Sri Chinmoy answers, part 15

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Part I

SCA 567-574. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in December 1997 at the Nassau Beach Hotel in the Bahamas.

Question: Guru, sometimes it seems that, for our Centres to grow, we need a massive increase in effort. Out of 300 seekers, perhaps one will wish to join our path. We have to reach many more seekers every month.

Sri Chinmoy: Do not insult your soul! Your soul is not made of mud and clay! If you have no determination to bring new seekers, then you will put Eternal Time in front of you. My philosophy is "here and now". Why do you have to think of India's five-year plan? If you think of accomplishing something right now, then you will get the result tomorrow. But if you think of reaching your goal in one month, then it will take six months or ten months. Urgency you have to develop. Immediacy you have to develop. The supreme necessity of urgency and immediacy you have to feel. If you do not develop these qualities, you will not be able to bring to the fore what you have in your mind, or even in your heart. You have to bring the inner reality into your heartbeat, into your life-breath.

With my disciples, everything has become theoretical. You are not practical. To be practical is not to give a talk on this subject or that subject, or to rent a large hall or burn candles or bring flowers. To be practical is to make your sadhana into a living reality. You have to say to yourself, "My goal right now is not God-realisation. God will take care of my God-realisation. My goal right now is to bring more friends, more flowers into my Guru's heart-garden." Again, the goal does not remain fixed. But for the time being, disciples who are entering into manifestation have to feel that their goal is to bring more beautiful, fragrant flowers into my heart-garden.

You may think, "It will be done, since Guru has spoken." "It will be done" is one thing. But "It has to be done right now, today, tomorrow" is another thing. Again, if today you do not succeed, then when tomorrow dawns, say to yourself, "Today, today I must reach my goal. Yesterday I failed but today I shall succeed. And today even if I fail, tomorrow again I shall try." Every day make a fresh promise to yourself: "Today I must succeed. But even if I fail, tomorrow I shall do it, or the day after tomorrow."

Do not think of yesterday's failure. If your previous failures over the years come to mind, just cast them aside. Do not allow those failures to come and block your mind. Just tell yourself that yesterday no longer exists. The days that you did not succeed must not exist anymore inside your heart.

So, urgency and immediacy are needed. If you do everything with this determination, it is leading you towards your God-realisation. If I tell you that something is necessary, then you have to feel, "I have to obey my Master — not by hook or by crook, but by making his blessingful request the supreme necessity in my aspiration-life and in my dedication-life." If you have that kind of infallible attitude in your aspiration-life and in your dedication-life, then you will not need a year to reach your goal.

Question: When a new disciple leaves our path within the first year after you accept that person, we all have a tendency to look for the reason. We ask ourselves, "Did we do something wrong?" What is the best attitude for us to have when we are dealing with new disciples?

Sri Chinmoy: If they do something discouraging, immediately say, "When we joined the path, we were no better." If somebody has done something that is disheartening, if somebody is not disciplined or in some respect is not good according to your standard, just say,"We were also like that at one time." Do not be discouraged. And if they do something good, immediately appreciate them and say, "What you have done will add so much glory to our Centre! This will give so much joy to our Guru inwardly." If they do disheartening things, you will simply say, "Do not worry. We also had the same problem." Then immediately your sympathy will come to the fore — even if you have not done the same unfortunate thing. This kind of lie does not hurt anyone; it only helps the person. But if you bark at the person, if you say, "What have you done! I never made that kind of mistake," then he will be finished! You have to play a sympathetic role.

Twice I failed my driving examination. The first two examiners were impossible, but the third one was sympathetic in every way. I sat down in the car and I did not show any nervousness, but immediately he said, "Do not be nervous! I also had the same difficulty." I had not even started showing nervousness, but he was so compassionate! When I did the parallel parking, he said, "I could not have done better." The previous two examiners were simply impossible, but how much sympathy this man had!

Like that, our attitude always has to be encouraging. According to the third examiner, everything that I did was good, very good. From sixty metres away another car was approaching slowly, and I waited. The other examiners would have scolded me. They would have said, "Why are you not going ahead?" But this one said, "You did the right thing. I would have done the same." In every way he was encouraging me. The previous examiner failed me because somebody made a left turn in front of me when I had the right of way. He said, "You had the right of way. You should have gone!" He was so mad at me! If I had gone, immediately I would have collided with the other fellow. But just because the other driver made a left turn, the examiner was scolding me.

When it came to parallel parking, the previous examiner said I touched the sidewalk. I said, "May I see where I touched it?" He did not want to show me! What kind of examiner was he if he could not show me how I had failed? At the starting point he said, "Make a left turn." I saw behind that other cars were coming, so I did not obey him. I did not listen to him, so I failed! If they want to fail someone, they can. They just say, "You are going slowly, you are doing this, you are not doing that."

At one point I made a left turn from the wrong lane. I felt absolutely miserable, but the examiner said, "Go back." My examination was over. So much discouragement! He was only looking for my mistakes. Even if he did not find mistakes, he would make you nervous and say nasty things. But according to the third examiner, everything I was doing to his satisfaction. So his encouragement I will never forget.

So, kindly take an encouraging attitude. If somebody in your Centre has done something that is not good, just say, "I also would have done the same thing, but over the years I have improved, so do not be discouraged." And if somebody has done something good, immediately appreciate them.

Question: When I arrived at the airport here, I totally lost my temper with one official. Why does this anger come forward in me?

Sri Chinmoy: Anger comes from frustration. Sometimes you feel that these people are unjust. The airport authorities can perhaps be very undivine. But you have to know that if they say you are doing something wrong, then you must not try at all to justify what you are doing. You have to be very, very humble. Let them scold you and insult you. If you remain silent, afterwards compassion will loom large in them. But if you feel that they are wrong and you are right, then showing your volcanic anger will not accomplish anything. You will only weaken your nerves, especially the inner nerves that draw in peace, light and bliss from Above. If somebody does something wrong and if you become furious, then you are exercising your stupidity.

Do not be stupid; be wise! One day the other person will meet with retribution. His punishment will come in the form of justice-light. But in your case, you are getting your punishment here and now. So, you have to be careful. If you suffer from anger, uncontrollable anger, you have to pray to the Supreme to bring down immediately peace, which is infinitely stronger than your anger.

Question: What is the correct attitude for us to take when you praise us and when you scold us?

Sri Chinmoy: When I say nice things about you, you feel that you deserve it; and when I say unkind things, you feel that you do not deserve it. That is our human mind! Now, when I smile at you and say something nice, that is the time you have to feel that you have done next to nothing, but out of my infinite compassion I am appreciating you. This will increase all your divine qualities. You have given me a drop in the form of service, and I am giving you an infinite ocean of affection, love, joy and gratitude. If you immediately feel that you do not fully deserve what I have said, then it will increase your humility. From that humility so many divine qualities will arise and increase within you.

Again, if I scold you, you may feel that you do not deserve it, that I am getting malicious pleasure by scolding you unnecessarily. That is the time when you have to say, "If I really care for my Guru, do I not have the feeling that he also cares for me? I do care for my Master. That is why I have done many good things for him. If I care for him, does he not have the capacity or willingness to care for me?" Then the answer will come: "Yes! He also has the capacity to care for me the way I care for him. Whether he cares for me more than I care for him, or I care for him more than he cares for me, is not important. Only our mutual care and concern is important. He is scolding me because he has taken responsibility for me."

I will not go outside and scold a barking dog or somebody in the street who is doing some thing undivine or absurd, because that is not my responsibility. But I have taken you as my own, and you have taken me as your own. So if both of us have taken each other as our own, then is it not my duty to show concern for you?

If you feel you do not deserve my scolding, just say to yourself, "Although I do not deserve this scolding, even so Guru is showing his concern for me." You have to feel that even my unjust scolding is based on my concern for you. I am not getting malicious pleasure! If I got malicious pleasure while scolding each and every individual, then I could go out into the street and start finding fault and scolding people right and left.

Each time you think that you do not deserve my scolding, only feel that my concern is there, inside my scolding. It is my concern that is coming in the form of my displeasure. Again, it is my concern that comes to the fore to appreciate, admire and adore you when you do something good, because I know that when I appreciate, admire and adore you, you will take the longest step forward. In exactly the same way if you can take my scolding, then you make the fastest progress.

I can help you make the fastest progress in two ways: by smiling at you, when it is necessary, and by frowning at you, when it is necessary. When a child is sick, the mother keeps the child on a very special diet. When the child is strong, the mother gives the child something else to eat. It is the same child and the same mother, but at that time when the child is sick, and if necessity demands, the mother gives the child a very light, special preparation. So here also, in exactly the same way, when you do something wrong, it is a special kind of food that I give you. If you eat that food, then again you will become strong. And when you become strong once more, then you again get my blessing, my affection and my concern, because you are doing the right thing.

My displeasure people can cherish for days and months and years. Again, just one week ago if I showed someone tremendous appreciation, admiration and gratitude, that does not count. Let us say that a bucket full of nectar you have achieved from your aspiration. One drop of poison from the doubting mind, the mind that separates, is enough to destroy the whole bucket of nectar. The power of the negative force, the doubt-poison, is infinitely greater than the power of the positive force.

Again, if you take always the positive attitude, then the negative force does not come into existence. When you get a scolding from me, just say to yourself, "My Guru is doing everything for my good. He has taken full responsibility for me, so it is up to him to decide what to do. He has taken it as his bounden duty to love me. So if he wants to prove that he cares for me, then he will try to perfect me. And if he really cares to perfect me, then he has his own ways. He need not only smile. He may sometimes express displeasure, anger and other aspects of his." Then, in a few days, if you are sincere and if you again become receptive, you will say, "Oh, I am so lucky! My Guru could have scolded me more severely. Now I feel that my crime was more serious than I thought. Before I thought that it was not even a crime and that he had unnecessarily scolded me. Now I feel that my action was indeed a crime, and a serious one."

Something else I wish to tell you. Countless times disciples have done wrong things, but the Supreme in me has either forgiven them or ignored these almost unforgivable blunders. Some disciples will not believe it. You think that in twenty or twenty-five years you have made perhaps ten mistakes, and that there have been years when you have made no mistakes, according to your judgement. Everything that you do, even when you do something wrong, immediately you justify. You say it was unavoidable. You do it deliberately, and then you say it was unavoidable. When you do something wrong and justify it by saying that nobody could have done otherwise, so it was unavoidable, then it becomes justifiable to you.

Like that, practically every day, or at least five or six times a week, almost everybody will justify their mistakes. They say, "I could not have done otherwise. Nobody could have done otherwise, so I was caught. I had to do it." Each time they make a mistake, they justify it. They do not want to correct it; they do not want to illumine it. It goes on year after year, in every disciple's life: "Nobody could have done better, so why do you have to blame me?" If it is a mistake, we have to confess that it is a mistake. Then the right thing is to say, "Oh no, I made a mistake! I will not do it any more."

We cannot make even one mistake in life if every day we value our obedience-life. If we can take obedience as the most important thing in our life, then we will succeed. No love, no devotion, no surrender, no good quality will ever be able to remain alive inside our heart, inside our life, if obedience-plant dies. You may think, "Oh, this disobedience is negligible." But today's negligible disobedience is preparatory to the worst possible disobedience to come. Our philosophy is love, devotion and surrender. If you want to increase your love, your devotion and your surrender, or even just to keep them alive on our path, obedience is necessary.

You feel that I can forgive your disobedience. Yes, I will forgive you, but you have already gone millions of miles away from my consciousness. You can fool yourself by saying, "Guru has forgiven me, and Guru will again forgive me." But you have already gone millions of miles away from my eternal concern. On the physical plane, vital plane, mental plane, psychic plane or spiritual plane, on the material plane or on any other plane, if obedience is lacking, then you will not be able to succeed.

One by one, disciples fail because of their lack of obedience. Because of disobedience, they are bound to fail. But if disciples develop sincerity, their sincerity will act like a sword to torture their own disobedience-life. Hundreds of disciples have left the path since we started our journey because of only one thing: disobedience. They disobey me either in the mental world or in the vital world or in the physical world or in some other world. When all the disobedience-thorns are collected by them, either consciously or unconsciously, then it becomes impossible for them to stay in the boat.

Question: If you are trying to operate an enterprise or a Centre, how can you avoid letting your own consciousness be affected by what goes on?

Sri Chinmoy: Do not think of yourself as the owner or the manager or the boss. You will be affected if you think you are the boss, the owner, the proprietor. But if you can sincerely feel, "My Guru is the boss" or "The Supreme is the Boss," then you will not be affected. Just say to yourself, "I am only a worker and an observer. My business is to report to my superior. When I report sincerely to my superior, to my Guru, my role is over. My role is not to judge or criticise or punish others. My role is only to send the message to my Guru."

Unfortunately, you are affected because you are taking part in what is going on. You are saying, "He has done something very wrong; she has misbehaved." Do not allow your mind to scold or criticise others. Only feel that an incident has taken place, and that incident you are reporting to your Guru. That is your job. Then let your Guru take care of it. If you feel that as the owner or manager, you have to enter into others' misdeeds or problems, then your consciousness will be affected.

Your business is only to send the message to me, and not to hold it. When you hold that person's misdeed in your mind, then you start judging the person. First you harbour; then you judge; then you give your arbitration by scolding the person. But if you do not allow yourself to keep the incident in your mind, then you are safe. When you see that someone has done something wrong, just feel that you have touched ink. Then what will you do? You will immediately run and wash yourself. Each time you see somebody's imperfection, before you are identified completely with the situation, before the ink can stain the palm of your hand, just go and wash yourself by giving the message to me.

You are the owner and the manager. But just because you are the owner and the manager, do not think of yourself as a judge. There is somebody to do that job for you, and that is your Guru. If you did not have a Guru, then this question would not arise. You would be the owner, you would be in charge of everything, and you would fire the workers at your sweet will. Other restaurant owners and managers have no superior. Once they become the owners, who can lord it over them? They can fire people; they can do everything they want. But you have taken somebody as your superior, so that superior should make the decisions for you. Then your problem is over. You have to make yourself feel that you are just another worker. The other two titles — 'owner' and 'manager' — just forget! Tell yourself, "I am a worker and an observer." More than that if you become, then today you will have a headache and tomorrow you will have a heart attack!

This is exactly what I do when problems arise: I give them to the Supreme. Again, sometimes the Supreme will say, "You deal with it." Similarly, many times I tell you people when you make complaints, "You deal with it. I will take your side, whatever you say." When I get all the problems and complaints from the disciples, I refer them to the Supreme; I do not keep them. But sometimes He tells me, "No, you have to deal with it." Then I deal with it. Otherwise, all the millions of problems that I have got over the years, do you think I could have solved? I would have died long ago! But I gave them to my Boss, the Supreme. I said, "You take them." Occasionally He will tell me, "No, this one you deal with. I have faith in you." So I do it. But otherwise, if I had been brave enough or stupid enough to take upon myself all the problems that I have had over the years, if I had tried to solve them, I would not have remained on earth.

Question: How can we best use our free time?

Sri Chinmoy: For unaspiring people, or for people who do not have the capacity to meditate, each free hour is a dangerous weapon. If you have nothing to do for an hour, and you do not have the capacity to meditate, that hour you have to take as a weapon.

If you want to take rest, and if you can sleep, wonderful! But if you cannot sleep, do not watch television and destroy your nerves. I will not tell you that you should never watch television, but there are some destructive, nerve-shattering weapons that human beings have created, and television does affect the nerves.

Each time you have a free hour and you do not use it properly, you are creating serious problems for yourself. Again, if you have intelligence, if you are wise, you can use that hour in a productive way. But if you do not use it for anything productive, if you are just doing nothing, then you are only creating problems for yourself. You think that you are enjoying a free hour, but how many hostile forces you are allowing to enter into your brain, God alone knows! How many lower vital forces, how many mental hallucination-forces, how many destructive thoughts you are allowing into your system! You are welcoming your enemies from different places to attack you, and eventually they will destroy you. So always do something, even if it is not outwardly productive. Just talk about silly things with your friends. While you are talking about silly things, you are not allowing those wrong forces to enter into you. But if you do nothing, serious problems will arise.

The more you misuse your free hours, the less you will have faith in yourself in a divine way, while in an undivine way you will feel that you can do anything you want to. On the one hand, you will feel that because you are not using your capacity, you are hopeless and useless. On the other hand, these hours that are not used properly bring into your mind all kinds of thoughts that you can do anything you want to. You will feel that you do not need anybody's help; you do not need even God's help. You are fully self-sufficient. They say that the idle brain is the devil's workshop. It is so true! So always do something! Do not allow yourself free time. There should be no free time. Do something!

If you work at the UN, there you may not be speaking about spiritual things with your colleagues, but you are in a current that is flowing. You may not reach your destination immediately, but you are progressing. But if you are not with your friends, or if you are not talking about business, if you are doing nothing, then you are inside a stagnant pool.

There are so many things that you can do. You can read spiritual books. You can sing songs. Everybody thinks that he or she is the best singer, so where is the problem if you are singing alone? There is no problem at that time, for you are the singer, you are the listener and you are the judge. You can give yourself one hundred out of one hundred, as my brother Mantu does.

I have a disciple who does not allow himself even one moment of free time. When he has free time, he becomes a self-styled doctor of the highest order. His eagerness to cure his Master's physical malady can only be felt by his Master.

Question: When people have an unproductive or negative thought pattern that goes around and around inside their head, and they have been caught by it for many years, how can they get rid of it?

Sri Chinmoy: They have to feel they are not the best. They are not the tallest, they are not the most beautiful. Again, they are not the ugliest, either. In every way they have to consciously develop humility, for humility takes away all maladies. And they have to feel they are at the mercy of the forces. If they think they can control their life, if they think they are self-sufficient, they are totally mistaken. They are not at the mercy of God; they are at the mercy of the undivine forces. Each and every self-sufficient person will eventually have a most miserable life. When they finally cry to God, God will say, "If you have been self-sufficient all along, then why do you need My help now?"

Ordinary people get married and have children. They feel that once they are married and have a few children, they will be self-sufficient. On the contrary, they are creating more bondage in their lives because their children are depending on them and they are depending on their children. Ordinary people depend on their children and the children depend on their parents. So when do they have time to depend on God? But spiritual people, especially those who are single, have that golden opportunity. They feel that they are depending on God and God is depending on them.

Ordinary people, unaspiring people, people who have families, never think that they have to depend on God. They will only cry to God when somebody in the family is sick. Single people who are spiritual, who do not have that burden, automatically pray to God or cry to God. Their connection with God is well established. This moment they may not like God, but the next moment they like God once again. They have to like God. Again and again they come back to God. They may get angry with God for ten days, so they will stop praying and meditating. But then, although they do not know how or why, again they will start praying and meditating. Will unaspiring people do that? Month after month, year after year, they do not care for God. Spiritual people have walked for years along the right road. All of a sudden they may take a detour on a side street, but after a few days they come back.

When wrong forces attack some individuals and they become a slave to those wrong forces, always they have to feel that they are not self-sufficient. Wrong thoughts are making them feel that they are self-sufficient: "You do not need anybody else. You do not need a Master. You do not need friends. You can do everything all by yourself." All by ourselves we cannot live on earth. If I can do everything all by myself, then why do I go out to eat? Why do I go to a shop to buy food and other things?

Is there anybody who can say at every moment, "I do not depend on anybody"? Do I not depend on water? Let me see if I can live without water. Do I not depend on air? Let me see if I can live without air. How stupid I would be to say, "I do not need anything or anybody!" If I do not need anybody, then let me just keep my door closed and see what happens.

So many things we need in life, but we do not value them. And the things that we need most, like water and air, we value the least. How many people consciously value water? Water is life. We have to drink it. But just because we are getting water here, there, everywhere, we feel that water has no value. We feel that milk is valuable, milk is nutritious, milk is sweet. We think, "If I do not drink water, nothing will happen." But let us just try for a few days and see what happens.

Only humility saves us at every moment. My humility tells me that I need you. Again, you have to have the same type of humility to say that you need me. We need equal humility. My humility tells me that I depend on you because there are so many things I need from you. Your humility will say that you also need quite a few things from me. Then God comes into the picture. God created you and God created me. God gave you certain qualities and capacities which He did not give me, and vice versa. Therefore, I need you and you also need me.

Nobody is self-sufficient. At every moment you are depending on something, only you are not aware of it. You feel that if you have money-power you can get whatever you need. True, you may have money-power, but who has the material things to give you joy? Again, this is where God comes into the picture. God gave you the capacities that I need from you, and God gave me the capacities that you need from me. If you pray to God, then God will make you happy so that you will give me what I need and make me happy. And if I pray to God, God will do the same. He will give me the capacity to do something that will make me happy, and then He will tell me to give what I have to you.

Each individual is a divine instrument. Just because you are a divine instrument, you have to feel that you belong to a family, and that family is run by a higher force, by God. Again, if a God-given capacity is not used, tomorrow God takes away that capacity. God has given you so many capacities. If you do not use them, or if you misuse them, the Giver takes them away.

Can you possess anything permanently? Eventually it disappears. Are you as strong as you were when you were fifteen years old? At age fifteen, you had your life, you had your hands, you had your legs. Then how is it that you could not keep those possessions of yours at the same standard? Previously I was the Ashram champion in running, and now I am lame. Who gave me the capacity to run? Did I give myself the capacity in India? No! God Himself gave me the capacity, and He also took it away. Here is the proof that today He can give and tomorrow He can take away that very capacity.

Lord Krishna gave Arjuna the capacity to do everything. In the Kurukshetra battle, Arjuna was the supreme hero. Then, when Sri Krishna left the body, Arjuna was so miserable! He could not fight against anyone, even simple people. He became absolutely cowardly. He could not lift up his own weapon, Gandiva, which he had previously used to destroy his enemies.

It is the same with me. I used to throw the shotput quite far. Now even to lift the sixteen-pound shot is a most difficult task. Who gave me the capacity? Did I give myself the capacity forty years ago? No, it was somebody else: God, my own Highest. When we realise this, humility comes into our life.

We have to feel that somebody gave us everything, and somebody can take it away. The person who gave it can easily take it away. He may say, "Now it is not necessary for you to have this any more." We can be happy only if we say to God, "You gave me something when You felt that I needed it. Now You have taken it away again because You feel it is no longer necessary. I know that You will give me some capacity in another field which is better."

In my case, some capacities He gave and some He took away. A few capacities He has kept in me. I have become an artist. I have become a composer, I have become a singer, I have become a musician. The capacity to write poems I had in India, and even now He has kept that capacity in me. But in a few years He may say, "Meditate, meditate! Forget about writing!" Like that, a day came when Sri Aurobindo gave up writing, dictating and all other activities only to meditate.

The only thing that will fulfil us every day, every hour, every minute, every second is obedience. If you have obedience to God or your Master, then life is smooth sailing. There is nothing that God or a spiritual Master cannot accomplish in and through a disciple if that disciple is obedient to the Master on a daily basis. Otherwise, no matter how great the disciple thinks he is, his life will end in a most miserable way. When disciples are disobedient to their Master, I tell you with all my God-realisation-authority, their lives will end in a most miserable way. If people have not accepted the spiritual life, then God alone knows their fate. I do not know about people who are not on my path. I know nothing about their fate and I do not want to know. But in the case of people who are on my path I do know, because I am supposed to know about the future of my disciples.

Again, I always say, "Do not think of the future." Once you have a Master, place your past, present and future at the Master's feet. You are a fool if you cannot have implicit faith in your Master. If you have to remain self-sufficient, if you say, "Oh, if I do not earn money today, tomorrow how will I manage?" that is the human, mental approach. If you have faith in your Master, if you love him, you do not have to worry about tomorrow, because he created yesterday, he created today and he will also create tomorrow. Yesterday he took care of you. Today he is taking care of you. Will he not take care of you tomorrow?

The Lord Buddha said only to think of this moment. We do not know what is going to happen even the next moment. Forget about death and the afterlife. Only think that this moment God has given to you for you to do the needful. When God gives you the next moment, He will again act in and through you. For a spiritual person to think of the future and wonder, "Oh, what will happen? What will happen?" is a great insult to the soul.

Let us say that a father has lots of money and his son is very dear to him. If the son says, "O my God, what will happen to me when my father dies?" the father will say, "You fool! Have you no faith in me? To whom shall I give my money-power? I am so affectionate towards you, I am so loving towards you. I am giving you everything, so why do you have to worry about what I shall give you after my death? Where is your love for me? My love, my affection, my compassion, my fondness I am pouring into you. All along I have been giving and giving you everything. Can you not have faith that I will put money in my will for you to receive after my death?" If the son says, "No, Father will find somebody else," then his faith in the father and his love for the father are completely gone. He should not think of the future at all. So, do not think of tomorrow. Today's problems are enough to shoulder. Do not bring tomorrow's imaginary problems into today.

Question: Do we receive more from you while we are on vacation with you or during celebrations?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are happy, sincerely happy, then from the Christmas vacation you will receive so much. Here on the Christmas trip there is less competition, less ego-fighting, because there are only 100 or 150 people. During celebrations there are 1,000 people, so there is lots of ego-fighting, even before I arrive at the function. People compete to see who will be sitting closer and who will be in the last row. Many, many things are happening in the competition-world. Here on the Christmas trip, many of these things do not go on. I compose songs and do other things, and I involve you people. During celebrations there are many, many things that I am not directly involved in, so there are more problems.

In my case, the other ten months' joy is no match for the joy that I get during these two months at Christmas time. But again, that ten months' unhappiness devours my two months' joy. It does not last even until June. When we come back, it is February, March and then April, and when we come to May, my joy is finished! I am absolutely bankrupt. By then, everything has gone away. I keep the joy inside my heart-pocket, but then I withdraw so much that it goes away.

On the Christmas trip I also have responsibility, but it is not as heavy as it is in America. During the rest of the year there is so much pressure. At every second there are quite a few elephants on my shoulders. Here I do not have to carry those elephants, because they have no money-power to fly. At Christmas time I fly here and there, but the elephants wait for me. Then, when I go back, again they jump on my shoulders.

On the Christmas trip we have the opportunity to get joy, and also the soul of each country is eager to give us joy. This morning I saw how beautiful it is here. There is so much freshness! The mind becomes not only clear, but also pure, when we see this freshness. And the people here are harmless and simple.

Part II

SCA 575-579. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in December 1997 at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.

Question: Could you please explain the meaning of one of the poems you have just written:

God can do anything He wants to.
To our widest surprise,
He may even rock His own Boat
To enjoy His self-chosen failure-life.

Sri Chinmoy: We cannot enjoy failure-life. When we fail, we cry and cry and cry. But in God's case, not only success-life but failure-life also He can enjoy. We cannot enjoy pain, but He can enjoy pain. We can only enjoy the positive side of life. If we are successful, we are happy. God can be equally happy when He is unsuccessful, but He tries to succeed so that the world can make progress. If there is only failure and failure, the world does not make progress. But in God's case, everything is equal.

Spiritual Masters also try very hard to succeed for the progress of humanity. Then, like Lord Krishna, they say, "If humanity does not want what we have to offer, then we should be equally happy. Once we do our utmost, our task is over. Then we place the result at the Feet of God." In the same way, God also places His fate at His own Feet.

Now, God may at times rock His own Boat. The time may come when He says to humanity, "I have tried in every way to help you, but you are sleeping and snoring. Not only that, but sometimes you wake up and you are tempted to jump off the boat. Why do you have to take the trouble of jumping off the boat? Now I am sinking the boat, so you do not have to take the trouble of jumping off."

Always God keeps His divine aspect and His human aspect. Because He has created humanity, He keeps His own human aspect. And quite often we know that His human aspect is totally surrendered to His divine aspect. It is at His own Feet. But again, God sometimes allows the human aspect to do whatever it wants to. At that time God sees that His human aspect is making millions of mistakes. Then God tells His human aspect, "I have given you enough licence. Now if you do not come back inside the divine aspect, I shall take very serious action."

We like to eat sweet things, but sometimes we also enjoy bitter things. Usually if the word 'bitter' is used, we say, "O my God, this is something bitter! Who wants to eat it?" But then, there are many things which are quite bitter which we enjoy. Sometimes even bitter fruits we enjoy as much as sweet ones. But most of the time, we eat only what our mind has taught us is sweet and pleasing. In God's case, He equally enjoys the diametrically opposite of sweetness. Everything pleases Him, but for humanity's progress, He puts forward the positive aspect, which is pure light.

For humanity to make progress, God Himself is making progress, because He is dynamic. Although He is actually both static and dynamic, He loves His dynamic aspect infinitely more than His static aspect. He knows that if He loves His dynamic aspect, then humanity will be inspired to budge an inch. Otherwise, if He cares only for His static aspect, then like Lord Shiva He will stay at one place and enjoy trance. While He is enjoying His trance, humanity will appreciate and admire Him. But for humanity to be one with Shiva's static trance is impossible. So God says, "No, do not think of trance right now. First run this side and that side." Swami Vivekananda said to his disciples, "You are lazy people! You will realise God sooner if you play football instead of reading the Bhagavad Gita. Go and play football!" They were so lethargic. They were talking and talking about God, but they were doing nothing, nothing. They did not want to move an inch.

Here also we have quite a few disciples who have become extremely lethargic in their vital, in their mind, in their heart, in every part of their being. Then, all of a sudden they get up and look around. They see that if the spiritual life is like this, then there is no hope for them. So they feel it is high time for them to jump off the boat and see if there is something else for them outside the spiritual world. At that time God says, "You do not have to make any effort to go outside My boundary. I am helping you to go outside the boundary. I am helping you to get out of the boat." God cleverly does the needful, but outwardly God gives these people the opportunity to be proud of their achievement. They say, "We did it! We came out of the boat." God says, "All right, you enjoy your freedom. But who gave you the freedom inwardly?" God wanted to get rid of them, so God gave them the freedom.

Question: Could you speak about possessing God and being possessed by God?

Sri Chinmoy: There was a time when humanity wanted both to possess God and to be possessed by God. Now humanity wants only to possess God and not to be possessed by God. There was a time when the disciples wanted to possess me and be possessed by me, but now they say, "No, we want only to possess you, so that we can tell you, 'Do this, do that'. We want you to be at our command. If we are possessed by you, then we will lose our freedom." Human beings have become so clever! They say, "We want to possess you, but we do not want to be possessed by you."

There was a time when the aspiring soldiers of humanity wanted also to be possessed by God. They said to God, "I am possessing You. Now You also possess me. If You possess me, then You will have no time to think of anybody else. You will have to think of me." But now people say, "If I possess You, then You will not be able to go anywhere." So humanity's progress has disappeared because humanity is not aspiring both to possess God and to be possessed by God. People feel that if they are possessed by God, they will not be able to enjoy their freedom.

Again, if their love, devotion and surrender are genuine, then the seekers will say, "This moment You are the tree and I am Your fruit. The next moment if You want me to be the tree, then You will become my fruit." God wants to play both the role of the tree and the role of the fruit, but we want only to play the role of the tree. It is the tree that is growing and growing and producing fruits. The fruit comes into existence just because of the aspiration of the tree.

Question: Guru, in one of your poems you said that if people criticise the world, God will show them that they are a towering pillar of imperfections.

Sri Chinmoy: It is like a mother and son. I can scold my son bitterly, but you are not allowed to say even one word against him. My son may be wicked to the backbone, according to you, but to me, my son is absolutely divine and perfect.

We are all God's children, so God does not like any of us to criticise His other children. When we criticise others, God feels that we are separated from Him. God wants us to accept His creation. As He has taken His creation as His own, we also should take His creation as our own. When we criticise someone, God feels that we have separated ourselves from God's Compassion and God's Vision. At that time God says, "If you criticise this person, then I will show you that your own imperfections are towering."

Question: You have been recognised in your lifetime by a greater number of people — disciples and the whole world — than any other Avatar. None of the other Avatars had more than a handful of people who recognised them while they were alive.

Sri Chinmoy: By whom am I known as an Avatar? By you?

Christ had twelve disciples. Nobody took him as an Avatar. They took him only as somebody who had more spiritual knowledge than they had. In the heart of their hearts, they did not feel twenty-four hours a day that Christ was God's representative. They thought that he was divine, that he was infinitely higher than they, but they did not take him as part and parcel of God's very existence. No! One denied him and another betrayed him; others' love was lukewarm.

Sri Krishna had five people who recognised him. So many people were part of the Kurukshetra battle, but only five recognised him. Sri Ramakrishna had sixteen disciples, and of these sixteen, even Swami Vivekananda said one moment that he was an Avatar, and the next moment, if Sri Ramakrishna did not do this or that, he said he was not an Avatar. Again and again Sri Ramakrishna told Swami Vivekananda to do something, and Vivekananda did diametrically the opposite. How many times he doubted his Master! Others went away and got married and did all kinds of things, like my disciples.

One moment you people will say to me, "You are an Avatar." The next moment, when your desires are fulfilled, you say, "You are not only an Avatar, You are God Himself." But when your desires are not fulfilled, you say, "You are worse than I am! Sometimes you have so much partiality. I myself am not as partial as you are." This kind of thing happens all the time. So, your Master is an Avatar only when you are in the happiest consciousness. At that time you say, "Guru, you are an Avatar." Otherwise you say, "You are in no way better than me." This is our human feeling.

As far as world recognition is concerned, the world has not acknowledged me at all. Only in one way have I been recognised: the world is taking me as a peace-lover. Some people know me as a poet, some people as a singer or musician. Some people know me as an artist. But how many people have taken me as a God-representative? You people have taken me in that way, but only according to your sweet choice. When your desires are not fulfilled, I am worse than a donkey! This is the human realisation.

It is good for disciples to think of their Master as an Avatar. The higher you can think him to be, even by virtue of your imagination, the more you will receive. Even if you have not had specific experiences, if you can imagine that your Master is higher than the highest, it helps you. You do not have to have practical experience in order to aim at something very high.

You get joy when you can bring your Master down to your level, but you do not want to get joy by going up to his real station. You get joy only when you can bring him down to your level so that he can be one of your playmates. But if you want to make him happy, you will go to his height. You want him to be your guest and you want to be the host. Does he not also wish to take you as his guest? But that you do not want. You say, "Master, come and see what I have, and be satisfied." But he also wants to say, "You come and see what I have to show you."

Each and every time I please people in their own way, they think of me as the best, as the highest. But they never ask why at other times I do not fulfil them or why I do not please them in their own way. When I do not please them in their own way, it is because my goal is to take them to their ultimate destination: to the Highest, to the Supreme. They do not realise that I have a task. But if I please them in their own way, then they tell the whole world that I am this, I am that. If I do not please them, then the problem starts! They doubt me; they lose all their faith in me. Then poor me! My promise to the Highest fails because the disciples want to go in their own way. I say, "There is only one way: God's Way." But their feeling is that there are many ways, and they try to show me their way. They create so many ways for me. God has created only one way, but my disciples create many ways for me.

In East Bengal during Swami Vivekananda's time, everyone claimed that his Master was an Avatar. It was as though the Avatars grew like mushrooms. Everyone said, "Come and see my Guru. He is an Avatar."

This world is not ready even for a saint. Among the seekers there are bad seekers, good seekers, high seekers, higher seekers, highest seekers. Then, when it is a matter of realisation, there are saints. Some people are of the opinion that saints are the lowest among those who have gone beyond the seekers. Then come the sages, then come the seers, then come the yogis. After the yogis come the Avatars. After the Avatars comes God Himself. So let us take it in this order: God, Avatar, yogi, seer, sage and saint. For now let us forget about the seekers' status. Because of their sanctity-life, saints are one thousand steps higher than the best seekers. Of course, saints are also seekers. Even an Avatar is a seeker. God Himself is a seeker. But in a human way if you want to evaluate them, saints are one thousand steps higher than the highest seekers.

Question: Can you define what you mean by a saint?

Sri Chinmoy: They lead a saintly life, a pure life. It starts with cleanliness. Everything they will touch or see with a purity-heart. They can get married, they can have children, but always there is a kind of sacred feeling in everything they do. Even if they touch a leaf, there is a kind of sacred feeling.

Then come the sages. The sages are, let us say, one thousand steps higher than the saints. The sages pray and meditate a great deal, more than the saints. Sages can enter into a very, very austere life. They want to acquire power, here, there and everywhere. Again, they do not want to go down to humanity's level. They say, "You come up to my level. First, the kindergarten teacher is there for you seekers. Then, if you complete kindergarten, you can come to primary school. I am ready to teach the primary school students, not the kindergarten students.

Then come the seers. The seers have vision — the vision of the past, the vision of the future. They want to remain totally in another world. The seers do not want to come down even to the level of the sages. They are full of mysticism. They are enamoured of the mystic world. There, everything is like beautiful snow. They want to see the past, present and future in that snowy world. The seers say, "We are seeing something divine. If you want to, you can also come and see. But we are not going to show you the way or do anything to help you." The primary school and kindergarten teachers sometimes want to have students. They say, "I would like to have a few pupils." The seers say, "If you come, I am ready to teach you, but I am not eager to have students."

There is a great difference between seers and yogis. A yogi is millions of miles higher than a seer. His goal is only to identify himself with God in each and every action. A yogi prays and meditates twenty-four hours a day. But a yogi's attitude is not like the attitude of saints and sages. The sages would like to get occult power and all kinds of other powers. The seers do not want occult power. They want to be satisfied only with knowing what is happening. Then again, some will say that knowing itself is power. I know what is inside that room. How? By virtue of some wisdom, some intuitive faculty. But yogis pray and meditate only to remain in the consciousness of God. They want to be one with God.

Arjuna said yes to everything that Sri Krishna said. If Sri Krishna said something was black, Arjuna immediately agreed. By saying yes to my Master, I am not acting like a fool. I am a drop, and I want to become the infinite ocean. The world will say I am a fool, I have no sense. But Arjuna said to Sri Krishna, "If I devotedly feel that I am a drop and you are the ocean, then by seeing what you are seeing, I enter into your consciousness." In that way, Arjuna got Krishna-consciousness.

A yogi is he who is one with his Lord God's Will. The others may not always care for God's Will. If the seers can see what is happening in Africa from here, they are satisfied. And the sages say, "If I can have a little occult power, I will be satisfied." The saints only say, "I am saintly. I touch everything with a sacred feeling." Those three have a feeling of separativity, although they are thousands of steps higher than the rest of humanity. But a yogi always wants to remain in God-consciousness. There he is one with God. If God wants him to do something, he will do it. He is only sleeplessly and breathlessly trying to become one with God's Will.

Then come the Avatars. The yogi, you can say, is a very, very huge wave. But when an Avatar comes, there is a vast ocean with thousands of waves. When these thousands of huge waves from different parts of the world subside, they become the ocean itself. And who is the ocean? God Himself is the ocean.

The Avatars are infinitely, infinitely higher than the yogis, because they are fully conscious of their highest divinity, their God-union. But sometimes God tells them, "You will not be able to manifest Me if you remain all the time in your highest consciousness. If you are always in the impersonal aspect, you will not be able to do anything for Me. You have to go down to earth. I want you to embody the personal aspect. I am remaining here with My impersonal aspect. You go down as the personal aspect and you become My representative. I am giving you My Divinity and My Sanction to go down and do My Work. But at times I shall have to veil you. Otherwise you will not be able to mix with humanity. Humanity will say, 'There is such a yawning gulf between your life and ours. You know everything about God. It is an impossibility for us to become like you. It will take millions of incarnations.'"

Avatars pray and meditate, like yogis, but they have bullet speed. Their access to God is like a telephone hotline. No matter when they want to approach God, the door is always open to them. They have a free access to God, and they have the God-touch. Millions and billions of things God does in and through an Avatar which God Himself, in His impersonal aspect, does not want to do. In His personal aspect, as an Avatar, God has to take a human body. He will have human ailments and all kinds of suffering. The nature of the human body is to be subject to pain, suffering and disease.

To the Avatar God says, "You take the suffering from human beings. I am already taking so much from humanity. I am ready to take suffering from you, but I do not want to take it directly from each and every individual. My creation is so vast! There are millions and billions of people. You will directly take care of thousands of people, and the yogis will take care of some." Below the yogis, the standard of the seers and others is of a totally different type. The poor Avatar suffers badly. But while he is suffering, at the same time, inwardly he is happy that he is pleasing God.

Unfortunately the personal aspect of God is almost always misunderstood by humanity. Most people cannot accept a human being as God. In a dream, even if you see your own soul, you will say, "Oh, is that my soul? I thought my soul would be infinitely more beautiful!" If God Himself stands in front of you, and if you try to see God with your own limited capacity, you will observe that God's Nose is not as beautiful as you thought it would be. You thought that God's Ears would be a little larger, or that God would have lots of hair. Whenever you judge something with your mind, you will not be satisfied. You will say, "No, I thought He would look different."

The impersonal aspect of God you do not see. That is best! Here you are chatting with me, cutting jokes and doing all kinds of things, while someone in Germany or Switzerland will be thinking, "Oh, perhaps Guru is meditating right now. He is in the highest consciousness." By not seeing me, those people may develop more love and devotion for the impersonal aspect of God. Again, it is very easy to have love, devotion and surrender to the personal aspect, but to have constant faith, love, devotion and surrender to the impersonal aspect is very difficult.

When it is a matter of accepting an Avatar, most human beings are making a serious mistake. They have utmost difficulty in taking a human being as a God-representative. If they were wise, they would know that there has to be a bridge to go from this shore to the other shore of the ocean of ignorance. Who is that bridge? Who is the guide on the way? The Avatar has to be the bridge. He has to be the guide. After he has carried human beings across the bridge, which he has made himself, and after he has taken his station on the other shore, only then do those human beings say, "O my God, he was the one!" At that time the very person who made the bridge and served as the guide stands before them as God Himself.

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