Sri Chinmoy answers, part 19

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Part I

Question: Why do animals have to suffer pain, illness and injury since they are not conscious like human beings?1

Sri Chinmoy: There are some animals who are far more conscious than human beings. Not only in terms of self-giving, but in terms of many, many good qualities, divine qualities, some animals are more advanced. They do not have the mind that human beings have, but their instincts are coming from a deeper level of consciousness. We do not understand their language. We feel they have limited intelligence, and that is why they fight and kill each other. We feel that we are far better. But in the inner world we quarrel, we fight, we strangle one another more than they do. Only when one animal is facing another animal do they fight. But we human beings have enemies in Africa or Australia or some other part of the world, and with our mind we try to destroy that person in the twinkling of an eye. Our attitude is that nobody will know what we do inwardly. Not only God, but the soul of that individual knows what sharp, drastic, aggressive or destructive blows we have rendered to our enemies through our thoughts. Our thoughts can be so powerful. If we cherish destructive thoughts towards someone, then nothing may happen on the outer plane, but on the inner plane of that person, something will definitely be damaged.

To come back to your question, if we use our mind, then naturally we will say that animals are not as developed as we are. They are innocent; they are helpless — it is so true. Again, human beings are also so often helpless. Sometimes we pray to God most intensely, but God does not answer for days or months. Our dear ones are about to die, or some little ones are about to die, so we cry and pray to God to save them. Then we see that God does not listen to our prayer. Is God so cruel? No. He has His own Way of operating. But just because we pray and meditate, we do feel that there is Someone who is a little higher than we are. If we are sincere, we have to feel that there is Someone who loves our dear ones more than we do. There is Somebody who has the capacity to sympathise with the suffering of a particular human being or animal more than we do.

We feel that as human beings we have the capacity to sympathise with others. When we see happiness in our friends, we are happy. But most of the time, human rivalry is such that sincere happiness is not to be found. To be sincerely happy in somebody else's happiness is a very rare thing. If you can really identify yourself with the heart and soul of another person, then you are happy in their happiness. Again, in terms of sympathy, we so often shed crocodile tears when we see the suffering of others. We do not mean it. Their suffering has not touched even for a fleeting second our heart that sincerely sympathises.

When it is a matter of suffering, animals do suffer and we also suffer. But just because we are conscious human beings, we feel that there shall come a time when our sufferings will come to an end. We feel that there is Someone high above in the skies or Somebody deep inside the very depth of our heart who is going to listen to our prayers. It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow, but in His own time, He will give us happiness.

The problem is that we do not wait for His choice Hour. Sometimes we are hungry. When we do not get food, we are miserable. Then, after a few hours, our hunger disappears. At that time, the food arrives. Then we say, "Who wants your food now? I do not need it." At that time we do not need it, or we are dissatisfied with the person who is supplying us with food. But that is the hour, God's Hour. If we do not accept that particular hour for our happiness, then indefinitely we may remain unhappy.

So when you see unhappiness in the animal kingdom, you have to feel that the same kind of unhappiness we have. They are suffering, and just because we are a little more developed than they are, we also suffer. We are like parents. When their children suffer, the parents feel so miserable. The little animals are like our children or our younger brothers and sisters. We can give them some shelter, comfort or concern.

We have to sympathise with them. At the same time we have to know that there is Someone who not only suffers with the suffering of both human beings and animals, but also has the capacity to liberate them from their suffering. He knows why they are suffering and He knows when He will strike His own Hour to give them joy.

What can we do? We can pray sincerely, soulfully, constantly for His Victory in His own Way. When we pray for God's Victory in His own Way, then in the inner world we expedite God's Hour. If something would normally have taken forty years or sixty years or even two hundred years, that very thing, when God accelerates their progress, will take place in ten years or fifteen years or twenty years. Even now, you are praying to God for peace of mind or sincere gratitude or purity or humility or other divine qualities. To develop even an iota of purity in the central being may take forty or fifty years. Unfortunately, so many good qualities which my disciples had once upon a time have disappeared. Why? Because they were not preserved properly with gratitude.

Our difficulty is that we see what we had as one reality, what we have as another reality and what we are going to have as another reality. Before, we were happy; now we are not happy. In the future we may be even more unhappy. Whichever way we turn, we do not get abiding satisfaction. Previously, before we took incarnation, when we were in the soul's world, we were very happy. While you are in the soul's world, when you look down to see the manifestation on earth, you see that some souls have taken human bodies and they are manifesting God's Light. You see people who are struggling for their own perfection and trying to manifest God's Light on earth. You see clearly that God is infinitely more proud of them than of the souls who are just watching. The souls that are struggling and suffering and trying in many ways to spread God's Light are divine heroes. Naturally, God has more Affection, Compassion, Love and blessingful Gratitude for those people.

To come back to your question, animals do suffer. Categorically I cannot say why. If I see the animal, I will be able to tell. In general, the answer is that God is having an experience in and through them. Even to come to that realisation is a most difficult thing. When somebody pinches me, I want to give a slap to that person — tit for tat. But if we have a higher realisation, then we can see that it is God who is pinching us and God who is experiencing in and through us either suffering or joy. God has formed a circle and He is moving around the circle. This moment we call it joy; the next moment we call it sadness or sorrow, and the next moment we see that this is only His Game. Perfection is in accepting the suffering as such and the joy as such. We have to become conscious instruments of God to give Him the satisfaction of experiencing suffering or joy. If we have a higher realisation, we do not see imperfection in God's creation. We see that what we call imperfection or suffering is something that has to be transformed into permanent ecstasy or delight.

Sometimes we get an experience and our mind tells us, "This is joy." But God may not call that particular experience joy at all. He may say it is only mental pleasure or vital pleasure. We say, "Oh, it is sheer delight," but God says it is our pure mental imagination; it is our pleasure-life that we are enjoying. Real joy is only in accepting God's Will. For that we have to pray and meditate with utmost sincerity, utmost humility. We have to tell the Supreme, "I do not know Your Will, but do give me the capacity to serve You for Your own Satisfaction." Sometimes we pray, "God, make me perfect so that I can be a better instrument." But even that prayer can be a waste of time. God knows our imperfections better than anybody else. We do not have to tell God how imperfect we are. We should pray to God, "You know how imperfect I am because You have created me. Now only give me the capacity to pray for Your Satisfaction in my life."

But that kind of prayer we do not offer. Even when everything is going against us, when we are suffering, we have to say to God, "Please satisfy Yourself in and through me. I only want to make You happy. If You make me happy in my own way, then I will be a real failure."

Usually we tell God, in a clever way, "God, if You make me happy for one hour, then out of sheer gratitude, out of sheer joy, I will be able to meditate for Your Victory twenty-four hours a day." God laughs and says, "I do not need your twenty-four hours of prayer and meditation to make Me happy. If I can get only five minutes or even one minute of your oneness with My Will, I will have got everything from you."

In the same way, if an animal is suffering, then our prayer to God should be, "I do not know why this animal is suffering, but I do know that You are inside this animal, and I want Your Satisfaction inside this suffering creature." At every moment we have to tell God that we want only His Satisfaction.

But instead, we ask for a candy or something else. Then, the next moment, when God gives us the candy, we just throw it away. We feel that we do not need it. Before we get it, our mind says, "O God, if I get this, I do not need anything else from You in this incarnation. If I can get happiness from this, then in this incarnation I will not bother You any more." Then that very thing God gives us, but we are not satisfied.

God can never satisfy us by pleasing us in our own way. Satisfaction will dawn only when we please God in His own Way. If there is anything that we want and God gives it to us, we may be happy for five seconds or five days. But then we will want something else. Inside that particular thing there can never be lasting happiness because it was not done in God's own Way for God's sake. Instead we have to tell God, "Only keep me on earth to satisfy You, to please You in Your own Way." Then He may take away our name, our fame, our prosperity, everything that we call our own, but what will we have? We will have God as our very own.

Happiness comes from real satisfaction, and that satisfaction we can get only by surrendering to God's Will or by identifying ourselves consciously with God's Will. Otherwise, everything that we desire in our own way, God can give and God will give, if He wants to, but it will not make us happy. All of our desires God can fulfil in the twinkling of an eye. But in the depths of our heart is our luminous soul. That soul is pleased only when we please God in His own Way.

As soon as we use the words 'in His own Way', we feel that our whole world is gone. That is what our mind or our vital is telling us, and then the poor heart becomes weak because of the pressure of the mind, the vital and the physical consciousness. The heart is in prison, and who is guarding the cell? Our mind, our vital or our physical existence. But the soul, the divine spark in us, saves us. At every moment the soul is only praying to God to satisfy Him in His own Way. There is not a single soul that does not want to satisfy God. If we can satisfy our Beloved Supreme in His own Way, then we are happy.

So from the animal level I have brought your question up to the human level. There is only one way to become happy. We cannot see the Truth; we cannot feel the Truth; we can only become the Truth. Once we become the Truth, we can feel it easily, we can see it easily. Until we become the Truth in God's own Way, we will not be able to feel it; we will not be able to see it properly.

The whole world is miserable. Why? Not because God has not fulfilled our desires. Even if God fulfils our desires, we are not happy, because that choice did not come from God. Do you think that God has no choice? At every moment He has a choice; He has some vision to execute in and through us. But we are not telling God, "Please, please fulfil Your Will in and through me." We only tell God, "Give me this; give me that."

Sometimes it can happen that a spiritual seeker can be on the verge of realisation or meditating in a very high consciousness and God will fulfil a desire of his that he had twenty years ago just to give him joy. Twenty years ago it was not the right time. Then twenty years later, when God gives him his wish, he becomes so sad. He says, "I wanted this thing so many years ago. Now You feel that this is the right time? Now I feel that I made a wrong choice twenty years ago by praying for this thing. You are fulfilling my desire because I have pleased You in millions of ways. But now I have gone beyond it. I do not need it any more."

I had a desire in my childhood to work in a train. My father was the chief inspector of the Assam-Bengal railway line. I thought, "Oh, if I can blow the whistle or wave the lamp, I will have the whole world!" That was my desire. Now, at this age, a train has been named after me. At that time, I was in the desire-world. Now, because God is pleased with me, with my aspiration, I am getting all the candies. But I am not happy, believe me, because I have identified myself with all my disciples. Your sadness is my sadness, and I am helpless because I am trying desperately to remove your sadness.

When I see somebody's suffering on the physical plane, mental plane or vital plane, I identify myself with that person. Outwardly, in a joking way I may say, "Oh, you have that pain!" I may even mock at them, laugh at them. The person may say, "Oh, Guru is cutting jokes! Here I have got such severe pain and he is smiling and cutting jokes!" But I know the depth, the intensity of your suffering. I have entered into your suffering and my heart of oneness is simply smashed.

So, by becoming one at every moment with the One who wants to really satisfy us, we will have happiness. Our way of happiness will fail us and is bound to fail us, but if we can follow His Way of happiness, we will not need anything from this world. Our happiness is just a joke. How long can you cut jokes? As soon as you become the Real, then silly jokes you do not want to enjoy. In His Happiness, in His Satisfaction there is joy at every second.

There are so many things you can do to please God in His own Way, but the highest is constantly to make Him happy through your prayer and meditation. After you meditate, how many of you sing the Invocation? Every day I sing the Invocation. Sometimes it is at three o'clock; sometimes it is at four o'clock; sometimes later. Who is the witness? My synthesizer. I play my synthesizer and sing. I have written many songs, but my Invocation is my own highest reality, my own divinity. To all of you I am saying, you do not have to be a good singer. No, no, no. If you cannot sing, just repeat the words. If you do not want to meditate, only think of the Invocation: "Supreme, I bow to Thee!" As soon as you bow, you give everything that you have and everything that you are. What you have is unwillingness, and what you are is ingratitude. But if what you have is willingness to please our Lord Beloved Supreme in His own Way, and if what you are is a spark, a grain, a speck of gratitude, then in your dictionary there will be no such word as 'unhappiness'. Try, try, right from today, right from this moment, and see if I am right or wrong.


  1. SCA 680. Sri Chinmoy answered this question, asked by a disciple at a celebration of her birthday, on 26 September 1992 in Jamaica, New York.

Question: With the stresses and demands of daily life, how can I maintain the kind of life-energy that I need to play my music with all my heart for the public?1

Sri Chinmoy: When we say 'public', we mean many, many people, hundreds of people, thousands of people. When we think of thousands of people, usually we become nervous or excited. Appreciation also we expect, and again we may anticipate all kinds of criticism. If you want to give your very best, your utmost, you have to try to feel that there is only one person in the audience, and that person is your best friend or your best admirer, not your critic. While playing, you have to feel that you are a tree. You have hundreds of fruits, hundreds of flowers. When you play, start by seeing the entire audience as hundreds of fruits or beautiful flowers. Then try to feel that these flowers and fruits have become only one reality, which is the tree, and that you yourself are that tree. Then you will be able to give them everything that you have. Your musical talents you will be able to give them most satisfactorily. Always try to see the audience as one individual, not as many.

Now you are playing most of the time from your heart, but please try to go one step deeper. Try to play from the soul through the heart. You have the cry of your heart in your music, but you can bring forward the smile of your soul. While you are playing music from your heart, you are feeling oneness with others. But when you can play from your soul, you will feel that inside oneness there is something called satisfaction or fulness.

In your family you have your father, your mother, your brothers and sisters. You feel oneness with them because you are all in the same family. But the mind complicates everything. If you see that your sister has done something wrong or your mother or father has done something wrong, the mind will immediately come forward and divide the family. But when you use the heart, at that time you see that your mother, father, brothers and sisters are all one. If you make a mistake, it is their mistake. If they make a mistake, it is your mistake. That is called oneness.

Deeper than oneness is fulness. Fulness comes from the soul. In fulness you are complete. There it is all silence. If you play from the heart, it is most haunting, but sound is coming. But if you play from the soul, it is the silence that is playing. You are using your hands, you are using your eyes, you are using your bow, everything, but it is coming from the very depths of silence. If you play from the soul, you will have tremendous poise and peace. You will not be affected by anything.

During the day if you have to go to work to make your living, you have to feel that your real home is inside your heart. Then, inside the house there are many rooms, but one room is your private room. Again, inside that room in one corner is the shrine, where you keep a picture of Jesus Christ or some great spiritual figure. That place is the most sacred and secret place for you. Inside the shrine, you have to feel the living presence of our Heavenly Father. He is your Father, my Father, everybody's Father. So first start by thinking of your home. There are so many rooms, but you want to be in your private room so that you can pray and meditate in silence. Then think of the shrine, your sacred place. There you have placed a picture of the Saviour, and inside the picture you have to feel the presence of your Heavenly Father. If you can do this, then you will have tremendous joy and satisfaction, not only from your music, but from everything you do. Then you will see that all your earthly strains and stresses will be illumined.


  1. SCA 681. Sri Chinmoy answered this question on 23 October 1992 in Puerto Rico.

Question: In one of your books you said that four hours of sleep is all you need if you are meditating. Would you speak about this? I would love to have more time.1

Sri Chinmoy: Everything can be developed, like muscle-power. When you exercise your physical muscles, they become stronger. Similarly, if you pray and meditate, you can get a kind of inner power. Gradually you can increase the length of your meditation. Then meditation itself will give you the power to remain awake. Meditation will strengthen the nerves. We have 86,000 subtle nerves. When the subtle nerves become strong, you do not need seven or eight hours of sleep. But right now, for my disciples, seven hours is good.

Gradually, gradually you can try to bring it down. I always say, if you take coffee ten times a day, then bring it down to nine times, eight times, seven times and so on. In exactly the same way, you can try to reduce the amount you sleep. From seven hours, if you want to suddenly bring it down to four hours, you may perhaps do it for two days. Then, on the third day, you will not be able to get up. You will say, "I have meditated for so many days. Let me take rest." Everything has to be done very, very slowly, regularly and systematically. If you have been accustomed to sleeping for seven hours, then please try to sleep only fifteen minutes less. Try to continue with six hours and forty-five minutes for a few weeks or a few months. In this way it will be possible for you to sleep less. There is no short cut. From seven hours if you try to bring it down to four or three, it will tell upon your health. But if you do it slowly, regularly and systematically, it is not only quite possible but inevitable.


  1. SCA 682. Sri Chinmoy answered this question on 26 November 1992 in Los Angeles.

Part II

SCA 683-693. Excerpts from an interview with Mr. Edgar Tcheporov, US correspondent of the Literary Gazette (Moscow), on 28 February 1993.

Question: How would you answer one of the major philosophical questions — "What is the purpose of creation?"

Sri Chinmoy: God the Creator wanted to become God the creation. The tree wanted to bear fruit. Let us say I am the tree. As a tree, I want to bear fruit and then eat the fruits to my heart's content. Again, I shall sow the seeds that come from the fruits in order to continue my creation.

Originally God's Message was, "I am." He was His own Transcendental Reality. Then He said, "Now that I am, I want to have something." God the Creator wanted to satisfy Himself in a different way — in the role of God the creation. The creation is something that God has and the Creator is something that God is.

Question: What is the main idea of your philosophy?

Sri Chinmoy: The main idea of my philosophy is that we have to accept the world and then try to transform it. We must not shun the world in spite of its limitations and imperfections. I will not exclude myself from the world because I feel the imperfections of the world are my imperfections and vice versa. So the world as such and each individual on earth must work together for the transformation of nature and the perfection of life. We have to work together.

Question: Your accomplishments in almost all spheres of human life are tremendous. What is the source of your exceptional productivity and creativity?

Sri Chinmoy: Whatever I have done is entirely due to Grace from Above. True, I often do things on a very large scale; what I do grows into a very large quantity or number. But I must say I am only listening to the dictates of my Inner Pilot. I try to listen to Him devotedly and I try to execute His Will lovingly, devotedly and gratefully. So when I do things on a very large scale, it is not out of a sense of greed or out of a desire to show the world that I have accomplished something very great. No, I am doing it to please God in His own Way — of course, according to the receptivity and capacity that He has bestowed upon me.

I do not pay any attention to quantity or even to quality because I feel, in my case, both these things depend on the Will of God. I try only to become a devoted instrument of His. If it is His Will that I paint something beautiful, I will be very happy. If it is His Will that I not do something beautiful or extraordinary, I will be equally happy. Again, if it is His Will that I do thousands of paintings or drawings, I will be extremely happy and grateful. And if it is His Will that I do not paint any more in this incarnation, I will be equally happy. Him to please in His own Way is my life's choice and goal.

Question: How do you view the present state of mankind? The world is splitting apart. How would you explain the outburst of hostility and brutality all over the world? Can you suggest any solution to it?

Sri Chinmoy: According to you, the world is splitting apart. But I wish to say that this is a very, very old story. We believe in reincarnation. Three or four hundred years ago, when we were in another body and living in another part of the world, we would have said the same thing. Right from the beginning of creation, our dividing mind has made us feel that our world is full of darkness, that our world is collapsing or about to be destroyed. If we ask our parents and grandparents, they will tell the same story. Sometimes they get pleasure in scolding their children and saying how much better things used to be: "You people are so bad, so useless! In our day, everything was perfect." But imperfection does not come from perfection. No, in those days also people and countries were fighting one another.

We can never say that our grandparents or great-grandparents did not have jealousy or insecurity or doubt or suspicion. We can never say it was all golden in those days, whereas now it is all darkness. No, the difference between then and now is only a matter of degree. We can say that two years ago we had more conflicts, more catastrophes, more misunderstandings. Or we can say that two years ago it was extremely bad and now it is a little better. But I do not feel we can say that today the world is in its lowest consciousness ever and that everything is beyond correction.

When Stalin was alive, people gave the same message: "O God, everything is so bad, so bad." The song of world-destruction started perhaps the day the world was created. Every day we see life and death. Every day that we live we are moving closer to our death. So the message of death is part of life. But we do not believe that death is the end. We feel that when we die we go somewhere to rest, and then after some time we begin a new life.

God used His Omnipotence to create the world, and He can also use His Omnipotence to make us perfect. But to make us perfect, He needs our readiness, willingness and eagerness. If He can get from us a little bit of willingness and eagerness, then it becomes infinitely easier for Him to make the world better, more soulful and more peaceful. Right now this world is full of suffering. But the day is bound to come when there will be no more conflicts. Since God is all Love and all Wisdom, eventually this world of ours will definitely be transformed into a kingdom of joy, happiness and fulfilment.

In our outer life we are very limited. We are filled with insecurity, jealousy, impurity, doubt and many other negative qualities that we consciously and deliberately treasure. But we also have another life called the inner life. There we are all love for God and all concern for mankind. Our inner life, which is the life of oneness, is our real life. Right now, unfortunately, we only value our outer life, which is full of limitations and imperfections; we do not enter into our inner life to see who we actually are.

The inner life of aspiration, dedication and realisation we must claim as our own, very own. If we can claim the inner life and inner reality as our own, then in the near or distant future we will become exemplary human beings and do good things for mankind. So the solution to all the world's problems lies in our eagerness to become better human beings. How can we become better human beings? Only by thinking of a oneness-heart, praying for a oneness-heart and actually living the life of a oneness-heart.

Question: What is behind your interest in Russia? How do you think you can help us? How do you see the future of Russia?

Sri Chinmoy: I am a truth-seeker and a God-lover. Starting five or six years ago, while praying and meditating, I began to feel in the depths of my heart the heart of Russia, and I would be in touch with the soul of Russia. Since then, I have been praying and meditating for the Soviet Union. For me, the Soviet Union was a reality itself and even now I see it as a reality itself. What the political world has done or is going to do with the Soviet Union is another matter. But when I pray and meditate, I still feel the Soviet Union visible and palpable in the world of aspiration.

When I think of today's Russia, immediately I try to become one with the source — the Soviet Union. When I say 'Union' in 'Soviet Union', immediately I feel enormous strength in my body, in my vital, in my mind, in my heart and in my soul. What politics has done to the Soviet Union we all know. But what spirituality thinks of the Soviet Union and how spirituality regards the Soviet Union, and will forever regard it, is a different story.

It is like a song that has not been completely sung. The idea of a Soviet Union was a beautiful, most melodious song. Unfortunately, the singers were prevented from completing it. But this same song, which is the song of oneness, will be sung in a different way in the near or distant future. Your country may not be called the Soviet Union, but the oneness-heart of the large, larger, largest existence of Russia will definitely be a reality. And this larger oneness will definitely take place. It is God's Vision for everything to expand — not militarily or politically, but psychically — by virtue of a oneness-heart. It is this expansion of Russia's oneness-heart that we can see in the inner world. It is our fervent desire to bring this inner vision or realisation to the fore so that the whole world can see the true reality.

So the future of Russia, from the spiritual point of view, is bright, brighter, brightest. Why? Precisely because the Soviet Union received light in abundant measure in the inner world and is still receiving light from Above. Sometimes when one seed does not properly germinate, we may not get the proper plant or proper tree. But each day light is descending and creating new seeds — seeds of aspiration, seeds of dedication, seeds of hope and seeds of promise. In that sense, the seeds that are going to one day bear fruit are already in the ground, and more are constantly being planted through the Grace of the Almighty.

For me, a new Soviet Union is the future tree, and Russia is only a branch. It may be the strongest or largest branch, but it is definitely just a branch. Right now this new Soviet Union, this larger Russia, is just a seed. We cannot deny the existence of the seed just because we do not have the capacity to see it. But in the near or distant future, it will grow into a giant tree, a tree of oneness, and Russia and the other countries around it will be branches of that tree.

Question: What is the main difference between the Western and Eastern mentality? Could this difference be eliminated for the purpose of better understanding and coexistence between all nations?

Sri Chinmoy: In a very general way we can say that the Western world has more faith in science and technology. The Western world takes pride in scientific achievements, while the Eastern world prides itself on inner qualities, that is to say, prayerful peace or peaceful prayer. As we know, science comes from the mind; it is of the mind and for the world. Because the Western world gives such importance to the mind, science plays a most significant role in the West. Again, quite recently science has started believing in some kind of inner existence. When science produces something, it does feel that its invention has come from another world — an inner world, you can say. But the extent that science and scientists have entered into the inner world is not at all satisfactory. It is almost a joke.

We cannot say that there are no sincere seekers in the West or no great scientists in the East. Far from it! But if we have to make a comparison, then the Western world has infinitely more faith in the achievements of science than in the achievements of the inner reality — the soul and the heart. Again, since the world is one reality, there shall come a time when the world of science and the world of spirituality will go together. The outer life and the inner life cannot be kept separate indefinitely.

Right now the inner world may think the outer world is so restless that it is simply useless to do anything in or for it. Similarly, the outer world may think that the inner world is useless, inactive, sleeping, dormant. But both are mistaken. The inner world is not snoring or sleeping; it is dreaming of higher realities. Similarly, the outer world is the place where God is manifesting His own Reality. So the misconceptions that reign supreme in the mind of the outer world and in the heart of the inner world have to be removed.

The good qualities of both worlds must come forward. In the world of science, the best quality is the power of concentration. By virtue of their tremendous concentration, scientists achieve something unique. In the inner world, there is something we call aspiration, the heart's inner cry. On the strength of his inner cry, the seeker also achieves something unique and sublime.

Inner aspiration and outer concentration or determination must go together. In that way, the world of spirituality and the world of science will be able to walk side by side. And when the inner life and the outer life march and run together to the same destination, which is a oneness-home, then the lovers of science and the lovers of spirituality will become one throughout the length and breadth of the world. At that time there will be only one song which we shall sing, and that is the song of oneness, oneness, oneness. So by unifying the heart's inner cry and the world's outer smile, by unifying the world of spirituality and the world of science, human beings shall one day become perfect, more perfect and most perfect citizens of the world.

Question: What is your view of Indian philosophy?

Sri Chinmoy: I studied a little philosophy in India, both Indian philosophy and Western philosophy. But, fortunately or unfortunately, I have completely forgotten both Eastern and Western philosophy. I do not feel that I am missing anything, because philosophy is all in the mind. Now the only philosophy I study is the philosophy of the heart. I only want to live in the heart. I feel that my heart-garden is infinitely more beautiful than my mind-jungle, so that is where I want to remain. The mind-life I tried to live, but it did not give me the satisfaction that I wanted or needed. Now I am getting real satisfaction from my heart-life, my life of aspiration.

Question: How many hours do you sleep?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes two hours, sometimes three hours. Some nights I do not sleep at all. But if I do not have to deal with too many problems, usually I sleep two or three hours a night.

Question: And you feel fresh?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes! I take lots of exercise. Every day I practise sprinting and, when the weather is good, I play tennis. To me, physical fitness is of paramount importance. I am not trying to be the world's strongest man — far from it! I feel that if we are physically fit, then early in the morning we will be able to get up to pray and meditate. And during the day we will be able to accomplish many things. But if we are weak and sick, then how are we going to get up and go to work and do the needful?

Question: Can you say that you have created your own style of life?

Sri Chinmoy: I do a number of things which I did not study in the traditional way. For example, I play quite a few instruments — whether well or badly God alone knows — but I have never studied music. I have painted thousands of paintings, but I have never studied art. Similarly, I am a writer, poet and singer, but never have I had a human teacher for these subjects. In every case, my only teacher was my Inner Pilot, my Beloved Lord Supreme.

I pray and meditate. But I do not pray to God to make me the world's greatest musician or greatest singer. No, never! Only I pray to God to allow me to please Him. Then, if He inspires me to play a few instruments or to take up painting, according to my receptivity and capacity I listen to Him. So, in a sense, I am self-made because I have not taken outer help from anybody. But, in the truest sense, I am not at all self-made because I am inspired, guided and moulded by a higher force, the highest Force. So outwardly I have not taken help from anybody, but inwardly I am being taught by my Inner Pilot at every moment.

Question: Why have your ideas attracted so many people here and also in so many different parts of the world?

Sri Chinmoy: It is all a question of inner hunger. I was hungry to eat eggplant, let us say, so I ate. I enjoyed the taste of eggplant so much. Then I saw that there are many people who wanted to taste this eggplant. So I said, "Come, I will show you who prepares this food."

I have prayed and meditated, and I know the subject a little better than my students. I learned the subject, and now I am trying to help them learn it also. I am not the light, but I know a little more than they do about where the light is. So they all come to me hoping I can help them see the light. It is like someone who is an accomplished marathon runner. If you are an accomplished runner, then you can help me learn to run. You can go ahead and inspire me, and I will follow you.

In my case, my students from all over the world have joined me or I have joined them. It is the same thing whether they have come to me or I have gone to them, because my students and I are one. When my prayer-life entered into their hearts and when their aspiration-life entered into my heart, at that time there was no Germany, no France, no England, no Russia — nothing. It does not matter what country they come from. When we pray and meditate, we try to become one with God's Will. For God's Will to enter into the hearts of people living in different countries is not a difficult task.

When I open my human eyes, I can see next to nothing — and what little I see, immediately the mind divides. That is because the mind is all division. But if I use the heart, which is all oneness, at that time I do not have to know whether you are Russian or French or British. As long as I feel warmth and love inside your heart, that is more than enough. When we use the heart, at that time there is no Germany, France, Italy or Switzerland. At that time we are all one. My students and I are trying to live in the heart. When we live in the heart, we see the whole world as a oneness-home.

Question: What do you mean by the heart?

Sri Chinmoy: The heart means oneness. The heart is something that is always expanding itself by receiving light. The mind, on the other hand, is not receiving light like the heart. Most of the time it is unconsciously limiting and binding itself.

The heart is like a flower. The flower is not only beautiful but also fragrant. As soon as we see a beautiful flower, we get tremendous joy. Then, when we smell its fragrance, our joy increases even more. When we enter into the heart, first we feel its beauty and then we smell its fragrance. That is what the heart is like.

Part III

SCA 694-702. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on 9 March 1993.

Question: When I am aware that an undivine quality is manifesting itself in and though me, how can I illumine it?

Sri Chinmoy: We can illumine an undivine quality only by invoking more consciously and more devotedly the Compassion of our Lord Supreme. If Compassion descends, then the undivine forces, undivine qualities, will not be able to manifest themselves. On the contrary, they will be transformed and illumined by the Compassion. What we need is more Compassion from God, and this Compassion we will get only by shedding tears of gratitude to God.

Question: Are love of sport and natural talent enough to win, or must an athlete develop a 'killer instinct'?

Sri Chinmoy: Natural talent and love of sport do help us considerably, but they are not enough. We need special Grace from God to be successful. Otherwise, many times various forces come and stand in our way, preventing us from being successful. So God's Grace is of paramount importance. God's Grace is like an unseen Hand, but when we get the result, it becomes seen and visible.

Carl Lewis is an example. He has unparalleled talent, talent in infinite measure. His love for his sport is also absolutely genuine. But what happened? Before the Olympics in 1992, some illness or some force attacked him and he did not do well at the Olympic trials. Outwardly we have no idea why he could not qualify in some of his events at the trials. On the one hand, we can say that it was because in this particular case God's Grace did not come. But, on the other hand, who knows? It is true that God's Grace always helps us considerably, but in some cases the help that we get may not please us in our own way. Who knows what kind of lesson God wanted to give Carl Lewis in the Olympic trials? We can say that God's Grace is absolutely necessary for us to be successful, but our way of success may not be God's Way of success.

We have to abide by God's Decision in our success and failure. We are so happy and proud that Carl Lewis took his failure in a very divine way. Many great athletes do not take the right attitude when circumstances do not favour them, but Carl Lewis accepted his defeat in a very spiritual way.

So along with our natural talent and love of sport, we also have to invoke God's Grace through regular prayer and meditation. Only then can we succeed, not only in athletics but also in our inner life of aspiration and outer life of dedication.

Question: What does 'chastity' mean exactly and why is it necessary?

Sri Chinmoy: Chastity means inner purity, inner beauty. If we enter into our heart-garden, there we see the heart as a flower and we see that this flower has tremendous fragrance. If we see a flower, first we appreciate the beauty of the flower. Then if we see that that flower has fragrance, we appreciate that flower more.

Here, inner beauty is chastity. If we are pure, then we feel that our inner beauty expands and our inner fragrance increases. In the spiritual life, we try to please God as much as possible. If there is a way to please God more, then we try to adopt that particular way. The necessity of chastity is not only my philosophy. Other Indian spiritual Masters as well as the Saviour Christ have given so much importance to chastity because they know that if we have chastity, then we can make very fast progress. Chastity, inner beauty and inner purity expand our divine reality.

Question: If a person has started practising spirituality but has given up after a while for lack of inspiration, how will this affect her afterlife? Will God welcome her in the same way when she goes to Heaven?

Sri Chinmoy: You know well what happens if you accept the spiritual life and give up. If we start a course and then do not complete it, how do we get the diploma? In life, everything we start that is good, we have to continue until we have reached the destination. After accepting the spiritual life, if you give up and then expect the same treatment from God after leaving the body, it is not possible. As in human life, if we study a course, we have to complete the course in order to get a degree. If we accept the spiritual life and then give up, then how can we get the same kind of peace, light, love and bliss from God?

If we aspire, if we cry for God, if we pray and meditate, naturally we shall please God much more than otherwise.

Question: Is it bad to doubt God?

Sri Chinmoy: If we doubt God, it becomes more difficult for us to receive good things from Him. Now the question comes, do we want anything from God or not? If we really need something from God, then do we not have to please Him? God does not mind if we doubt Him. But if we have faith in Him, it will be easier for Him to give us what we actually need.

God is beyond our doubt and faith. If we doubt God, it does not affect Him. But if we love God and if we have faith in Him, then it becomes infinitely easier for us to receive His Love, Affection, Compassion and Joy. If I need ten dollars but I doubt that my friend has any money at all, then how am I going to get money from him? I will not even ask him because I do not believe that he can give me ten dollars. But if I have faith that he has a hundred dollars or even more and that he will definitely give me something since I am asking him, then definitely he will give it to me. Similarly, if we doubt that God exists, or if we doubt what He has to offer us, then we will not ask Him for any of His divine qualities. If we doubt that God is good, why should we ask God to make us good or to make us happy?

Question: What is more important for older people: cheerfulness or wisdom-light?

Sri Chinmoy: Cheerfulness and wisdom-light are inseparable. If you have wisdom-light, then naturally you will be cheerful. You have to be cheerful in order to be always ready to receive God's Light. If you are eager to receive God's Love, Light and everything that God wants to give you, you will get them sooner than otherwise. Again, if you are cheerful, that is the height of your spiritual wisdom. So wisdom gives us cheerfulness, and cheerfulness itself is wisdom.

Question: What are the limitations of science and technology?

Sri Chinmoy: Science and technology are in the mind. Anything that is in the mind right now is limited because the human mind is not trying to consciously expand or enlarge itself. There are minds that are extremely illumined or illumining, but these minds are rarely to be found on earth. On the whole, the mind that we live in is ordinary. It is full of doubt, fear, anxiety and worry — full of limitations. Since science is in the mind, then definitely these limitations are visible, for science is constantly doubting its own creation or doubting its own achievements.

If we live in the heart, it is all constant self-expansion. The heart is like a divine child looking at the rising sun early in the morning. It receives light in abundant measure. The limitation of science and technology is their incapacity to receive infinite light from Above because they are bound by the mind, which is quite often confused and self-contradictory.

Question: What is the relationship between the ego, the soul and the Inner Pilot?

Sri Chinmoy: The Inner Pilot is our Lord Supreme, and the soul is the representative of the Inner Pilot, of our Lord Beloved Supreme. The ego is inside the vital, inside the mind and inside the physical. These three are supposed to be good instruments of the soul, but they are not. Unfortunately, consciously and deliberately they try to mix with undivine forces such as jealousy, insecurity, impurity and so forth.

The way the soul is the representative of God, even so, the body, vital, mind and heart are also supposed to be the representatives of the soul. But in most cases, the body, vital and mind are not willing to be the representatives of the soul. The soul is conscious of God's Love and God's Compassion. In this way, the soul is fulfilling God. The body, vital, mind and heart, on the other hand, are not fulfilling the soul because they are not aware that the soul is the direct representative of God on earth.

A boss must listen to his own boss, but we do not do that. That is why we suffer so much. The highest Boss, God, is loved and respected by our immediate boss, the soul. But when it comes to pleasing our immediate boss, we do not. That is why we are full of sufferings.

Question: How can I simplify my life?

Sri Chinmoy: To simplify your life, just think of yourself as a four-year-old child. Try to imagine the way he thinks of reality. If you have to form a sentence, instead of twenty words, just use three or four words. If you have to talk to someone about a so-called complicated matter, see how you can simplify it. No matter with whom you are talking, you have to feel that you are a child and that person is also a child. Always try to have a childlike consciousness and to see each and every human being as another child. When a childlike quality comes into your life, everything automatically becomes simple.

Part IV

SCA 703-705. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on 6 October 1993 in Tokyo.

Question: You said recently that this year will be difficult. What should we be careful of? What should we pay attention to?

Sri Chinmoy: Anything that brings down our consciousness, anything that is negative, discouraging or disheartening, we must reject immediately. Otherwise, no matter how many years we have been on the path, there is no guarantee that we are going to make very fast progress. It may not be possible even to stay on the path. Either we have to go forward or we will be pushed backward in the spiritual life. We cannot stand still at one particular place.

In the ordinary life, we walk a certain distance and then we take rest. Then again we go on or else we stop for some time. But in the spiritual life, we cannot stay indefinitely at the same place. The undivine forces pull us back.

Once upon a time many of you showed promise to be spiritual, to be excellent disciples. Once you have made fast, faster, fastest progress, God expects you to continue at the same speed. But when, through lethargy, you allow wrong forces to enter into you and you cherish those wrong forces, thinking that those forces are real and that what you were doing before is unreal, then you go backwards.

At every moment we have to be careful. The life of temptation attacks a spiritual person infinitely more than an ordinary person. Ordinary people have a certain standard. They are ready to walk at the speed of an Indian bullock cart. They feel that once they have started, that is enough. The goal is there and they have Eternity at their disposal to reach it. But spiritual people cannot behave in that way. Once they have started walking along the path sincerely and seriously, and if they have already shown their speed — extremely fast speed — then they cannot stop or slow down and allow ignorance to enter into them. Ignorance means the unaspiring life, the undivine life. They cannot return to that life because they have already made a solemn promise to the Supreme, inwardly and outwardly, to be His choice instruments, and the Supreme believed them and gave them His inner Assurance, inner Joy, inner Pride and many, many divine qualities.

So these people cannot slow down or stop because they have already made a very solemn promise. On the way if they become tired and start thinking that this is the time to enjoy retirement, then they are totally mistaken. For a real spiritual person, there is no retirement. Spirituality is a one-way street, not a two-way street. Once you have seen the light, either in yourself or in your Master, if you consciously and deliberately enter into darkness, then you may lose everything.

Those people who have taken the spiritual life seriously should be very, very careful, because God trusts them, God depends on them. If they fail God because of their unwillingness, lethargy and other undivine forces that they are consciously or unconsciously cherishing, then unfortunately God will not tolerate them, even if once upon a time they did much for Him. If you have done much for God, God expects you to do much more. He is our Beloved Supreme. If we fail Him, He will either withdraw totally or He will dispense divine retribution, divine punishment.

What I am saying applies only to those who have been following the spiritual life for a very long time, who have had very high experiences and who have done much for God. Those who have just accepted the spiritual life do not have to worry because they are just blossoming. If they can blossom happily, cheerfully and willingly, there will be no problem for them. But if they can be consciously aware of the forces around them and consciously, regularly and faithfully try to move forward in their spiritual life, then they will make very fast progress.

Question: We are planning to give small concerts of your music after our lectures about your path. Should we perform your songs in the way that you perform them? Should we try to imitate your way?

Sri Chinmoy: You should not imitate me. You should only try to sing very soulfully, devotedly and self-givingly. Always there should be real feeling, plus utmost simplicity, purity and serenity. Sometimes for various reasons, inner and outer, I sing in a different way, so I should not be imitated. When I play the esraj, most of the time I choose slow songs because for me they appeal more to the heart than fast songs. But occasionally people are falling asleep. At that time fast songs are needed to wake them up. Otherwise, most of the time slow songs touch the very depths of the aspiring heart more. From time to time one can play fast songs to give a kind of mental or vital thrill, but for the heart, usually slow songs are infinitely more effective. That does not mean that you will discard the fast songs. But while the seekers are in a meditative consciousness, it is better to sing slow songs.

Question: If somebody continues to walk along the spiritual path, can that person at the end see the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely. Otherwise why are you taking the trouble of walking along the path? If there is a starting point, there is also a destination. But while running towards the destination, some people get tired. When I used to run marathons, quite a few times I completed the race. Again, a few times after covering only a few miles, I had to give up. My destination was twenty-six miles and a little more. But after eleven miles I had severe cramps, so I had to give up.

In the spiritual life also, if one is prepared to go to the end, definitely he will be able to see the Supreme. But again, even when you see the Supreme, that is not the very end. It is a new starting point. Suppose you are coming from a long distance towards a huge palace. The owner of the palace may be at the door or in one particular room, hiding somewhere. You look for him here, there, here, there. Finally you see him in one room. But the same person can come out and be at the gate of the palace or even two hundred metres or four hundred metres or one mile away from the palace. He knows the way you are walking or running to come to the palace, so he can do you a big favour. If he sees that you are very sincere, then he will come a long way to receive you. He can receive you long before you reach the palace; he can receive you inside one of the rooms; or if he sees that you are not fully ready, he can hide in one room and then you will have to go through thousands of rooms before you finally find him.

It all depends on how ready you are. The goal is to see the Supreme. Otherwise, what is the use of praying and meditating? Definitely when the hour strikes you will see Him, you are bound to see Him, because that is the goal of each and every seeker. But where He has fixed the goal, you have no idea. It can be right in front of you or millions and billions of miles away from you. When the time comes, you will be able to see Him at the place where you are supposed to see Him: inside your heart, inside your soul, inside your mind, inside your body, above your head or in some corner of the world.

When the hour strikes for you, definitely you will see Him. Not only will you see Him, but you will grow into Him. We see a flower, but that is not enough. We have to become the beauty of the flower; we have to become the fragrance of the flower. Then only are we perfect. Anybody can see the flower, but who can have the purity and divinity of the flower-consciousness, plus the fragrance, which is Immortality? So to see the Supreme is the first step, and then to grow into the Supreme will be the ultimate Goal of each seeker. Again, once we reach the ultimate Goal, again we will have to start on a new journey.

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