Sri Chinmoy answers, part 16
Before the Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart programme1In my heart-garden today I am seeing a few most beautiful and most soulful flowers. I cannot go to Yugoslavia, but Yugoslavia's soul and heart have come to me. And for that, my heart's boundless love and gratitude and my soul's infinite blessings and compassion I am offering to my spiritual children who are now here from Yugoslavia.
From this moment on, I shall grow in the very depths of your aspiration-heart every day, and every moment the beauty and fragrance of your hearts will please our Lord Beloved Supreme. I am extremely happy to have you all in our boat, the Golden Boat. And this boat will without fail carry all of us to the Golden Shore.
Once more, to each of you my heart of love and my life of gratitude I am offering.
SCA 580. On 17 January 1990 in Athens, Greece, Sri Chinmoy lifted a number of his Yugoslav disciples overhead with one arm as part of his Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart programme. Before the lifts he said these words.↩
Part IISCA 581-585. On 18 January 1990 in Athens, Sri Chinmoy invited questions from the large group of his Yugoslavian disciples who had made the trip to Greece to see their spiritual Master for the very first time.
Question: How can we avoid criticising someone?Sri Chinmoy: Always we have to see what happens to us when others criticise us. It is like two boxers fighting. I am a boxer and somebody else is a boxer. When I criticise someone, it is like hitting them and hurting them. And when they criticise me, they are hurting me by making me feel sad. If we can remember how we feel when we are criticised, then we can sympathise with others. If we do not like being attacked by others, why should we attack them? Try to think of others as flowers. Feel that you are entering into a garden. You can enjoy the beauty of the flowers, or again, you can destroy the petals one by one. If you criticise others, you are destroying the flowers. What kind of beauty, purity and other divine qualities will you find in the garden when all the flowers are destroyed?
How can you prove to the world that you are very wise if you are constantly criticising others? Anything that helps you in your spiritual life, you have to do as often as possible, and anything that does not help you, you have to give up. Before you came to the spiritual life, you did many undivine things. When you enter into the spiritual life, it means that you are ready to give up those bad qualities. When you are eager and willing to do the right thing, automatically the bad qualities will leave you.
Question: How can we be tolerant of the people around us when we see they are not so perfect?Sri Chinmoy: If you want to be very just, impartial, simply look at one part of your body. You have two eyes, but for some reason you like your right eye more. Perhaps your right eye has better vision than your left eye. So what do you do? You immediately establish your oneness with the left eye as well. Again, your left arm is weaker than your right arm. But you do not chop it off for that reason! It is also yours, just as your right arm is yours. You have identified yourself with the weaker parts as well as the stronger parts of your body.
When you see that somebody is not perfect, your heart has to come forward and say that the person who is imperfect is also part and parcel of your life. Always we have to be very, very wise. Our sisters and brothers who are weaker can be made stronger by our concern, compassion and sympathy. Otherwise, if we disregard the weaker ones, we will not be in the picture either! Who is good, who is bad? Just because I can say that one person is imperfect, I cannot say that I am perfect. Why should God tolerate me if I cannot tolerate others?
Question: There are disciples who are faithful to you, but they do not believe in God.Sri Chinmoy: We are here inside a hall. Before we enter into this hall, we can have any opinion about it. Somebody will say this hall can be illumined and somebody else will say this hall is all darkness. Then you become the judge. You come into the hall to see if there is light or if it is all dark. If it is all light, it is up to you to remain in this hall or leave. When people are well-educated in the mind, it is difficult for them to feel something inside their heart because they are using their mind too much. The mind immediately starts doubting. If someone says I am a very bad person, I think perhaps it is true. I may be a very good person, but the moment you say I am not good, I start doubting my own good qualities.
But if I feel deep inside my heart that I am a good person, then no matter what anyone says, even if twenty people say that I am a bad person, I will not believe them because my heart is telling me that I am a good person. I know that I have done many good things in this life. My mind can tell me twenty times that I am a good person, but still I do not believe my mind. I say, "Perhaps it is true, perhaps it is not true."
These people who are using their mind say they do not believe in God. But I wish to say that they do believe in something. For us God is all Love, all Compassion, all Forgiveness. At this moment, if their father or mother is dying, they will say, "Please save them." They will ask someone to help. They may not use the term 'God', but at that time they are praying to God for help. The One they do not know is God.
Question: When I meditate at the Centre, it is good, but when I meditate alone, I often have the feeling of fear.Sri Chinmoy: Kindly imagine a large swimming pool with many people swimming. When you see the people swimming in it, immediately you jump in. But when you are alone in front of the swimming pool, you become afraid. You are afraid that if something happens, no one will be there to save you. At home when you meditate, you have to think of the Centre when other people are meditating. Then you will be able to throw yourself into your meditation without any fear.
Question: Is it good to leave my son and family and go somewhere else to meditate when I cannot meditate at home?Sri Chinmoy: It is not good to leave your son and family. What you have to do is become very strong inwardly. Just because you cannot meditate at home right now, you must not leave your son and family. If you move, you will only think of your son. You will wonder what he is doing, what he is eating and so on. Wherever you go, you will carry the same mind. It is the mind that is not allowing you to meditate.
What you should do is to live in the heart. While looking at your son or talking to him or the members of your family, inwardly repeat "Supreme, Supreme, Supreme". Try to inwardly repeat the name of the Supreme as often as possible. Then the vibration from this soulful chanting will enter into your son. I strongly feel that if you go away, it will be worse for both you and your son. You should be there with him. If you cannot pray and meditate most intensely to your satisfaction, you can say "Supreme".
A farewell to Yugoslavian disciples1Soon you will be leaving Athens. Your so-called physical existence will leave this hotel and return to Yugoslavia, but your inner existence, which is real, absolutely real, which is the only reality, you will leave behind inside the depths of my heart. It will remain with me permanently. Physically I may not be able to go to your country in the near future, but spiritually I am already there. My heart of boundless love, infinite affection and inseparable oneness is all for you who have come from the aspiring heart and dedicated life of Yugoslavia. Those who have joined our boat have a very special significance in the depths of my own aspiring heart. In the short span of two days you have proved in unmistakable terms your sincere, most sincere cry for our Lord Beloved Supreme. My prayerful life and blessingful soul will always lead you and guide you to the highest Destination.
As in a school there are some good students and some students who are not as good, in the spiritual life there are also some good students and some poor students. I wish all of you to make a bold attempt to become excellent students of our Lord Beloved Supreme. I would like all of you to run the fastest. The things that are unnecessary and unaspiring, the things that may lead you to stray from the spiritual path, please, please, please, even in your wildest dreams, do not encourage or cherish. Run the fastest.
Very special Blessings you have from our Lord Supreme, my dearest Yugoslavian children. Anything that will stand in your way, anything that will delay your progress, please discard it consciously and immediately. The goal is for the brave and the swift. Those who can run the fastest in the spiritual life will get the highest reward. Therefore, at every moment, consciously, soulfully, devotedly and self-givingly, try to run the fastest and thus make our Lord Beloved Supreme extremely, extremely proud of you.
Since we are all seekers, we do believe in the existence of the soul. The soul flies in the firmament of Infinity, sleeplessly and eternally, like a bird. Birds symbolise the soul, the celestial soul. Let us all grow into most beautiful and dynamic souls, so that we can, at every moment, fly in the heart of Infinity's Sky.
SCA 586. Sri Chinmoy made these farewell remarks to the Yugoslavian disciples.↩
Part IVSCA 587-597. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on 31 January 1990 at P.S. 86 in New York.
Question: The hostile forces seem to be increasing and making progress, and the good forces seem to be losing strength. How is it possible that the good forces will ever win?Sri Chinmoy: Who are we to say which are the hostile forces, which are the good forces and who is winning? We use the term 'hostile forces', but do we actually know which are the hostile forces and which are the good forces? We ourselves can play the role of hostile forces most perfectly. Let us try, consciously and soulfully, to minimise our wrong actions. Each day if we can do one less wrong action, we help the divine within us to make us perfect. Since God has not given up on us, we must continue to try. As He has infinite Patience, let us also have patience in conquering wrong forces.
We must not add to God's problems. Unconsciously we do many wrong things; for those, we have to forgive ourselves. But consciously also we do many wrong things. We look around and see that someone has done something and God has forgiven him, so we think, "I can do the same thing and God will also forgive me." Is there any human being who every day is not consciously doing wrong things for no other reason than to fulfil a kind of desire, especially in the thought world? Insecurity comes, jealousy comes, inferiority and superiority come and we allow them to enter. We just connive at them. If we do not conquer these wrong forces, if we do not fight against them, we will surrender to them. We have to be all the time like brave soldiers or heroes to conquer them once and for all.
Question: In your New Year's Message you mentioned in the last two lines 'My Transcendental Silence-Crown and my Universal Sound-Throne'. Can you say something about that?Sri Chinmoy: This is not my poetical expression; it is my own inner experience. If you can raise your consciousness, your inner height, then you will see that my New Year's Message is not mental jugglery. Last year when I said certain things in the message, they came true. This year also they will happen. Every day tremendous things are happening in the inner world. In the inner world when we see a bud of beauty, then we know it will blossom, petal by petal. But unless it is fully blossomed outwardly, with our outer vision we cannot call it a flower. So in the inner world, if we have confidence or faith, we can see the inner reality. But if we cherish doubt, then we cannot see what is really most beautiful and most real. The doubting and practical mind does not perceive it. Most of the time when something is in seed form in the inner world, we see that it will eventually manifest fully. Very developed spiritual seekers can envision the future with their third eye. They know that their vision is real. It has already taken place in the inner world, but it is not showing on the outer plane.
Only eleven more months remain in this year. So let us have patience. With our aspiration and eagerness, we can also expedite God's absolute Height. Our receptivity is nothing other than gratitude. As soon as we can offer an iota of gratitude to God, our receptivity increases.
God is pleased even with our short-lived surrender-life and infinitely shorter-lived gratitude-breath. We see how little gratitude we have. But when we increase our power of receptivity, the vision of tomorrow can be manifested as reality in today's heart, in today's life.
Question: Could you give us a meditation or concentration technique to develop discrimination-power?Sri Chinmoy: If you can just shed tears — and I do not mean crocodile tears — you will develop discrimination-power. Try to feel that you are absolutely helpless, like a babe in the woods. You have to bring forward humility and feel that you are nothing and can be nothing without God's Protection, God's Compassion. You have to cry like a child. Think of the way a child cries for the mother's milk or a toy. Then immediately you will be able to discriminate and choose only the things that are going to help you make spiritual progress. What you need will be there. The power of discrimination comes from our utmost sincere cry. If you use the mind to discriminate, it will be a mistake. Discrimination is founded upon the heart's purest cry. Immediately God's Compassion and Protection will give you nectar and keep you away from poison.
The other way is to act like a hero. Here you have to have the confidence to know that you are God's supremely chosen child. With this confidence, you will conquer wrong forces.
Question: My father committed suicide eleven years ago and it still disturbs me. He had cancer and had three months to live, so he took his life.Sri Chinmoy: According to my inner philosophy, God has given us this life. At every moment we must avail ourselves of the opportunity to fight against death. You can say your father's life was useless. Even if he stayed, perhaps he would not have been able to contribute anything to the outer world. But there is an inner world, the soul's world. The soul may no longer be able to manifest in and through a particular body, but it can manifest through the near and dear ones. In this way, it keeps a connection with the earth. Like this, there are so many reasons why one should not commit suicide.
On rare occasions, spiritual Masters may leave their physical body because they know that God's choice Hour has come for them. It is God's Will. But for ordinary people, it is the worst possible inner crime. In the case of your father, he has departed, but you are still here on earth. You can pray to God for forgiveness for your father. The dear ones remaining on earth can pray to God.
At the end of your life, even if you are only moving at the speed of an Indian bullock cart, God is still achieving something in and through your life. Do not take a wrong turn by committing suicide. If you discard this life, how can there be any progress? Suicide is the worst possible experience, not only for the one who commits suicide but also for his family members. Anyone who has close connections with that individual suffers tremendously. If your brother or father or sister or someone else commits suicide, then some of your subtle nerves, which are absolutely necessary for God-realisation, can be damaged. So you have to pray for your own protection as well. When somebody breaks the cosmic law in the family, for example, if your brother has gone to jail, then something very sacred in you or in one of your inner beings will snap. Again, if your family members do something good or great for humanity, it affects you also. So we have to be so careful. Unless we consciously surrender our near ones to God's Will every day, we are bound to be affected if they do something wrong in the inner world. Something in our consciousness will be damaged.
Question: At the public meditation you talked about the crying child within. If we are concentrating on your Transcendental picture, can we try to see the crying child in that and identify with it there?Sri Chinmoy: Inside my Transcendental picture you want to imagine a crying child? No, that is not the way. My Transcendental as such is not crying. In a sense, you can say it is crying for the perfection of the human beings, but my Transcendental is full of infinite compassion, love and light. When I spoke about the crying child within, I meant that you as an individual have to cry the way a child cries. You can cry to my Transcendental for the things you need, to discriminate right from wrong, and so on. The Transcendental will fulfil your aspiration. But if the Transcendental also starts crying, how will the Transcendental be able to give anything? For those who cry to the Transcendental the way a child cries, the Transcendental embodies infinite compassion, blessings, love and light, and these divine attributes or qualities will enter into you. If you wish, you can ask the Transcendental to teach you how to cry. The Transcendental itself is not going to cry, but in a deeper sense the Transcendental does cry for the transformation and perfection of humanity.
Question: Are there certain pieces of music that are best to listen to at certain times of the day?Sri Chinmoy: I am not an expert on music. For that you have to read books about Indian ragas. If you read Indian books, they will tell you which raga is best in the evening, which in the morning and which in the afternoon. But with regard to my music, since I have composed thousands of songs, you can make the choice. If you are not a singer, then you can listen to my tapes or to the disciples' tapes, and see which songs are best for you. You be the judge. Some songs will appeal to you most early in the morning, others late in the evening and still others perhaps far into the night.
I have tried a few Indian ragas. Unfortunately, I do not agree that you have to listen to or play such and such a raga early in the morning and another one at noon. That approach does not appeal to me. I feel it depends on our consciousness. If our consciousness is not high, no matter which music we listen to, even the most soulful music, we will find nothing appealing in it. But if our consciousness is high, every kind of spiritual music will appeal to us. As I said before, you be the judge. Select a few songs, either sing them or listen to them at different times of the day, and then you decide which ones are best for you.
Question: One of the older disciples in my Centre is very discouraged by something she read in one of your books. You said that older people in their fifties very often cease to make spiritual progress because at that age the vital is either impure or tired and it stops giving determination to the mind. This disciple got discouraged and said, "What hope is there? I am in my fifties."Sri Chinmoy: Naturally it is simply impossible to make spiritual progress if she remains in the mind. But if she remains in the heart, then she will remain an eternal child. I am also in my fifties, but I feel I am still progressing. If you can remain in the heart, no matter how old you are, even at the age of 99, you can make progress. But if you remain in the mind, you will be bound to your physical age. There are disciples who are only 25 or 26 years old, but in terms of lethargy, unwillingness and other unaspiring attitudes which they cherish, they are acting like 90-year-olds. Again, there are two or three women who are on the wrong side of fifty, but how hard they work, how energetically, how eagerly! Sometimes they do not even go to sleep at night. How I appreciate them! They do not remain in the mind; they remain in the heart. They are always enthusiastic and ready to inspire others. So elderly women at your Centre should try to remain inside the heart. If this disciple remains inside the heart, she does not have to worry about her age. A childlike heart will help her to make all the necessary progress in her life.
Question: How can we know if we are trying to work on too many projects and not getting enough sleep?Sri Chinmoy: You want to know whether you work too much? There are people who work for an hour and think they have worked for twelve hours. Again, some people work for sixteen hours and feel they have worked only for four hours. According to me, rest is when you take up a new job. In the course of a day, if you are supposed to do six or seven different types of work, each time you change jobs you have to take it as rest. Rest is all in the mind. The mind will say, "I have already finished one thing. How will it be possible for me to enter into another project?" But if you take each job as a golden opportunity to make faster than the fastest progress, and if you can consciously absorb each progress-step that you have made, then you are not fooling yourself by saying that you are enjoying rest.
The same amount of energy, the same level of consciousness you have in one job you will carry with you when you enter into a new job. Imagine that you are climbing up stairs. First comes one step, then the second, then the third. If you use your common sense, after each step you can see that you are getting tired. You will say, "I have to climb up like this twenty flights!" But if you use your heart's wisdom, you will feel that after each step a fleeting second you are getting before the next step. This is your golden chance. You can say, "Here I am getting rest."
Work can also be taken in exactly the same way. When you have five or six things to accomplish in a day, at the end of each one think that you are not only getting the opportunity to take rest, but also getting the opportunity to make progress. Left, right, left, right. When the right step is coming, your left leg is taking rest. When the left step is coming, your right leg is taking rest. So each time you change your work, consciously try to feel that you are getting rest. This is not fooling yourself; it is wisdom.
Question: How is it that the memory of first seeing you has such capacity to lift our consciousness up very quickly?Sri Chinmoy: That is a very good experience. I have been telling everybody to remember that first experience — the first day you applied. The day you sent your picture or became a disciple, that particular day your life-story became totally different. On that day you made a solemn promise. Your heart, mind, vital, physical existence, everything made a solemn promise to me to be an excellent disciple, and becoming an excellent disciple means to please the Master in his own way.
Then, over the years, the story changes. After three months or six months most disciples come to feel that the Master has to please them fifty per cent and they have to please the Master fifty per cent. They are prepared to meet him half-way. After a few more years the disciples feel that the Master has to come ninety-nine steps, and they will go one step. And then, what is worse, some disciples do not want to take even one step. The Master has to come the full one hundred steps.
So I beg each and every disciple to remember that golden day when he or she accepted the spiritual life, what kind of attitude you had at that time. You wanted one hundred per cent to become an excellent disciple. I am begging you once again to become an excellent disciple, to have constant love for the Master and constant surrender to God's Will. Each individual started with an excellent attitude. But unfortunately each year a heavy, heavier, heaviest burden of demand and expectation covers your inner wisdom.
To all of you I am saying, just remember the first day you became a disciple. For one week, one month or two months how sincere, how pure, how surrendered you were. Then after five or ten or fifteen or twenty years, what inner demands you began to make. In the beginning, you wanted to establish inner, direct contact with my highest consciousness. Your inner cry like a magnet drew my heart's love for you and my pride in you. But now there is no disciple who is unconditionally surrendered.
Another thing which applies to all the disciples without exception: if you see that somebody is even one step in front of you, all your inner joy disappears. And if you see that nobody is ahead of you, still you have to look around to make sure there is an audience. Others should see you are the closest. First you see if somebody is ahead of you. If nobody is ahead of you, you feel very, very proud, very happy and pleased with yourself. Then you turn around to see if others are seeing that you are the nearest, you are the dearest. Each and every disciple in that sense has fallen. 'Fallen' is an understatement. Previously only you and your Master existed in your life. Now each disciple needs hundreds of witnesses.
I am very happy with your question. That should be the attitude of each and every disciple. Every day you can remember what you first felt in your Master and what you promised to your Master. The day you accepted me was a most significant day in your life. All your simplicity, sincerity, purity, eagerness, willingness, self-giving and other divine qualities you brought to the fore for their complete manifestation. If you can remember this experience, it will be of immense help to you.
Question: I have been taking driving lessons and I wonder if I am going to pass.Sri Chinmoy: I am not a soothsayer or an occultist. I am an ordinary human being like you. I can pray to God on your behalf, but you will pray to God to help you pass, whereas my prayer will be a little different. I learned it two thousand years ago from somebody. My brother Jesus Christ taught me: "Let Thy Will be done." I can pray to God that His Will be done in your driving, but what His Will is I cannot tell you.
In Jamaica, West Indies, one ex-disciple failed her driving test at least five times. It was too much, too much! Her husband did not have proper vision, so she had to learn. Every time she failed, she was so miserable. I was miserable too. When the sixth time came, I said to her, "All right, for God's sake, this time you have to pass." Luckily, that time she passed.
Whether you pass or fail in your driving, even if you fail one hundred times, I will not feel miserable. I will feel miserable only if your consciousness descends. If you are driving inwardly with aspiration and dedication and that aspiration or dedication descends, then I will feel miserable. Otherwise, when it is a matter of these outer things, you will try your best to pass the examination, but when you are here in front of your Master if you have to think of your driving test, whether you will pass or fail, then it is a waste of time. There are infinitely more important things to do when you are in front of your Master.
The best prayer of all is the one Jesus Christ taught us: "Let Thy Will be done." Repeat this and you will be the happiest person. Otherwise, you will be happy only if you pass the examination. If you can sincerely pray to God for the fulfilment of His Will, you will see that your happiness will be infinitely, infinitely, infinitely stronger and more fulfilling than when you ask for the fulfilment of your own desire. There is every possibility that He will fulfil your desire, but your aspiring heart will not be pleased.
Question: In one of your poems you say to try to be pleased with yourself all the time. If you feel sad, frustrated or disappointed because a lot of things you didn't do or you did wrong, then how can you be pleased with yourself?Sri Chinmoy: Even if you have failed ten times, if you have failed in everything that you did during the day, simply be pleased that you did not bring frustration upon yourself. Only take it as an attack. Fortunately, you did not surrender to it. You have to detach yourself from frustration as such. Tomorrow you will make a fresh attempt. But if you cherish frustration or surrender to it, how will you be happy? Let us say you tried this and that and you failed. But if you think of it as failure, complete failure, then tomorrow or the day after, you will not be inspired to again start your journey. Even if you have failed, be satisfied that you did not surrender to failure and you did not invite frustration. Right now you have not succeeded. But since you have not invited frustration, you should be pleased with yourself. It could have been infinitely worse.
Some people enjoy frustration. They invoke it. Then they want to continue with frustration because they feel they are making tremendous progress in this way. Some people have such a negative way of making progress. Unless they are miserable, they think they are not making any progress. As a matter of fact, their mind is tremendously enjoying frustration. It makes them feel very great. In your case, you do not enjoy or invoke frustration. So the following day you can easily make a fresh start.
Part VSCA 598-608. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on 4 February 1990 at Progress-Promise in New York.
Question: Yesterday you were talking about the prayer "Let Thy Will be done." Is it wrong to pray for something specific?Sri Chinmoy: You have to see what kind of prayer it is. If you pray to God, "God, give me the Light of Compassion," that prayer is not at all bad. Definitely you have to use your wisdom. If you pray to God for His Compassion, for His Love, for His Blessings, those things are part and parcel of His Will. But if you ask, "Shall I pass in the driving test?" or "Give me a new car," this kind of thing is totally different.
Question: Lately I've read many things about the power of positive thinking. If you really want something, should you say, "Supreme, make it happen if it is Thy Will," or should you affirm, "This will happen"?Sri Chinmoy: We have to know if it is something connected with desire. First you will say, "Supreme, give me two hundred dollars." This most sincere desire you offer to God. Then in your mind you may say, "What will the Supreme think of me? I am supposed to say, 'Let Thy Will be done'." When you prayed for two hundred dollars, at that time your desire was so intense, so sincere. But when you said, "Let Thy Will be done," that prayer became meaningless. It was only by rote that you were saying it. It was all in the mental plane. God knows when you are playing tricks and where your sincerity lies. At that time He will give you zero because He is seeing that when you say "Your Will," it is just a joke.
Question: Is it wrong to pray for any desire?Sri Chinmoy: No, you can pray for the fulfilment of your desires, but you have to be very careful because if it is a material desire, then it may fight against your inner aspiration. People pray for new cars. They pray for one house, two houses. You have to see which kind of desire is binding you and which kind of aspiration is liberating you. Some material things are absolutely necessary in our day-to-day lives. Some people who have money-power can easily afford to live decently. But no, they are not satisfied. They have to become multimillionaires. Be rich if you wish, but then you may be poor spiritually. You have to decide which one you want.
Our way is the life of acceptance. You have every right to pray to God for whatever is necessary in your outer life. But you have to see when greed comes, when your desires become exorbitant. How can someone cope with that kind of desire in the spiritual life? You can pray to God to meet the basic necessities of life. At that time I will never say it is the wrong thing to do. But some people only accumulate, accumulate, accumulate. They start accumulating material wealth and become bankrupt in spiritual wealth.
Question: Does God necessarily fulfil your desire if it is based on greed?Sri Chinmoy: If God is not pleased with you, then He may fulfil all your desires so that you can dig your own grave sooner than the soonest. It has happened countless times. When God sees that your case is hopeless, He will fulfil you materially and spiritually give you a larger than the largest zero.
God is like a farmer. He is digging, digging. In one place, He has dug a number of times, but He has not achieved any result. So He goes and ploughs somewhere else. There He is fully satisfied. God gives one person the chance, but that person does not use it properly. He is satisfied to remain in the same situation. How long can God wait for that person? So God says, "Fine. You be happy where you are. I shall plough somewhere else."
Question: My question is regarding manifestation and spirituality. Often, I find that more manifestation means less opportunity to become spiritually stronger. How does one find the proper balance?Sri Chinmoy: In my case and in my disciples' case, manifestation is definitely God's Will. You are my disciple. So if it is God's Will for you to manifest His Light, you must never feel that you are doing something wrong. Unfortunately you are separating aspiration from manifestation.
As individuals we have so much eagerness to see our own improvement, to make progress. Now, if we can identify ourselves with others, will we not have the same kind of eagerness for their improvement? We are ready to offer our time, energy and everything for our own aspiration because we want to become perfect. Now God says, "Even though you are not yet perfect, I want you to help your little brother, to bring him up to a certain standard." You are one step ahead of that person. That is why God is asking you to do it. God is not asking a third person to do the same. God is not asking the other person to come and advise you. God is not asking me to take advice when I go out into the street. But He is telling me, "If you see somebody who is sincere, somebody who is receptive, give him what you have. Give him your energy, give him your light."
So coming back to aspiration, when you meditate early in the morning, even if you meditate for only fifteen minutes, if you can meditate well, then that meditation-power easily lasts throughout the day. But that meditation has to be very strong. If you fill the tank of your car with gas early in the morning, then you can cover hundreds of miles. Then again, the following day you can refill it. But if there is no gas to start with in the morning, how are you going to cover the distance? In the morning, many, many disciples do not pray or meditate. They are just fooling themselves. For two minutes or three minutes some people will sit in front of the shrine. Then they feel that that is enough.
Early in the morning, at three o'clock or four o'clock, do I tell you to go outside and put up some posters or to go to some television station? First things first. I always say aspiration must come first. Then after your meditation is over, you can go out and do manifestation, which is your dedication. While you are meditating most sincerely, even though you are not thinking of dedication at that time, inwardly God is giving you the energy that you will need in your dedication-life.
It is like morning exercise at home. At home early in the morning you take stretching exercises. Then afterwards you go out to the track and start sprinting. At home you are only stretching. But while you are stretching your legs or doing various postures with your body, God is giving you energy. He is making you ready to enter into the battlefield of life and race against ignorance.
What happens quite often with the disciples is that as soon as they do one thing, they think of the other. When it is time to do dedicated service, they think of aspiration. Then when they are meditating early in the morning, they think of dedication. When it is time to eat, at that time they think of sleeping. And when it is time to sleep, at that time they think of eating. This is what is happening most of the time. When they are doing some dedicated work, they ask themselves why they are not aspiring. They say to themselves, "If I do not meditate, how will it be possible for me to realise God?" And then when they are meditating, after five seconds they think that if they do not go out and do some manifestation, then Guru will not be pleased. All the time, they feel that the other thing is more important. While they are aspiring they think that manifestation is infinitely more important. While manifesting they think that aspiration is infinitely more important. But, according to me, they are equally important.
A long jumper knows that if he steps on the board with his left foot, then he will be able to jump well, but if he steps with the right, he will not be able to jump well at all. How many people can take off with either leg and cover the same distance? One leg is always stronger. Again, the other leg helps while the jumper is coming to the board. At that time he is using both left and right. He is not coming only with the left leg. It is impossible. Here also, in life we have to use both aspiration and dedication. We have to see aspiration inside dedication and dedication inside aspiration. But while we are manifesting, we should not think that aspiration is more important. And while we are praying or meditating, we should not think that manifestation is more important. We will only ruin our aspiration, and we will not do either thing well.
On our path, a minimum of two times daily one should try to meditate for fifteen minutes. Out of fifteen minutes, hardly three minutes people usually meditate well. Nobody can tell me that right from the very start they have raised their consciousness to the highest. It does not happen. I see that it takes time. So out of fifteen minutes, perhaps you can expect at least five minutes of good meditation. Otherwise, no disciple of mine can meditate for fifteen minutes in their highest height.
Coming back to the point, do not neglect your aspiration. First things first. But if you cannot do the first thing, at least do the second thing, which is dedication. They go together. Again, if you cannot do your morning meditation well, at least do your evening meditation well. Of course, the ideal thing will be, when morning dawns, to do your morning meditation extremely well. When it is noon, meditate again. Then in the evening, once more do it. In this way, you will have no problem at all.
You know that eating breakfast is one thing, lunch is something else, and supper is something completely different. We do not eat our dinner at breakfast time. They have to be done one after another. Similarly, if you can meditate three times a day most soulfully — ten minutes in the morning, ten minutes at noon, ten minutes in the evening — then you will be able to value everything. When aspiration is needed, you will be able to give full value to aspiration. When dedication is needed, you will be able to give full value to dedication. After aspiration comes dedication and manifestation. If there is no aspiration, dedication cannot come into existence. So let us aspire early in the morning. Right after our aspiration, God will give us boundless energy and opportunities for dedication. And while we are performing our dedicated service, we will see that it is God's Divinity within us that is being manifested.
I do not see any conflict between aspiration and dedication, provided they are being done at the time they are needed. Without aspiration how can one climb up the tree? Again, will it be fair if you climb up the tree and sit on the topmost branch, enjoying the fruit to your heart's content, while at the foot of the tree your dear ones are crying for a mango? Will you be able to devour the mangoes all by yourself? No, your heart will break because your aspiration demands sincerity, concern and compassion. Aspiration is something divine in you that lifts you up. Based on that divine thing, you are on the top of the tree. If something divine lifted you up, and the same divine thing still keeps you up, then will that divine part of you not ask you to come down? It is not your spiritual descent; it is only to offer the fruits to others so they too can eventually be strong enough to climb up the way you have climbed up.
Manifestation is difficult, especially for Indians, because our mind is on aspiration. For Westerners, dedication is comparatively easier because they are accustomed to a dynamic life. Their movement is forward. As Indians, our movement is upward. Whether you go upward or inward or forward, all the movements go together. If you go one inch higher, then at that exact moment you are also going one inch deeper and one inch forward. So these three movements — forward, inward and upward — have to be done simultaneously. If we can really dive deep within, then we can go up like a springboard and also move forward. If we aspire most sincerely, then inside our aspiration will be the movement to dive deep within and to move forward.
Question: What is the best way to distinguish between the mind's desire and the soul's will?Sri Chinmoy: If you want to know the soul's will, you have to pray and meditate most sincerely and intensely. Otherwise, if you do not pray soulfully and meditate powerfully, automatically your mind's desire will come to the fore.
Question: What can we do when the body always obstructs our spiritual achievement in the outer world, like swimming the English Channel?Sri Chinmoy: I am not telling you to become a world champion in swimming. I am not telling you to become a world champion in marathon running. I am not asking anybody to swim the English Channel, far from it. Only I am saying if you feel that you have the capacity, try it! You have my blessings. I am certain you will do it. I like these kinds of achievements so much. I do not feel they are something bad. But at the same time, I do not want you to neglect your work at the Centre, and I do not want you to neglect your own aspiration. That I do not approve of.
Question: What is the best way for me to make progress in the battle against lethargy and self-indulgence?Sri Chinmoy: Only see how many years you have wasted. Remember the days when you were energetic and how much joy you got at that time. Each year you participate in the canoe trip for two weeks. How energetic and dynamic you are at that time! So remember the golden days and how much happiness you got. The best way for you to conquer lethargy is to remember the experiences when you worked very hard for the canoe trip. When you bring to the fore the memory of that energetic life, you will get such joy. That joy is progress, and it will help you to do other things with the same kind of enthusiasm and eagerness.
Question: I am wondering about the advisability of a very small Centre having public meditations as a form of manifestation.Sri Chinmoy: If you know that what you are doing is the right thing, you will do it, in spite of the fact that you have failed ten times. If you are doing the right thing, then you can do it even two hundred times without achieving success. When I was trying to lift 300 pounds, I knew I was doing the right thing. After two hundred failures, did I give up? No, I continued, and eventually I succeeded on my 214th attempt. If I know that I am doing something that is definitely right, even if I am not succeeding, if it is God's Will that I do something, I will do it.
Question: How can I know if I am making progress?Sri Chinmoy: When I eat something, do I not feel at that time strength or joy? If I eat the right thing, then immediately I get joy and energy. Again, if I eat something not good for my health, then immediately I know. So if I pray and meditate sincerely early in the morning, then I will feel some energy, some strength, some joy. If I can feel these qualities during my prayer and meditation, it is definitely progress.
Question: In some kinds of manifestation I find that I don't often have as much fun because they are more competitive. Should those certain things not be done?Sri Chinmoy: If you are in the competitive world with your brother and sister disciples, my advice is to establish more oneness. Otherwise, if you increase your tendency to compete with others, it will end in destruction. By hook or by crook you will try to defeat your colleagues, your friends, or our other spiritual Centres. So this competitive attitude has to be nipped in the bud. Definitely compete with yourself. That is essential. If you were angry with someone yesterday because they did something wrong, then today try to forgive them. See how much you can identify yourself with their weaknesses. That kind of competition is for your self-improvement. Examine how much tolerance you had yesterday and today see if you have increased your tolerance. Then you will see your progress. But if you say that you are right and somebody else is wrong, then you are only exercising your supremacy. This kind of competition with others is destruction.
Of course, in a race you are running on the same track with other runners. Here, although you are competing, you are not trying to defeat those other runners by hook or by crook. No, your goal is to see if you are running well. You will run together because sometimes there is joy when people are doing the same thing. If you are competing with others, you have to remember that you are not competing with the person who is beside you or with those who are in front of you or behind you. You are only competing with yourself. Otherwise wrong ideas will come into your mind. Your attitude will be to defeat that person by hook or by crook. Then it is your destruction. But if you are only competing with others in order to run the fastest, to do your best, then whatever result comes, you will be happy.
Part VISCA 609-610. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on 14 February 1990 at his home in New York.
Question: How can I be more obedient?Sri Chinmoy: You have to change the boss. You are saying that you are not obedient. But you are obedient. The question is to whom. Suppose early in the morning you have to get up, but you went to bed very late. Your body is not co-operating. Something inside you is telling you not to get up, and something else is asking you to get up. The something that is asking you not to get up is one boss, and the something that is asking you to get up is another boss.
You have to choose which boss you are going to obey. You have to ask yourself if the one that is asking you not to get up is telling you the right thing. In the morning if you do not get up when you are supposed to get up, you will feel miserable when you want to do the next thing. At eight o'clock if you have to go to work, you will feel miserable because the first thing — your meditation — you have not done. Then at eight o'clock if you do not go to work because you have gone out running, more problems will arise. If you are late for each activity, you will get pain when you want to do the next thing. The first thing will come into your mind and ruin all your joy. When you are going to work — the second thing — you will feel sad about the first thing — that you did not get up to meditate. Then, if you do not go to work, if you do something else, you will say, "O my God, first I did not get up, and then I did not go to work." Now you have missed two things. So it accumulates, accumulates.
We say the past is dust. All right, early in the morning you could not get up. That is past. But now do the second thing. In the examination the teacher has given you five or six questions. If you cannot answer one, do not look at that question. If you look at it, you will only waste your precious time and energy saying, "O my God, I am unable to answer it." That kind of worry and anxiety will ruin all your joy. Then you will not be able to answer the four or five questions which you know so well. Your mind will be loaded with anxiety and worry: "What will happen? I will not get 100 out of 100." Instead you have to forget about that question immediately. There are six questions and you are able to answer five, but the sixth one will bother you if you do not throw it out of your mind.
In the same way, during the day you have so many things to do. If you have missed the first one, forget about it. There are still five, six, ten things you have to do. If you do all the rest of the things, then you will again have strength. You will have tremendous joy that you have done this, this and this.
Obedience must come from the heart. In the morning the mind or the vital asks you not to get up. So you listen to that boss, but you do not listen to the real boss: your heart. Always you have to see where the command is coming from. Do not think that you are the boss. When you do not get up, you simply say that you did not get up. No, what actually happened is that somebody asked you not to get up. You have to identify that someone. When you do something wrong, you have to feel that somebody has instigated you.
When you do something wrong, you immediately say, "I did not do it," or if you are clever, you put the blame on another human being. But if you put the blame on something inside you, if you know that it is something within you, your mind or your vital that instigates you to do the wrong thing, then you can challenge that something and eventually it will surrender. Again, your heart is there to inspire you to do the right thing.
We always obey, positively or negatively. So always try to take the positive way. First your heart has to come forward and say what is good, what is bad, what is right, what is wrong. Then you must listen to your heart.
Question: When we are speaking to seekers, what is the one quality in ourselves that we should try to bring forward in order to bring forward their hearts and their receptivity?Sri Chinmoy: Only humility. We have to identify ourselves with them and not make them feel that we are infinitely superior to them and therefore we have the right to teach them. In a class there are some new students and some old students. The old students are supposed to know a little more than the new students.
Let us say you have been studying in a class for three or four years, and someone has only recently joined your class. Naturally you will know more than that person. So you are helping him out before the teacher comes. You will try to teach him a little before he comes to the real teacher. In this case, I happen to be the teacher. Again, I will also lead the students to another teacher. I take them to the real Teacher, God. Only if you have humility can you lead the students to the right Teacher.
Otherwise, when some of the disciples give courses, O God, they all act like God-realised souls! They think that if they act like God-realised souls, people will think they are very high. When the new seekers come, they will feel that these disciples have climbed up the Himalayas and now they have condescended to come down to the foot of the Himalayas to take up some new seekers. When these older disciples tell the new seekers about the spiritual life, they make the new seekers feel that they themselves are on the top of the Himalayas, and the newcomers are at the foot of the Himalayas. Then the poor seekers look up and say, "O my God, we will never be able to reach that height. We will not be able to climb up the Himalayas. It is so high. At any moment those old disciples will go back to the topmost heights and then they will not return to teach us." So these beginners are totally lost.
That is not the right approach. You have to be on their level. You are all in the same class or the same family, but you happen to know a little more than they do. I always say that I am the eldest brother in the family. I know a little more than you do, so that is why God has asked me to take you to Him. I am your oldest brother. I came into this spiritual family long before you did. Before you were even born, I started praying and meditating. Now I know a little more. So I am telling you all, "Come with me. I will be able to tell you where our Father is."
Similarly, you will also have to tell the new seekers, "Come with me. I will be able to show you where my teacher is, where my source is. He is the source of knowledge, wisdom and love." Then when they come to me, I will tell them where my Source of wisdom is. I will lead them to the Supreme. This is the way to bring new seekers.
When you are dealing with seekers, you do not have that problem. You mix with them on their level. But there are some disciples who do not want to be on the same level. They want to be high above. I am begging all the disciples who give classes to be on the same level as the beginners. Do not make them feel that you are very high, on the top of the Himalayas. Then they will be totally lost. When you make them feel that you have reached the goal, but you have condescended to come down and lead them to the goal, that is a real mistake.
When you are dealing with new seekers, always make them feel you are one with them and that you are all for them. You know a little bit more than they do. Now you can read a book because you have learned the alphabet. You are teaching them the same ABCs. Then one day they will start learning to read a page or two. When that day arrives, immediately you can bring them to me and I will give them lots of books to read!