does not feel this way. If the aspirant is injured, he curses and blames himself. If something goes seriously wrong with his aspiration, if he has not achieved his goal by a certain date that he has set, then he becomes displeased with himself and angry with God; he feels that God has not been just to him. Then he is ready to leave the spiritual life and enjoy a short or a long vacation. But the real God-lover goes on and goes on, no matter how many mistakes and Himalayan blunders he makes, because his love of God is infinitely stronger than his multifarious weaknesses. In every possible way, the God-lover is far superior to the God-seeker and the God-aspirant. We should all try to be God-lovers.
SCA 366. 10 May 1996↩
Part IISCA 367-375. On 18 January 1996, during a Peace Concert tour in South Africa, Sri Chinmoy gave a press conference at the South Beach Holiday Inn in Durban. This is a transcript.
Question: Could you please tell us a little about your philosophy and your way of life?Sri Chinmoy: Everybody is a seeker of truth and a lover of God — either consciously or unconsciously. In our case, we belong to the first category. Consciously, sleeplessly and breathlessly we are trying to be God-seekers and God-lovers.
There are many good things and many undivine, unaspiring things in our nature. We try to increase and multiply our good qualities and, at the same time, on the strength of our prayers and meditations, we try to decrease and eventually eliminate our undivine qualities. We are not trying to destroy our bad qualities; only we want to transform and illumine them. Darkness has to be transformed into light. The ignorance that we have been cherishing from time immemorial must be illumined.
According to our traditional Indian philosophy, God is the Creator, God is the Preserver and God is the Destroyer. But we feel that God, being the Author of all Good and the Source of Compassion infinite, cannot and will not actually destroy His creation. We feel that, at His choice Hour, He transforms anything within us that is not aspiring and makes it divine, illumining and fulfilling. So there is no such thing as destruction, but only illumination and transformation, which take place at God's choice Hour.
On our path we give due importance to the physical life. Inside the physical is the soul, which is the direct representative of God. The body is the temple, and inside the temple is the soul, the shrine. Both the shrine and the temple must be kept in proper order. We feel that our inner life of aspiration and our outer life of dedication must go side by side. Like the flower and its fragrance, they cannot be separated; they have to be taken as two complementary realities. My students practise meditation and follow the spiritual life, and at the same time, they have their respective jobs. We live in the world and we live for the world.
Question: Most people in this area of South Africa suffer a lot because of daily violence. I am interested to hear your views on the causes of violence and any message that you might have as to what we can do about it.Sri Chinmoy: The causes of violence are the divisions created by the mind. The mind always separates; it gets tremendous satisfaction in dividing reality. Because it sees itself as separate from others, the mind always wants to exercise supremacy over others. Inside the mind is restlessness, which eventually becomes destruction. Long before violence is manifested on the outer plane, it takes place in the form of thoughts inside the mind.
If we listen to our mind when it tells us to strike someone, at that time the mind becomes our lord. But there is always something within us that reminds us that we have another boss: the heart. Unlike the mind, the heart only wants to establish intimacy and oneness with others; it gets satisfaction not in division but in unification. The heart tells us, "By destroying someone you will never get even an iota of joy, but by loving that person you will get abiding joy." So we have to pray and meditate to silence our restless mind and to illumine our unaspiring mind. If we can transform the mind and live in the heart, then there can be no violence.
Question: Are your Peace Concerts political in any way?Sri Chinmoy: There are many ways to bring about world peace. My way is to pray and meditate and offer meditative Peace Concerts. I am a total stranger to politics and I do not enter into the political arena. I have love for all human beings, so I love politicians, too. But I do not dare to say anything about their political views.
I have been practising spirituality since my childhood. I am a man of prayer. I am a student of peace. I devote myself to the art of self-discovery and I ask my students to do the same. People come to me when they are hungry for inner peace, inner light and inner bliss. Many, many times politicians — along with others from various walks of life — have come to pray and meditate with me or have remained in a meditative consciousness while I have played instruments and sung.
Question: As a Hindu, I believe that the ultimate Truth is God-realisation. How do we reach our goal?Sri Chinmoy: God-realisation is a most difficult subject. We can say that it is like climbing up not one but countless Himalayas. Millions and billions of people are living on this planet, but how many have dared to climb up the Himalayan mountains? Most of us do not dare to even try; we feel that it is impossible for us. Fortunately, we do not have to justify our existence on earth by physically climbing up the Himalayas, but the inner mountains we all have to climb. God will not allow any human being to remain unrealised.
In the outer life there are many obstacles that we have to surmount. Every day, in the hustle and bustle of life, we face many challenges. If we do not accept all the challenges, no harm. If we do not like athletics, for example, it is not necessary to play soccer or to try and become the world's fastest runner. We do not have to participate in the outer race for our evolution or for our individual growth. But even if we do not consciously participate in the outer race, we have to know that our mind is always racing and racing aimlessly — like a mad elephant. It goes this way and that way and, at the same time, it builds solid walls that divide us from others.
There is also an inner race — to our inner goal. Christians call that goal salvation. Buddhists call it illumination. Hindus call it God-realisation. We believe that each individual shall realise God at his own special time. When my hour strikes, God will definitely bless me with God-realisation; when your hour strikes, God will bless you with God-realisation.
If God-realisation is our goal, then the first and foremost necessity on our part is to pray and meditate regularly. Again, we have to know what we are praying for. Are we praying to God for money to buy one house, two houses, three houses? If we have a car, are we praying for a second car or a third car? If we are praying to God to bless us with more material possessions, then we are still in the desire-life and God-realisation remains a far cry.
There is another way, which we call the life of aspiration. In the aspiration-life, we pray to God to give us only what we truly need, not what we want. The highest form of prayer in the aspiration-life is to say: "God, You know what I actually need. If it is Your Will to bless me with the things that I truly need, then at Your choice Hour do bless me with those things. If You do not want to give me anything, that also is up to You. I want only to please You in Your own Way."
When we are in the aspiration-world, we pray to God to give us the capacity to please Him in His own Way. When we do this, we are walking along the right road. God-realisation comes at the right moment, provided we walk along the right path. So if we can pray and meditate to please God in God's own Way, definitely God-realisation will dawn on us.
Question: Do you work also in a political way to bring about peace?Sri Chinmoy: I do not want to deal with politics, which is the world of the mind. I want only to live in the heart and discover a sea of peace in each and every country. A few countries are fighting wars today; tomorrow some other countries may engage in war. People proclaim, "We shall never again enter into war." But as long as we live in the mind that is not properly illumined, there will always be conflicts and wars. The mind may remain silent for a few days, a few months or even a few years, but the very nature of the mind is to try to exercise its supremacy.
I will not dare to try to solve the problems in Bosnia and other places by exercising political means. I have my own way, which is to pray and meditate to bring about peace. In no way will I condemn those who follow other ways. Politicians are all my brothers and sisters, and we are aiming at the same goal. If they can arrive at the goal before us, I will be the happiest person. Or, after reaching the goal, if they ask us to walk along with them, definitely we shall abide by their request. But, right now, we feel that they have their way and we have our way. God alone knows which way is best! But we feel, in the inmost recesses of our heart, that the way of prayer and meditation is best for us.
Question: Do you feel that people in the world are moving further away from leading a spiritual life, or do you feel that there is a gradual awakening towards spirituality?Sri Chinmoy: It is my own personal conviction that people are more awakened and that they are turning more towards light than before. There was a time twenty or thirty years ago when peace was only a dictionary word. People used the word, but they did not mean it; they did not even care to know what it meant. But now there are many people on earth who most sincerely believe in peace and want to lead a life of peace. We are still not fully awakened, but now at least we sincerely feel the supreme necessity of world peace.
So the world is progressing in the way it is accepting peace and light. Some individuals are consciously accepting this message, while others are unconsciously accepting it. Still others are not aware of it and do not care for it. But if we are talking of the majority, then I have to say in all sincerity that more people are turning towards light than before.
Question: What inspired you to follow this path of peace?Sri Chinmoy: When we pray and meditate, there comes a time when we get an inner message. We can say that something within us prompts us to do something. I have been praying and meditating for many years. From deep within an inner Voice, which we call the Voice of the Inner Pilot or God, commanded me to be of service to Him by offering my prayers and meditations to the world at large and sharing with others the message of peace.
Here we are all students of peace. Peace is a common subject that we are all studying in the same school — the school of our heart. Whatever I have learned with regard to peace, I have come here to share with you. At the same time, I have come to learn from you. I am not only a teacher but also a student. I am still learning and learning, for peace is a subject that is vaster than the vastest.
Question: You mentioned the struggle between the heart and the mind. In an area such as KwaZulu Natal, where so many people have been killed and where people's hearts have actually been hardened or broken, is it much more difficult for them to follow the right path than for others who are leading a more peaceful or ordinary life?Sri Chinmoy: It entirely depends on the individual. Those who are denied peace by outer circumstances or by undivine human beings often have a greater inner hunger for peace than those who have found an iota of peace or abundant peace. People who suffer unnecessarily are more likely to pray to God and receive His Light than those who already have some peace of mind. So while the more fortunate ones may be wallowing in the pleasures of the limited peace that they already have found, individuals whose suffering has led them to develop an intense inner cry for world peace and harmony may be blessed with abundant peace sooner by God. When innocent victims cry from the inmost recesses of their heart, their cry is bound to melt the Heart of God.
But the question arises whether someone is really hungry for peace or whether he has simply surrendered to his fate. Some individuals lose faith in God or in their inner existence when their relatives are killed by undivine human beings. They say, "My dear ones did nothing wrong. If God has infinite Compassion, why did He allow them to be killed?" These individuals may inwardly revolt and say God is not active or dynamic, that God is perhaps sleeping. Again, they may become furious that their dear ones have been attacked and go to the length of saying: "There is no God!"
Unfortunately, these people do not look for light. They do not pray for the light to illumine those undivine human beings who have attacked their dear ones. If they did, then God would definitely change the mental attitude of those undivine human beings. The victims' sincere cry for the illumination of the wrong-doers would reach God's Heart. So if we pray to God in the right way, then those who have done wrong things and also those who may do wrong things in the near future will be illumined.
Question: I have found that music can change people, although I am not speaking about political change. I would like to hear your views on music.Sri Chinmoy: We have to know whether we are talking about the music that tends to destroy our nerves and subtle bodies, or prayerful music that gives us pure joy and inspires us to become good citizens of the world. Prayerful and soulful music is definitely going to help us bring about world peace and establish oneness in the world community, for that music has a special appeal to the heart. It awakens and deepens our longing for a better life. When we play or listen to divine music, or when we sing divine songs, it becomes easier for us to see the light within us. It also helps us increase that light and bring it to the fore so we can transform the darkness that the mind has and is.
Part IIISCA 376-377. On 25 May 1996, Sri Chinmoy answered a few questions from the television producer and writer Joel Martin.
Question: Do messages that people receive from their departed ones have any value for us here on earth? And can you share with the general public any such messages that you may have received?Sri Chinmoy: Such messages do have value for us, especially when we are on earth. The departed souls have many things to teach us. Unfortunately, many, many times we do not listen to them, just as they did not listen to their friends and dear ones while they were on earth. Even when they give us messages from Heaven or from a high plane of consciousness, quite often we will not listen to them.
My dear brother-friend Joel, on the outer plane I am not a millionaire and I shall never become one because God does not want me to. But on the inner plane, in terms of inner experiences, I am a multimillionaire; I have received millions of experiences from the departed souls. But I cannot share these experiences with the public. On the strength of my personal realisation of the highest Truth, I have a free access to the departed souls, no matter how great or how unimportant they were. But I do not misuse my capacity. I just abide by the dictates of my Inner Pilot. Only when He wants me to communicate their messages do I faithfully and devotedly obey Him.
Question: What does a spiritual teacher or learned person such as yourself say to a Western-trained scientist who dismisses the idea of receiving messages from the dead as imaginary or hallucination?Sri Chinmoy: There are many things on earth that outwardly we cannot prove. But just because we do not have the means to know something, we cannot say that that thing does not exist. Let us say that I have eaten a most delicious mango. If you say "Prove it!" how will I do so? My joy is in eating, not in proving. If a scientist wants to prove something, he takes us into the laboratory. If we want to prove something on the spiritual plane, we have to take the scientist into the inner world. To enter into the inner world we need a ticket. It is like flying from New York to India. Without a ticket we cannot go. Similarly, without prayer and meditation — which is our inner ticket — we cannot go into the inner world. Is there any scientist ready to pray and meditate like a true seeker and God-lover? If so, he will see that communication with beings of other worlds is unmistakably real.
Scientists get tremendous joy in proving their theories, but a spiritual Master gets joy only by breathlessly and sleeplessly obeying the dictates of the Absolute Lord Supreme. He can easily communicate with the departed souls, and he can do many other things. If others do not see it or believe it, the Master does not mind in the least. Real spiritual Masters have not come into the world to prove the authenticity of their capacities; they have come into the world to serve God. May the scientists get joy through their way of approaching their reality-destination! May the spiritual Masters get joy by arriving at their destination in their own inimitable way!
Part IVSCA 378-388. On 19 February 1996, Sri Chinmoy met with the Japanese composer and concert pianist Masanobu Ikemiya at Annam Brahma Restaurant in Queens, New York. These questions were asked by Mr. Ikemiya and his friends.
Question: When you play different instruments, are you expressing different qualities?Sri Chinmoy: Each instrument has its own unique soul. Again, each time we play an instrument, the soul of that particular instrument expresses a different quality. Again, while we are playing an instrument or singing, every minute or two and sometimes every second, our own soul can bring to the fore a different quality. The soul can change its garments very rapidly. This moment it wears one garment; the next moment it wears a different one. But it is not actually a garment; it is the soul's fragrance that is changing.
This moment, while you are playing, your soul-flower is offering a soulful or prayerful fragrance. Then something happens in your consciousness, and the soul-flower offers a different fragrance. It is not that the music or melody are changing, no! Your own consciousness is changing, so your soul is expressing or manifesting another quality. The soul has countless qualities, and which one it expresses at any moment depends on the consciousness of the performer.
Question: Do you feel this when you play?Sri Chinmoy: In my case, I try to become the embodiment of what my soul wants to express. I may play all wrong notes, but my soul does not care. My soul does not care for my perfection. It cares only for my prayerfulness and soulfulness. It cares only for how much mental purity I have and for how much psychic oneness I have established with my inner life. The soul does not care for technique at all; only it sees how much I am in tune with it in the inner world.
Question: As a pianist, sometimes I am so caught up with technique that I lose the soul or forget what I am trying to say.Sri Chinmoy: If you can meditate for three or four minutes before you play, your mind will be inundated with light. Then your mind will be clear and confusion will not dare to enter into it. At that time, you do not have to think of the technique; it will come automatically. Everything comes from light — even technique. The light will pull the technique.
If the owner or manager of a restaurant asks one of his workers to do something, immediately the worker will try to please him. Similarly, when you embody light, the light within you will command the technique to perform for you, and you will go far beyond the domain of technique. Now you are thinking about technique; you are begging it to serve you. But at that time, technique will be dying to serve you and please you because you are the boss.
Spending a minute or two in silence is like putting money in your pocket. If you have money in your pocket, in the supermarket you can buy anything you want. When you meditate for two or three minutes, you accumulate inner wealth — peace, light and bliss. Then, as soon as you stand in front of the audience — before you play even — spontaneously you are sharing this wealth with them. So before you even start to perform, you have already pleased your audience. Then, even if you play wrong notes, they will be sympathetic towards you.
It is like a mother and her child. The child makes a million mistakes when he plays an instrument, but the mother thinks, "Oh, it is so excellent!" The mother's love for the child makes her feel that whatever the child does is perfect. So if you distribute your inner wealth before you play, the audience is not going to judge you because it is already satisfied. You can play anything you want and the audience will be pleased.
When I play for my students, they do not care how many mistakes I make. Why? Because before I play, I meditate with them and we establish our oneness with one another. So right from the beginning there is mutual satisfaction. At that time, they are so inwardly happy and satisfied that no matter how bad my outer performance is, their mind and heart are happy. And when you are happy and filled with inner delight, you do not see any mistakes. When you are in a very high state of consciousness, nothing affects you; everything is joy.
It is like a host trying to please his guests as soon as they come in. If the host stands at the door and gives them a flower or a smile and talks to them, then half the battle is won. No matter what else he does, everything is perfect because he has already conquered the hearts of his guests. But if the guests are pouring in and the host is somewhere else, they will say, "Look at this! He is so callous and irresponsible!"
Question: All of us before going on stage are so nervous, but we don't show it.Sri Chinmoy: Everybody has nervousness, but by virtue of prayer and meditation you can conquer nervousness — to a great extent or completely. In addition to prayer and meditation, there is also something you can do on the practical level. Instead of seeing a thousand people in the audience, imagine that there is only one person, one listener. Then feel that this one person is not even a musician. He is not somebody who will find fault with you; he is just an ordinary person. Since you are an infinitely better musician than he is, why do you have to worry? Or feel that he is your greatest admirer and you are playing for him out of sheer compassion. You should do this not in an aggressive way but in a sympathetic way. So from a thousand people in the audience, bring the number down to one person, and feel that that person is your most sincere admirer.
Question: I have trouble organising my life. It takes so much time to pay bills and do the everyday things in life that there is not enough time for music. There is so much junk in my life; it is just like my mind. I would like to have a much more simple life, but to live in this world I need to do so many things.Sri Chinmoy: You have to have silence, not sound. Sound can be silenced by silence itself. When you meditate, there is tremendous silence. On the surface there are huge waves, but the waves are only a very small part of the ocean. At the bottom of the ocean there is deep silence.
You are talking about paying bills and so many other things that you have to do. You have to think of these things as monkeys that are biting you; they are not biting your body but your mind. If you pick up a big solid stick, the monkeys become frightened and stop biting you. In this case, the stick is your inner silence. When you keep your mind absolutely quiet, you will know what is most important. You are a musician and not a secretary or a politician. If you do not answer certain letters, your world will not collapse. But if you do not pay attention to your music first and foremost, then you will be the real loser. Again, you have to be practical and pay your bills. But the money for this comes from your music. So always you have to go to the source. Music is the source of your inner life and also the source of your outer life.
If you pay utmost attention to your music, from your music-world you will get tremendous joy. Then, if you are happy, you will pick up a particular letter that came three months ago or six months ago and answer it. But if you are unhappy, you are not going to touch anything. So first you have to derive joy from your music. Then, once your mind is inundated with joy, everything else will come easily. But if you do not do first things first, which in your case is music, then everything will go wrong.
I have one particular song that is the source of all my musical pieces; it is called The Invocation. I sing The Invocation every day, as well as play it and listen to it on tape. Before that I meditate. All my disciples early in the morning also sing that song in front of their shrines. Then their outer world and inner world become in tune with the universal harmony. For me and my students, the highest type of music is meditation. Life without meditation is out of tune with the inner harmony.
Question: How do you have the same amount of inspiration every day?Sri Chinmoy: In my case, I am dealing with the Source, which is inexhaustible. Every day I am entering into my heart-garden, where there are so many beautiful and fragrant flowers. If every day we enter into our heart-garden by virtue of our prayer and meditation, we will constantly get a fresh supply of inner beauty and inner purity. If we cannot enter into the inmost recesses of our heart, if we just enter into the mind-jungle, we will only occasionally find flowers. To have flowers all the time, we have to enter into the heart. The heart is all freshness and newness because of its oneness with the universal spirit. Every day it offers us a newly blossoming dawn.
Question: Some days I feel so down and other times I am up high.Sri Chinmoy: One day we climb up the life-tree and another day we climb down. We have to be wise. When we climb up to the top of the tree, we have to feel that we are plucking the fruits. Then, when we are coming down, instead of feeling miserable, we have to feel that we are distributing the fruits that we collected. There is a joy in achieving and there is a joy in giving. So when we are up, we are achieving; when we are down, we are giving. But if we do not take that attitude, then when we are down we feel miserable because we have nothing to do. No, we do have something to do — we have to share our wealth with the rest of humanity!
Question: Is giving as important as achieving?Sri Chinmoy: If the father gives the child a piece of candy and the child gives the father a sweet smile, that smile will conquer the father's heart. For the child, his smile is all he has. So when he smiles at the father, he is giving the father all his wealth.
When we follow the spiritual life, we come to realise that we never give anything to a third party; the giver and the receiver are the same person. God is in everybody. This moment God is playing the role of the giver inside me, and the next moment He is playing the role of the receiver inside you. Then it is reversed. It is like taking from the left hand and giving to the right hand. Again, God the giver cannot be happy unless God the receiver takes what is offered. When the father gives something to the child, if the child does not take it, the father will feel sad. But when the child takes and is happy, the father is also happy. So it is reciprocal happiness, in which the giver and the taker are of equal importance.
If you are playing a masterpiece and the audience is not receptive, then you are very sad. Only if the audience is very, very attentive and receiving joy from your playing will you also get tremendous joy. So the joy has to be mutual. Everything in life we have to share. What you have, you have to share with me. What I have, I have to share with you. Otherwise, there is no happiness.
Question: So sharing gives joy to everybody, and I am the one who has to start activating this?Sri Chinmoy: Somebody has to start. In a relay race there will be four people. But one has to start. If everybody starts at the same time, everybody will collide and it will be chaos. One completes the circle around the track and then the next one starts. The whole world is going around like this. But one has to start with his self-giving heart.
Question: So many people in this country do not care for music or poetry or dance anymore. They do not see value in it. Do you think it will change?Sri Chinmoy: It is only a matter of time. The eagerness and self-giving of the musicians, poets and artists will eventually conquer the public's restlessness or unwillingness. If the performer has readiness, willingness and eagerness, then he is bound to win over the heart of the audience. Right now the audience is like a naughty child, but if the mother is extremely kind-hearted and has infinite patience, eventually the mother is going to win. The mother's compassionate tears or her smile will eventually conquer the heart of the child.
Question: That is how we have to deal with our own mind, too!Sri Chinmoy: Exactly! In everything we do, we need patience. In the beginning, when a child tries to stand up, he falls down again and again. After falling down a number of times, he could say, "No, I am not going to try to get up anymore." But he has a tremendous inner urge to walk. He sees his father, mother and elder brother all walking and he, too, wants to go forward. The patience that a child exercises unconsciously, a grown-up has to exercise consciously.
For a child patience is natural because he is all the time in the heart. But because adults live in the mind, they have to try so hard to get back those heart-qualities. When we are in the mind, everything becomes crooked and distorted. So we have to bring the unruly mind under the control of the heart.
Part VSCA 389-394. Questions answered on 26 May 1996.
Question: Guru, did you have many high experiences before God-realisation?Sri Chinmoy: I had quite a few experiences before I became aware of my God-realisation. I have already written about a few of these experiences. One of my highest was the time I wanted to leave earth, and Mother Earth was asking me to stay here to work for manifestation. The experiences that I wrote about in my poems "The Absolute" and "Immortality" were also extremely high experiences.
I also had a high experience just three months after I entered the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The young boys and girls in the Ashram had to do selfless service, and my job was to work in the paddy field. While I was working in the paddy field, I noticed that one of the mango trees was bending down. I just looked at the tree and everywhere in the tree — in all the fruits and leaves — I saw my Lord Krishna. Krishna was here, Krishna was there; everywhere I was seeing Lord Krishna! Before that, I was not thinking of Krishna at all; I was meditating on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. But when I saw Lord Krishna everywhere, I was so thrilled. My dearest boyhood friend was right beside me. I was telling him, "Look, look, look at what I am seeing!" He had such love for me that he did not think of challenging me or saying that it was a mental hallucination. But he himself did not see anything. This experience I will never forget.
Another time, while I was meditating inside the Ashram meditation hall, my inner being was going up high, higher, highest. I was absolutely swimming in the sea of ecstasy. I said, "I can never go higher than this." I was so satisfied with that height. O God, then I saw that this height was only the starting point! In a fleeting second, I went even higher. Like this, it went on for about twenty minutes or half an hour. Each time I reached a new height, the human in me was so satisfied. The human in me said, "It is enough, enough, enough!" But I was still going up. Each time I reached a particular height, which more than satisfied the human in me, the divine in me gave me a push to go again higher. That particular experience I will also never forget!
I have told many times about how Mother Saraswati gave me all her wisdom and inner capacities. She came down and played for me and then broke her vina into pieces and emptied it into me. I was in my very, very highest consciousness at the time.
These inner experiences helped me considerably. Once you get this kind of high, solid experience, then you know you are safe and that one day you will realise absolutely the Highest. But when you fully realise your height and it becomes settled, many of these earlier experiences disappear. If you want to remember even the minor experiences, you can; but usually you discard them. If you get thousands of hundred-dollar bills, you will not start counting your dimes, nickels and pennies. After you get realisation, you feel that most of these experiences were so silly — like tiny drops. Even the highest experiences you get before God-realisation are like tiny drops! This is what happens.
Question: Are inner experiences a prerequisite to God-realisation or are they not at all necessary?Sri Chinmoy: Some people are blessed with hundreds of experiences or even more. Some people get ten or twenty experiences. Again, some people may have only a few major experiences before God-realisation, but those experiences are most important in their life. So it depends on the individual. But usually one gets at least four or five major experiences before achieving God-realisation or remembering the God-realisation that one had attained in a previous incarnation.
Again, some people get major experiences that last for days or weeks, and then their consciousness descends and for a long time they do not get any high experiences. At that time they feel absolutely miserable. Vivekananda used to go through dry periods that lasted for as long as six months. But he used to play a kind of trick on himself. He used to remind himself of the highest experiences that he had in the past, when Sri Ramakrishna had touched him on the head, and he would make himself feel that he was having those experiences again. For a half hour, an hour or two hours he was only imagining, imagining and imagining. He had such tremendous will-power that those experiences became vivid and alive, and he was able to live inside them once again.
So if you are not getting any inner experiences now, try to remember the experiences that you have already had and use your imagination-power to bring them back. Then, not only will those experiences come back, but they will help you go forward into another experience, which will be infinitely stronger, more illumining and more beautiful.
One does not need fifty or a hundred inner experiences to achieve God-realisation, but experiences definitely help. While we are walking along Eternity's Road, if we see some shady trees and beautiful flowers, then we get tremendous joy. Some people feel that those beautiful flowers and trees are only temptations. They say, "If I smell the flowers, I am afraid I will get caught or stuck there. While I am appreciating the beauty of the flowers, my fellow travellers will go far ahead of me. I do not need this kind of experience." But some are wise. They say, "If here the flowers are so beautiful, the flowers at the destination will be infinitely more beautiful and fragrant." So they appreciate the flowers and then go forward.
Inner experiences do help us; they give us a kind of fruit. If we do not like a particular experience, we can just discard it. And if we like a particular experience, we can try to have it again. Some experiences are so strong and powerful that they can change human nature totally. If we have an experience like this, it may change our life entirely — both inwardly and outwardly. Some of my disciples have been on our path for twenty or twenty-five years, and perhaps they have not run very fast during this time. But if they can get a single experience of the highest order and maintain it for one week or two weeks, they can make more progress in those two weeks than they have made for the past twenty-five years. Unfortunately, we have no idea at what point such an experience will occur. It is like striking a match. If we do not strike the right part of the matchbox, the match will not light. Similarly, if we do not turn the knob on the stove to a certain point, the stove will not ignite. If we turn it just a little, no flame comes; but if we turn it just a little more, then the flame appears.
Question: One of the disciples told me that the longer she practised spirituality, the worse her bad qualities got. How is this possible?Sri Chinmoy: Some of the disciples on our path say, "For the first year or two after I joined the path, I was so full of love, devotion and surrender. At that time, I was trying to conquer jealousy; I was trying to conquer insecurity. If any weakness appeared, I tried to control it. In every way I was trying to be divine." But after practising spirituality for twenty or thirty years, these unfortunate disciples come to believe that these weaknesses are part of human nature. They feel, "If I have not conquered my jealousy, insecurity and so on in thirty years, why should I believe that I will succeed after another thirty years?"
What is worse, in some cases these negative forces have grown stronger with passing time. Some disciples feel that they have more jealousy, more insecurity, more impurity than they had twenty or thirty years ago. How did this happen? One reason is that relaxation entered into their life, and they are no longer on their guard against these forces. Also, in some cases the disciples have given up and surrendered to these forces. When we surrender to the hostile forces, naturally they become more powerful.
Question: Can the mind help us discover God's Will?Sri Chinmoy: Most of the time we have no idea what God's Will is. The mind comes forward and tells us, "Such and such is God's Will." But if we dive deep within, we see that the mind is one hundred per cent wrong. Even the heart can be wrong. And the vital and the physical are always wrong. But if one can see the soul and talk to the soul during meditation, then the soul will tell us, "This is right, this is wrong."
The mind is like a primary school teacher. There are many questions that the primary school teacher cannot answer. The heart is like a high school teacher. Then comes the soul, which is like a college teacher, and the Supreme, who is like a university professor. The mind is so bad; it does everything it can to prevent us from learning from the heart. It says, "Only after you have learnt everything from me should you go to the next class." Then, when the mind sees that somebody is a good student and is ready to go on to high school, the mind deliberately fails the student in order to keep him longer. Then after a few years, the student gets disgusted; he feels he will never get past primary school. This is the time when many, many seekers give up the spiritual life. They give up because the mind makes them feel that they cannot go even to high school, whereas college is out of the question.
Many times the mind-teacher does not know the answer, but it makes us feel that it does know the answer. A question that comes from the depths of our heart, the mind can never answer. But the mind makes us feel that it knows everything. So it is all the time giving us faulty lessons. In spite of this, the mind tells us, "My answers are perfect, perfect, perfect!" At every moment we are making mistakes because we are entrusting the mind with our whole life.
The mind wants to get joy in a specific way. The mind says, "This is the only way. There is no other way." Like a dictator, the mind has spoken! Then the soul or the Master comes along and shows us another way. Immediately the mind says, "O my God, it is impossible, impossible!" The mind keeps one door open and says we must pass through this door; it does not allow us to see other ways. There may be many doors in a big mansion, but the mind does not allow us to use them; it keeps those doors under lock and key. But when the soul sees that we are desperately trying to go beyond the mind, then the soul opens up this door and that door for us. It does not have to be a door, no! When the soul opens up even a new window, at that time how happy we are!
When we cannot go beyond the boundaries of the mind, we are completely trapped. It is like being under arrest. The only thing we can do is pray to someone to come and release us, and that someone is either the Master or the Supreme. It does not matter to whom we pray, because the Supreme's Grace is also acting in and through the Master.
I have always said that there cannot be any higher prayer than the Saviour Jesus Christ's prayer: "Let Thy Will be done." But if a farmer only sits in his cottage repeating, "Let Thy Will be done," he will never get a bumper crop. No, the farmer has to plough his field, bring water and manure and do the needful. Only then, after he has done as much as he can, after he has done his best, is he entitled to say, "Let Thy Will be done!"
We should say this prayer after we do everything that we feel from within we can do, only after we use all the capacity that God has given us. At that time we can say, "O God, You have given me the capacity to do this, and I have done it. Now I cannot go any farther, higher or deeper. Let Thy Will be done." Then God comes and gives us much more capacity, inwardly and outwardly.
Question: Most spiritual Masters have said that without renunciation one cannot get realisation, but your philosophy is that we have to accept and transform life.Sri Chinmoy: Our philosophy is the philosophy of acceptance. We have to accept life and transform it. That is absolutely true. But in order to accept something, we may also have to reject something. When the higher call came, Lord Buddha renounced his wife and child, for he felt that the whole universe belonged to him. But if he claims the whole universe as his own, very own, is he not also accepting his wife and child, who are part of that universe?
So we have to know what acceptance truly is. If we want to accept the vastness, there are a few things that we have to renounce. But we are not actually renouncing them; we are only keeping them in their proper place so they also can aspire for light. At this moment, let us say, I am ready to aspire for light. But if I wait for my brother or my sister or my dear one, then God will say, "You fool! I have called you; your hour has come. Why are you delaying? When it is your dear one's hour, at that time I will call him."
When God's Hour strikes, at that time we do not even choose to take God's side. No, God just takes our side. He has dropped the atom bomb of light, and we become so happy that we become one with His Will.
When Lord Krishna played upon the flute, the gopis ran to be with him because they were ready. But people who were not ready did not come. He played upon the flute for everybody, but only those who were ready came running. The Grace of the Supreme is descending; the divine Light is descending. Some people are ready to open their doors and windows, and others are not. Some are invoking that Light to come and enter into them, but millions and billions are not doing this. They say, "We do not need it." For them God's Hour has not yet struck.
Question: How can we overcome insecurity?Sri Chinmoy: Insecurity comes when we divide ourselves from others and feel that others are superior to us or stronger than we are. But if we can have a childlike heart and feel our oneness with others, then we can never be insecure. A boy of five or six is not insecure when he sees how strong his father is. No, the boy feels that his father's strength is all his. If his father buys a brand new car, the boy tells the world, "This is my car." He has identified himself with his father to such an extent that he does not hesitate to claim his father's car as his own. His father will not say, "You fool, is it your car?" On the contrary, the father is so proud that the child is claiming the father's possession as his own. Similarly, if we claim God as our own, very own, He will give us His Infinity, His Immortality, His All. But, alas, we do not claim Him; we simply try to get one drop of nectar-delight from Him and then we separate ourselves. That is why we are insecure.
Part VISCA 395-399. Sri Chinmoy was asked these questions by his disciples on 6 January 1995 during his visit to Myanmar.
Question: What is the future of religion?Sri Chinmoy: Religion represents the earthly aspect of the divinity that the Saviour Christ, or Sri Krishna, the Lord Buddha and others embodied. It represents the body or the outer garment of their divinity. The body cannot last; only the consciousness, the inner divinity that was and forever is being manifested in and through Jesus Christ, Lord Buddha and others, will last and last and last.
I strongly believe that when people worship in the future, they will be more aware of the fact that we belong to one spiritual family. There was a time when even this idea was too much for the world. Now at least we are able to speak about it. It is like the idea of peace. Fifty years ago the word 'peace' was not used as it is now; they used other words. But in the last nine or ten years everybody is speaking about peace. Although one country may be dropping a bomb on another country, 'peace' is still our mantra! A day shall come when not only will the rest of the world laugh at this particular country, but even this country will start laughing at itself. It will realise that it is only talking about peace but doing just the opposite. At that time it will try to correct itself.
The threat of nuclear destruction will not go on, because even in thirty or forty or fifty years the power of the heart will be much, much stronger. There is great hope that politics will eventually surrender to spirituality. Individual cases we have already seen in history — the Indian King Shivaji, for example. First he did things in his own way, and later he surrendered to divinity. So the inner world is awakening. In some cases in the present-day world, the inner power is becoming more prominent and vivid outwardly. You see how Russia is suffering now in the political world, but in the inner world Russia is awakened. Russia's inner power and inner awakening will become quite surprising and astonishing.
Question: Why have you travelled to so many countries and appreciated so many countries and individuals?Sri Chinmoy: Some spiritual Masters are accepted in this country or that country because their divinity is infinitely more manifested in certain places. But in my case, I have gone to many places. I have travelled from country to country, holding Peace Concerts, meditating and writing songs about the souls of the countries. You ask why? For me, the soul of each country is real; the heart of each country is real. I see the divinity that is trying to be manifested in and through each country, in and through each individual, and in my songs I appreciate it and try to bring it forward.
If you have a heart of appreciation, then everything is beautiful; you see each petal of each flower as absolutely unique and beautiful. My little finger is not as strong as my index finger, but to me it is very cute. And the thumb is so strong! So each finger I look at I am appreciating. You may say it is a waste of time to travel so much. But if I can go from country to country appreciating this person who has inspired mankind or inspiring that person who has done something great, then I feel that I am really doing something worthwhile. It is inspiration that is holding up the entire universe. God Himself was inspired, and that is why He created this universe.
Question: How do you want the purity and essence of your path maintained in the future?Sri Chinmoy: I do not have to worry about what will happen in the future, even if I do not leave behind one perfect or first-class disciple, not to speak of an unconditionally surrendered disciple. Why? Because my creations will stand for me. True, some of my writings, my paintings, my birds, my songs and so forth may be third class, fourth class, even no class! But some of them have touched the very heights of divinity. The quintessence of many of the most sacred books of the past you will find in my writings, and I have composed many prayerful and soulful songs. Again, the soul-birds that I have drawn have abundant inner light. So my writings, my paintings and my music, which are my children, will continue to manifest my light.
Question: You say that yours is a path, not a religion. But after the Master leaves, it becomes a religion — like Buddhism, for example — and it stands against other religions.Sri Chinmoy: In my case, I only speak about the soul. My philosophy is that the soul is the only reality and at every second we have to listen to our souls. I have not said a word against any religion. On the contrary, I have expressed the greatest love, admiration and adoration for the Saviour Christ, the Buddha, Sri Krishna and the spiritual Masters associated with other religions. So why should my path become a religion and stand against other religions? My writings will make it very, very clear that I was not a man who directly or indirectly tried to establish a new religion. After my departure, the world will see only my creations.
Question: Should your disciples only try to see and meditate on the Supreme inside you?Sri Chinmoy: Because I am a little more advanced than you, I can see my Beloved Supreme inside each and every one of you. Sri Ramakrishna used to tell Vivekananda, "I am seeing in you God Himself. I can talk to Him face to face." Was he a liar of the first water? Never! This was his authentic inner experience.
You can do the same. First try to imagine the Supreme inside me. Then you can try to feel His Presence inside me. The same Supreme is in you as well, but for you to feel the Presence of the Supreme inside yourself is infinitely, infinitely more difficult than for you to imagine or feel His Presence inside your Guru. It is much easier for you to find and get the Supreme in me. So on the strength of your imagination and inspiration, please try to feel the Supreme inside me first. Then only will you be able to see and feel it inside yourself. At that time the game will be complete.
Part VIISCA 400-401. Questions answered on 28 December 1994.
Question: Did you have any inner experience when you arrived in Myanmar?Sri Chinmoy: I have been to many, many countries, and the soul of each country has offered me tremendous affection, love, appreciation, admiration and even adoration. But from the soul of Burma I got a new experience. Around 4:30 this morning, the soul came up to me with such affection and began scolding. She said, "Why did you not come to visit me at least fifteen years ago? What was wrong with you?" Such a powerful, emotional scolding she gave me, but it was full of affection! Like an aunt she was talking to me: "How many times you visited India, but not even once did you visit your aunt!" No other country ever has scolded me, but this one has really blessed me with her most affectionate emotional feelings.
Question: Do you feel the Buddha's consciousness in Burma?Sri Chinmoy: Lord Buddha was born in Nepal, but when it is a matter of Lord Buddha's consciousness, I can say that the whole land of Burma is flooded with Lord Buddha's compassion-tears. Here in Burma I feel the Buddha's consciousness even when I walk along the street. God alone knows what is happening in the political sphere, but from the religious and spiritual point of view, Burma is the land of Lord Buddha's heart.
Prayer to Lord Buddha1
Over the years, I have been to a number of countries that follow the teachings of the Lord Buddha. But here, in Myanmar, I feel that the Lord Buddha has a very, very special eye of compassion and a very, very special heart of universal love. Myanmar, I feel, has a most special place in the heart of Lord Buddha. The depths of silence, the beauty of simplicity and the hunger for life's perfection I see and I feel in the aspiring and self-giving soul of Myanmar — blessed child of the immortal world-liberator, Lord Buddha.
The Silence of the Absolute Supreme and ever-unknowable Reality blessed you and claimed you as its own to liberate humanity from the sufferings of ignorance. Lord Buddha, to the human in you we bow. To the divine in you we bow. To the ever-transcending Reality in you we bow and bow and bow."
SCA 402. On 9 January 1995, Sri Chinmoy was guest of honour at a luncheon and cultural programme sponsored by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Tipitaka Nykarya Upahsaka Sasana Organisation, a Buddhist cultural group, at the Kaba Aye Pagoda compound in Yangon, Myanmar. During the programme, Sri Chinmoy offered a prayer to Lord Buddha.↩