Sri Chinmoy answers, part 25
Part ISCA 831-878. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions about angels and fairies on 23 April 1995 in New York.
Question: How can we enjoy the company of angels?Sri Chinmoy: In order to enjoy the company of angels, one has to be extremely sweet, pure and subtle. Sweetness is what angels like most. There are many aspects of God that we like. At different times we like God's Compassion or God's Forgiveness or God's Beauty. Very often we think of God's Power. But mostly when we think of God, His Compassion aspect comes forward. We call Him 'God the Merciful'.
Similarly, when we think of an angel, there are two qualities that immediately come to mind: sweetness and brightness. Sweetness in brightness and brightness in sweetness are the predominant angelic qualities. If we can also have that sweetness, brightness and subtlety, then definitely we can be in the midst of the angels.
Even in an ordinary family, mothers often speak about their children by saying, "He is an angel," or "She is an angel." They are not thinking of their children's mental capacities or other talents at that time. They are only thinking of their sweetness. As soon as we think of an angel, we imagine someone who is sweet, delicate, subtle and bright. This is the angelic touch.
Angels always like brightness in nature. Fairies, on the other hand, like naturalness. Anything that is natural fairies like. Most of the fairies wear white, while angels wear brilliant, bright colours. Angels are usually from higher planes, while fairies have freer access to Mother Earth. If you think of a tree, angels are like the higher branches, whereas fairies are like the branches that are only a little higher than the ground. They are branches of the same life-tree, but the fairies are like lower branches and angels are like the high, higher, highest branches.
Angels can come to earth if they want to visit people or see some people who are very dear to them. Angels can take the form of a relative and come to someone who may be going to die in a few hours. At such times angels can act as the direct representative of the divine force to take somebody into the other world. When somebody is about to die, we often hear them say that an angel has come. But fairies do not or cannot do that kind of thing. Fairies deal mostly with children, whereas angels deal with all human beings irrespective of age.
Angels also like children very much, but in terms of receptivity, elderly people receive more blessings from angels because they are more conscious of the angels' divinity. Children do not know what divinity is, so in that respect their receptivity is missing. Elderly people get more benefit when they think of an angel or meditate on an angel — they are filled with joy. Children may hear all about angels from their parents and they may get joy by hearing the word, but they have no idea how angels can help them in their daily lives.
Question: It seems that angels come to be of some kind of service. But why do fairies associate with people?Sri Chinmoy: Angels love God, and some want to serve God's creation consciously. They say to God, "I want to serve my brothers and sisters on earth. I want to be of some help to them. My brothers and sisters are suffering, and they are not conscious of who You are. Since I am conscious of who You are, let me go and help them."
Fairies come to show us that there are other worlds and these worlds are full of beauty and light. When fairies do something, there is tremendous charm in it.
It is like two magicians. One magician has a very simple, cheap wand and another magician has a very expensive, golden wand. Similarly, angels are full of brilliance, whereas fairies are natural and simple. Fairies can never be complicated. Angels have so much brightness and splendour in them, but they can be very, very complicated.
Question: Are angels very large?Sri Chinmoy: No, angels are not large, but fairies can be. When we use our ordinary eyes, fairies can be huge. Angels are light. Most of them are tall and proportionate, but fairies are not like that.
Question: Are angels or fairies more successful with human beings?Sri Chinmoy: Fairies have more control on earth. If fairies want to do something in and through someone on earth, they can. They get results on the practical plane. Angels also get results, but they are on the inner plane, the subtle plane. The angelic touch is much higher and deeper than that of a fairy.
Question: Would angels take incarnation or are they very happy the way they are?Sri Chinmoy: On rare occasions they take human incarnation. We have a few disciples who were angels. One of them is taking absolutely her first human incarnation since her angel life.
Question: Do those people who were angels find it difficult to follow the spiritual life?Sri Chinmoy: Angels will have more trouble than ordinary people because the world is so undivine, so gross, so unreceptive.
I have seen some girls in the acting line who were angels or fairies once upon a time. But then they became corrupted by the outer world; they got married ten times and this sort of thing. They came from the angel world to teach mankind to aspire. But it is like a deer coming and telling an elephant to go up. The elephant is so huge that it just grabs the deer. Or it is like a beautiful bird that comes down and asks us to fly. As soon as it comes, we grab the bird and clip its wings. The bird comes to inspire us to go up and fly in the sky, but we do not even allow it to fly.
Question: Are angels weak when they come and take human incarnation?Sri Chinmoy: Everybody is weak and helpless when they take human incarnation. Jesus Christ was born in a stable. He could have come into a princely family. Similarly, Lord Krishna had to take birth in jail.
Question: Do fairies do good things?Sri Chinmoy: Fairies can be good. Again, fairies can be mischievous or tricky, while angels are not like that. Fairies do help human beings. But angels, as I said, have more brightness, more compassion, more depth, more maturity. Fairies are like children; they break more than they build. That is their joy. Angels do not believe in breaking. They believe in only making things luminous, more luminous, most luminous.
Question: Do angels belong to any particular religion or can they come to anybody?Sri Chinmoy: They can come to anybody. They are not the sole monopoly of Christianity. Christianity talks about angels, but so do other religions. An angel can also take the form of a deity, and a deity can take the form of an angel if they wish to have certain angelic qualities.
Here I am not referring to Kali or Durga or the cosmic gods and goddesses of a very high order. Angels take the form of ordinary deities who have compassion, affection and concern.
Question: Do angels all have wings, and do they all look the same? Or is one more beautiful and another one not so beautiful?Sri Chinmoy: All angels cannot have the same beauty, but all of them do have wings. Angels are always dynamic. They are constantly moving, whereas fairies can be very lethargic. Fairies are no match for angels in this respect.
Question: How can we become like the angels?Sri Chinmoy: When you meditate, you can bring forward angelic qualities in your eyes and in your face. At that time you may have dark skin, but your eyes will be flooded with angelic qualities, and others will see angels inside your eyes.
Question: You said that fairies most of the time wear white clothes and angels wear very bright clothes. Usually when they show them on television and in books, it is just the opposite. Angels are always white and fairies are in different colours.Sri Chinmoy: Because children are more connected with fairies, to give the children more joy, fairies are shown wearing bright colours. But it is just the opposite. In general we can say that children deal more with fairies, whereas when we speak of angels, we imagine our Grandfather-God is coming to bless us via an angel. When somebody is dying, we say that an angel came. At that time we do not say that a fairy came. When you are sick, do you ever think that a fairy will come and help you, that a fairy will take your sickness away? Never! You do not think that a fairy will come and take your headache.
Question: In terms of spiritual stature, where would an angel be as compared to a saint or a deity?Sri Chinmoy: A spiritual Master is much higher than an angel. Even a yogi is higher. But angels are much higher than fairies. In terms of spiritual height, you can say that fairies are like nurses and angels are like doctors. Again, nurses know a few things that doctors know. Sometimes it is beneath the dignity of the doctors to give injections. The nurses will actually give better injections than the doctors who have got higher than the highest degrees. By doing it so many times, they have become expert. So one is in theory, the other is in practice. Again, nurses are nurses. When we are treated by the nurse, shall we say that we were treated by the doctor?
Fairies have a more magical touch than angels. When you think of an angel, usually the angel is coming to do something really serious — a life and death matter. With fairies, one does not think of life and death.
Question: Does each person actually have his own guardian angel or does one angel serve many people?Sri Chinmoy: Our Indian theory is that each human being has a special god of his own, apart from the highest God. As there are many human beings, so there are also many gods and goddesses. Here in the West, it is said that there are as many angels as human beings. But you cannot say the same about fairies. An angel is like a direct part of our aspiration. You can also say that they are an express portion of divinity. Angels have more light than fairies. When something serious occurs, when it is a matter of life and death, if you think of a fairy, nothing will happen. But if you think of an angel, because of their infinite affection or compassion, they will come and be of real help to you.
Question: Do angels make progress and change?Sri Chinmoy: Definitely. From the angel world to take human incarnation — is it not progress? Again, it is only through a human body that you can realise God. If there is no body, no vital, no mind, no heart, you can never realise God.
Question: If somebody who has died wants to help someone who is still alive, can they take the form of an angel and watch over that person?Sri Chinmoy: Those souls have their own divinity. They do not need an angel's help to come and visit their dear ones. Angels are always hovering over this earth-planet. They should be invoked by the sincere seekers.
Question: They come because they are invoked?Sri Chinmoy: Most of the time angels have to be invoked. Again, many, many times they come without being invoked — they can come unconditionally. Usually people invoke angels unconsciously. Consciously, people think of God and then God may send an angel as His emissary.
Question: Can angels sometimes materialise on the outer plane where we can see them?Sri Chinmoy: If God wants to give a particular experience to an individual, then God will enable that person to see an angel with his human eyes. Otherwise, we have to use our third eye or our intuitive vision.
Question: Sometimes people do see angels. Is that because of their intuition?Sri Chinmoy: It can be their intuition or it can take place in a dream. Sometimes when people dream, their third eye is unconsciously open and they can see angels. But again, while they are awake, if they want to open their third eye without having the spiritual capacity, it is impossible. On another level, sometimes when God, the Highest Absolute, wants to manifest in and through someone, He will give that person an angelic touch.
Question: What is the music of angels like? Do they sing and play instruments?Sri Chinmoy: Angels play the harp. In size, their harps are quite small. Some of the harps that we see are much larger than angels' harps. Their harps do not have as many strings as the big harps that we have.
Question: Do they also sing?Sri Chinmoy: Angels do sing, but they are more oriented towards instrumental performance. They like music more than words and melodies. On the one hand, angels are all majesty. On the other hand, they are so sweet and beautiful. Sometimes sweetness and power do not go together, but in the case of angels, they have both sweetness and power. Their power is not like atomic power. Their power is more like flute-power, while the fairies' power is more like drum-power. The angels' flute-power is subtle and delicate and, at the same time, it is all brightness.
Question: How do angels communicate with each other?Sri Chinmoy: They have their own language.
Question: Does it sound like any earthly language?
Sri Chinmoy: Not at all.
Question: Is there a particular plane where angels reside?Sri Chinmoy: Angels are on different planes. In the inner world there are levels of consciousness. Some angels are higher; some are lower.
Question: What is the difference between the cosmic gods and goddesses and angels?Sri Chinmoy: The cosmic gods and goddesses are infinitely higher than the angels. There is no comparison between the power of the cosmic gods and goddesses and the angels. As I said before, between a real doctor and a nurse, there is a great difference. When there is an emergency, a serious medical problem — a bullet has entered into my chest — the nurse will never dare to operate. The doctor has to come.
Question: I had a dream where I saw fairies who were like little babies — all different sizes — running away. In another dream, a fairy was making a very silly noise and it made me wake up laughing.Sri Chinmoy: If in a room twenty angels come to you, they will have so much brightness and poise. But in the same room if you have three fairies, it is enough. It will be like a kindergarten. Again, there can be some exceptional fairies. Exceptional fairies are so cute; they are so in tune with the highest Divinity. But it is very, very rare to find that kind of fairy.
Question: As we have an angel to watch over us, is there also an evil force that watches over us?Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. But the evil forces are much more alert than the divine forces. Mothers have such faith in their children. They will say, "My child cannot be so bad." Because of the mother's own divinity, she will say this. Again, if the father does not smoke, then he will never be able to believe that his son is smoking marijuana. Then after a few years, when he sees that it is happening again and again, he will believe it. But in the beginning it will be impossible for him to believe. The mother and father will always judge according to their own standards.
The hostile forces get tremendous joy by breaking the pride of the parents. In the same way, angels are trying to help mankind, but unfortunately these hostile forces come and try to destroy all the angels' good work.
Each individual is not only represented by divine forces, but also by hostile forces. Consciously we can take the side of the divine forces. Again, unconsciously we can take the side of the hostile forces. Here I am talking to the divine part of you, and you are listening to your Master, the divine part of you. You are not invoking the hostile forces, but I can see that there are undivine forces inside each of you — in some cases, absolutely huge hostile forces.
Again, every day it changes. The day you take more the side of the divine, the hostile force inside you is small. Another day if you do not take the side of the divine, it becomes huge. On the day you have not prayed and meditated, the hostile force becomes like an elephant.
Sometimes it may happen that the very day you have prayed and meditated, the hostile forces accumulate some power. You may be in a very good mood, but on that day the hostile forces can take the absolutely largest form to destroy your faith in God. Early in the morning you may get up to pray and meditate, but on that day you may hear about some calamity in your life. Then you may lose all your faith in God, in your Guru or in your spiritual life.
That is how the test comes. At that time you have the golden opportunity to make unconditional surrender to God's Will. The day you have done everything good may be the day that you are getting all kinds of unfortunate experiences, devastating experiences. That very day is the golden chance, in a positive sense, for you to become truly spiritual. In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna says, "Do your very best. The results place at the Feet of God." Here, also, you did your very best. You got up early in the morning and prayed and meditated. You sang spiritual songs. You took exercise. Everything divine you did. Then you got some absolutely unbearable experiences — a car accident or something else.
At that time, you have to say, "Oh, it could have been worse. I had a serious car accident; I could have died. At least I am still alive!" That is the divine way of looking at it. The undivine way is to say, "I prayed and meditated. Today of all days, instead of other days when I did not pray and meditate, I have had an accident! Why do I have to pray to God? Why do I need God?"
Question: If somebody has left the spiritual life, is it because the hostile forces grew much stronger than the positive forces?Sri Chinmoy: In the battlefield, gradually, gradually those seekers came to the point where they did not want to fight. A real seeker will fight to the very end. I will fight for God's Victory in my life every day. Every day I will try to bring down divine Nectar. But in the ordinary life, people fight for two or three months, and then they give up. They feel that if they do not get the victory after two months, why should they go on fighting continuously? That is the human way.
The divine way is to say, "I will fight every day for God's Victory. I will not rest on yesterday's laurels. Every day I will enter into the battlefield of life. I will only pray for God's Victory — today, tomorrow and every day."
Some people will say, "If I prayed so sincerely, why did the results of my prayer not last for at least ten days?" Somebody else will say, "No. The time that I spent praying and meditating saved me for today. Tomorrow again I shall have to pray and meditate to be safe again tomorrow. Day by day I shall renew my prayer and meditation."
In the ordinary life, if you have one thousand dollars, then for ten days or more you will be able to use it. But the inner wealth is not like that. You cannot be satisfied with the inner wealth that you already have. You have to increase it. Otherwise you will be in trouble. There will be many days when you will get up early in the morning doubting yourself. If you do not increase your inner wealth, then doubt-poison will devour you.
We expect not only from the world but from ourselves. When we expect from the world, if we do not get the thing that we expect, we become sad for five minutes. But when we expect something from ourselves and we do not get it, the whole day is ruined. Very often our expectation of ourselves we take more seriously than our expectation of somebody else.
Question: Do angels and fairies co-operate?Sri Chinmoy: They do co-operate. It is like an orchestra. Angels will play the violin, the flute or very subtle types of instruments, and fairies will play little drums or cymbals. It is a cosmic orchestra, so they can easily go together to make a symphony.
Question: Are angels influenced by their environment?Sri Chinmoy: Angels are not working on the gross physical plane. If they try to come to the physical plane, most of the time they will be suffocated. Angels can come and touch the physical plane, but they never want to stay here for a long time.
Question: Sometimes people become fascinated with fairies and angels. If you are attracted to something in the inner world like this, should you concentrate on it?Sri Chinmoy: No, no, no. It is like passing through a garden on your way to a temple. When you see the flowers in the garden, they can inspire you. When you are inspired, you may be able to run very fast towards your destination. But if the destination is still far away, you may say, "Let me stay here indefinitely and enjoy the beauty and fragrance of these flowers."
Similarly, if angels come to you on your way to the destination, like the flowers, they may inspire you to go faster. Again, they may charm you to such an extent that you may say, "They are so beautiful. Let me stop here for some time and chat with them." Some runners can easily run faster, but they enjoy chatting with the slower runners.
The beauty and fragrance of a garden can inspire you to go faster. Again, they can charm you to such an extent that you say, "All right, the destination is there. I will reach it sooner or later. In the meantime, the best thing is to enjoy this garden. Who knows, when I reach the temple, perhaps I will not see such beautiful flowers there."
Question: How do you invoke angels if you want to see them more?Sri Chinmoy: If you want to have utmost inner wealth, the best thing is to go to the Highest, the Absolute. Instead of going to an angel for two hundred dollars, why not go to the One who has billions of dollars?
We have to be so wise. If our goal is only to have a small amount, then we shall go to the one who has only two hundred dollars. It depends on how much inner hunger we have. If I am extremely hungry, then I will try to go to a place where I will get a most delicious meal. If I am not hungry, then a cup of tea is enough for me. It depends on our inner hunger and how much inner wealth we want.
Question: Are there different angels connected with animals as opposed to human beings?Sri Chinmoy: Angels deal mostly with human beings. Very, very rarely do angels deal with animals. Even when angels come to human beings, they are afraid that these human beings may misuse their compassion, affection and concern. To come down to the human level and see if human beings are a little receptive — that much angels will be able to do. But they are afraid of the animal kingdom. Some animals are really receptive — they are so adorable. But in general the animal kingdom has so much hostility.
Human beings also have hostility, but they may hide it. If I am angry with someone, he may not be able to see it. But if a dog is angry with someone, no matter how many people are there, the dog will just bite. Animals cannot hide their nature, while human beings can. Human beings express their hostility secretly, while animals do it openly. So angels very rarely deal with the animal kingdom. Even when angels want to bring light to human beings, they are afraid of being grabbed and strangled.
Question: Do angels ever fight directly with the hostile forces or do they just help people?Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes they fight directly with the hostile forces, and sometimes they help human beings to fight the hostile forces. When they help human beings to fight against the hostile forces, it is like one country that is richer helping another country. Right now America is infinitely richer than Russia. So America will give financial help to the Russian government to fight against hunger and poverty.
But if you take hunger and poverty as undivine forces, then you can also try to fight them directly with material wealth, food, clothes and so on. You will not go through another government or agency. You will go directly with all your wealth to fight against those undivine forces. Hunger is not an undivine force as such, but lack of food does take away our joy. Anything that is taking away our joy is a hostile force.
When they have more love for certain human beings, angels will fight against the hostile forces directly instead of giving those individuals the necessary inner strength. It depends on how much love an angel has for a particular person. The head of one government may give a million dollars to the head of another government whose citizens are suffering and say, "Now use it. We will not give any more." But if it is that person's wife or daughter who is suffering, no matter how many millions of dollars it takes, he will give everything to cure his daughter. He will fight directly against his daughter's disease.
Question: Can someone have more than one angel that really loves them?Sri Chinmoy: Usually there is one for each person, but there may be more. I have a mother and I may also have an aunt. My aunt can also be extremely affectionate to me.
Question: After someone becomes your disciple, does their guardian angel leave, or does he establish a relationship with you, or does he just say, "You do not need me any more"?Sri Chinmoy: My job is only to place each and every disciple who has accepted me as their teacher at the Feet of the Supreme. As soon as I accept someone, I place that person consciously at the Feet of the Supreme. I am not the Supreme, but I know a little more than you do because I have prayed and meditated more than you have. I always say that I am like the eldest brother in the family. You are my younger brothers and sisters. I know a little more about our Father than you do.
As soon as I place you at the Feet of the Father, then my role is over. Just as I was able to sit at the Feet of the Father, touch His Feet and kiss His Feet, you will also be able to do the same. Once I place you at the Feet of the Supreme, since He has everything and He is everything, why do you have to again think of the one who helped you?
Let us say you want to see a particular house. You ask someone, "Where is 150th Street?" He says, "Go this side, then go that side and you will reach it." Once you come to the correct place, you are grateful. But did that person bring you there? Perhaps five miles away you asked that person where 150th Street is and he gave you instructions. He did not say, "Come into my car. I will bring you to the destination." He said, "Go this side, make a left turn, go to this street and that street." Just because he gave me directions, I am grateful to him.
Angels are like that person who gave directions. You can be grateful to them because they told you how to reach the destination, but they did not bring you on their shoulders to your destination.
Question: That is why I was asking. It seems unnecessary to keep angels once we have come to you. So they can go and help somebody else.Sri Chinmoy: Once I have placed you at the Feet of the Supreme, I am also unnecessary. I am like the guard who opens the door for you to come into the room where the boss is. Then if you are at the feet of the boss and you become a favourite of the boss, at that time why do you need the guard? The boss will tell the guard, "Whenever he wants to go out, he can go out, and whenever he wants to come in, he can come in."
Question: Do all angels get along with each other?Sri Chinmoy: Even cosmic gods fight, and they are infinitely higher than angels! Every second the cosmic gods are cursing, every second they are showing their supremacy. Then, among individual human beings, sometimes someone who has peace thinks that he is the strongest. He feels as if he will be able to swallow all the conflicts and misunderstandings of the world. The next moment, when someone has got power, he feels that he has conquered the whole world. Then a third person may have love, so he becomes universal oneness with all. Even when we are surcharged with different aspects of divinity, we can exercise our feeling of supremacy.
By nature angels do not quarrel or fight like cats and dogs, but the feeling of supremacy may be there. Again, inside the feeling of supremacy there can be oneness. A father knows he is much stronger than a child. For that very reason he does not fight with the child, and the child does not fight with the father. This kind of oneness they have.
Question: Are there certain countries where angels play a more significant role?Sri Chinmoy: Some countries are more influenced by angels, especially in the Christian world. Christianity has given much more importance to the angels than other religions. So if Christian feeling predominates in a certain country, the angelic power is more perceptible there. The Christian world will have more of a free access to the angel world in their mind, in their conception, whereas other countries will not have that same access. Any culture that is dominated by the Christian feeling will have more feeling for angels, and they will get more happiness from the angel life.
Question: Is there any leader today who was previously an angel?Sri Chinmoy: In the case of some prominent people, angels really had a great influence, like the French girl, Joan of Arc. In her case, the angelic touch was there. She received help both from angels and fairies. Angels found it more difficult to establish a direct connection with her. As I said before, fairies have a more direct connection with human beings because fairies are not as high as angels. Fairies can come and touch the human level. That is why in the life of Joan of Arc you saw more of what we can call a dynamic aspect, a solid aspect. This solid aspect came from the angel world and then it came to the fairy world. It came step by step. If you come step by step, it is one thing. Another way is if you jump, omitting two or three steps. If angels have to come directly to the human level, they have to omit two or three steps. But it is risky for them. Whereas if they come to the second step, then the fairies who are on the second step can easily come to the first step and it is solid.
Question: Why did God send an angel as His representative to tell Mary that she would give birth to Christ?Sri Chinmoy: Because she had so much faith in angels. If I have faith in someone, then God will send that person to me because I will be more convinced that it is true. Then again, in this case, Joseph had more faith in angels than Mary had because he was simpler. Sometimes doubt was entering into Mary, whether the Saviour was actually coming. In the beginning Joseph wanted to discard Mary because it was not his child. Then an angel had to convince him that the child was destined to be the Saviour. After that his faith was stronger than Mary's.
Question: Are the wings of angels decorative or do they actually use them to fly?Sri Chinmoy: When they want to fly, they spread their wings. When they do not want to fly, they can keep them folded. Angel wings are delicate, but strong at the same time. They are much, much more beautiful than the fairies' wings. Fairy wings are choppy. It is as if somebody is painting in a very choppy way. Fairies do not believe in delicacy. It is like the difference between a duck and a swan.
Question: In the inner world, are the fairies made out of something a little more coarse than the angels?Sri Chinmoy: Fairies exist more in the vital world. Angels exist in the psychic world. Angels will appear at the time of our death or when something very significant is happening in our life. When I am dying, do I want to see a fairy? No, I will pray for the Supreme to come. If the Supreme does not come, at least He can send some cosmic gods and goddesses. If that also He does not do, He will then send some angels.
Question: Throughout history people have thought they saw the Virgin Mary. Was it angels they saw and not the Virgin Mary?Sri Chinmoy: It was not angels who took the form of Mother Mary. Again, it was not Mother Mary as such. It was God Himself. God took the form of Mother Mary. This kind of apparition entirely depends on how much faith people have in Mother Mary. When you have implicit faith in her, God takes that form because He does not want the seeker to be disappointed.
If God takes His own omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Form, people will become frightened. So He takes the form of a particular human body, like Mother Mary. People have a concept of Mother Mary because they have seen so many paintings and sculptures of her. Mother Mary's face does not frighten us, but if a huge Form comes, we get frightened. If a seeker has faith in Mother Mary, the easiest and wisest way is for God to take the form of Mother Mary. That will be more convincing.
Question: In order to exist, do angels eat food?Sri Chinmoy: Definitely. But we will not be able to appreciate their food. Their food is not material. They get their food from the ether. In between this physical earth and the higher realms, there is a substance called ether. It is not like ordinary air. That ether contains all kinds of energy. It can be taken as solid food or liquid food. It is part of the cosmic life-energy.
Question: How often do the angels meet with the Supreme?Sri Chinmoy: It depends on each angel's closeness to the Supreme. Even the cosmic gods do not meet with the Supreme every day or every hour. Angels do have a free access to the Supreme. A secretary may have a free access to the boss, but there will be many days when the boss is so busy that the secretary does not dare to disturb him. Again, some days the secretary can spend hours with the boss. Sometimes the boss may say that unless it is life or death, the secretary should not call, whereas if the boss wants to chat, he can call the secretary any time. Similarly, angels do have free access to the Supreme, but they cannot exploit it. Unless there is an emergency, they will not disturb Him.
Question: Is there a leader of all the angels?Sri Chinmoy: There are archangels. They have more brilliance, compassion, love, light and divine power than the other angels. In India, some priests take responsibility for only one house, while very significant priests may take care of twenty houses. Similarly, archangels can take care of more human beings.
Question: Are angels subject to suffering and death or do they live eternally?Sri Chinmoy: Angels live indefinitely, not eternally. There is a great difference between indefinitely and eternally. Indefinite means that after twenty years, two hundred years or four hundred years, either they will take human incarnation or they will be dissolved. Some angels do not want to come down in a manifested form, with a gross human body. After a few centuries they want to be freed from their form.
Some angels want to go to another place. It is not like humans who, after eighty or ninety years, become old and die. No, only they are tired of playing their roles. They do not want to play the same role eternally. Either they will take human incarnation or they will go to some other planet to live. They have worked hard, so they want to enjoy vacation or, you can say, retirement.
Question: Do angels have souls?Sri Chinmoy: Anything that is created has a soul. An ant has a soul; material objects and gross physical objects have a soul. In God's creation everything has a soul. As an insect has a soul, as a drop has a soul, as an ocean has a soul, even so, angels have souls. The soul is a portion of divinity. Inside anything that exists, a spark of divinity has to be there. Existence itself embodies part of divinity, because existence did not come from a hostile force. Existence came from God.
Even inside a bad person — a thief, a drug addict — the soul is there. It is a question of how much the soul can manifest its divinity.
Part IISCA 879-881. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions from some of his Puerto Rican disciples on 27 November 1999 in New York.
Question: How can we erase the past?Sri Chinmoy: When we use the word 'erase', we think of a blackboard. It is as if you have drawn something very poorly and nobody is appreciating your artwork, so you want to erase it. But we do not have to erase the past. We have only to forget about the past and go forward.
Question: Is there a particular quality that your Puerto Rican disciples need to develop?Sri Chinmoy: Not only my Puerto Rican disciples, but all my disciples need to develop mutual appreciation. When you have private meetings, please appreciate one another. If somebody has done something wrong, ignore it totally. Think that you yourself have done that stupid thing. The time that you spend finding fault with someone or that someone spends finding fault with you is a sheer waste. See only the good qualities of others. If someone has done something good, appreciate it. If you have done something good, others should appreciate you. In that way, you are going forward. Otherwise, you can never make any progress. To make progress means to see only good things in everybody. God sees only good things in us. Bad people see only bad things in everybody.
Spiritual Masters try to see the good qualities of their disciples. Unfortunately, some disciples try to see only bad qualities in their Master. They say, "Master did not smile at me, but he smiled at this fellow and that fellow." They should say, "Who cares whether Master smiles at me or not, as long as I can serve him?"
Always look for the good things in others. Bad things forget, or say, "If I had been in his position, perhaps I would have done the same thing or even worse." If somebody has done something wrong, either ignore it or simply say, "You have done this, but perhaps you could have done something better."
Always remain in the world of encouragement. Whenever I have accomplished anything, Blessings, Grace, Compassion and everything I received from the Supreme. But I have also received encouragement from humanity, including a few big shots. When Pablo Casals saw me, he was shedding tears. Leonard Bernstein and other great musicians have appreciated me. If they had said, "You are a third-class musician. Give up your aspiration to become a musician," would I have become a musician?
In weightlifting so many people have encouraged me. In my artwork, if one girl in particular had not encouraged me, would I have become an artist? So much discouragement I got. But since I started in Ottawa, one person has encouraged me like anything, and today I have become a great artist. Encouragement is necessary. If you will not encourage me because you are jealous of me, or I will not encourage you because I am jealous of you, then we will never make progress. With your jealousy and my jealousy we can never go forward.
When you were a baby and you stood up for the first time, your mother felt that she had got the whole world! When you started walking, she entered into the seventh Heaven of delight. Then when you started running, she was so happy. You made progress because of her encouragement. When you were struggling so hard to stand up, your mother did not continue cooking food or reading the newspaper, as if she did not care. She was looking to see what you were doing. That was her encouragement. As soon as you stood up, she became so excited and delighted. She encouraged you with her smile, or she came and embraced you. Because of her encouragement, you tried again and again to get up and then walk and run. Our Centres will flourish only if there is encouragement.
Question: How can the Puerto Rican disciples please you?Sri Chinmoy: For some disciples, my fulfilment is the only thing they are aspiring for. Ask yourself if my fulfilment is everything to you. Write down whatever answer comes to you. Yes, definitely you want your Guru to be fulfilled, but side by side, you want your own fulfilment. For a few disciples — very, very few — there is no side by side. For them, it is one-pointed: "Guru's fulfilment. I do not need my own fulfilment."
In your case, you do want my fulfilment but, along with that, you will look this side and that side and say, "Can I also be fulfilled? Can I also become the world's greatest percussionist or can I also become the world's greatest cellist?"
If you had love for your Master, would Puerto Rico have so few Centres? Your love for the Supreme in me is the expansion of the Puerto Rican consciousness. The more you love the Supreme in me, the more your own reality and divinity will be able to expand, not only in your own life, but also in the entire consciousness of Puerto Rico. The more you increase your love for the Supreme in me, for the Supreme in yourselves, the sooner Puerto Rico will become as strong as hundreds of elephants. You will say, "I love my Guru." But then see the extent of your love. In Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and other places, it is their love-power that has expanded. Puerto Rico is the place that I chose first. You become tired before you start your journey, and they do not become tired even when their journey is completed. They are carrying my message of the ever-transcending Beyond.
My Puerto Rican children will say, "Oh, it is because of the Puerto Rican heat that our Centres are not growing." But inner heat is infinitely more powerful than the outer Puerto Rican heat. When the inner heat, the burning cry for God, comes forward, the outer Puerto Rican heat is nothing in comparison. India has produced so many sages, saints, spiritual Masters and Avatars. Is India the coldest country on earth? These spiritual figures became great because their inner heat was much stronger than the outer heat. India produced Sri Krishna, Lord Buddha, Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo and many other great spiritual figures because of the inner heat. Like that, your inner heat also has to become most powerful.
Question: Sometimes I reach a state in meditation where I would like to go beyond. How can I conquer the fear of reaching something higher, something unknown?1Sri Chinmoy: Once you enter into the spiritual life, you have to feel that there is a force that is high, higher, highest, or at least try to remember that this higher force exists. Spirituality means union with a higher force which is infinitely higher than our present physical strength, vital strength or mental strength. If you have fear, then you cannot achieve anything. Again, if you do not have fear, you can achieve everything.
If your own brother, instead of being thin, becomes very stout and strong like a boxer, you will not be afraid of him because he is your brother. If somebody else who is very powerful and in a very aggressive consciousness comes and stands right in front of you, you are going to get frightened because that fellow is unknown to you. But if you have faith in your inner life, that faith can accomplish everything. In the Ramayana, Hanuman wrote down Rama's name for somebody else so that that person could walk across the river. That fellow started with faith, but then out of curiosity he opened up the paper and saw that only the word "Rama" was written there. He said, "What is this?" Then he drowned. If he had had faith in Rama's name, the way for a few minutes he had faith in what Hanuman had written, he could have continued across safely.
We fear the unknown only when we do not believe that a higher force is protecting us. With occult power you can go outside your body with your soul. It is very easy to imagine — "Ah, if I can go outside the body, it will be great fun! I will be able to see all the higher worlds." But when you actually see your own soul coming out of the body, like a bird flying out of its cage, you may say, "Oh my God! The bird has gone out! Perhaps it will not be able to come back any more." Sometimes if the soul-bird goes out of the body-cage, the owner gets panicky. In the occult world you have to go beyond the body. If you want to practise occultism, the very first thing is to go out, out into the unknown. So occult power and fear never go together.
While the soul is going out of the body, if you have faith that a higher force is guiding you, protecting you and taking care of you, then there is no such thing as fear. Always have faith, faith, faith. If you have faith, you are bound to be protected. Your faith is infinitely, infinitely stronger than the fear that you are either creating for yourself or encountering in your imagination. So always have more faith in yourself, more faith in your spirituality, more faith in God and more faith in your Master. Then the unknown cannot remain unknown. It is unknown for the time being, but the unknown does not remain forever unknown. A child gets frightened when he sees that his elder brother is reading a huge book, while he is only studying the alphabet. He says, "My God! How will I ever read such a huge book?" Then he studies for a few years and there comes a time when he is able to read the book that frightened him.
There is also another way you can use your faith to overcome your fear of the unknown. If you see that somebody is very undivine, try to bring forward your faith and see immediately your own divinity or his divinity. There is not a single person who does not have inherent divinity. If somebody is very bad, simply try to see the divine inside him. When you see the divine inside him, immediately his divinity comes to the fore and his outer animal propensity disappears. Always have faith in the divine. Your faith is infinitely stronger than imaginary fear or any other kind of fear that you are encountering in the spiritual life.
SCA 882. Sri Chinmoy answered this question in Curitiba, Brazil on 1 January 2000.↩