Sri Chinmoy answers, part 18

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Part I

On Mother Goddess Mahalakshmi1

Sri Chinmoy: We have worshipped the Mother Goddess Mahalakshmi, who is an aspect of the Transcendental Mother Absolute. Mother Lakshmi is the Mother of beauty, harmony, plenitude, prosperity and infinitude. She is the Mother of Compassion infinite. She is the only Mother who can and will be patiently, compassionately and eternally ready to walk — if necessity demands, even crawl — with the slower than the slowest child to reach the destination.

Mahalakshmi is the Mother of affection, Mother of fondness, plus Mother of, to a great extent, indulgence. At every moment from the earth-consciousness She expects only one thing: harmony, harmony, harmony. Disharmony tortures Her creation-heart. Therefore, She always expects harmony in Her human children. Her Lotus-Consciousness-Heart Universal is for all, especially for those who are weak, slow, unfortunate and deplorable in various aspects of their lives.

Some of the Cosmic Goddesses are worshipped only by the brave. They also have Compassion, but their standard is very lofty. They expect or demand a certain amount of self-discipline. And according to the evolution, according to the progress of each individual seeker, they demand self-giving, more self-giving and most self-giving. But Mother Lakshmi is for all. Her message is: "I am ready; I shall always remain ready. No harm if you are weak, no harm if you are slow. You are My child. You can claim Me and do claim Me as your own, very own. My sweet, sweeter, sweetest children, come to Me with what you have and come to Me with what you do not have. I shall give you My Heart's bounty. You just come to Me with your purity, with your impurity, with your strength, with your weakness, with your willingness. And if you fail to bring Me your willingness, just come, come to Me, even with your unwillingness. I shall transform your unwillingness into willingness, your weakness into strength, your impurity into purity. Your insufficiency in your heart, in your mind, in your vital and in your body will be replaced by My Heart of Plenitude and My Transcendental Vision and My Universal Reality of Infinitude.


  1. SCA 645. Remarks made by Sri Chinmoy after a performance by the Sri Chinmoy Bhajan Singers honouring Mother Goddess Mahalakshmi at Aspiration-Ground in Jamaica, New York, 28 October 1990.

Part II

SCA 646-655. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in Honolulu, Hawaii on 19 and 23 December 1990.

Question: How can America awaken?

Sri Chinmoy: The simplicity-mind of a child, the sincerity-heart of a child, the purity-life of a child — only these three things can awaken America.

Question: Does age deter strength training?

Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately it does. But if a sincere seeker, on the strength of his sleepless love of God, can establish a free access to the constant newness, freshness and fulness of God's infinite Light and Delight, then the weaknesses and limitations of age can be surmounted, and the seeker will get the message-light to go beyond age.

Question: Is it possible for mountain climbers to conquer altitude sickness spiritually?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely, if the mountain climber is a spiritual person, he can conquer altitude sickness spiritually. How? As I always say, imagination is a world of its own. You can imagine that different altitudes are like succeeding steps of a ladder. When you step on the first step of a ladder, definitely you get joy. Then when you step on the second step, you get more joy. Try to carry the joy from each step upward to the forthcoming steps. Real joy is free of all sickness. So if you can climb up with the heart's abundant joy, the altitude problem cannot be serious. Naturally, the discoveries of medical science you will carry with you. But you will also carry spiritual light in your heart.

Each time the altitude changes, with a new delight you can enter into that altitude. This is how a spiritual person can conquer altitude sickness.

Question: How can Americans help the Russians most?

Sri Chinmoy: An American can do quite a few things to help a Russian. To start with, either consciously or unconsciously, an American will not belittle the Russian, he will not ignore the Russian, he will not suspect the Russian and he will develop conscious trust in the Russian. He will take the Russian as a true member of America's universal oneness-family. If an American can do all this, then definitely he is helping the Russian most, both in the Russian's inner life and in his outer life. While helping the Russian in his inner life and outer life, the American will also be amply rewarded, not only by the soul of Russia, but also by the soul of America. The soul of Russia will reward him with gratitude, and the soul of America will reward him with pride, divine pride.

Question: Is cleverness bad for spirituality?

Sri Chinmoy: We have to know first of all what we mean by cleverness. Cleverness can be something very undivine, a cunning or roguish quality. Again, cleverness from a different angle can be wisdom. In ordinary human life, we may use cleverness either to deceive someone or in some way to be a winner, while a third party will be the loser. But if you look at it from a very high point of view, cleverness is wisdom. This wisdom is absolutely necessary in the spiritual life. It is a higher weapon to conquer misunderstanding and many, many wrong forces. If you use your wisdom, then you see the good qualities of two parties — your own good qualities, let us say, and also the good qualities of the person with whom you are dealing. So by using wisdom, you save yourself and also the people who are concerned. In this way there can be harmony and peace.

In the spiritual life, wisdom is always necessary. This wisdom you can say is cleverness from a higher spiritual point of view. It is not the cleverness that will deceive someone or the cleverness that will make you the winner and someone else the loser — no, no, no. This is the wisdom that will bring to the fore not only your own good qualities, but also the good qualities of others. Wisdom-light is absolutely necessary in the spiritual life so that you can avoid misunderstandings and unhappiness.

Question: Can we hurt your third eye?

Sri Chinmoy: The third eye, which is the vision-eye, is like the soul. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says the soul does not take birth, it does not die, weapons cannot pierce it, fire cannot burn it, wind cannot dry it, water cannot drench it and so on. That description can easily be applied to the third eye. But in my case, my third eye can be hurt in a different way — through sadness. If I see that my disciples are not doing the right thing, if I see that they are doing everything wrong, it hurts me badly. It hurts my central being. Definitely it hurts my third eye and also my Lord Beloved Supreme. So from a different point of view, my third eye can be hurt, but it is not as if somebody comes with a knife and strikes my third eye. No, it will not be hurt in that way. But by being identified with the wrong actions of my disciples and of humanity, definitely my third eye is being hurt every day.

Question: What is God's Secret?

Sri Chinmoy: God's supreme Secret is: "Do not give up!" He says to His children, "I have not given up on you. So, My children, you also should not give up." Every day in secrecy supreme God is telling human beings, "Your life is still unfinished. Since I have not given up on you, you also should not give up."

Question: Who is God's best friend?

Sri Chinmoy: God has two supremely significant friends. One is our unconditional surrender and the other is our sleepless gratitude-heart.

Question: What is God's favourite spiritual quality?

Sri Chinmoy: God's favourite spiritual quality is soulfulness: the soulfulness of Mother Earth and the soulfulness of Father Heaven. Wherever God sees soulfulness, God is extremely pleased.

Question: Can a soulful smile be meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely a soulful smile is part of meditation. If it is a genuinely soulful smile, it comes from the depth of our meditation. Otherwise, somebody can play a trick on us, pretending that they are offering us a soulful smile. If the soulful smile is genuine, and if you can smile a few times soulfully at your fellow travellers on life's road, then definitely it is part of your meditation.

Part III

SCA 656-658. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in San Francisco on 15 March 1991.

Question: Now that I have become your disciple, should I continue with some of my outer activities, such as flying and tennis?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are enjoying flying, then you should do it. When we are up in the sky, at that time we think, "How beautiful the ground is." While we are on the ground, we think, "How beautiful the sky looks." This is the human mind. When we are up, at that time we like the world that is below. When we are below, we like the world that is above. If you can feel both are beautiful, that is the best. While you are on the ground, do your duty as soulfully as possible. While you are in the air, do your duty there with equal devotion. Try not to make any comparison between the two.

Wherever you are, you have to try to be the best person, the best seeker. Whether you are in the air or on the ground, you are praying to the same God. The same God is in the plane and on the tennis court. At this moment you are in one room, at the next moment in another room. Do not make any comparison that this room is far better than the other room or that flying is more enjoyable than playing tennis. No, if you want to be a good tennis player, as you are, then pay attention to tennis, and while you are flying, pay attention to flying. At that time do not think of tennis strokes. If you think of topspin you will spin!

Question: Sometimes I have my most powerful meditations when I am teaching meditation classes. I am wondering, do you intervene there? Are you always present in the classes?

Sri Chinmoy: I have countless inner beings. My physical mind may not know that you are holding a class, but my inner beings do help people to serve the Supreme in me. In this case, it is not necessary for my outer mind to know what you are doing. But if something very serious is going to take place, something most important, then one of my inner beings will inform me immediately. Again, if you give these classes soulfully and devotedly, then you will get extra blessings. But if you give them mechanically, then my inner beings only observe. Something is better than nothing. You could have stayed at home and watched television instead of giving the class.

Again, you may not be in your highest consciousness, but you are inspiring someone else to be in their highest. In this way, you can also get the blessingful gratitude of my inner beings, by being the instrument to raise somebody else's consciousness. If you were not there to offer the class, then perhaps those people would not have come to meditate. They would have spent their time in a restaurant or somewhere else. So my inner beings are always observing, guiding and helping all my disciples.

It is not only my disciples who are being helped. There are many, many people who are not my disciples and perhaps will never become disciples, but just because they are praying and meditating and doing the right thing for the same God, our Supreme, my inner beings help them considerably. Countless times my inner beings have helped people who are not my disciples and will never become my disciples but who are doing something good for mankind. But if you are my disciple, then I will take more responsibility, infinitely more responsibility for you, and you will also have more feeling of responsibility towards me. So we depend on each other. I depend on you to serve and manifest God, and you depend on me for your highest realisation. Like this, we shall grow together.

Again, there are many, many others whom I help every hour of every day. Outwardly they will not know, and outwardly I will not know, but inwardly I do know. Through my inner beings, in a fleeting second I know how many are getting help from me. Some are not going to be my disciples, but they are still God's children. They are my brothers; they are my sisters. As long as they are praying to God to become better citizens of the world, it is more than enough for me. In a big family or a big club, you do not know everyone by name. If you are studying at a university, there are thousands of students. You do not know them by name, but if they do anything significant, immediately you claim that they belong to the same university as you do. This is our oneness. So here also, if somebody is really trying to do something for God, then my blessings, my gratitude are there for that person. They do not have to be my disciples.

Question: What is the correct spiritual response to homeless people when they ask for money?

Sri Chinmoy: Just look at the person, and your heart will tell you what to do. Sometimes they pretend to be beggars so that you will give them money, and then immediately they go to a bar. God will bless you for your stupidity if you give them money. But if the person is really hungry and if you are in a position to help, then naturally you will help that person so he can go to a restaurant and eat.

Some people are not actually poor, but they have formed the habit of begging or borrowing. Your heart will immediately tell you if the person is sincere. Then you can do the needful. But if you help someone to go and drink, you are only adding ignorance to his life. If you give a subway token because someone wants to go to a church to pray and meditate, then you are doing the right thing with your money-power. But if you give your money-power to someone who is leading an undivine life, then your lack of wisdom is responsible for adding to his stupidity. Unconsciously if we touch fire, we will still burn our finger. Even if it is an innocent, little child, his innocence will not save him. The very nature of fire is to burn his finger. So we have to be wise. As we will not touch fire, in exactly the same way, we have to use our wisdom when we deal with human beings.

Part IV

SCA 659-666. These questions from a journalist friend of Narada Michael Walden were answered by Sri Chinmoy on 19 April 1991 at Aspiration-Ground in Jamaica, New York.

Question: How would you describe today's world?

Sri Chinmoy: From the spiritual point of view, the world is becoming more conscious of what it inwardly is and what it outwardly is going to become. The inner world is bringing to the fore the message of harmony, peace, love and oneness. Outwardly everything may look just the opposite. But we have to know that the darkest night comes just before the day breaks. Here it is exactly the same.

Being a seeker of the ultimate Truth and a lover of God, I unmistakably see in the inner world that each human being will develop a conscious hunger for love — the love that frees, not the love that binds. The love that binds is an old story; God wants us to forget that story once and for all. But the love that illumines, the love that unites the length and breadth of the world — that is the love that God is bringing to the fore in the inner world. The day is fast approaching when that love will be revealed and manifested in the outer world.

Question: This celebration is so beautiful. I see so many open hearts and open eyes. But what do you say to those who are not fortunate enough to be in a community or an environment as harmonious and as loving as this?

Sri Chinmoy: When something is very pure and very illumining, we have to feel that this very thing is also all-blossoming and all-spreading. If a spiritual figure meditates in silence at the foot of the Himalayas and offers his goodwill, it immediately spreads and elevates the consciousness of the entire world. Similarly, if you have a good thought that is both illumining and fulfilling, it immediately blossoms.

Let us say someone has a beautiful, self-giving heart. When a good thought or a loving, illumining and fulfilling feeling enters into his mind directly from the inmost recesses of his heart, it does not have to be outwardly expressed. This inner message is so tangible, so powerful, that immediately it will go out and touch many parts of the world. Naturally, those who are consciously aspiring will receive infinitely more from this good thought than those who are unconscious.

If today you can consciously awaken or help some aspiring human beings to become better citizens of the world, then you are successful in a divine way. Let us say that you awaken somebody today. Then tomorrow, that person will be in a position to awaken others. In this way, the number of people who are awakening others will slowly, steadily and unerringly increase. Eventually they will build up a tremendous force that will inundate the entire world. At that time, even those who are now sleeping and snoring will be forced to awaken.

God is everything and God has everything. That is why we can say that God also has a mind. But God's Mind is entirely different from our mind. Our mind knows only how to think ill of others. It gets malicious pleasure from negativity. But when God uses the mind, He only offers Revelation. Our minds are made of confusion, but His Mind is made of Revelation. Since we are praying to God consciously, devotedly and soulfully, one day we are going to have the same mind that He has.

I am an optimist. A God-lover is an optimist at every second, because he knows that God's Wisdom created this world. God created the universe with the tremendous hope that His children, His creation, would become an exact prototype of Him. This was His Vision, and how can His Vision be wrong?

In our case, vision and reality are two different things. Sometimes our dreams blossom into reality, but most of the time our dreams remain in the dream-world. But God only deals with Vision, and His Vision and reality go together like the obverse and reverse of the same coin. If you look at the Vision, you are bound to see the reality inside it; again, if you look at the reality, you will also see the Vision.

So God's Message of peace, happiness, delight and fulfilment cannot be separated from the creation. The creation embodies the message of divine fulfilment, for God must be fulfilled in and through His creation.

Question: There is a segment of the population that has a high crime rate, a high infant mortality rate, a low standard of education and a high death rate: the black community. What can you say to someone who lives in Brownsville or Harlem and feels he cannot expose his heart without being taken advantage of?

Sri Chinmoy: I tell my students to pray for a minute for protection before they start to drive in their cars. Previously, if they were in a car accident, they would say, "It was not my fault. Some other car came and struck me. I was innocent, helpless." But what good does it do to say that it was the other person's fault? Today it is his fault; tomorrow it will be your fault. What matters is not who is to blame but how you can prevent the situation from occurring in the first place.

Early in the morning, if we pray most soulfully to God, then we will be able to avoid problems. In our prayers, first we have to pray for the fulfilment of God's Will: "Let Thy Will be done." There cannot be any prayer higher than this. God's Fulfilment must be first and foremost. Once we pray for the fulfilment of God's Will, then we can pray to God for special protection, so that when bad things occur, we will be somewhere else. If somebody comes from behind and hits me with his car, we say that an accident took place. But why should it have taken place? I should have been somewhere else! That very minute, with God's Grace, I could have been somewhere else — in another lane or four cars ahead.

We pray to God early in the morning for fifteen minutes. During those fifteen minutes, perhaps five times we say God's Name. But even while saying 'God', we are usually fast asleep in our mind and in our entire being. We boast, "Oh, I prayed and meditated in the morning." But what kind of prayer was it? What kind of meditation did we have? If we had soulfully prayed and meditated for protection, we would not have been in that unfortunate place when the accident occurred.

There are inner attacks and outer attacks. We see only outer attacks. Outwardly we see that some calamity has taken place and somebody is a victim. But inner attacks always come before outer attacks; anything that happens outwardly has its seeds in the inner world. Inwardly we are attacking others with our wrong thoughts and allowing others to attack us. That is why outer calamities take place. At every moment undivine thoughts are attacking us; if it is not somebody else's wrong thoughts, then it is our own. So we pray to God to protect us, not only from others but also from ourselves. If we pray to God to save us from inner attacks, then the outer attacks will diminish.

Even if we are attacked by others, we should not attack them back. We do not follow the philosophy of tit for tat. But if somebody wants to attack me, I have to use my wisdom. Let us say a dog wants to bite me. If I climb up a tree, the dog can only bark. Then, after some time the dog will lose all its patience. Meanwhile, I am there enjoying mangoes at the top of the tree. When the dog goes away, I come down.

So people who are outwardly suffering are not doing the first thing first. They are not praying to God, who is omnipotent, to raise their own consciousness and the consciousness of others. We know that bad thoughts will lead to outer calamities, but still we cherish bad thoughts. We know that a flame will burn our fingers, but still we touch it just to see what happens, like children. We feel some kind of magnetic pull towards bad things. Instead of being drawn towards good things, we always go and touch wrong things. Then there can be so many destructive results.

God is definitely going to save us if our prayer is absolutely sincere. Unfortunately, instead of praying to God for inner wealth, which is illumination, we pray for material prosperity. But if we do not have inner prosperity, if we do not have peace, love and light, then even if we get outer prosperity, we will not have inner joy and inner security, for in the inner life we will be poverty-stricken. Similarly, if we pray to God for outer power, we may get it, but the more outer power we get, the more insecure we become.

Outer success is like a thick jungle. We may appreciate the jungle, but inside it there are quite a few tigers. We cannot find any security there. Inner progress is like a garden with many beautiful and fragrant flowers. If we live in our heart-garden and feel our oneness with God and God's Compassion, then naturally we will be secure. Security is not to be found in a crowd or in a group. Security is found only in our faith in God and in our realisation that we are of God and that God is of us.

Question: Everyone asks Narada how to make it, what they need to do in order to be a success. How would you answer this?

Sri Chinmoy: This question I am going to answer on behalf of Narada's soul. Two things we have to depend on: God's Grace and our own patience. The human in us needs abundant patience, infinite patience. But inside patience we have to feel the supreme necessity of God's Grace. God's Grace is like the rain; the rain has to descend. Again, the ground has to be fertile, and this comes from patience.

Success does not come overnight. When I tried to lift up 300 pounds, God knows how many times I failed. But I did not give up. Similarly, if you want something, you must not give up. Today you have failed miserably, but tomorrow or the day after tomorrow you are bound to succeed, for the idea to achieve something has come directly from God; that you have to know. It is not a mental hallucination when you think of achieving something. The dream comes from a very high plane. So you have to offer your entire being to fulfilling this dream until you reach your goal. Again and again and again, every day you have to try. First you sow the seed and then you water the ground. Only in this way will you value what you achieve. You are not going to create more hurdles along the way, but if you encounter hurdles and cross over them, you will be truly happy. It is only when you work for something that you really value it.

As human beings, if we want perfection and satisfaction, we need patience. Nothing valuable, nothing momentous can be achieved by the human in us in the twinkling of an eye. Again, the divine in us is always bringing down God's Grace from Above. The divine in us is our heart's inner cry. So the child in us is crying for God's Love and God's Compassion while, at the same time, the mature human being in us knows the supreme necessity of patience. If we are not given something today by our Lord Beloved Supreme, we know that there is a special reason why He has not given it to us. God is not cruel. God knows that if He gives us something today, we may misuse it, whereas tomorrow we will properly use it.

Question: I see so much joy here at the tennis court. While playing tennis, you were making so much noise — "OK, I got it! I got it!" — great screams of joy. What is happening inside you at that point?

Sri Chinmoy: I am almost sixty years old. But when I play tennis, at that time I completely forget my outer age. The outer calendar does not exist for me; I am aware only of the inner calendar, which is eternal, birthless and deathless. God is an eternal Child, playing eternally inside His own Heart-Garden. Since I am a child of God, I try to do everything that my Beloved Father does in His own Life. The child always tries to imitate the father. To a little child, his father is perfect. A child does not see any imperfection in his father or mother.

When I play, at that time I feel inside me the heart of a child. A child is always happy in his own way. He can be miserable if he does not get the toys that he wants. But if he remains in the heart, he is always happy. Anybody who remains inside the heart is a divine child, and he feels only joy.

According to our Indian philosophy, the creation came into being from Delight, in Delight we grow, and at the end of our journey's close, into Delight we retire. God is all Delight. This Delight we feel only when we establish our oneness with God's Will. Otherwise, at every second this world is full of pain. But if we see God inside the creation, inside the suffering, then it is all joy. Outwardly, when we identify ourselves with God the creation, we feel miserable. But inwardly, when we identify ourselves with God the Creator, we feel only joy because His Vision and His Reality are all joy. If we want to feel this joy, we have to pray and meditate, for that is how we will grow into the very image of God our Beloved Father. Even for five minutes if we have a deep meditation, it will inundate us with peace and joy.

Question: What would you say to a thirteen-year-old child who says, "Because of the condition I find myself in, I don't know if I am going to make it."

Sri Chinmoy: I would tell him, "Do not think of yourself as a failure or as someone who is going to become a failure. Do not look around and see how many people have failed. If your father has failed and your mother has failed, do not look around at them. Only think that you are responsible for what you do. If you think of yourself as just a human being who came out of the womb, as only a human body, then you will fail. But if you think of yourself as part and parcel of something divine, something pure, something illumining and fulfilling, then you are bound to succeed." It all depends on how the individual thinks of himself and his source. If he thinks his source is the mind, vital and physical, then he is bound to fail. But if he feels his source is the heart, which is all oneness with God's Will, if he thinks of himself as the soul, then he is bound to succeed.

A thirteen-year-old or a twenty-year-old should not use his outer eyes to look at the world and see how many people have failed and how many people are suffering. He should use his inner eye to feel what he is. Let him not look with his outer eye to see what the outer world can give him, but instead use his inner heart to feel what he can give to the world. If he is only concerned with taking from the outer world, then he will get frustration at every moment and never have satisfaction. Even if he gets something, he will feel miserable that someone else has received more.

Satisfaction comes from what we have inside our heart. Doctors will call the heart a physical muscle, but we call it God's most beautiful Abode, God's Nest. The spiritual heart is full of compassion and love. If we remain there, we find only joy. But if we go outside, we find only frustration, misunderstanding and confusion. So we have to decide where we want to go: inside ourselves or outside ourselves. If these young children you are speaking of go inside their hearts, they will discover a beautiful garden where they can enjoy the beauty and fragrance of all their heart-flowers. It is their garden; they are the owners. So let them go inside the heart!

Question: Would you make that same comment if you took the subway this evening and were robbed by a homeless person?

Sri Chinmoy: If we use the mind, life is all frustration, because we are seeing that somebody needs this and that. We see that there is no justice in the world. It is absolutely true. But we have to go one step beyond this. As I said before, let us take this suffering world as a barking dog. The dog is barking and at any moment it can bite. But God has given us the wisdom to climb up a tree, to raise our consciousness, so the dog cannot bother us.

Let us say somebody comes and takes away the five dollars that I have in my pocket. Outwardly I feel miserable because they have taken away my five dollars. But inwardly if I say, "All right, God wanted me to have this experience," then I will be happy. The robber got happiness by stealing my money, and I am getting joy by becoming one with God's Will.

We do not know what God's Will is — whether God wanted me to be robbed or not. Only let us say, "Let Thy Will be done." Then we will feel only joy no matter what happens. I have faith that God is not going to give me an experience that will lower my consciousness. If I have that kind of love for God and faith in God, then no matter what outer experiences I get, my inner experience will always be positive.

I will say, "O God, what Your Will is, I do not know. I am only praying to You to make me one, absolutely one, with Your Will." If this is my prayer, who can steal my happiness? The robber's happiness lasts for five seconds; then he will go to steal somebody else's money and be caught red-handed. Eventually he is bound to be caught and punished, and then where will his joy be? But the joy that I get by becoming one with God's Will will last and last.

Question: During the twenty-seven years that you have been in this country, what has been the biggest change that you have seen?

Sri Chinmoy: I feel America has changed for the better. When I first came to America, some Americans wanted to realise God in an absurd way. The hippies formed a God of their own, and the word 'freedom' was used in so many different ways. Now I see more discipline coming to the fore. When I came here, many good qualities I found, but I did not find discipline.

What I am seeing now is that each and every human being has a new hope for peace, and this peace-flower is blossoming. Five, ten, fifteen years ago it was not like that. Today every human being not only feels the necessity of peace, but also feels that peace is something attainable. Before it seemed impossible — it was something to be found only in Heaven. But today, no matter how many serious mistakes we are making, no matter how much we are quarrelling and fighting, we still feel that there is something called peace and that we can achieve it. We feel something divine and fulfilling is there and that we are being prepared for it. This is the greatest progress that humanity is making, and it is giving me the greatest satisfaction.

Part V

SCA 667-668. Excerpts from an interview with Tass News Agency which took place in New York on 22 April 1991.

Question: What do you think about the disaster in Chernobyl, and what do you think about the near future of the world, about peace?

Sri Chinmoy: Being a truth-seeker and God-lover, I feel that in the near future this world of ours will have abundant peace. Why? Everything else has failed us, and everything else will fail us. But now countless human beings are awakened to the fact that peace is the only answer to all our human problems. This peace does not come from our outer life; it comes from deep within. We do not get peace by talking but by becoming, by becoming individuals who will be able to inspire the world at large.

This inspiration comes from prayer and meditation. As we sow within, so we become without. Early in the morning if we pray, if we meditate, if we offer our good thoughts to humanity, then we establish a feeling of oneness. Once we can consciously and cheerfully establish our oneness with the whole world, then this world of ours is destined to be inundated with peace. Previously people talked about peace. Now they feel it as a supreme necessity in the inmost recesses of their heart.

I am an optimist. God the Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent created this world. When we create something, we feel that it is our obligation to see happiness and perfection in our creation. When an artist creates something, he is not satisfied unless and until his painting gives him satisfaction. In art, in music or in any activity that we undertake, we always long for satisfaction, and this satisfaction comes from perfection. Similarly, this world of ours is created by God Himself. He feels that His creation has to be perfect. Perfection is a very simple dictionary word. At the same time, perfection is misunderstood. Everybody has a sense of perfection according to his inner wisdom-light. According to my inner conviction, my own realisation, perfection is self-transcendence. Perfection has no set goal.

Our perfection is in satisfaction. When I was in kindergarten, I wanted to go to primary school. Then afterwards I wanted to go to high school, college and so forth. Self-transcendence is perfection, and in self-transcendence we get the message of joy. People are now trying to transcend themselves. How? By feeling deep within the supreme necessity of peace.

What has happened in Chernobyl? A dire catastrophe. What has happened? Untold destruction. But we have to know that by dwelling on this event, we cannot get any satisfaction. Now we have to turn to the things that will illumine us and fulfil us to give us abiding satisfaction. What can give us joy? What can give us fulfilment? Our sleepless prayers for a better life, a life of more illumination. This is my inner philosophy which I wish to share with you.

Question: I feel and many of my compatriots feel that this disaster opened a new page in the history of our country. The fallout which fell on the fields of my country was ten times more than in Hiroshima after that nuclear bombardment forty years ago. Would you please tell me what are your wishes for the people of my country who are now suffering badly?

Sri Chinmoy: My philosophy is that the past is dust. Although the past may have shattered us far beyond our imagination, by thinking of the past, we cannot go forward. We have to go forward. The light is ahead of us, not behind us. Our destination — I call it the Golden Shore — is in front of us, not behind us.

Of course, it is quite reasonable to feel sad if somebody has struck me or I am injured or some very serious thing has happened in my life. But then the question is, shall I continue thinking of the past? If I think of the past, then I am carrying a very, very heavy load on my shoulders, and it is difficult to go forward. I have to act like a deer and run fast, faster, fastest towards my goal. Night there is; night there will be. But I am a lover of the dawn, I am a lover of the sun, I am a lover of light. Now this room is illumined, but in an hour they will turn off the light. Then it will be all dark. Let me search for the light that will remain permanent to illumine not only my consciousness but also my country.

Your country has suffered tremendously, and it breaks my heart because, as I said before, I am a seeker. As a seeker, I pray not only for myself but also for all of humanity. On the strength of my oneness with all human beings, I suffer. I am an Indian; I come from Bengal. But for me there is only one country, and that country is the country of our heart. In my heart-country, you are there, she is there, everybody is there — each and every human being. When I say you are my brother, I mean it. When I say she is my sister, I mean it. The heart is oneness. The mind is division. As soon as I think of you, my mind tells me that you come from another country. But in my heart you are absolutely, inseparably one with me.

God is our Father, God is our Mother, God is everything to us. If we claim the Creator as our own, very own, we are bound to claim the creation — which includes each one of us — as our own, very own.

I wish to tell you not to look behind. Let us look forward. The destination is right in front of us, not behind. The past has not given us satisfaction. Anything that has not given us satisfaction, anything that has not fulfilled us, is not the answer. The answer comes from our inner awakening, inner illumination, inner perfection. Once we get inner illumination and inner perfection, then our outer life becomes a life of satisfaction.

Suffering there is. But if we think all the time of how much we have suffered, it is not going to serve any purpose. We have to look for light, we have to look for love and the feeling of oneness so that we do not make the same mistake and we do not suffer again.

Interviewer: Thank you very much. I wish that you will continue the dissemination of this message of light, love and peace all over this world.

Part VI

SCA 669-679. Excerpts from an interview with Boston Cable TV, which took place at Aspiration-Ground in Jamaica, New York, on 4 May 1991.

Question: Many people feel today that there is a growth in spiritual influence in the world, and I wonder how you feel about this. Do you see this as a time of spiritual expansion for humanity?

Sri Chinmoy: Since the beginning of creation, there has been spirituality. God and God's creation cannot be separated. God the Creator and God the creation are one. People have been praying from time immemorial. There are various ways to pray and meditate, and there are various ways to reach one's destination. Spirituality is not the sole monopoly of any individual or of any country. Spirituality is universal. I take each individual as an instrument of God, and those who consciously pray and meditate are chosen instruments of God. There shall come a time when everybody will be awakened. Very often, we say that now spirituality has come to the fore and many people are practising spiritual life. But my inner feeling is that there has not been any time when there was no spirituality on earth.

Question: Do you feel that the degree to which humanity is aspiring changes from age to age or is it constant in your view?

Sri Chinmoy: It changes. Sometimes the weather is good, sometimes the weather is bad. So, for a few years, let us say for twenty, thirty or forty years, spirituality may not be as strong as it is at other times. Now a very significant aspect of spirituality is peace. If there is no peace, then spirituality in its purest sense has no value. Previously, peace was only a dictionary word. It was not a living reality. Although we use the word 'peace', people must have a conscious hunger for peace. But now, for the last thirty years, people have been paying more attention to peace.

Question: There are some people who believe there are different kinds of spiritual Masters. Some work openly in the world and their purpose is to work directly with humanity, physically. Others, some of whom have physical bodies and some of whom do not, work behind the scenes. Do you feel that this is true in your experience?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, it is absolutely true. It depends on the spiritual Master. Some have accepted life as such, while others do not want to accept it. Some want to pray and meditate inside the Himalayan caves, while others want to pray and meditate in the hustle and bustle of life. It is a matter of individual choice. We do not know and we cannot say which one is the better of the two. Some spiritual Masters of the hoary past entered into the Himalayan caves and did realise God, the Highest. Again, there are others who did not believe in austerity or renunciation. They believed in the acceptance of life as such. We have to accept life and then we have to transform it to make it a perfect instrument of God.

I happen to be one of those who have accepted life as such and are trying to make the world better. I feel that if we do not accept the world, we can never transform it. If something is imperfect, only by touching it, by making it part and parcel of our lives, can we make it perfect. Present-day life as such is far, far from perfection, and if we do not try to transform our human nature, then it will remain always the same.

Question: As I understand it, some traditions hold that some of the Masters who are in seclusion or who may have contact with humans only mildly are nonetheless very involved in service. They simply don't focus on physical contact as the primary method, even if they have bodies. Is this possibly an avoidance of embracing life?

Sri Chinmoy: Excuse me, I can only speak about myself. I can only tell you what I have in my room. About other spiritual Masters, I am not entitled to say anything. I happen to be a spiritual Master. I am their spiritual brother. There is only one Guru and that Guru is God. For my students, I happen to be the elder brother in terms of spirituality. I tell all of my students all over the world always to remember one thing: that I am not the Guru. The real Guru is God Himself. The real Master is God Himself. My purpose is to take my students, who are my younger brothers and sisters, to the Father, our common Father, God. I know a little more than they do, but I will never claim that I am God or I am their Guru.

So, to come back to your question, I can say what I have and what I am. But if I say what you have and what you are, I will be totally wrong. So how do I dare to say anything about other spiritual Masters when I do not practise their way of life? I can tell you only what I have inside my heart and what I stand for here on earth.

My philosophy is very simple: love and serve. Love God the Creator and serve God the creation. If we love someone, then we have to serve that person. In our case, we try to love God, our Inner Pilot, unconditionally. Quite often, we fail and fail and fail. It is very difficult to love someone unconditionally; we always expect something from that person. But still we are aiming at unconditional surrender to God's Will. The Christ said, "Let Thy Will be done." No prayer can be higher than this. This prayer is the supreme prayer. But we have to offer this prayer unconditionally. So our philosophy is unconditional love and unconditional service to God the creation. We are trying to serve God the creation, and we are trying to do it unconditionally, without any expectation.

In our philosophy, we give utmost importance to our heart, because we feel the heart unites. The human mind quite often divides, doubts and creates many problems for us. Here you can feel my heart and I can feel your heart because you have a good heart. You have come all the way from Boston. If I have to use my mind, this moment I will doubt you, I will doubt him. But once our heart comes to the fore, it is all love, it is all oneness and peace. This is our very simple philosophy.

Question: How do you view the process of enlightenment? Do you feel that there is an ultimate goal that one can reach or is there an ongoing process of deeper and deeper God-realisation?

Sri Chinmoy: God-realisation is not a fixed goal. You cannot say that you will run one hundred metres and then you will reach the goal. We are walking along Eternity's Road. The road is always ahead; there is no end. Some seekers may think that if you can come and sit at the foot of the God-realisation-tree, that is enough. They will walk, march, run, sprint and finally arrive at the foot of the God-realisation-tree.

There will be another seeker who says, "No, let me climb up the tree, high, higher, highest. No matter how high it is, no matter how tall the tree is, I will climb up." He climbs up and says, "Oh, now that I have reached the top, I do not want to come down. If I go down, who knows what will be my fate? Perhaps I will once again enter into the world of temptation and start suffering. I shall remain here at the top of the tree and eat mangoes to my heart's satisfaction."

There will be a third seeker who will say, "I suffered once upon a time. Now I see my sisters and brothers are suffering so much. Let me share with them and try to alleviate their suffering. So he comes down with most delicious mangoes and shares them with his friends and relatives and dear ones.

These spiritual figures are like heroes. They declare, "I will not be compelled to wallow in the pleasures of ignorance. No, I will be able to come down and share my experiences, which are like mangoes, with my fellow citizens, and I will not be affected. I will give them what I have and what I am. I am sure that God will protect me because I am trying to serve God the creation."

Question: I am familiar a little bit with Sri Aurobindo's notion that there is a descent of a new consciousness in the world, a new level of awareness. Would this be similar to intuition?

Sri Chinmoy: There are levels of the mind: higher mind, upper mind, divine mind and so on. Then comes the Supermind. After the Supermind there is another level which is called sat-chit-ananda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss). But the Supermind itself is far beyond the ordinary mind. It is not in the mind proper.

Intuition is something totally different. Intuition comes from the third eye, the vision-eye. The level of the Supermind is infinitely higher than the plane of intuitive consciousness which you call intuition.

Question: Can you tell us something about your experience and understanding of the nature of angelic consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: From the spiritual point of view, angelic consciousness cannot transform human nature. Angels are like flowers or beautiful children. A flower as such is not going to make me beautiful or fragrant. But it can give me the inspiration to pray to God to make my heart as beautiful and as fragrant as the flower. So angels can be a source of inspiration, but they cannot actually transform our consciousness.

If you sit in front of an ocean, you can see and appreciate the vastness, but your consciousness will not automatically become as vast as the ocean. The consciousness of the ocean, the vastness of the ocean, we will get only by praying to God. So, the angelic consciousness is a source of inspiration, but it cannot help us to realise our goal.

Angels have a sweet, childlike consciousness, but for you to get rid of your forty-year-old consciousness and come back to your four-year-old childlike consciousness, you have to pray and pray. Angels do give us inspiration and joy, but to become what they are, a childlike, sweet consciousness, you have to pray and meditate.

Question: I have read in one of your books that you said one of your disciples was from the angelic world. Did I understand that correctly?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes.

Question: Why would an angel take incarnation in the human world?

Sri Chinmoy: Usually angels do not come to earth in a physical body. But they like to have different experiences. I am a foreigner; I come from India. I could have remained in India because India is a vast subcontinent. But I got the inspiration to come to America. It is exactly the same in the case of the angels. Angels usually do not want to come to earth because they are so subtle, beautiful and delicate. This world of ours is full of suffering and our human bodies are composed of gross matter, whereas theirs is angelic. Angels are so subtle, so beautiful, so ethereal, that they do not want to take on the solid mass of a human body. But again, some angels say, "No, we want to have the experience of earthly life." So on principle they do not come, but every rule admits of exception.

Question: Something in them draws them to human life?

Sri Chinmoy: They want something new. They want to go somewhere. Similarly, I could have been satisfied in India, but I wanted to have something new from America.

Question: What would taking human incarnation add to an angel that they don't already have?

Sri Chinmoy: If they enter into human consciousness, then they become more reliable, dependable and efficient instruments of God. Let us say you have a small ferry. If you want to keep that ferry, you can carry me and a few other people across the river. But if you have an ocean liner, you can take hundreds of people. Why do spiritual Masters come into this world? They could have remained in the soul's world. They come into this world to carry millions of people in their big ocean liners. So it depends on the individual. Either you want to help one or two individuals to become good, or you want to inspire countless people to become good, illumining and fulfilling. From where they were in Heaven, the angels can deal with only one or two individuals. But if they take human incarnation and inspire countless people, then they are doing greater service, infinitely greater service to God.

Question: What do you mean when you talk about a mental path versus the path of the heart?

Sri Chinmoy: The difference is quite noticeable. When we live in the heart, with the heart and for the heart, we always feel we can accept the world and become part and parcel of the suffering world. But when we are in the mind, we start criticising others and thinking that we are perfect. If I remain in the mind, I will see you as imperfect and myself as perfect. But if I live in the heart, then I will feel that what you have and what you are I have to claim as my own, very own. If we remain in the heart, we become one. Your imperfections I must accept as my own imperfections. And if you also live in the heart, you will take my imperfections as your own imperfections. Then if you are happy because you have done something great, I will feel that it is I who have done it and vice-versa.

But when we are in the mind, we are constantly doubting others. We cannot accept others' joy as our own. Immediately, jealousy, insecurity and impurity attack us. If I am in the heart, then immediately I feel that you are God's creation. We have to love each other, we have to become one, inseparably one. In this way we can solve all our problems. Otherwise, if I start doubting you, whether you are a good person or not, then this mental argument never ends.

The feeling of oneness inside the heart, once it starts, never ends. Once we enter into the river, we see that the river is flowing into the ocean and finally it becomes the ocean itself. But if the river does not flow, it becomes a stagnant pool. The mind is always trying to see the negative qualities of others. Whose mind is happy when it sees somebody else achieving something glorious? Nobody's. But if you live in the heart, you will act like a child. A child is so happy when his father achieves something and the father is so happy when his child achieves something. So the simple way is to follow the path of the heart.

Question: Thank you. That's a useful distinction to make. Some traditions or some teachers have used the notion of the path of the mind to mean something like jnana yoga.

Sri Chinmoy: The mind needs illumination. There are two rooms. One is the heart-room; one is the mind-room. The heart-room already has light in it. So we have to enter into the heart-room and then take the light from there to the mind-room. But if we enter into the mind-room first and find that the mind-room is unlit, how are we going to bring light into it? We have to be wise. If we enter into the mind and stay there, we will never come to the heart-room. But if we enter into the heart-room, we will get illumination in abundant measure and then finally in measureless measure. Then only shall we enter into the mind-room. We are not going to neglect the mind-room. Only we have to be wise. For the time being, we have to remain inside the heart-room in order to collect light and bliss. Then there shall come a time when we shall enter into the mind-room. Nothing on earth will remain imperfect. But we have to be very wise. Only the things that are inspiring, aspiring and illumining we have to accept in the beginning.

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