Sri Chinmoy answers, part 24
Part ISCA 818-820. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on 24 January 1996 in Durban, South Africa.
Question: When we have a manifestation project, sometimes I feel I know the only right thing to do, but someone else thinks he or she knows best. When both of us cannot conquer that kind of feeling, what is the right solution?Sri Chinmoy: There is a way. Right now, you are fighting for your way. You feel that your way is correct and the other person is wrong. But you can say, "All right. Let me make the sacrifice. Let me accept her way. I know she is one hundred per cent wrong, but let me try her way." If by accepting her way, you make a horrible mistake, do you think she will not have the eyes or the heart to see that you have been kind enough to accept her way and that now it is all a total failure? She will say, "My God! My friend loves me so much that she renounced her way and now what have I done? I have ruined everything." Then the next time, she will be infinitely more careful when she offers a way.
Similarly, she can do the same. She can sacrifice her way and accept your way. Then she will see whether you are right or wrong. It may be that your way is totally wrong. In one sense, you may say that the one who surrenders is sacrificing her wisdom. But how long can you fight for your own cause? One party has to come forward and say, "Let me see if there is any truth in her way, even though I feel it is all wrong." Then when you give her the chance and it is proved that she is totally wrong, you may find that your way may not be totally correct either. When both of your ways fail, then you have to pray to the Supreme to give you a third way so that you can be more successful.
One person should come with a sacrificing attitude and say, "Let me surrender to her way and then see if she is right. If she is totally wrong, she will be embarrassed." If your way is also wrong, you will also be embarrassed. Then both of you will dive deep within to find the right way. From within you will get the answer. But if both parties stick to their own principles, then you will only quarrel and fight. At that time unaspiring forces such as bitterness will enter. Your unaspiring forces will enter into her and her unaspiring forces will enter into you. Then you will only be delaying and delaying the manifestation of the Supreme.
Question: Suppose two people have a way they want to do something for you that needs to be accomplished. Both are seeking the same result, but they do not have any harmony. Should we be willing to settle for less of an outer accomplishment in order to have inner harmony?Sri Chinmoy: I value the disciples' progress infinitely more than I value outer achievements. If I see that two individuals are working together amicably instead of fighting, it will give me greater joy. Your inner attitude is always of paramount importance. You can bring a flower and throw it on the shrine, or you can bring it with your heart's devotion-tears and place it on the shrine. If you just throw the flower on the shrine, will the deity be pleased? Similarly, if individuals who are working on a project are quarrelling and fighting, then if one person brings me the good news that the thing has been accomplished, am I going to be happy? The fruit is there, but it tastes rotten because the persons who were involved in bringing the fruit have quarrelled and fought.
Always try to bring forward the attitude of loving oneness. I did not come into the world to have my name in the street. I came into the world to raise the consciousness of each person and to turn each person into a living God. You have to prove that you love your Guru by your attitude towards each other. If your heart is inside me, then that same heart will be seen outside also. The same heart that you have given me must be used in manifestation. If you give me your heart and then give only your mind, vital and body to our manifestation, will I be happy? To all those who are working on manifestation, I am saying that if you do not achieve anything, I will not be unhappy, provided there is harmony in all that you do.
In the ordinary life, even if the boss insults you and scolds you, he still gives you your salary. In the spiritual life, the connection between the Master and the disciples is based on love and mutual happiness. What the Master is giving to the disciples, he is giving happily. What the disciple is giving to the Master, he is also giving happily. When you have a job, at the end of the month you get your salary, no matter what kind of feelings you may have towards your boss. But in the spiritual life, the relationship between the Master and the disciple has to be based on mutual love.
Question: It seems often when we make a little progress, we relax. Sometimes also when we do something that pleases you and you tell us you are proud of us, then we feel we can relax. It seems we are satisfied with too little, when we could achieve much more if we were more receptive. How can we be dissatisfied and yet still be happy?Sri Chinmoy: You do not have to be dissatisfied. When you achieve something and the Master sincerely says, "I am very proud of you," then every second you have to remind yourself of the philosophy which you have accepted — self-transcendence. The Beyond is beckoning us. If you think that the goal is stationary, if you think, "Oh, now I have pleased Guru. That means I have reached the goal," then you will become stuck at that particular point.
Your vital will tell you that you have reached the goal. But if you remain in the soul or even in the heart, you will say, "I have pleased him, but I know that his philosophy and my philosophy are the same — self-transcendence. That means I have to go further, I have to go deeper, I have to go higher. If Guru is proud of me today, then can I not make him infinitely more proud of me?"
Unfortunately, once I say I am proud of someone, that person often rests on his laurels for a long, long time. His vital was hungry for my appreciation, but as soon as I fed it with very nice, delicious food in the form of appreciation, that was enough. The vital is satisfied with a little. But if you say you will be satisfied only with the Infinite, then you are bound to reach infinite Delight someday. At that time, you will be satisfied only with Infinity and not with my little smile or pride.
In the spiritual life, we are always dealing with self-transcendence. Self-transcendence is nothing other than swimming in the sea of Infinity. Achieving one thing is not enough. We long for something more, something more. It is not like material possessions, where we go from wanting one house to two houses. Here it is going from the finite to the Infinite. In the desire-world we try to go beyond by possessing and possessing. In the aspiration-world, we go beyond by giving and giving. Only by virtue of our self-giving can we really become something. If you are satisfied with what you have achieved and do not want to go on, then it is the desire-world-song that you are singing. But by giving and giving, you can sing the song of the ever-transcending aspiration-world.
Part IISCA 821-823. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in New York on 21 February 1996.
Question: Recently you said we should strengthen our friendships.Sri Chinmoy: God is our only Friend — that is absolutely true. Again, we believe in God's existence inside everybody. Naturally we will feel our affinity, our oneness with some people more than with the rest of the world. Inside a scorpion, there is God. But I am not asking you to make friends with a scorpion. The scorpion will bite you again and again. But I am begging the disciples to establish friendships on a human level.
Sometimes I tell you to establish your friendship with someone because you have a special connection with that person from a previous incarnation and I want you to maintain that friendship. Then no matter how much you suffer in the hands of that person, please try to keep the friendship alive.
In some cases, people do not want to show their oneness. They feel that they are infinitely superior and their friend is inferior. In other cases, both sides are eager to serve the Supreme in me. Your friendship with one girl is extraordinary. It is more than friendship. It is like twin sisters. Your connection with her is unique. I see that inside her heart, she is for you and inside your heart, you are for her. This is how friendship can develop into complete oneness — oneness of the heart, oneness of the soul, oneness of the life. When two of my disciples are friends, it helps me. It is like a tree. If I shake the tree, all the branches move together.
On the earthly level, we need friends. Sometimes you are depressed or frustrated. That is the time for your friend to lift you up. Again, your friend can be down and you can be the one to lift her up. At that time, she will count on you so much and you will count on her. When you need a friend, you are not going to find a new person to confide in. You may feel that friendship is based upon sacrifice. But I wish to say that there is no such thing as sacrifice where there is love. Again, when you do not feel love, at least through sacrifice you can establish love.
On the human level, friendship is absolutely necessary. At the same time, you have to know that inside the heart of your friend is the real Friend, the only Friend — the Supreme. The Supreme is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. But on the human level, if He tells us that He will be able to help us via somebody, or He will be able to help somebody else via us, then we have to take Him seriously.
True friendship is very rare, but it does exist. I cherish those people who are true friends. When I deal with them, it is like dealing with one person instead of two. Each of my disciples should take a few people to be their human friends. I am not asking you to have the whole world as your friend — far from it. Only two or three real friends are needed. Even if you have only one friend, it helps considerably.
Friendship is based on forgiveness. Today if your friend has done something wrong, you have to forgive her immediately by thinking that you could have made the same mistake. If she has been nasty to you today, you have to forgive her immediately. Tomorrow you may be in the same position — you could be nasty to her. So if you forgive her when she is nasty, then if a day comes when you are equally nasty, she will forgive you. Good qualities eventually come forward. Good qualities will not remain dormant forever and forever. Unfortunately, good qualities take more time to come to the fore than bad qualities. Hostile forces come forward to attack us more quickly than the divine forces. The divine forces will eventually be victorious, but in the meantime, the undivine forces make us feel that they have conquered us.
I always feel the supreme need for friendship. The Absolute Supreme is our only Friend, but He tells us on the earthly level, for earthly purposes, we need one or two individuals with whom we can share our sufferings and our joys. As soon as we share our suffering, it is gone. As soon as we share our joy, it doubles. Our sadness is a heavy load. If somebody comes to share it with us, it reduces the burden. If you are carrying twenty pounds on your shoulder and if your friend comes and takes ten pounds from you, then together you can walk along easily. But if you do not tell the person about your suffering, then you are carrying the whole twenty pounds by yourself.
Again, when you have some good news, immediately it becomes like a Russian doll. Inside one piece, you see two, three, four, five, six more. When there is happy news, it is multiplied. When there is sadness, it is shared. So in every way friendship has a very special role to play on earth.
Question: Besides your name, is there a sound or a word that we can use when invoking you that brings us quickly to you?Sri Chinmoy: Nothing can be sweeter than the word 'Guru'. It is not a mere word or name. It is a mantra. It has become part and parcel of the life-breath of any disciple who has accepted me sincerely and seriously, just as I have become inseparably one with my true disciples.
Again, there are many, many disciples who get more joy by invoking the Supreme directly. He is my Source. The Supreme is my Guru, your Guru, everybody's Guru. But sometimes before God-realisation, the term 'Supreme' can be vague. The Supreme is both personal and impersonal. Until we see Him and talk to Him face to face, He can remain impersonal. When Naren came to Sri Ramakrishna, he asked him, "Have you seen God?" Sri Ramakrishna said, "Have I seen God? I can talk to Him more clearly, more intimately than I can talk to you. I can see Him more clearly than I can see you in front of me." I can also say the same. Not only do I see Him, but I can talk to Him. Why would it be impossible for me to talk to my Highest? It is like a little child who wants to speak to his father. No matter what the father is doing, he will spend a few moments with his child. Look at my dog Chela. No matter how serious I am or what I am doing, does Chela care? He just comes and says whatever he has to say in his own barking language. Chela knows his oneness with me. In exactly the same way, God is our Absolute Lord Supreme, but even in my human consciousness I can approach Him.
To come back to your question, you have to use whatever word gives you utmost joy. The Supreme has become inseparably, breathlessly one with your life-breath, and your Guru also has become inseparably one with your life-breath. Unfortunately, there are some disciples who, although they have been with me for many years, have not kept me inside their life-breath. Again, there are some new disciples, especially those who live in other countries, who will never have the opportunity to say a word to me in this incarnation, and I will also not have the opportunity to talk to them. In spite of this, they have established such closeness and such oneness with my divinity's life-breath, my Eternity's breath. The oneness that they have established with me is so solid, so concrete.
In other cases, for months disciples do not get any joy either by using 'Supreme' or 'Guru'. That is called a dry period. Even spiritual Masters of the highest order have had to pass through dry periods. Sometimes for months Vivekananda used to go through dry periods. Believe it or not, your Guru never went through a dry period. From the age of six, when I started my prayer and meditation, I have not had that experience. It makes me sad that my disciples sometimes go through dry periods for years. It has happened in some cases that for five long years, not even one single day do they have a good meditation. For up to one year it is common to have a dry period, but five years is too much.
Why do people go through dry periods? Because they lose their devotion. Devotion is like a magnet. If the devotion-magnet is not working, then the spiritual life is all dryness. But if one maintains devotion to the Supreme or to his Guru, then one will never, never go through a dry period. It is devotion that connects both love and surrender. Devotion is the golden link. If one has devotion, constant devotion, sleepless and breathless devotion, then one will never lose the sweetness in life.
Question: What does it actually mean to see the divine in someone or something?Sri Chinmoy: There are several ways to see the divine in someone or something. To try to see God consciously is one approach. Another approach is to see Him spontaneously. Suppose you enter into a garden. You are not consciously trying to see the beauty or smell the fragrance of the flowers. Spontaneously their beauty pulls you. It is like a magnet. If your eyes are not attracted by the beauty of the flowers and if you have to consciously go very near a particular flower and put it in front of your nose, then it is not spontaneous. The beauty is there, but only when beauty acts like a spontaneous magnet will the immediate manifestation of beauty enter into your eyes and heart as it has already entered into your soul. The beauty you feel inside your mind and inside your heart is real beauty.
I will give you another example. Yesterday morning I went to Goose Pond Park. It was drizzling and I was running slowly. Five times I passed by a man sitting on a bench who was heavily drunk. Each time I came by him, he smiled at me. I could not understand what he was saying, but each time I passed by him, he said something encouraging to me. Now if I had had to consciously try to see the divine in him — if I had said, "He is also God's creation. Although he is drinking heavily, let me see the divine in him" — I would have been wasting my time. But each time I came by, spontaneously I got such joy. If I had identified myself with his outer life, I would have been disgusted. I do not care for drinking at all. For me, it is something abominable. But while I was passing him, I was seeing the divine in him. His inner divinity immediately attracted me. His heart entered into me and my heart entered into him. Therefore I sincerely got joy.
If the joy or the sweetness that the soul is giving us comes immediately and spontaneously, then we can easily see the divinity in something or someone. But if we have to think of the soul or concentrate on the soul of a chair or some other object, then we are wasting our time. When it comes to the human level, everyone is trying to be conscious of God and we are also consciously trying to acquire some good qualities. Seekers may try to see the divine in others, but they may have no way to enter into the soul or the heart of another individual.
If you can get a spontaneous feeling, that is absolutely the most important. Then if you see that somebody is a good seeker, that he is praying and meditating or that he has other good qualities, then you can appreciate the divine in him. You will not allow your insecurity, jealousy, impurity or dividing mind to interfere. There must be no competition between you and that person.
Sometimes it happens that the heart is appreciating, but the vital is jealous or the mind is mean. The mind does not allow you to get joy. If you see a beautiful flower, the mind may say, "I am not as beautiful as this flower, so who cares for it?" Again, when you see a beautiful flower, you can say, "How I wish I could be as beautiful as this flower, as fragrant as this flower." This wishing is not creating any jealousy, any insecurity, any separativity.
But just mere wishing is not enough. If you see that someone else is meditating or praying soulfully, you have to pray to God, "Please help me to become as soulful and as prayerful as this person." Then God will see that you are not competing with that person. You are only seeing something beautiful — like a beautiful flower — inside him. God sees that you want to identify with the divine aspect of His that has already been manifested inside that person. Then God will say, "One of My children has achieved something and now another child of Mine has come to appreciate it, instead of becoming jealous. This child is praying to Me to have the same good qualities. I am more than ready to give them to him."
Many times it happens that if we do not have certain good qualities, we will try to degrade them in others. We will try to see no value in them. But again, there are some good souls who want to become better and best. Today they are good. Tomorrow they want to become better and best. How do we become best — by separating ourselves or uniting ourselves? By separating ourselves, either through meanness, jealousy or insecurity, we can never, never become better. Only by using the positive way, by having peace, poise and love for the Divine that is manifested, can we become better. We will not love the flower or the seeker as such, but the divinity that made the flower beautiful, the divinity that has made the seeker soulful. You have to have love for the divinity that is being manifested in each thing.
If you get the feeling of divinity spontaneously, that is always best. Otherwise, if you see something beautiful or divine, you can consciously try to become that by praying to God. Then the development of your body, vital, mind, heart and soul will increase and spread wide, wider, widest. Your own divinity will blossom much quicker if you can appreciate the beauty or divinity of something else or somebody else. If you are sincere, God will never think that you have become jealous. No, you are not competing or fighting. You are only appreciating, admiring and adoring something which God Himself has manifested in somebody else.
There is also another way to see the divinity in others. This way is the highest way. When a mother sees that her child is very beautiful or skilful, when she sees the capacities of the child, she does not pray to God, "O God, please give me the same capacity! My son is so tall and strong! He is running so fast! He is so intelligent!" The mother immediately feels that her son's qualities are all hers. This is not because he is her product, but because she has established her inseparable oneness with her son to such an extent that she feels that what he has is all hers and what she has is all his.
If your consciousness is very high — higher than the highest — you can establish exactly that same kind of oneness with others. When Sudhahota does something, I have such oneness with him. I do not say, "Supreme, can You give me the speed that he has?" No. I have such oneness with him that I feel I have done it. The mind will say you are fooling yourself. But if the heart gets the same joy as he is getting on the strength of its oneness, then it is absolutely real. Sometimes the person who has achieved the thing may not be as happy as somebody else. I have seen that Sudhahota's mother gets more joy in Sudhahota's success than Sudhahota himself.
Similarly, my brother Mantu used to get infinitely more joy from my athletics than I used to get. His whole heart used to be thrilled if I was first. On the day of my competition, his whole day was spent only worrying and worrying about me. His oneness was such that it was as if his whole world would collapse if I did not do well in 100 metres or long jump. Definitely I got joy from my sports. But if you measure the joy, his joy was more than the joy that I experienced. Oneness can be on the same level, or somebody else can get more joy than the person who has actually achieved the thing.
First try to see the divinity in others spontaneously. If it comes immediately, that is excellent. If it does not come immediately, then on the human level, try to see it consciously. If you see somebody has already achieved more divinity than you have or that God has manifested one aspect of His Divinity inside someone else more than in you, then you can try to emulate that person or you can pray to God to give you the same qualities. There is nothing wrong in imitating something good. When a child tries to imitate his father, he is not a copy cat. He sincerely appreciates, admires, adores and loves the way his father walks, the way his father talks. Whatever his father says, he imitates. When the child imitates the good qualities of his father, he does not become a carbon copy. He is seeing the good qualities, the divine qualities of his father, so he wants to have the same good qualities. Readiness, willingness and eagerness are coming to the fore at every moment to inspire him and energise him to become as great and as good as his father.
In your case, your divinity will not decrease if you pray to God to make you as sincere or as aspiring or as self-giving as somebody else. It will only increase. Already you have some good qualities, but by appreciating, admiring, adoring and loving the development of the soul in somebody else, you can increase your own good qualities. Here jealousy is not coming, competition is not coming, only appreciation is coming to the fore. Appreciation you have to such an extent that you want to establish oneness.
If I had used the mind for these three questions, I could not have spoken for more than three minutes for each question. After three minutes, my mind would have become bankrupt. But if I use my heart and soul, I can go on and on because it is spontaneous. If I had used the mind, you would not have gotten any joy. Even if the mind had had something more to say, the mind would not have given any joy. The mind does not want to share joy. The mind only wants to hold it. When the mind knows something, it keeps it a top secret. The mind feels that if it gives what it has to somebody else, it will not be the owner any more. The mind feels that if it says something, its secret will be gone. But the heart is a spontaneous flow, only blossoming and blossoming. You have asked me such nice questions, and your questions deserved nice answers. The heart is always ready to appreciate the divinity in others.
Part IIISCA 824-827. Excerpts from a conversation between Sri Chinmoy and Robert Zmelick, Czech Olympic gold medallist in the decathlon, that took place at Annam Brahma Restaurant on 19 June 1996.
Training for the decathlonSri Chinmoy: If you practise your 100 metres more, it will definitely, definitely help you in your long jump and in other items as well. But if you give more importance than is due to 1500 metres, then it will ruin your long jump and high jump. You are an excellent sprinter. One hundred metres, shot-put, long jump and high jump go together because of the speed and the spring that are needed. The first thing that 1500 metres does is take away the spring. No matter how slowly you run, 1500 metres is so bad for sprinters. Up to 400 metres you can practise, but 800 or 1500 metres is bad for sprinters. You can get stamina, but stamina is not speed. If you practise 800 metres, it may help you get stamina for 400 metres, but if you practise 800 metres more, definitely you will lose some spring for your 100 metres.
You will not get endurance for the decathlon from running long-distance. You have to get endurance by practising the individual events. Suppose you are doing shot-put or discus. You do not have to do your best performance; you do not have to use your maximum capacity. You can increase your endurance not by running 1500 metres, but by practising the events that you are already very good in. For example, you can do two or three hurdles instead of ten hurdles to get stamina. Then in pole vault, you can jump, but not at your maximum height. For stamina, you can do the pole vault at a very low height. If you want to get endurance and stamina, you can practise the items that will not take away your spring. If you run 1500 metres, it will ruin your spring, and then it will affect your high jump and your long jump.
The 1500 is nothing, less than four rounds on the track, but if you practise it many times, then your spring disappears. So kindly be very careful with your 100 metres, long jump, shot-put and high jump. Definitely I want you to do well in 1500 metres, but not by running it more times. You can increase your stamina in some other way. If you want to, you can even try sprinting 30 or 40 metres many times. You know your speed for 100 metres, so you can do it a few times more to get stamina.
So many items in the decathlon depend on speed. The shot-put definitely requires speed. It comes from the elbow or from the shoulder or somewhere else, but speed is absolutely necessary. Even very strong people cannot throw the shot well if they have no speed, and that speed you have.
How much time do you spend in taking exercises, such as weightlifting? How many days per week do you lift weights?
Robert Zmelick: I was lifting four times weekly, but now I do it two times a week. Now I am in a special programme using a medicine ball, with exercises for the abdominals and the torso. These are very important for turning and for force. Your record of 7,000 crunch sit-ups is unbelievable! I do 500, and then my abdomen hurts!
Before the OlympicsSri Chinmoy: In your case, you have to compete in ten events. You do not need to do something like 7,000 sit-ups.
My only request to you is that this coming month, before the Olympics, you should not adopt anything new that you have not done before. If you want to increase, increase; if you want to decrease, decrease. But do not be greedy to try something new. Whatever you are doing, you can do the same thing a few times more or a few times less. But you are taking a great risk if you try to practise anything new. Many athletes make that mistake. It is our eagerness or greed: "If I do this, perhaps I will do better." At that time problems arise because you have a very, very high standard. At this standard when you want to adopt something new, you take a risk. But the things that you have been doing are safe. If you want to do more repetitions or fewer repetitions, you can. Only do the things that you have been familiar with for at least six months. Anything new at this point, when it is only a matter of a month, may create problems because you are not accustomed to it.
You may feel, "Oh, this may help me." It may help you, but again it may create some problem for you. The last month before the competition, everything you must do with utmost confidence. You will throw, run and jump with utmost confidence. If you adopt something new, at that time you may not have confidence. When you do not have confidence, that is the time when you may get injuries. Confidence removes all fear and doubt. If we do something new, we may get freshness in our mind, but again the same mind can give us doubt. If we do something for the first time, we can have tremendous happiness because it is a new adventure. Again, when we want to enjoy a new adventure, we may be attacked by self-doubt. This is not the time for you to have any kind of self-doubt in anything you do. Everything you have to do with utmost confidence — you have done it, you have done it, you have done it. But if it is something new, you may not be able to say that because you do not have the preparation from before.
So everything that you practise — shot-put, discus, javelin, jumping or running — do with utmost confidence because you have been doing it for so many years. But if you feel that by taking a particular exercise or by doing something else, you will increase your capacity, you will be entering into new territory, an unknown field. That unknown field can give you beautiful flowers or it can give you something else.
Will your coach be with you?
Robert Zmelick: No, I am training alone because I know my body. I have a special training programme.
RestSri Chinmoy: Your body does not sometimes tell you that you are doing more than you need to do or that you are not doing as much as you are supposed to do? What kind of message do you get from your body?
Robert Zmelick: I feel that all year I worked very hard in San Diego with no rest, just working and working. Now I feel my body is telling me, "Robert, you must now be smart because it is getting very close to the Olympics and you need a special programme."
Sri Chinmoy: But does that special programme include a little more rest?
Robert Zmelick: I have a special tape of Carl Lewis on training, and I like his programme — one day hard training, the next medium, the third easy and the fourth rest. For me, it is very hard because I feel that a rest day is much harder than a hard workout.
Sri Chinmoy: Do not allow your mind to be your boss. You be the boss of your mind. Suppose one day you have taken rest. Then the mind will tell you that you have not practised for many days. All kinds of worries and anxieties will come to you and make you feel that you have taken many days' rest. The mind may tell you that you have lost a little capacity or that you are not eager any more, you are not sincere any more, you are not serious any more. This roguish mind can tell you the following day that had you been very sincere, had you been very serious, then you would have practised yesterday as well. By saying that you are not serious and you are insincere, the mind is weakening you.
At that time you have to become the boss of your mind. You have to tell the mind, "My body is like a machine. In a factory, after a few hours, a big machine needs refueling. Everything needs rest, and rest brings energy. Yesterday I took rest; I needed it desperately. I cannot do anything for twenty-four hours a day. Even though I like to eat, can I eat for twenty-four hours? Impossible. When we eat, we are satisfied. Similarly, after taking exercise for a few days, if the muscles get rest, they get nourishment. So when the mind is telling you that you are no longer serious, no longer sincere, no longer disciplined, challenge your mind by saying, "O mind, I am wiser than you are. Why should I have to be in the battlefield every day, every hour? I have to come back home to rest."
The day you did not practise, you did not go to the battlefield. Why? Not because you are a coward, not because you are weak, but because you wanted to regain more strength. Then the following day you will go to the battlefield and defeat everybody. You were wise to take rest so that you could get more strength and defeat your rivals. But your mind can play a trick on you by convincing you that because for one day you took rest, your whole world has collapsed — you are no longer disciplined, you are no longer serious in your sports. This is what happens with some athletes. Always the mind is playing tricks. Again, if you have practised hard one day, and the following day you are quite satisfied, the mind can tell you, "This is not enough. You should have done more." You have done more than enough; you are satisfied. But the clever mind is taking your joy away from you by telling you that you have not practised enough.
Perhaps you will go home and lie down, saying, "Oh, I have done so well in javelin." Then your mind takes away all your joy by saying, "It was not enough. If I had thrown once more, I would have thrown two metres more." The mind all the time makes a fool out of us, always takes our joy away. At that time your heart has to be the judge. Your heart will say, "No, I did as much as I wanted to do. I wanted to do fifteen throws, and I did fifteen throws. It is enough for me."
The final judge has to be the heart. Whatever you do, the heart will say you did the right thing. If you stop after fifteen throws, the heart will say you did absolutely the right thing. The mind will say, "No, I should have done two or three more. Then I would have done better." But if you had done more, perhaps you would have injured yourself instead of doing better. So do not listen to the mind at all. Whatever you do, do happily and cheerfully. The day you are taking rest, feel that that is absolutely the right thing for you. The day you practise, feel that you are doing absolutely the right thing. Whatever you do, feel that you are doing absolutely the right thing. While you are doing something, if you think that you are not doing the right thing, the mind will take away all your joy, enthusiasm, eagerness and readiness.
When you are throwing the shot, please feel that you are doing the right thing. Do not say, "I should be doing something else. Yesterday my 400 metres was so bad! I should practise it a little more." When you are doing shot-put, your heart is telling you, "This is the time for me to do the shot-put." At that time, do not think that yesterday you did not do well in the 400 metres. Your heart has to be the judge, from the very beginning.
You said that you are your own coach. That is excellent. But the real coach has to be your heart. This means that you have to do everything cheerfully. Each time you do something happily — whether you are throwing, jumping, doing hurdles or anything else — you have to feel that you are doing the right thing. When you are not happy in what you are doing, it is the mind that is making you miserable.
How many hours rest do you get at night?
Robert Zmelick: Now I am sleeping nine hours a night. It is very good for me, and after lunch I sleep one and a half or two hours.
ImaginationSri Chinmoy: That is very good. One week before the Olympics start, please do one thing for each event. Suppose the first event is 100 metres. Imagine that you are running the fastest in 100 metres. The first time you will imagine you have gone at a particular speed. The next time when you imagine you are running 100 metres again, imagine that you are going still faster. Imagination has its own speed. Outwardly I may run 100 metres in 17 seconds. But imagination has a much faster speed. Again, new imagination can have still faster speed. With today's imagination, you are imagining that you are running very fast. Tomorrow when you are imagining, try to feel that you are going still faster, and the day after tomorrow feel you are going faster than the fastest. While throwing also, imagine that you are doing more. This imagination is not hallucination.
Robert Zmelick: I use imagination every day.
Sri Chinmoy: Every time, imagine that you are doing better. In the high jump, when you have reached a particular height, the mind will say, "Oh, this is the maximum height." Forget about the mind. Imagine that you have jumped two inches higher. Keep the height there, not lower. While imagining, be very, very happy. Feel that you have done it.
Always make yourself happy by imagining something higher, something longer, something faster. When it is running, just imagine that you are going faster. When it is high jump or pole vault, imagine jumping higher. Each time you imagine, feel that you are very happy, very happy that you have done it. Your imagination has absolutely no barriers. When you are imagining something, do not think that there are hurdles that you have to jump over. No, feel that the road is absolutely clear; there is only you and nobody else on the road.
I am very, very happy to speak to you on the eve of your Olympic championship. Your happiness is your strength. Happiness will give you confidence; confidence will give you happiness. If you are doing the high jump or anything else, feel that you are doing it to make yourself happy. If today you are not doing your best, only tell yourself: "It is not necessary. When the time comes, I can easily do it." Do not say, "Today if I am not doing it, how will I do it in the Olympics?" No. You have to say, "It is not necessary. I will be able to do it easily."
At every moment challenge your mind. You be the boss of your mind. The mind will always try to create self-doubt. The mind never gives us joy. Even if it gives us a certain amount of joy for five seconds, after five minutes it takes away even more joy. We may get limited joy from the mind. Then the mind takes away this limited joy plus it brings unlimited unhappiness. One dollar it gives. Then afterwards it takes away that one dollar and tries to steal ten dollars more from the heart. The heart has joy, so secretly the mind enters into the heart-room and takes away the heart's joy.
Whatever you do, do it happily. Do not have any regrets: "Oh, I should have done this; I should have done that." No, whatever you have done, feel that that is absolutely the right thing. That will give you joy. Once you do it, feel that you have done your best. If you say, "I should have done something else," it will weaken you. Then you will not be able to do your other events well. Always do everything well and say, "I have done the right thing. If I have taken rest, it was absolutely necessary. If I have not taken rest, it is because it was not necessary." Always convince your mind with happiness, happiness.
I wish you good, better, best of luck in every event!
Part IVSCA 828-829. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in San Francisco on 21 October 1996.
Question: What would you consider the ideal Centre meditation?Sri Chinmoy: Each Centre has its own way of conducting the meditations. I feel an hour and a half, if not two hours, is necessary at least once a week. Two hours would be ideal, but if it is impossible, then an hour and a half will be good. For twenty minutes to half an hour you should meditate. Either at the beginning or at the end of the meditation, everybody must sing the Invocation. While singing, everybody has to fold their hands. Then everyone should read from my writings, or the Centre leader can choose some inspired writings to be read out. Something else I would like is for one of my stories to be read out. In some of my early books there are many, many instructive stories. I do not mean just stories about miracles, but stories which are very instructive and illumining. Afterwards, good disciples will meet together to talk about manifestation, but nothing else.
The most important thing is to feel oneness among the Centre members. Each Centre should have projects in order to enrich and increase your own faith in the Supreme, in me and in yourselves. Each disciple should feel the necessity of service. Service means manifestation — speaking to others about our philosophy. Even now, some of the older disciples are reluctant to speak to new people. They are making a Himalayan blunder. If you speak to others about your way of life, then it will definitely intensify your own faith. Openly you are inspiring them, but secretly they are helping you to increase your own faith in your path, in your Master and in the Supreme.
You have no idea how this will help you. Even if you are not in a good mood, even if you are not inspired, you have to fool yourself or force yourself into speaking to others. You may say, "If I am not inspired, how will I inspire others?" No. This is not your false aspiration. You know that eating is necessary, but sometimes you do not feel like eating. On those days you force yourself. Early in the morning there are quite a few things you do that have become part and parcel of your life. Even if you do not feel like getting up, you have to get up and go to the office. Some days you have to force yourself. Then, when you go to the office, you do the right thing.
In the spiritual life, it is the same. Some days you are not inspired at all. You do not want to do anything. That very day you have to force yourself. There are many, many days when you are inspired, when you do the right thing spontaneously. But at other times, when wrong forces enter into your mind, you have to force yourself. Sometimes the weather is bad and you do not want to go outside and run. But when you do run, you get tremendous joy. Sometimes you are in front of the swimming pool and you do not feel like swimming. Then if you see that some other people are swimming, your lethargy disappears. So every day pray to the Supreme not only to increase your aspiration-power, but also to increase your dedication-power.
There are some good disciples who feel that their Centre or their city is not the only place for their aspiration and dedication. They feel that they are ready to work for the entire world. Right now you are taking care of your Centre while your wife and your son are manifesting elsewhere. If you were in an ordinary consciousness, you would feel, "Oh, I am completely lost. My wife is not with me; my son has deserted me!" But if you are in your heart, which you are, you will be so proud of your wife and your son. Here all alone you are holding the banner. So in your family you are teaching and learning. While teaching, you are learning that there is only one Centre, one universal Centre, and that Centre is the heart of your Guru. That is the correct attitude — not that one city is your Centre, but the whole world is your Centre. Not only the Centre leader, but also the Centre members must think that there is only one Centre and that is my heart. Some disciples go here and there to work for the manifestation of the Supreme. Wherever you are needed, you should always be ready to go. We are one family and our Centre is everywhere.
Something else I would like to mention, and that is Joy Days. You have no idea how much joy I get from your Joy Days. Whether you get joy or not, I definitely get joy. You have to drive for five or six hours, so on the outer plane it is not easy. Again, you can change your attitude. If you use your mind, you will say, "Ten hours if I have to drive, then it is impossible!" But if you use your heart, you will say, "Oh, I am getting the golden opportunity to make progress while I am in the car. I can listen to Guru's tapes. I can sing devotional songs. I can take along a few other disciples who will inspire me and whom I can inspire." Throughout the entire week perhaps you are not getting the opportunity to continuously think of your spiritual life for five or six hours. When you are in a group and you are covering a long distance, then you can use tapes or you can talk about spirituality. I do not want you to enter into the gossip-world. Talk only about spiritual subjects, inspiring things. In that way, take it as an opportunity.
When I lived in Brooklyn, I used to take practically two hours to go to the Indian Consulate. I had to take three trains. I used to get tremendous joy because I was getting two hours to meditate. I used to say, "What an opportunity I am getting — a golden opportunity!" You can take this same attitude towards Joy Days.
When we have joy, we can make the fastest progress. By invoking sadness and depression to make ourselves helpless, hopeless and useless, we will never be able to compel God to come to us. God will say, "You remain helpless, you remain hopeless. I do not need you." Yesterday you learned a song: "To be cheerful is to be on God's side." If I am on your side, will you not be on my side? If I can be of service to you, will you not be of service to me? It is mutual, reciprocal. Happiness is not only your strength. It is also God's strength. When you are sincerely happy, you are strengthening God. You are increasing God's faith in you. Then God will give you more and more responsibility. There is only one secret in the spiritual life, and that is cheerfulness. Once you are cheerful, the blankets you have used to cover yourself from your mental chill will disappear. You will not need them.
I would really like all the disciples to participate in Joy Days. If you can, try to have Joy Days at least twice a year. Three or four Centres can meet together, or even two Centres. Again, if you cannot have two Centres, then just go out and be together in a park. Have a picnic. Twenty-five years ago I enjoyed picnics many times. Even last year I went to one disciple's house for a picnic. If I had had time, I would have gone to more places to be with the disciples during their Joy Days. When you are together, you will be able to catch your depression-thief. If one person's spirit is low on that day, you may be the one that God uses to inspire that person. Tomorrow you may be a victim to those wrong forces and a third person may come to your rescue.
Question: When we have Joy Days, what should we do?Sri Chinmoy: First, you have to play at least two games. Everybody has to participate in the games. No matter how old you are, whether you are twenty years old or an octogenarian, you absolutely have to participate in order to feel that you are young. Then I would like you to sing the songs, "I am a seven-year-old girl" and "I am a seven-year-old boy." Forget your age — whether you are forty-six or fifty-six — just think of seven years. One purpose of Joy Days is to convince the mind that you are young. The monkey mind has to be tamed. Just repeat, "I am young, I am young, I am young." Then you will get joy. Sri Ramakrishna used to say that by repeating, "I am Lord Shiva, I am Lord Shiva," you will become divine. By saying, "I am a sinner, I am a sinner," you will be condemned to remain a sinner. If you repeat, "I am young, I am young," you will remain young.
In cheerfulness you will get everything. Two little girls live on the right side of my house. They are four and six years old, perhaps. The other day they looked at me and they looked at my 'best disciple'. In front of both of us, they said that my 'best disciple' looked older than I did. He told them that he is much younger, but they did not believe him. What they were seeing was my cheerfulness. They were feeling my childlike heart. They were feeling in their own hearts that I am of their type. My 'best disciple' cannot mix with them on their own level. That is why they said that I was younger.
In your case, your childlike qualities you should increase. Even if you are sixty or seventy years old, think that you are a little boy or girl. Who is dearer than the dearest in a family? The youngest child. The mother, the father, even the older brothers and sisters love the little ones best. The old ones are fossilised. As soon as the mind thinks, "I am old," God says, "Oh, you are older than Me? Then stay behind. I cannot do anything for you." But if you think that you are a child, God will say, "I am also an eternal child, playing in Infinity's Garden. You are Mine."
God Himself is all the time growing and expanding. The mind's imagination is limited. The mind is only making us smaller, meaner and weaker. But the heart's vastness is founded upon oneness, and oneness is always expansion.
During your Joy Days you can watch videos of the things I have done to inspire you. You will see that if I can jump at this age, you are also capable of doing many things. Anything that I am doing, I am doing for you, for mankind. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna said that after God-realisation, he did not have to do anything, but if he remained inactive, the whole world would collapse. I am active. That is why my little world — the world of my disciples — is active.
I always say it is better to be a mad elephant and move in any direction than to remain idle. You may discover, "Oh, this is the wrong road." Then you will say, "Let me go and walk in another direction." But if you do not do anything, if you become the emperor of laziness, then what will you be able to accomplish?
There are some unfortunate disciples who are not paying attention to Joy Days. They say, "Oh, that is for children." In that case, I will say to them that this father likes to stay with his children, not with the grown-ups. To the grown-ups, a father says, "You can take care of yourselves in your own way." Parents always like to be with their children because the children need them and they need the children.
So think of yourselves as seven years old, play games, watch my videos and do anything else that is inspiring. You can read together out loud, the way children do. Select a few choice passages from my writings and then read them aloud, the same way you sing together. There are hundreds of ways you can give joy to one another. Of course, meditation has to be there. There should be meditation at least three or four times at Joy Days, even if it is only for ten minutes. Also, for ten or fifteen minutes you can tell innocent jokes so that your mental fever will disappear.
You can also share good news with each other. Happy news you will share, but not discouraging news. Before the Joy Day, someone can phone New York to get some encouraging news. There was a time when I asked some of the main Centres to be in touch with New York to get good news. Now some of them have given up. They feel that money-power is more important than heart-power. But again, if you are able to get even an iota of joy, I feel that it is worthwhile spending five dollars in order to get it.
So those who are not paying attention to Joy Days should start paying attention. If you are unwilling, then do it unwillingly for the time being. Eventually you will be able to do it willingly, once you see how much it increases your joy in your own spiritual life.
Question: During the twenty-first century, will anybody break the two-hour marathon barrier?1Sri Chinmoy: How I wish the twenty-first century to prove my prophecy that someone will run a marathon in under two hours! For that I need a disciple who has implicit faith in me. I find it very difficult to believe that our human capacity is limited. Right now the world record for the marathon is 2:06. Just six minutes to reduce over twenty-six miles! Unfortunately, human beings always think, "My capacity, my capacity." If the same world-class runners could say, "My capacity is coming from God. God is running in and through me," and really mean it, then you would see surprising results. There are at least twenty world-class marathon runners. If they could have that kind of faith, you would hear in one month that the world record has been smashed.
Unfortunately, athletes are not all seekers of the highest height. Otherwise, there is not a single record in the athletic world that cannot be smashed mercilessly — even the 100-metre sprint. To me the present record for 100 metres is no record. They can easily bring it down to seven seconds. But who will believe me? Today I am a talker, but one day from Heaven, I will see that my prophecies have come true.
Everything is based on receptivity. In the weightlifting world, if I have to use my physical capacity without depending on God's unconditional Compassion and Grace, do you think I will be able to lift more than fifty pounds with one hand? I doubt it very much. Whether you believe me or say I am exaggerating my self-importance, I want to tell you that a maximum of sixty pounds I would be able to lift with each arm simultaneously. I am able to lift more only because I entirely depend on God's Grace.
Of course, world champions are not seekers of my height. But even if they can raise their standard a little, they will achieve so much. Unfortunately, when some world champions perform something extraordinary, outwardly they may fold their hands or they may fall to the ground and look at the sky, but do they really mean it?
When our receptivity increases, God increases our capacity. Before that, all the limitations of the body come and stay indefinitely because of our ingratitude-mind, ingratitude-heart and ingratitude-life. We have to feel that our capacity is coming from God. Why is it that one day you can get up early in the morning and another day you cannot? One day you are inspired; another day lethargy is absolutely killing you. For everything, we have to depend on God's Compassion. That does not mean we will just lie down, sleep and snore, and God will work. God does not want the surrender of an idle fellow. We shall pray to God for the fulfilment of His Will: "If such is Your Will, then use Your Capacity in and through me. I am doing this because I feel You are inspiring me to do it."
God has given each of us certain capacities. I may not be a runner, but somebody else may be a runner. I may be a singer, but somebody else may not be a singer. If anyone wants to increase his capacity in his own field, then he must have God-reliance, not self-reliance. Only then will his capacity become unlimited. Now our capacity is limited because we feel we are doing everything — we are taking this exercise and that exercise. We give ninety-nine per cent of the credit to what our mind is telling us and our life is prompting us to do. But if we can give one hundred per cent of the credit to God for whatever we are doing that is good and positive in our life, then our capacities will become unlimited.
I feel sorry that my disciples are not bringing forward more of their unlimited capacities. Ashrita is the exception. 'Ashrita' means 'one who has taken shelter at the feet of the Master'. Ashrita is proving again and again the significance of his name. How many times he has broken world records, and then how many times his records have been broken by others! In their case, they are not as devoted as he is to his Master, or to the Supreme in his Master. These people who are now breaking his records are bringing forward their capacity from their previous incarnations. In Ashrita's case, his capacity is not coming from his previous incarnations. In this incarnation he is getting all these capacities because of his extraordinary devoted service to me. He was not an athlete in a past incarnation. He was not a sportsman in this life. Even when he joined us in this incarnation, he was thinner than the thinnest, one of the weakest disciples that we had. Now look how much his capacity has developed!
When Ashrita says that it is all due to my grace and my compassion, he sincerely means it. How many others sincerely mean it? They only talk and talk. They say, "It is all your grace," but in their heart of hearts, not even for one second do they feel that my love or my light is working in and through them. There are very few people like Ashrita in this respect.
To come back to your question about the marathon, I do have a few disciples who can accept the challenge. When I stood facing the Berlin Wall, I said, "Within ten years this wall will be demolished." Then it took just a few years. Again, I made another prophecy that in five years or so, someone would run a marathon in under two hours.
It is all a question of receptivity. To be sincere, if I had to rely on my own capacity, I would be frightened to death to stand under the heavy weights that I lift. I would have all kinds of fears that something would break or something else would happen. In my case, it is only dependence, dependence — dependence on God's Grace. But again, I have to practise. I have to take this exercise and that exercise.
I have disciples who can break the world record in the marathon. I do hope one day those disciples will come forward. If they are determined, if they are willing and eager, then definitely they will get my blessings. If my children do not fulfil my prophecy, then who am I? The Vedic seers had visions thousands of years ago. Now we are fulfilling their visions. They had the vision, but they could not manifest it. It has taken thousands of years to be manifested.
Now I have made a prophecy, and God alone knows when my prophecy will come true. In the Vedic times, they did not give so much importance to the physical. I am saying the physical and the spiritual must go together. The physical is the temple and the spiritual is the shrine. They are both indispensable. How can there be a shrine if there is no temple? Will the wind not blow it away?
If my disciples take me seriously, they will say, "If my Guru has said it, then it can be done; it has to be done!" Some disciples have that attitude in other areas of activity. They say, "If Guru says something, then it can be done!" These disciples try to do something impossible because I have told them it can be done, and they are successful. But when it comes to the marathon, my vision has not yet been manifested. So much depends on your inner happiness. You know how fast you achieve things on the days you are happy in comparison to other days. And the days when you have self-doubt, fear, jealousy and insecurity, you are ready to wait indefinitely to accomplish something or to come up to your own satisfactory standard.
SCA 830. Sri Chinmoy answered this question in New York on 25 February 1999.↩