Sri Chinmoy answers, part 17

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Part I

SCA 611-617. Excerpts from a conversation which took place in Rome on 17 February 1990 between Don Antonio Tarzia, General Director of the Italian publishing firm Edizioni Paoline; Venanzio Ciampa, writer and director for Italy's RAI national television; his father Virgilio Ciampa; and Sri Chinmoy. Don Antonio Tarzia's questions were translated by Venanzio Ciampa.

Don Antonio Tarzia: We are religious people. It is important for us to be religious and to work for God. On the other hand, I also have to manage a publishing company. I have to be a manager in everyday life and produce very actively.

Sri Chinmoy: God is both the Creator and the creation. He is in Heaven and He is also on earth. In Heaven He is the Creator and on earth He is the creation. But the God who is in Heaven and the God who is on earth are the same Person. When the Saviour Christ said, "I and my Father are one," Christ was on earth — in the body. But He was inseparably one with His Father in Heaven.

The creation is the manifestation of the Creator. Your publishing company is part of the creation. In this case, God is manifesting His Light through publishing.

Heaven and earth are like the tree and its fruit. We cannot separate the two; they are one.

Don Antonio Tarzia: How do you feel that we can reach out to God?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two main roads. One road is the road of the mind and the other is the road of the heart. Which road do you want me to speak about? Which road do you want to follow?

Don Antonio Tarzia: The heart-road.

Sri Chinmoy: I also like the heart-road. The heart-road is the safest road. We call it the sunlit road. When we are in the heart, we cry. We cry to God to give us love, to give us peace, to give us joy. If our cry is sincere, immediately He gives us what we want. Here the heart is playing the role of a child. When a child cries for milk or a toy, even if his mother is in the other room, immediately she comes running to him. Similarly, if from the bottom of our hearts we soulfully cry to God for His Compassion and Love, immediately He will give them to us. But our cry has to be sincere, the way a child's cry is sincere.

The heart-road is the road of love. You do not understand English, and I do not understand Italian. But as soon as I saw your eyes, immediately I felt something very pure and very loving in you. And also I feel that you see something in me. So we have been communicating with our hearts. My heart has entered into you and your heart has entered into me.

Virgilio Ciampa: Don Antonio said that some of the terms you use in your philosophy about life and God are very similar to those of St. Paul, but you are not Christian. How is that possible?

Sri Chinmoy: When we are thirsty, we all drink water. But different people call it different things. In Bengali I call it 'jal'. In Italian it is 'acqua' and in Spanish it is 'agua'. But it is the same thing. If I am thirsty, I will run for 'jal'. If you are thirsty, you will run for 'acqua'. If he is thirsty, he will run for 'agua'. We are running for the same thing, but we are calling it by different names.

Virgilio Ciampa: I totally agree with you. At the end of those two different roads is the same God, the God of everyone, and everyone just speaks different dialects.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, the destination is always the same. Here the destination is water. You are running because you are thirsty, and I am running because I am thirsty. But our destination is the same, and when we reach our destination, our thirst will be quenched.

Venanzio Ciampa: St. Paul talked about becoming Jesus, and you, coming from a completely different background and culture, are also talking about the same thing — only using different words. You both were able to reach the same goal — the bottle of water, or God. Please tell us more about the spiritual message that you are spreading.

Sri Chinmoy: My message is very simple. We are all God's children. In God's Heart-Garden there are roses, chrysanthemums and all different kinds of flowers. We are all flowers in God's Heart-Garden. Every day all of us are blossoming. Because we are in His Heart-Garden, we have beauty and fragrance. He has given us beauty and fragrance so that we can be of service to Him on earth — to God the creation.

Venanzio Ciampa: Thinking of the problems in the world, one has to wonder if we are really making progress.

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes when we are practising the long jump, we start running and then hesitate a little. So we go back again and take a longer running start. When we come to the board, we say, "Am I going to make the leap? Perhaps I will not be able to cover the distance." So we go back and take an even longer run. This time we do the jump and cover our distance. But if we had jumped the first time, definitely we would not have been able to cover the distance.

Venanzio Ciampa: Nietzsche said that sometimes the more you dig in profundities, the more bad things you find.

Sri Chinmoy: In India, if you want to get a beautiful lotus, you have to step into the pond because the lotus grows under the water. If you step into the pond, your feet will sink into the mud. Now, what will you do? You will go into the pond, take the lotus and then clean off your feet.

If you want to take a rose from the garden, you cannot just take the flower. You also have to take the stem so that the rose will look beautiful. When you pick the stem, you find thorns. But you can remove the thorns and still keep the stem and the beautiful rose.

Venanzio Ciampa: But how does one have the knowledge to remove those thorns?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. If you have wisdom, you can do anything. Wisdom does not come from the mind; it comes from the heart and the soul. From the mind comes intellectual reasoning. The mind's greatest achievement is the intellect. But much deeper than the intellect is wisdom. Real wisdom comes from the soul's light. Similarly, there is something called will, adamantine will. That will does not come from the mind; it comes from the heart, from the soul.

To human beings, wisdom means having studied the great philosophers or Keats and Byron and Shelley. I come from a poor Indian village. Someone will say, "Oh, he needs wisdom. Let him go to Oxford or Cambridge, and somebody there will give him wisdom." But that wisdom is no wisdom. It is only jugglery of the mind. Real wisdom is in the heart.

Part II

SCA 618-623. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in Germany in February 1990.

Question: What is the connection between compassion and forgiveness?

Sri Chinmoy: Compassion and forgiveness are two different things. Let us say a mischievous little boy strikes you unnecessarily hard. You can strike him much harder, but you do not. Why? Because you have forgiven him. Then you see another little boy, all alone. He is unable to cross the street by himself because he is afraid. At that time you go and help him. You wait for the light and you take him across the street. This is your compassion. So this is how you can separate compassion from forgiveness. Somebody needs your help, and you have the strength, you have the capacity, to be of service to him. At that time you are showing your compassion. Somebody else is unable to conquer their wrong forces. There you are offering your forgiveness. These two divine qualities are of supreme necessity every day in our life. The Supreme has Compassion and Forgiveness in infinite measure. With His Compassion-Eye He follows us everywhere. Again with His Forgiveness-Heart, He forgives all our wrong thoughts and actions.

Something more I wish to add. We not only have to forgive others, but we also have to forgive ourselves. If we do not forgive ourselves all the time, we shall be displeased with ourselves. We have to forgive ourselves with the proper understanding that we shall not make the same mistake again; we shall go forward. Let us say that a few months ago I did something really wrong. Now I shall pray to God for forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness. God has already forgiven me because of my sincere prayers, but I am not forgiving myself because I have no idea that God has forgiven me. So I am the culprit. God has already forgiven me, but I have not forgiven myself. If we do not forgive ourselves, then we are unable to go forward. We are only looking backward. We have to forgive our past; otherwise we cannot enter into the future.

Question: If one person in our spiritual family is more aspiring, does this affect the other members?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, definitely. In a family, if you are praying and meditating, leading a very good life, then when I come home from work I get tremendous inspiration from you. I am experiencing the outside world, the hustle and bustle of life. I am seeing that people are all acting like restless monkeys. But when I come home, I can see that you are praying and meditating so peacefully. So your inspiration is affecting me and helping me to become like you. Your very presence is a source of inspiration.

Then again, in the same family, if you have a brother who is every day stealing, doing wrong things, then people will speak ill of your whole family. So he is also affecting you. One brother is very spiritual. He is a very, very soulful inspiration to you. When you are with the other brother, immediately your consciousness descends. His very presence is disturbing you because he is not leading a moral life, a spiritual life. He is doing everything undivine.

In the same way, two disciples are like brothers. One good disciple is praying and meditating, manifesting the Supreme's Love. The other one does not find time to meditate in three months. He does not come to the Centre regularly. Do you want to be like him? As soon as you see him, your inspiration goes away. It is very difficult to maintain your inspiration when you see somebody unaspiring. But when you see somebody is aspiring and manifesting and living a real spiritual life, his very presence will inspire you. While you are on the street, three persons may be walking towards you. You may not know anything about their nature, but you may immediately feel an affinity with one of them because that person has touched your heart. Inwardly your heart knows that he is doing something good to inspire the whole of mankind.

On the life-tree there are many branches. If all the branches are in good condition, you get joy. But if one or two branches are not in good condition, you do not get joy. The same applies to our body. Our human tendency is to look at the weak part. As soon as we see something which is weaker or defective in our body, it draws our attention. Human nature does not look for the bright side, the divine thing. Human nature always sees defects. So the best thing is always to move around with those people who are inspiring and whom you can inspire. Those who are not yet aspiring but wish to aspire should try to make friends with people who are aspiring. Good people should mix with better and best people, and bad people should start mixing with good people. Always we should try to mix with those who are spiritually higher than we are. Do not descend and make friends with unaspiring people. If somebody is drowning, then you extend your hand to help that person. But if you also enter into the water, who knows what will happen? You may also drown.

Question: I feel I used to meditate better before joining the path.

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes you do not recognise when you are meditating well. I will give you an example. When you are going to the airport, you are driving very fast to get there on time. Before you enter the plane, when you are moving around, it feels as if you are going so fast, going to the airport, getting the ticket — so much in a rush, rush, rush. This preparation is needed. Then once you enter into the plane, the plane is going very fast, but you feel that the plane is not even moving. So in some cases, we take the preparation for meditation as meditation. True, preparation is also part of meditation, but it is not meditation proper.

You are very satisfied with the preparation. But now while you are meditating, you do not have to work as hard as you did before you saw me. Now you are inside the plane. Even though it is going very fast, you are not feeling the speed. Your mind is telling you that the other way, when you were running, moving forward, was your real meditation. No, this is the real meditation. Some people feel that they will be able to please God only by cutting off their hands and legs, but God does not want that. God wants us to go to Him in a very normal, natural way. Now your meditation has become normal and natural.

Question: My son died a few years ago and I am still missing him.

Sri Chinmoy: You have to feel that there is Somebody who loves your son infinitely more than you love him. In this incarnation you had your son for twenty years or so. Now he is with his Heavenly Father. But if you go deep within, you will see that God loves him much more than you do. Let us say that your own husband is travelling somewhere. He has to work in India for some time. He is very affectionate to your son, and you are very affectionate to your son. Because of your oneness with your husband, you allow your son to go and stay with his father.

So now, instead of India, think of another place, Heaven. Your son has gone there to be with his Heavenly Father, who is everybody's Father. So if he is with my Father, your Father, everybody's Father, how will you become angry with the Father? Because of His Affection, because of His Compassion, because of His Love, because of His Concern for your son, He has taken him to be with Him. So if somebody has more affection, more compassion, more love for your son, then will you be jealous of that person? No, you can be very happy that the one who is dearest to you is also dearest to Somebody else.

Let me tell you a story — not a funny story, but an illumining story. I used to have a dentist. He would talk for fifteen minutes and work for five minutes. One story he told was so illumining. There were two brothers who were extremely close to each other. They loved each other so much. When one brother passed away, the dentist asked the other brother, "Do you not miss your brother, who was so close to you? How do you feel?" This brother replied, "Why should I miss him?" The dentist got the shock of his life. He said, "You do not miss your dearest brother? I thought you were so fond of each other. You were all the time together. It seemed you had such love for each other."

The brother said, "You do not understand. My brother had so many friends, but he loved me most intensely. His love for me far surpassed his love for others. He would not have left me had he not found Someone who loves him much more than I do. I know that my brother has gone to Someone who loves him infinitely more than I do. So if I have real love, genuine love for my brother, then I should be very happy that my brother has found Someone who loves him much more than I do."

When our dear ones pass away, we suffer. But we have to feel that Somebody is there, either in Heaven or in our hearts, who loves our dear ones infinitely more than we do. When our time comes, we shall also go to Him. Now the time is right for that particular person.

Question: How can we strengthen our subtle nerves?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes our subtle nerves are weak, so we have to strengthen them. When you meditate, for a few minutes, say four or five minutes, consciously breathe in and out, inhale and exhale, very, very quietly. This is one way we can strengthen our subtle nerves. There are other ways, but this is the easiest way, the most effective way: to sit properly and breathe in and out as quietly as possible. This will help the subtle nerves become strong.

Question: I like my professor very much, but sometimes I feel that he is caught in the mind.

Sri Chinmoy: You do not have to tell your professor to lead a simple life. Only tell him to look at a child, or a human being who is very, very simple in every way. When this person talks, there is such simplicity flowing from him. Then the professor may be inspired to become more simple. So with your own simplicity you can go and stand before him. You are young and you have abundant simplicity. The professor will be there with all his intellectual capacities or qualities. But as soon as you offer him a simple smile, a soulful smile, he is bound to feel from you tremendous joy. That particular smile he will never be able to give. Spontaneously you are giving a smile, which is so normal and natural for you. The professor has studied millions of books. He knows the whole world intellectually, but as soon as you smile, he is bound to see something and feel something which he does not have: your simplicity. Your simplicity has tremendous beauty in it. In this regard, he is a beggar. The very thing that he is appreciating, if he is sincere, he will realise that he does not have.

As soon as we see something that has spiritual beauty, we want to claim it for ourselves. When we see a beautiful flower, do we not want to have the fragrance and beauty of a flower in our own heart? When we pray and meditate, do we not want to have the vastness of the sky inside us? When the birds are flying, do we not feel that our inner being should enjoy freedom, so that ordinary thoughts cannot bind us? So anything that is good we appreciate and try to bring into our own lives. It is not that we are trying to grab it; we identify with it. I happen to be a spiritual person and you are in my boat. Something good you are seeing in me; that is why you are trying to identify with my consciousness. So if your professor is a really good person, he will see inside your soulful smile something most valuable and that is your simplicity.

The more we become intellectually great, the sooner we lose our simplicity, sincerity and so on. One can have an illumined mind without reading millions of books. When the mind is ready to receive light from Above or from within, when the mind is longing for something beyond its present grasp, then illumination dawns. Intellectuals always feel they know everything. They do not have the inner hunger to know something more, but their heart is always longing for something more. On the mental level, there will always be another intellectual giant who has more knowledge, though this is difficult for their minds to accept. But when the heart sees something beautiful or somebody who is spiritual, the heart will try to become that beauty or emulate that person.

So coming back to your question, your very presence, your life that is flooded with simplicity, is bound to give your professor joy. That kind of joy he does not have. And joy is what we are all longing for.

Part III

SCA 624-626. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in Jamaica, New York on 10 March 1990.

Question: Tremendous events have occurred in the world this past year, especially in Eastern Europe. Will the world someday recognise that these events were due to the presence of some illumined spiritual Masters on earth? Will it recognise it in an outer way?

Sri Chinmoy: I feel that the world will give full recognition to the spiritual light. Whoever embodies the spiritual light will be recognised, either in the near future or in the distant future. There are a few spiritual figures who are able to work through receptive, extremely receptive instruments like President Gorbachev. They do not have to be in the land of the living. Some may be on the physical plane, while others can send their light from the higher planes, from Heaven.

It is not who has done it, but whether the thing has been accomplished that is of supreme importance. Most significant things have already been accomplished this past year. There will be a few more which will far exceed the previous achievements, for in the process of evolution only brighter, more illumining and more fulfilling experiences the world will get or the world will give. While the world is getting these sublime experiences from Above, the world will offer either gratitude or at least recognition to the divine forces that operated patiently and successfully in and through earthly human beings. The world will become consciously aware of these spiritual forces.

Question: How do you feel about all the environmental concerns that seem to be surfacing now?

Sri Chinmoy: The very nature of earth is to cry, cry for purification. First it starts with a cry for simplicity, because earth has been polluted by complexity. Previously, hundreds and thousands of years ago, earth was very simple. Now human beings have corrupted the earth. On the one hand, machinery and technology have helped the earth considerably, but on the other hand, they have considerably taken away the pristine beauty, purity and divinity of Mother Earth. As soon as I see the soul of the earth, I see the soul is crying and crying because of the loss of its inner divinity, which is far, far greater than the gain in outer achievements. Earth has lost many, many divine qualities which it had from the beginning of creation. Again, earth itself is to be blamed to some extent. Earth also was tempted in the beginning to seek the new, the development of science, the development of the mental faculties, of the mind's capacities. Then earth saw, to its extreme sorrow, that although these developments definitely helped a little, many extremely, extremely good qualities of earth were being lost by allowing the outer achievements to dominate the inner life.

The very nature of Mother Earth is to cry. One kind of cry is aspiring to become inseparably one with God the Creator. But at the same time earth has another cry to regain the invaluable things that it has lost over the centuries.

Question: I feel that the various religious sects seem to be hardening in their positions vis-a-vis one another. Is that only my perception, or do you also feel there is a hardening of attitudes on the religious front?

Sri Chinmoy: There are quite a few spiritual Masters who have their own spiritual paths. These spiritual Masters are in no way hardening their attitudes; they are in no way colliding with one another or standing in the way of others' progress.

As far as the well-established religions are concerned, there are definitely a few religions that are in no way standing against others or trying to exercise their supremacy over others. Unfortunately, the followers of some well-established religions are still trying to exercise their supremacy. Instead of trying to embrace the universe, they are afraid of losing their so-called supremacy and so they try to dominate the followers of other religions.

Again, there are many, many spiritual Masters who are in no way asking or compelling the world to follow them. They are only walking along Eternity's Road. They feel that they have something within and others are following them because they see something in them. It is true that some of the well-established religions are definitely afraid of losing their higher authority, so they are creating problems. But I strongly believe that in the near or distant future, the barriers that divide the different religions will all disappear. At that time, I do not think there will be so much fighting or misunderstanding among the religions. When that day dawns, if some individuals or groups of individuals can reveal to the world at large their inner light, then the world will run towards them, without caring for their religion.

Part IV

SCA 627-630. Questions answered in Jamaica, New York on 8 July 1990.

Question: How does it affect our palm when we wear a ring?

Sri Chinmoy: If you wear anything that is bright, especially gold, it affects the palm temporarily. When the palm or the finger assimilates the consciousness of the ring or the piece of jewellery, it can affect some lines for better or for worse. It depends on the subtle qualities or vibrations of the ornaments that you are wearing.

In India they wear so many things as a talisman to increase the life-energy. Indians always beg boys and girls to wear something to increase the life-energy, especially gold, pure gold. Many years ago, my teacher asked me to wear something gold so it would give me life-energy. I said, "I will never touch those things." My sister also feels that if I use something, some metal, then life-energy will flow through my injured knees.

Question: I can't wear a watch. I feel it takes away my life-energy. I was wondering if that is just superstition.

Sri Chinmoy: No, it is not superstition. Something inside the wristwatch may affect the life-energy. It may not affect your lifeline, but some other line in your palm. I have so many wristwatches that I can open up a shop! Each wristwatch gives me a different vibration. This moment if I use one, I get one vibration, and next moment another vibration. Strangely enough, the same wristwatch today will give one vibration, and tomorrow it will give another vibration. Here on this table it has one vibration, and when I put it in my room inside the drawer, there is another vibration.

Question: The last painting you painted the other night was very striking to me because it seemed that every time you touched the painting with your fingers, you blessed it. Is that painting any more special because there was no object, such as a paintbrush, between you and the painting?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a great difference. When I use my fingers directly, I have tremendous affection, not for the piece of paper or the canvas, but for my hand. At that time, it is not the paper that is responding; it is something else. My affection is entering into the painting itself and it is reciprocal. From the painting also I am getting tremendous affection. I press this finger, that finger and then each time, inside the fingers, I am seeing the souls. Each of us has one main soul, and again each part of us has a soul, each limb has a soul. So when I was painting, first I was seeing the soul of one finger, and then I was seeing the soul of another finger. Then I was seeing the soul of my little finger — cute, very, very cute and beautiful, most beautiful. I was using my hands to paint, but you cannot call them hands at that time. They were so beautiful. At night sometimes all of a sudden there is light because a firefly comes. My hands were like that. When I was painting with my fingers, I saw my hands spreading light everywhere. The fingers were so cute, all of them, especially my little finger. I was getting such joy and thrill from the little one.

So there is a great difference between when I use either a sponge or a brush and when I use my fingers. I personally get much more joy from using my fingers. But then to do one painting takes such a long time. How long can you continue?

Question: When you create a painting or write a song, at what point does the soul of the creation enter into what you have created?

Sri Chinmoy: In the case of my songs, sometimes I feel the presence of the soul long before I have composed the song. At other times I have almost completed the song before I see the presence of the soul. From time to time, the soul will wait for one note — not a whole line even — just one haunting note, and from that most haunting note, the soul appears.

Sometimes the soul enters after the first line. Sometimes the whole song is composed and I am not seeing the soul. Then when I am singing it, the soul comes. There is no fixed timing. Any time the soul comes, it is good. But when I get the most haunting notes, at that time, like a flower, the soul blossoms.

Some songs I just see with my third eye. The words and the music immediately come together. Again, sometimes I may not set the tune at the same time. One of my most favourite songs is Jiban debata. The tune came immediately while I was composing the words, but perhaps I did not sing the song immediately.

It has happened to me many, many times that the tune comes while I am writing the words. I am not humming inwardly, but while I am writing the words, I find that the music is already there. Sometimes I see the Bengali notation very clearly on the words as I write them down. But then again, while playing on the tote-a-tune to get the melody, I may change it a little bit.

I like both slow songs and fast songs, but if I have to make a choice, I like slow songs more than I like fast songs. Fast songs only shake the life-tree. Sometimes if you see a tree shaking, you get joy. It is not malicious joy because you know that the tree is not going to be uprooted, but it is shaking and you are enjoying it. Sometimes in nature we like to watch a storm blowing and shaking a tree. The trees are not going to be uprooted, but just because they are shaking, we get a kind of joy.

But again, in still trees, there is profound silence. And if I am at the foot of the tree, I will deeply appreciate the silence and peace of the tree.

Part V

SCA 631-633. Sri Chinmoy made these remarks and answered questions on 21 August 1990, at a meeting of his disciples who were organising the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run.

On the Peace Run

Our Beloved Supreme is omnipresent; He is everywhere inside the life of His own creation. But this earth-planet has a very, very special significance in His Universal Heart and His Transcendental Soul. The Peace Run is absolutely the most beautiful Dream of our Lord Beloved Supreme for His own perfect manifestation here on earth. In the name of our Beloved Supreme, I wish to tell all my spiritual children that those who work consciously, soulfully and self-givingly for our Lord's choicest Dream-fulfilment in the entire universe will unmistakably be cherished by His own Pride-Ecstasy-Satisfaction-Breath.

If you think that so far you have done nothing great, nothing good, nothing aspiring, nothing illumining, nothing fulfilling, then here is the golden chance for you to do something extremely great and to become someone extremely good. Your participation in the Peace Run will please your Inner Pilot in His own Way — in the way that your soul-bird has been pleasing the Absolute Supreme from time immemorial.

Question: We want to make the Peace Run very large. How can we do this and still keep the spirit that you want?

Sri Chinmoy: You can keep the spirit of the Peace Run burning throughout the length and breadth of the world if you can imagine that each time you take a step, you are offering to the Supreme a new joy. With each step you are taking, feel that you are placing a new flower of beauty, purity and divinity at the Feet of our Lord Beloved Supreme. I am using the word 'imagine', but it is not imagination; it is reality itself.

You are carrying your vital, mind, heart and soul inside you. Now try to feel that somebody else you are also carrying. If you can feel that you are carrying me inside you, this will give you tremendous joy. If you can feel that you are carrying me on top of your head or on your shoulder, or right beside you, or inside the very depths of your heart, you are bound to get tremendous joy. And if you are swimming in the sea of joy, then the question of distance, the question of fatigue, the question of unwillingness — in the form of unpleasantness — can never knock at your heart's door.

Another thing you can do is to sing any song of mine that gives you joy. But it should be a song that has been composed by me, not composed by somebody else — not even your noble self. Your song may be in the world of superstars, and I do not want you to be a superstar right now. The theme song that Narada wrote, you can sing to energise you. Narada's song is very inspiring, and if he composes another one, then you can sing it also. But, unfortunately, there are so many stupid songs that you have learnt over the years. Very often in the inner world I get messages that you are singing songs that lower your consciousness. So be careful! If you do not want to sing, you can chant the Supreme's Name or your own spiritual name.

Keep yourself spiritually happy. How can you do this? If you look at something inspiring, you get spontaneous happiness, and spontaneous happiness is spiritual happiness. You can look at a flower, at the sun, at the moon or at a tree. Anything inspiring you can look at in order to get spontaneous happiness. Otherwise, we try to create happiness with our mind, which is all the time doubting our own capacities. This is such a painful, painful experience!

Anything that you can offer to our Lord Supreme happily and cheerfully is treasured by Him. You may be doing something unwillingly and, at the same time, in the back of your mind you may be thinking that people are appreciating you for doing it. People may be appreciating you because you can fool human beings, but you cannot fool God, our Inner Pilot. If you do something unwillingly, He will give you zero. Again, even if there is not a single soul to appreciate your soulful self-giving in this Peace Run, no harm! The One who has inspired us, who is inspiring us and who will always inspire us to manifest Him in His own Way will be proud of you and pleased with you.

When we accept the spiritual life, we make a solemn promise to our Inner Pilot that we will please Him. Never for a fleeting second do we tell Him, "I shall please You, but only if You please me." That thought does not come into our mind. When we are in the desire-life, we say, "O God, please me, please me!" But once we accept the spiritual life, then the story changes. At that time we say, "I wish only to please You. Please give me the capacity." So please remember this. Before you accepted the spiritual life, you had one way of praying: "Give me, give me, give me!" Once you accept the spiritual life, you have another way of praying: "Take me, take me, take me! You know all my imperfections. You know what I need. I want only to be a perfect instrument of Yours." So when you are participating in the Peace Run, always pray: "Take me, take me, take me into Your Universal Heart, which is flooded with Peace."

Question: A lot of disciples prefer to run in the beautiful areas in the countryside, but the organisers like to do things in big cities where there is more media and more publicity. How does the Supreme view the value of having a peaceful Peace Run in the open country versus manifestation in the cities?

Sri Chinmoy: Both are needed. We have to use our wisdom. You can run in a small, beautiful village and conquer the heart of that village. You may appreciate its beauty, purity and serenity in the very depths of your own heart. But if it is not the capital of a country and there is no media, how will the rest of the country know? Our way is to approach the whole world. It is like looking at a tree. One way of appreciating a tree is to focus on only one leaf, because the leaf is part and parcel of the tree. But if you pay attention only to a single leaf, then how will the rest of the tree get light? You can go to some beautiful spots for some time, but you must also go to large cities.

You have to act like a farmer. You sow seeds here and there, but you have to pay more attention to the places where you can expect to get a bumper crop. If you go to the cities, you may draw the interest of some important people. If the President or the head of a country says something nice about our Peace Run, then immediately the rest of the country will accept it. But if the message comes only from a tiny place, then nobody values it.

Always we have to use our inner wisdom. If a little child is crying, we have to give it milk. But if we stay all the time with the little child, then we will not be able to do anything for the entire family. So we also have to pay attention to the grownup members of the family.

When you pray and meditate, you create your own type of beauty. Similarly, while running you can create a beautiful garden inside your own heart and inside the hearts of those who see you run. But if you spend most of the time going to small villages, then you will not achieve anything; you will not create the kind of beauty that the whole world can appreciate.

You have to make yourself happy, and happiness comes from giving. At every moment feel that you are giving something in order to make yourself happy. Then, you have to feel that the very thing that you are giving has already been given to you. God the Creator gave it to you, and you are grateful to Him because you are able to give it to God the creation. When you get something from God the Creator and give it to God the creation, what happens? With your aspiration and your realisation you are connecting God the Creator and God the creation.

To help with the Peace Run means to love your Guru, and to love your Guru means to serve our only Guru, our Beloved Supreme. This is not an individual's project. This is not my project. Far from it! This is the project of our Lord Beloved Supreme. I am His instrument. Each individual is His instrument. Now it is up to us how sincerely, devotedly and self-givingly we can please our Inner Pilot.

Every second feel that it is your project, your aspiration, your realisation. Then only will you have happiness. Otherwise, you will think, "It is so-and-so's project. He is getting all the glory." It is not his project, not my project, but the highest Dream of our Lord Beloved Supreme, and He has chosen each of you to transform His Dream into reality. For that I need your inner and outer oneness.

Part VI

SCA 634-644. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on 14 December 1997 at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.

Question: If the soul of a dog has the opportunity to advance to a human life, why would it choose to have another animal incarnation?

Sri Chinmoy: You have the opportunity to realise God in this incarnation, and you have such a wonderful spiritual Master! Then why are you wasting your time? The spiritual Master brings nectar, but the disciples do not drink. Do all the disciples not have the opportunity to run faster than the fastest? Who does not have the opportunity, especially when a spiritual Master of my calibre comes? But how many of you are taking advantage of this opportunity? The limit is only how much receptivity one can have.

Believe me, right now I can give you people very high experiences — high, higher, highest. Sri Ramakrishna had the capacity to touch someone and bless him with the highest experience. Naren (Swami Vivekananda) was doubting whether Sri Ramakrishna had realised God. When Sri Ramakrishna touched his head, he started entering into trance. Then he cried, "I have a mother, I have a father! Bring me down, bring me down!"

The difficulty is that we are not ready. God is ready to give God-realisation to everybody at this very moment, but who is ready? If you put a dollar in front of a child, he is so satisfied. That dollar becomes his whole world. Even if you bring thousands of dollar bills and put them in front of the child, he does not care. Right now one dollar is so sufficient for him that he does not want more. So, to come back to your question, in exactly the same way, the dog is satisfied with another animal incarnation.

Question: What makes an animal want to take a human incarnation? Is it a conscious decision?

Sri Chinmoy: They do not want it consciously. In the process of evolution they come back again and again, unless they are helped by someone. We do not do anything consciously from the animal world. Only from the human world we try to do everything consciously. From the human world we try to realise God. God gives us a conscious way of praying and meditating. Before that it is all instinct.

Question: Can dogs feel if you were a dog in your previous incarnation?

Sri Chinmoy: Developed dogs, if they are about to take human incarnation, may recognise that you were a dog. When you look at some turtles or monkeys, you can see that they are approaching human life. When I go into a zoo and I see some monkeys, I know in their next incarnation they will become human beings. It may be a matter of only a few months. Last Christmas when I went to the World of Birds in South Africa, I saw five or six animals all ready for human incarnation. I could see that it would be only two or three years, or even a matter of months, before they would take human incarnation. In some cases I saw that it would not take even two more weeks for them to leave their animal body. There was a special purpose for my visit there. I was able to give them special blessings. When I saw clearly that a particular animal would not last more than two weeks, I asked myself, "Why?" But there was a special reason why God brought me to visit that particular place. It was so that I could give special blessings to those animals. Otherwise, was there any reason for me to go there? Was it not God-ordained, God-planned?

Developed dogs can easily feel something in you. They may not take you, a human being, as a dog, but they will feel in you a very, very close friend. Something sweet, illumining and fulfilling they will feel. They will feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction when they see you, if they are very developed. But ordinary dogs will feel something only if you give them a piece of bread.

Question: Once I saw a dog biting a young boy. Is there any particular reason for that to happen?

Sri Chinmoy: It could be either that the dog was by nature undivine and hostile, or that, on the spur of the moment, a destructive, evil spirit entered into the dog. Again, it may have been for another reason altogether. From the highest spiritual point of view, although it was just a little boy, the soul may have lost some faith in the mind, in the heart or in the body of that particular boy. In general, when you lose faith in your spiritual life or lose faith in your Master or lose faith in God, then a dog may bite you. A dog's very nature is faithfulness and devotedness. The dog wants to show you that you have lost faith in your spiritual life, in your Master or in God. In the case of spiritual people, this can happen and it does happen. The soul identifies itself with the body, vital, mind and heart to give more faith to the entire being, but if the body, vital, mind and heart lose faith, a dog may bite.

Again, it is also possible that, by nature, the dog was bad, or that some destructive, hostile forces attacked the dog and it became a victim to these forces. Sometimes when a dog gets a very, very unfamiliar feeling, it may try to attack. We cannot say specifically which reason is applicable unless we see the dog and concentrate on it. Otherwise, there may be ten possible reasons why the poor innocent boy was bitten.

Question: Do you actually need a photograph to concentrate on someone's soul?

Sri Chinmoy: If I have seen the person, I do not even need the name. Again, it does help me if I know the name.

So, why do I ask for a picture of your parents or dear ones who are suffering, or who have gone from this world? It helps, but I do not actually need it. I can help the person by concentrating on the soul that I already know. If I did not know your father or mother, and if they have passed away, I will concentrate on your soul and ask your soul. Your soul knows your parents' souls. Your soul will act like a messenger. Either your soul will come to me or I will work through your soul. Like that, thousands of times I have concentrated on individuals only with the help of the souls that I already know.

Many, many times when the parents and other relatives of my disciples die, I ask for their pictures. If I get pictures, it becomes easier for me. But the real help comes from the souls of the ones that I know well — the dear ones who are still on the path.

Question: How can we increase our readiness and capacity?

Sri Chinmoy: To increase your readiness and capacity, our philosophy at every moment you have to follow: "The past is dust." One minute ago if I suffered from insecurity or jealousy, or from tension, depression or frustration, I will not allow that problem to come to this particular moment. Always the past failures have to be discarded. Each failure is like a heavy burden, an unbearable burden. That burden we carry on our shoulders, and sometimes we enjoy it the way a camel enjoys eating cactus thorns. The camel's mouth bleeds, but then again it eats thorns.

In our case, we create the burden for ourselves and place it on our shoulders very nicely. We say, "I am overburdened! This weight is so heavy." Again, there is a kind of silly pleasure, an unconscious pleasure that we get by carrying the burden. But who asked us to carry this heavy failure-burden? Immediately we have to feel that it is gone, and we have to invoke only light, light, light. Each past mistake or failure we have to take as a burden, and then we have to throw it away. Then we can run the fastest.

The philosophy of the Saviour Jesus Christ is that repentance purifies the soul. Yes, it is true, but our philosophy is to repent for five minutes only. If you continue with your repentance, it will definitely, definitely weaken your subtle nerves, the nerves that help you pray, meditate and realise God. Repentance is good for five seconds or five days, but if you continue, you will be making a mistake. Let us say you have done something undivine, or you have been jealous for months and months, and then all of a sudden you repent. If you are in the jealousy-world for ten years, then will you show your repentance for another ten years? God knows how many years you will live on earth! Then the time will come for you to go to God. So, after a few days, immediately you have to give up your repentance.

We have to be so careful with repentance. To shed endless tears of repentance for our failure-life is silly. Repentance is good for a few days, or a maximum of one week. More than that if you carry your repentance-burden, then you are walking along a negative path. You will be shocked at God's reaction. You will say, "I did something wrong, so I am repenting." But God will say, "True, you did something wrong, but did I ask you to indulge in endless repentance? Now do something good, something positive. Go forward, go forward! Then your past misdeeds will be all washed away."

Take failure as ink. God has given us the wisdom to use soap and water to wash away the ink from our hands. If the palm of my hand is besmeared with ink, shall I only look at the stain and suffer and suffer? No! God has supplied me with soap and water, so what is wrong with me? Why do I not wash it away? Then, let me not allow anything uninspiring to stain my hand any more.

So, the fastest way to increase readiness and capacity is to forget the deplorable past. Whether it was one year or two years or twenty years or thirty years, do not go on repenting. No! Only go forward! Again, when depression or frustration comes for some reason, counteract it with the sweetest or highest experiences of your own divinity. If the mind is enjoying self-doubt or doubting the Master, at that time bring forward the highest meditation that you had on a number of occasions. Just imagine those higher experiences. Again, all your best qualities and highest experiences you can keep in writing: when you had the highest meditation, when you had the deepest love for your Master, when you were all ready to become an unconditionally surrendered disciple. All the good qualities that you had twenty years ago or two days ago, immediately bring to the fore.

Always there is medicine for our ailments. If anything is creating suffering for us, then let us just remember that medicine is there for us. This medicine will definitely cure our sadness, frustration, depression and sense of failure. Always remind yourself of the things that you have already achieved. That is an excellent medicine. But remember that you have not yet reached your final goal. Your surrender, your love, your devotion and your gratitude: these divine qualities have not yet enabled you to reach the goal. They have to be increased in infinite measure so that one day you will arrive at the goal.

The fastest way to increase our readiness and capacity is not to indulge in the deplorable experiences of the past. Repentance is meant only for a short time. Otherwise, if we have to repent for all the bad things we have done, then we shall have to go back to our past incarnations and remember the bad things that we did then. Even since we came into the world this time, we have done many things wrong. Let us say that, from the age of four, I can remember all the bad things I have done and all the good things I have done. Now I can say, "Let me count them." But if I start counting all my good deeds and bad deeds, then I will never pray even for a minute. I will feel that it is a hopeless case. I will say, "I am so bad, I am so bad! It is useless for me even to try. Let me not enter into the spiritual life. It is not meant for me." Then God will tell me, "You fool!"

Question: Should we pray for more capacity or more willingness? When I pray, my prayers get confused and I usually end up praying for the Will of the Supreme, so I don't really pray for anything specific.

Sri Chinmoy: That is the best thing! Again, you can pray for willingness and eagerness, but you must not care for the result. When I request someone to call you in the evening and ask you to go to Mexico to get an exercise machine for me, how eagerly you go there! Sometimes you do not find anything. Sometimes you bring something and it does not work, but you just try again. How many miles you drive to get something for me! Is that not your readiness, eagerness and willingness? So, eagerness and willingness we always have to have.

At every moment use the heart. If you use the heart, at every moment you will be able to please me. But if you use the mind, you will say, "Oh, it is late. God knows whether I will be able to get what Guru wants or not." Once you use the mind, you have polluted your aspiration, you have destroyed your inspiration. Never use the mind! The mind is only for limited purposes. If you see right in front of you a snake, then you will not use your heart, because God inside you is telling your mind that this snake will bite you. But there will be millions of instances in your life when you will not see any snake or any other danger, and the mind will not be needed. Again, if you use the heart, you will be at that particular place where the snake is either five minutes later or five minutes earlier. You will see that there is no snake there.

Readiness, willingness and eagerness you need, but readiness, willingness and eagerness have to come from the heart, not from the mind. The mind's readiness will take you two steps and then you will say, "I should go and get my sweater. Perhaps it is going to rain; I need an umbrella. Who knows what will happen?" That is the mind's readiness. The mind will always try to be ready by looking to this side and that side. The mind will always try to protect itself. But the heart has no time to think of rain or sun or anything else; it only acts.

Always we have to think of Hanuman, Sri Ramachandra's disciple. For him there was no sun, no moon, no day, no night. And such a significant lesson he taught humanity! When he received a most expensive locket as a gift, he opened it and saw that Ramachandra's picture was not inside. So he broke the locket into pieces. He said, "My Lord Rama is not inside. So is this of any value?"

Question: Was Hanuman really a monkey, or was he a member of a tribe of people?

Sri Chinmoy: He was a donkey! Only a donkey can take that kind of load. Sri Ramachandra's whole life fell on him. To save Sri Ramachandra, only a faithful donkey could carry such a weight. The whole of Sri Ramachandra's life he kept on his shoulder. I do not have anybody to keep my life on his shoulder, as Sri Ramachandra had Hanuman.

Hanuman was not a monkey. His was a kind of evolved tribe. It was so evolved that it was almost on the level of human beings. Hanuman had infinite inner strength from his surrender to his Lord Sri Ramachandra's will. He knew Sri Ramachandra was the direct descendant of God Himself, an Avatar, and his bounden duty was to serve his Master sleeplessly and breathlessly. So Hanuman was not just a monkey with a huge body — far from it! Sri Ramachandra's Hanuman had very, very high and lofty previous incarnations. His was a kind of tribe, but in terms of evolution, it was very advanced.

There are some elephants I have seen whose souls are so fully evolved that, when they take human incarnation, they will immediately far surpass many human beings. The height that they will attain in one incarnation, many human beings will take forty or fifty incarnations to reach — especially in the mind, the vital and the body. When those animals take their first human incarnation, they will far, far surpass the human beings who have already visited earth quite a few times.

So, to come back to your question, Hanuman was exceptional.

Question: I like to be outdoors running and cycling, but then I think I should spend more time meditating and being with you, learning songs.

Sri Chinmoy: Always we need a balanced life. Early in the morning before meditation if you go out and eat a nice breakfast, will it be good? Early in the morning, do your prayer and meditation. Then go out to run or do anything else. First things first. After meditation you can enter into the hustle and bustle of life. But if you do not do the right thing at the right time, then you will be making a mistake.

Cycling is good for you, to keep your body fit. Definitely it will help your meditation. Again, if you meditate well, the inner joy that you get from your meditation and prayer will make you feel that you are flying while you are riding. So, everything has its own time. If you do everything at its proper time, then the previous things will always give you joy while you are doing the next thing, and those things will also give you tremendous joy. There is always time to do the right thing.

Our difficulty is that when we miss one thing, our whole world collapses. Early in the morning, at six o'clock if you do not meditate, then meditate at seven o'clock or seven-thirty, even eight o'clock, before you go out. If you do not meditate at six o'clock, you feel that God is so displeased with you that He is coming with an iron rod to break your head. You say, "My day is all over!" But that is not the right attitude. Just do the thing that you have missed before you do the next thing that you are supposed to do — especially in the case of prayer and meditation. These things have to be first and foremost. In the spiritual life, nothing should be taken as seriously as your prayer and meditation. Then the beauty and fragrance of your prayer and meditation you have to feel in all your activities during the day.

Question: If a friend is suffering from a negative emotion, from hostility or anger, how can you help that person?

Sri Chinmoy: First you have to see how much capacity you have. To help your friend, you can go only so far. You may be near the shore, and your friend may also be very near the shore. Let us say that you have given your hand and you are about to pull your friend from the sea of ignorance. You have to know if you have the capacity to lift your friend and bring him to the shore, or if your friend will take you into the water. You have to be careful. You have to see how much strength you have. Your friend desperately needs your help, but will you succeed, or will he pull you into the water?

When a friend suffers, in your prayers you have to say to the Supreme, "If it is Your Will, then do give me the capacity to be of service to You inside my friend. If it is not Your Will, then please, please, I do not want to be involved. I shall only offer my goodwill. If it is Your Will, I will become involved because I know I will be protected. But if it is not Your Will, then I am only using my self-styled concern and compassion." If your friend is suffering from problems — depression, frustration, emotional problems and so on — the best thing is to pray to the Supreme and get an inner message about what you should do at that point. From your prayers you will get inner guidance, and this inner guidance will tell you what to do. Then whatever help you are supposed to give to that particular person you will be able to give.

Question: Sometimes when we tell you that a person is doing something wrong, that person gets furious. Once someone would not speak to me for two years because I told you something that he had done wrong. What is the best way to deal with that?

Sri Chinmoy: Did you come into the world for the forgiveness of Tom, Dick and Harry, or did you come into the world to be loyal to your Master? Ask yourself! Will you get your God-realisation by being loyal to your Master or by being afraid of so-and-so? If you had not confided in me, would that person not have gone from darkness to deeper darkness to deepest darkness? Would he not have entered into the abysmal abyss? Who would have been responsible at that time? You would have been responsible. God would have blamed you.

I chose you to be the leader of one of our Centres. Is it not your bounden duty to inform me about what is happening in your Centre? Who gave you the authority? Sri Chinmoy. Who gave Sri Chinmoy the authority? The Supreme. Did you come to our Centre to be loyal, faithful, surrendered and devoted to me, or did you come to please someone else in his own way?

You did absolutely the right thing by telling me. Even if that person does not speak to you throughout Eternity, you are not going to lose an iota of your spirituality. But if you do not tell me what you are supposed to tell me, then you may lose all your spirituality. So ask yourself if to be loyal to the Master at every second is not of supreme importance in your life. Is there anything else as valuable? No. You have done the right thing. If that person does not speak to you for one year, he is not living in the heart, he is not living in the soul.

By telling me, you have proved that you care. In a family, if somebody has cancer, then what happens? If the sister knows that the brother has developed cancer, she will go running to the father so that the father can bring in a doctor. But what happens in the spiritual life? Fear, fear, fear comes into the picture. One person is doing something wrong, and the other one hides it. Then it becomes a hopeless case.

You have to ask yourself if your loyalty, your faithfulness, your devotedness, your surrender to my will is of supreme importance or is the only thing you need. The answer will definitely be positive. Just forget about the person who is not going to speak to you for a year. So much the better! If he does not speak to you for a year, you do not have to look at his faults or his misdeeds. Then he will be all by himself.

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