Sri Chinmoy answers, part 28

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Part I

SCA 926-939. On 26 May 1990, Sri Chinmoy met with Dr. Felix Kuznetsov of the Gorky Institute, Moscow, at Annam Brahma Restaurant in Jamaica, New York. These are some excerpts from their conversation.

Dr. Kuznetsov: In the old days the monks used to pray and meditate, and they would get occult powers. But they did not actually care for the powers as such. They cared only to please God with their prayers and meditations.

Sri Chinmoy: In our case also, we want to have what God is, not what God has. With our prayers we try to make God happy and to please God the Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient. We do not ask God, "Give me this power or that power." But if we please God, we will get everything that He has in the same way that a child, when he grows up, will get everything that his father has.

Today a child may beg his father, "Give me five dollars or ten dollars." Tomorrow he may say, "Give me a house; give me a car!" The father may give whatever the child asks for, although he has infinitely more wealth. Similarly, God may give us what we pray for, whether it is occult power or something else. But God will say, "You are such a fool! You are asking merely for occult power, whereas I am able to give you the whole world, the entire universe."

If we can please God the Father, then He gives us everything that we need. On the other hand, when we ask Him for something in particular, He can give that very thing, but it may only create problems for us. The best thing is to tell God, "Give me only what is best for me." Then God will do what He feels is best for us. He will not give us anything that is harmful. Occult power is something that can easily create problems for us.

In Russia, people who have been praying to God have not usually cared for power as such, although power may have come automatically. There has never been a decade when there was no prayer-life in the Russian villages. Elderly village women have always prayed with their utmost love and devotion. They prayed only to love and please God, and not to get God's Power.

Dr. Kuznetsov: In many religions, people try to make their bodies suffer. They believe in the suffering of the body. In Christianity, for example, at times you have to abstain from food. In some religions, monks withdraw from life. According to my understanding, these people who are trying to make their bodies suffer feel they will increase their meditation capacity this way.

Sri Chinmoy: Some people are torturing themselves to please God. I am not at all in favour of this approach. Suppose, at this moment, I am asking you to play the role of God, and I am telling you that I love you and I want to come to you. Now, shall I cut my head or arms or legs to prove to you how much I love you? No! On the contrary, I shall run towards you as fast as possible. Then, either I shall sit at your feet or I shall embrace you because I love you. If I take you as someone who is infinitely higher and better than I am, then I will go and sit at your feet. And if I take you as my dearest friend, my oneness-friend, then I will embrace you. If I cut or injure myself to prove how much I love you, you will only feel sorry for me. I must run towards you as fast as possible to prove how much I love you.

This body is a temple, and inside the temple is a shrine, which is our love for God. If we destroy the temple, then the shrine will also be ruined. So we should keep the body fit instead of torturing the body. Some people do not want to eat for two or three weeks at a time. Now, some snakes eat only twice a year. In which way are these snakes better than human beings who eat two or three times a day? Of course, you and I and all human beings are higher than these snakes. We have to use our wisdom.

When Lord Buddha sat at the foot of a tree for his enlightenment, at first he said, "I am not going to eat anything." Then, when he began losing the faculties of his body, he started eating again in a normal way. Sri Ramakrishna ate three meals a day. While loving God with our body, vital, mind, heart and soul, we have to be normal. If we go to extremes and do not eat at all in order to please God, we are only torturing the body. If I love you and you also love me, will you be happy if I am suffering physically?

The child loves the mother, and the mother loves the child. Will the mother be happy if the child stops eating and ruins his whole body to prove how much he loves her? If he says, "Mother, see how much I love you; that is why I have destroyed my health," the mother will feel miserable. She will say, "If you love me, then come to me as quickly as possible." So it is advisable to follow the path of moderation and not the path of austerity. We should eat to keep our senses intact and our body in perfect condition.

There are countless people on earth who are poverty-stricken and do not get regular meals. Have all the poor people become spiritual? Have they all realised God? No! Here is the proof that if we do not eat, we are not necessarily closer to God.

Let us lead a normal life and not go to extremes. We will not be greedy, voracious eaters, nor will we lead austere lives and negate food. We have to keep the body-temple in very good condition so we will be able to worship at the shrine and please God.

Dr. Kuznetsov: What is the connection between your outer strength and your inner prayer and meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: I have been praying and meditating consciously for many, many years, not only in this life, but also in my previous incarnations. For me, previous incarnations are like different rooms of the same house. Each time I take human birth, I know of my previous incarnations, or the room where I previously stayed. For centuries I have prayed and meditated. By praying and meditating I have pleased both God the Creator and God the creation. In my case, God the Creator and God the creation, or you can say inner power and outer strength, have become one.

If we pray and meditate, the inner life and the outer life go together, and inside our thoughts and actions there is always power. We cannot separate the inner and the outer. As there cannot be a tree without roots under the ground, so also inner power and outer strength go together. If there is a seed under the ground, in a few months or so it will germinate and become a plant. Then the plant will grow, and finally it will become a huge banyan tree. Before I was like a seed under the ground. Then I became a plant. Now I am like a tree.

To come back to your question, whatever inner and outer power you see in me is only God's Compassion raining down on me. If we want the sunlight to enter into our room, we have to keep our doors and windows all wide open. In the same way we have to keep our inner doors and windows open. Then the power or light from Above will enter into us. Again, if we want to keep the sunlight out of our house, we can do so. In my case, it is like the divine sun-power entering into my body-room. The outer strength, which is inside my body, and the inner power, which is coming from Above, have become one.

Dr. Kuznetsov: There was a great person named Roerich who travelled to India and Tibet. When I went to his estate, there was a picture of his wife on the wall. She was the daughter of a famous Russian general. She meditated extremely well, and she was a person of great inner strength. I was totally surprised that in the picture there was a light around her head.

Sri Chinmoy: It is called an aura.

Dr. Kuznetsov:: I also know that artists draw auras around the heads of saints. The energy was so strong in the case of Roerich's wife that even in a photograph one could see the light around her head. Do you believe in certain biological energies which are connected with the spiritual forces?

Sri Chinmoy: The physical or biological power and the spiritual power can go together. But if we see light or an aura around somebody's head, this is definitely spiritual light. It is not radiating on the physical plane; it is something spiritual. Each person has an aura. Some people have one, some people have two, some people have many. As you practise the spiritual life, you get many, many auras.

Similarly, each of us has an inner sun. Sri Ramakrishna saw one inner sun in Keshab Sen, a sage from Bengal, but in Swami Vivekananda he saw eighteen inner suns. Spiritual people who are very highly advanced or who are spiritual Masters have much more light around their heads than ordinary people. But it is not from the physical that this light or aura is coming. It is coming from beyond the physical.

Dr. Kuznetsov: Because you are a very wise person, I would like to ask your permission to call you 'Swami'.

Sri Chinmoy: I am only a God-lover and God-server named Chinmoy. In India, instead of saying 'Mr.', we say 'Sri', which means 'beauty' as well as some other divine qualities. Again, those who have realised the Highest, who have discovered their true inner existence, are also known as 'Sri', such as Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo, Sri Chaitanya and Sri Krishna. A Guru is one who is a teacher, one who illumines the ignorance of the students. In English we use the term 'teacher' or 'professor', but in Sanskrit and Bengali, the one who illumines the ignorance-night of the students is called the Guru. A Guru is addressed as 'Sri'.

My students call me Guru, and my friends and dear ones who have genuine respect and love for me call me Sri Chinmoy. Again, my Indian friends and colleagues and others with whom I was brought up simply call me Chinmoy.

'Swami' has three ordinary meanings: lord, husband or head of a family. Again, in spiritual terms, one who has renounced the world is also a swami. In my case, my path is the way of acceptance and not renunciation. My students and I have accepted life as such, and we are trying to become good citizens of the world so that we can make life better for all. I do not feel that I fall into the category of a swami. I inwardly feel that what I am is a God-lover and a God-server. These are my credentials.

Dr. Kuznetsov: So you accept both the spiritual world and the material world?

Sri Chinmoy: God has two aspects. He is God the Creator and He is also God the creation. We are all God the creation, and God the Creator is above us and inside us, inside our heart, inside our soul. Either we try to bring down God the Creator from Above into God the creation, or we try to bring to the fore God the Creator from within.

Dr. Kuznetsov: There is a legend that Sri Ramakrishna was connected with Russia.

Sri Chinmoy: There is a legend and there is also one very special picture of Sri Ramakrishna that is connected with Russia. We have thousands and thousands of pictures because we live in the West. But in poor Bengal, at that time, Sri Ramakrishna did not have many pictures. Once he was asked, "Where are you going to take birth in your next incarnation?" He simply pointed to a particular spot on the map, and that spot was Russia. A photograph was taken and it became one of his most famous spiritual pictures. He entered into his highest consciousness and pointed out a particular part of the world, and definitely it was Russia.

Dr. Kuznetsov: I know that story. This is a great thought. If we understand this thought in a general sense, it will give hope for the rebirth of Russia.

Sri Chinmoy: Russia is like a flower, a beautiful flower full of fragrance. For a number of years, the flower was unable to offer its beauty and fragrance because of man's mind-made rules. Some Russians made rules which came from the mind, not from the heart.

It is not at all true that Russians did not believe in God and now suddenly Russians do believe in God. Because of certain individuals and certain political pressures, the power of the mind tried to dominate the heart. At that time the poor heart, which is the direct link with God, with the Divine, could not come to the fore. For quite a few years the heart-power surrendered to the mind's doubt-power, suspicion-power and destruction-power.

Now the heart-power has again come forward, and the mind-power, which is full of doubt and other negative forces, has surrendered. Russia the flower, Russia the soul, is coming to the fore. Now that Russia is fully awakened spiritually, the entire world will derive tremendous blessings and be able to make very, very fast progress.

Dr. Kuznetsov: I feel that Russia has suffered more than any of the other countries in the world. And yet Russia was never a country that did not believe in God. Russia was a country that always believed in higher things.

Sri Chinmoy: I fully agree with you. We will be making a mistake if we try to separate higher principles from God. As we have said, God the creation and God the Creator cannot be separated. So in your Russian consciousness you did not use the term 'God'. But you did believe in higher principles, higher realities, higher worlds — a life higher than the ordinary. It is not necessary to use the word 'God'. You wanted to be better human beings. You wanted to become good. Goodness itself is God. You wanted to grow into something higher. That height is nothing but God.

In English we use the word 'God'. In Bengali we use the word bhagaban. In Russian you use something else. But we cannot separate the qualities from the subject. You touch water and you feel the essence of water. The consciousness of water enters into you. You do not have to use the term 'water'. It is one thing to talk about water and another thing to touch water and feel the essence.

In Russia you wanted to experience God by touching God-consciousness. Kindness, purity, simplicity, self-giving — all these things Russia does have. Are they not God's attributes? We cannot separate the attributes from the One who embodies them.

Good qualities are like the fragrance of a flower. The flower is offering its fragrance, which embodies kindness, goodness, compassion and aspiration. How can you separate the fragrance from the flower? We may call it a flower; you may call it fragrance. But we know that the fragrance and the flower must go together. If there is a flower, then there is fragrance. If there is fragrance, then there is a flower.

Dr. Kuznetsov: The ideas of Sri Ramakrishna are great because they bring together all religions.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, Sri Ramakrishna talked about the synthesis of all religions. He said that Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and all other religions are one, like the petals of a flower. A flower does not have only one petal. When it has four or five petals, then it becomes a flower. Or you can use the image of a tree. There is only one life-tree with many branches. Each branch is known as a particular way of life — Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam or Judaism.

I also say that each religion is like a house. You live in your house and I live in my house, but we have a common meeting place to talk about God and truth, to have our heart-to-heart discussions about our spiritual life. We discuss how I can be a better person, how you can be a better person and so on. By discussing these things, we try to bring forward our own good qualities. Good qualities do not belong only to one individual. They belong to everyone. But sometimes a particular person is anxious to bring them forward quickly, whereas another person may be prepared to take a longer time. In a race, somebody may want to run fast and win the race. Another person may feel that as long as he can cover the distance, he will be happy.

I was born a Hindu. Someone else was born into another religion. Then gradually we come to accept God as our own and go beyond religion. We come to feel that love of God is the only true religion. That feeling comes from the synthesis of all religions that Sri Ramakrishna spoke of. Similarly, first we have to have a national feeling. We say "I am Indian" or "I am Russian." Then we have to cultivate international feelings, since our highest goal is to become one with the universe. At that time you are not only a Russian and I am not only an Indian. We are also cosmopolitan.

Dr. Kuznetsov: How do you feel about occult power?

Sri Chinmoy: Occult power is like the waves of the ocean, whereas spiritual power is like the ocean itself. As soon as some people see waves, they pay attention only to the waves and not to the vast sea. But they will get real joy only when they become one with the ocean itself, which is infinitely more powerful than a few waves here and there.

When we pray and meditate, we want to identify with the ocean and not with the waves. When Sri Ramakrishna prayed and meditated, he did not care for occult power at all. But if we become one with the ocean, then automatically we become one with the waves as well. If we acquire spiritual power, then occult power will be there as well. But spiritual power is infinitely more powerful and illumining in a seeker's life. If we want to go from one country to another by boat, we have to cross the whole ocean, not just a few waves. So in our prayer and meditation, we should not ask for occult power. We should ask for love, so that with our love we can become one with the Highest.

Dr. Kuznetsov: Your teaching of love is extremely important for Russia.

Sri Chinmoy: When we love God, we are all young. When we love our good qualities, we are all young. But when we do not pay any attention to our inner good qualities, we are all old.

Dr. Kuznetsov: These are beautiful words. Thank you very much for answering these questions. It is very important to me.

Sri Chinmoy: Thank you. Giving and receiving go together. You are so receptive. When there is receptivity in others, we can offer something.

Part II

SCA 940-944. Excerpts from an interview with Pravda which took place at Aspiration-Ground on 10 June 1990. Dr. Felix Kuznetsov and his wife were also present on that occasion.

Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart

Sri Chinmoy first lifts the reporter overhead as part of his Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart programme. Before the lift, the singers sing the song Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart.

Reporter [while standing on the lifting platform]: This is like going to paradise, with the angels singing.

Sri Chinmoy [after lifting the reporter once]: I would like to lift you once more. You are our sister-friend from the Soviet Union, whereas I am from India. India and the Soviet Union are extremely, extremely good friends. Therefore, I would like to lift you a second time. The first time I lifted you, I offered my love and gratitude to the Soviet Union. Now when I lift you, I shall be offering my love and gratitude to the soul of India. May the soul of the Soviet Union and the soul of India forever and forever enjoy their unique friendship and eternal oneness.

Reporter [after descending from the lifting platform]: Thank you! It was great!

Reporter: What is your message to the world and possibly to the young people of our country? What is the essence of your credo?

Sri Chinmoy: My message is very simple. We all must try to become better citizens of the world. Now let us say at the present time we are good — you are good, I am good, he is good, she is good. But even though we are good, we feel that we can become better and best. As we make progress in this way, we get more joy and more satisfaction in our lives.

Our goal is to have a peaceful feeling in ourselves. First we have to establish peace within ourselves, and only then can we try to offer peace to others. If I feel peaceful, then I shall not find fault with you or quarrel with you. If you feel peaceful, then you will not quarrel with me or with somebody else. So if I can find inner peace within myself and if you can find peace within yourself, then that peace will grow in the world like a flower, petal by petal. Each country in the world is a beautiful petal on the flower of oneness. The Soviet Union is a petal. India is a petal. America is a petal. Each petal has to contribute its beauty and fragrance to the flower as a whole. Only then can they form a most beautiful oneness-flower, which the whole world will be able to appreciate and admire.

So my message is that each country has to come to the fore with its inner message of love and feeling of oneness.

Reporter: Through what means can a person establish peace of mind and peace in the world? Is it through meditation or through doing good things or through a better way of living?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the individual. Some people may try to establish peace on the strength of their prayer and meditation, while others will try to establish peace on the strength of their dedicated selfless service, by working to make the world a better place. A third person may combine both — a life of prayer and a life of service.

Dr. Felix Kuznetsov: We would like to offer you gratitude for your heart's welcome to us. Through us, you are welcoming our whole country — all the Soviet people. We feel that it is coming from your heart. Meeting with you has been one of the most important events in our visit to America.

Sri Chinmoy: We belong to one big family. When a family is big, a few members of the family go out of the house and live elsewhere. They live in different places, but they still have the same parents, the same brothers, the same sisters. Similarly, God's creation is one family. Some members are living in the Soviet Union, others are living in America and still others are living in India, Canada and different parts of the world. But we are all God's children, and we are all brothers and sisters. Our goal is the same; our destination is the same: universal oneness and peace.

When we pray and meditate, we live in the heart and we come to realise our oneness with one another. If we do not pray and meditate, we live in the mind, where everything is division. If we live in the mind, we find that even in our own being there is division. Our mind wants us to do one thing and our vital wants us to do something else. Therefore we can never have satisfaction. But if we live in the heart, all the parts of our being work together. Let us live always in the heart. The little brothers and big brothers have to go together. The rich countries and the poor countries have to go together, for we are all one.

Mrs. Kuznetsov: We are all one. We hope that our children will be friends with each other and that there will be no borders. We would like to come to visit our friends without any effort.

Dr. Kuznetsov: I would also like to say that you have most incredible eyes. Your eyes are like burning lava, like flowing volcanic lava. It is an incredible force, which is also very kind. You are sending a welcome to us with your eyes.

Sri Chinmoy: It is your oneness-heart that is speaking. You feel in me what you yourself are deep within. You have a most beautiful jewel inside you, locked deep within yourself. But you have misplaced the key, and now you are searching for it. My job is only to show you where you have kept the jewel and to help you find the key. Once you have found the key, the treasure inside will be all yours. It is your jewel, your soul.

Part III

SCA 945-946. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in Huntington, New York on 20 July 1999.

Question: Where does a person go when he dies?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on how the individual spent his life on earth. Each soul has a place of its own in the soul's world. According to the growth of the soul, the soul will go to a particular place in the soul's world. There is no hard and fast rule that all human beings, when they pass beyond the curtain of Eternity, will go and stay together. The Supreme alone decides where each soul will go after it leaves the body.

Question: Was it John Kennedy's time to die, or are there accidents?

Sri Chinmoy: One thing is to die with God's approval. Another thing is to die with God's tolerance, and a third thing is to die by accidental death. These accidental deaths are caused by hostile forces. There are many who are not destined to die, but some hostile forces attack them either directly or through other individuals who are on earth, such as through assassination. God can approve of someone's death — at the age of eighty, someone may die a natural death. At the same time, some extremely powerful hostile forces can snatch away someone's life at an early age for some reason that we may not be able to know. There is no hard and fast rule as to whether the Supreme sanctions someone's death or not. Only this much I can say: hostile forces do exist. We cannot say that all of the deaths that are occurring are fully and gladly approved by God.

Part IV

On the Olympics1

The very word Olympics is, for me, a magnificent thrill, absolutely a universal thrill, and it raises the consciousness of humanity in the inner world. True, in the outer world we may notice some wrong forces, but in the inner world the Olympics is a great opportunity for the upliftment of human consciousness.

This world is full of sadness, sorrows, frustrations and depression, and so many unfriendly, hostile things happen. But in the Olympics at least we get the opportunity to meet together for a few weeks and create a oneness-world-family. Alas, afterwards we go back to our animal life.


  1. SCA 947. Sri Chinmoy made these comments about the Olympics on 29 September 1999.

Part V

SCA 948-953. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in New York on 25 November 1999.

Question: At your New Millennium Peace Concert in Central Park, it felt like you were heralding a consciousness that was completely different than what we know of on this earth. When you are offering these New Millennium Peace Concerts, what is the consciousness that you are bringing in?

Sri Chinmoy: I want to uproot the old tree, the ancient tree, which is now absolutely rotten and fossilised. I am trying to have a totally new tree. If the old tree exists and beside the old tree you plant a new tree, that new tree also will be affected. That is why I want to uproot the whole tree and throw it away.

Question: Is there any quality that will be most important for us to develop for the New Millennium?

Sri Chinmoy: In the New Millennium, we have to be sincere, not only to God but to ourselves. Not only this past year, but year after year after year, we have not been sincere to God; we have not been sincere to ourselves. If we cannot be sincere to ourselves, then it is like a stupid fellow who steals something and then ten times he tells himself that he has not stolen anything. He knows he has stolen something, but by saying ten times, "I have not stolen, I have not stolen," he convinces his mind that he has not. If he is sincere with himself and admits that he has stolen, then he will not steal any more.

In the New Millennium, people will make the fastest progress if they are sincere to themselves and to God. Sometimes people are sincere, but they are not sincere to God. I have done something wrong and I know I have done it, but I do not have the courage to tell God, "God, I have done something wrong."

Yesterday I was reading an Indian joke. One fellow went to a priest for confession. The fellow said, "I threw peanuts into the river."

The priest said, "It is a mild crime."

Another fellow went to the same confession box and said, "I threw peanuts into the river."

The priest again said, "Your crime is not a serious crime."

A third and fourth person came and confessed the same thing, and the priest told them the crime was not serious.

Finally a little boy came to the priest. The priest said to him, "What? Do you also have the same confession — you threw peanuts into the river?"

He said, "No! I have not thrown peanuts. I am Peanuts!"

Previously I did not give any value to the Christian way of confession, but now I see that this practice has its own value. If people cannot illumine their mind and purify their heart on the strength of their aspiration, then it is better to make a confession. Then they feel that somebody else is there to help them. When they make a confession, they have faith that the priest will do something to help them. If you can solve your own problems by praying and meditating for God's Forgiveness, that is best. But if you cannot, if you are again and again suffering and suffering for the mistakes that you make, then the best thing is to tell someone such as a priest. Let him also take a share of your suffering and let him pray for you. If he is a good person, he will pray for your illumination.

Question: This New Millennium is accompanied by so much hope, but I have two fears. The first fear is that I will remain unchanged, and the second fear is that the Supreme will get tired of constantly coming to my rescue. Are these fears justifiable?

Sri Chinmoy: Instead of justifying your fear, you have to conquer it. There are two ways of conquering fear. One way is to feel that at any moment you will be strangled by hostile forces. Then you will remain alert. You will always remain inside the citadel, inside the fort, where you will be absolutely well protected.

The other way of conquering fear is to imagine or feel how much strength fear itself has. Fear is a power. You have to feel how much strength this fear-power has. Then you will pray to the Supreme, "Please give me infinitely more power than the power that this fear embodies." Then the Supreme will give you infinitely more power than the power that is embodied in fear.

You have to challenge fear. Otherwise, there is every possibility that one day you will be tempted to come out of the fort to see whether fear is really strong or whether it is your imagination. When people are well protected inside, sometimes they go outside because of temptation. They want to see how beautiful it is, who is waiting for them, who is looking at them and so on. But if you come out and challenge the fear, then not only at home, but even in the street you can be fearless.

Question: What gave you the most joy during your weightlifting anniversary performance recently?

Sri Chinmoy: What gave me the most joy? Mahasamrat's smile. I mean it! Nobody smiles like Mahasamrat. Mahasamrat's smile gave me the utmost joy and strength. When I lifted 600 pounds, 300 with both arms, and he said, "Guru, you have done it!" he gave me the strength, joy and satisfaction of ten elephants. When I lifted the dumbbells, I looked at Mahasamrat, and his smile gave me the utmost satisfaction — that smile of infinite affection, love and confidence.

Question: I have always been very impressed by the glow on Mahasamrat's face. Is it physical or spiritual?

Sri Chinmoy: It is spiritual. He is a giant, not only physically but spiritually. His name, Mahasamrat, means 'emperor sovereign'. He is not only extremely strong physically, the 'Best Built Man of the Twentieth Century'. Spiritually also, he is very powerful, very strong. People who are very strong spiritually will immediately recognise me spiritually. People who are not spiritually strong will not recognise me the way he has recognised me. As soon as he saw me, he saw my aura. And when I first heard his name in Japan, even though I had never heard about him before — at that time bodybuilding was not my line — the very name 'Bill Pearl' was ringing and ringing inside my heart for hours and days because he is inwardly very strong, a spiritual giant. Both in his inner life and in his outer life, he is a giant.

Question: What is the best way to make progress through pain and sickness? I am sick so often.

Sri Chinmoy: The best results you will get when you feel that you are not the one suffering. Feel that Somebody who loves you so much is suffering in and through you. That is the best way for you to make the fastest progress. God loves you so much. He loves you infinitely more than you love yourself, but He wants to have an experience in and through you, which you are calling pain. You are suffering, suffering, suffering. You have to feel that Somebody loves you so much, and He feels that this is the best way for you to make progress.

You are not invoking or inviting the pain, the suffering and all the ailments that you so often get. You are not inviting them and you are not enjoying them. Some people enjoy getting an ailment so that they do not have to go to work. When they have a headache or a stomach upset, they intensify it. If they have a headache, they make it into a migraine headache. By putting force into a silly headache, they can justify to themselves that they do not have to go to work. First they magnify their pain and then they justify why they do not have to do this or that.

In your case, you have to feel that this is a very special experience. You are praying to God for His Fulfilment. You are praying for God's Victory, the Supreme's Victory, your Guru's victory. That you have to continue to do. Even while you are suffering, you have to do this, not only while you are physically all right. You will pray always for God's Victory, the Supreme's Victory, my victory. If you can continue with this prayer, then only will you have the true sense that your suffering is for a special purpose. If you are for God's Victory all the time, then only will you feel that for a special purpose God Himself is having this physical pain in and through you.

When you are suffering, you should not say, "God does not want me to work for Him. That is why He is giving me this pain. God wants somebody else to make the fastest progress. God has given me this pain so that I cannot make progress." The human mind will think this way, but the heart will say, "God loves my physical body infinitely more than I can ever love my body, but He Himself is having an experience in and through me which I do not understand and I do not have to understand." Then you can make the fastest progress.

Part VI

SCA 954-961. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in Curitiba, Brazil on 27 December 1999.

Question: Could you please say something about Sahadeva from the Mahabharata?

Sri Chinmoy: Sahadeva of the Mahabharata was a palmist. He had occult power also to some extent. He was not an excellent archer, but he was very, very wise. Both of the twins, Sahadeva and Nakula, were very close to Arjuna. Being the youngest brother, Sahadeva received utmost affection from their mother, Kunti. Nakula was very, very beautiful, and Sahadeva was extremely wise.

When Draupadi was humiliated by the Kauravas, Sahadeva was the first one who wanted to fight and defend her honour. He was extremely fond of Draupadi, so he wanted to fight and destroy the Kauravas. Arjuna, Bhima and Nakula were unwilling to disobey Yudhishthira, but Sahadeva came forward. He wanted to destroy the Kauravas.

All the brothers cherished Sahadeva because he was the youngest. When they were in exile in the forest, their mother Kunti suffered so much for Sahadeva because he was her youngest son.

One personal experience of mine I can relate. In this life I am very fond of Arjuna. When I was five years old, I was supposed to play the role of Sahadeva in a play. At our stage rehearsal I had such trouble. The organisers forced me to wear a dhoti wrapped like a girl's sari. It was too much for me. I was crying and crying, "Why do I have to wear a sari?" The following day, during the performance, I had only one line to say. On the stage I completely forgot the line. Nervousness attacked me ruthlessly. I was supposed to say that line to Arjuna. Arjuna prompted me to say the line, but still nothing was coming out. This was how I performed Sahadeva's part. That was my five-year-old experience. The director was my cousin, who was extremely fond of me.

Question: If you have a sports injury, for example, a calf injury, is there any way to inwardly heal it totally?

Sri Chinmoy: Everything has to depend on prayer and meditation. Again, outer therapy is also of supreme need. Then, if you can take minor stretching exercises to strengthen the calf, it may help. But if the exercises create more pain for you, then I advise you to go to a therapist. Of course, the most important thing is the inner prayer. But it is like a boxer using two hands. With one hand you cannot do everything. God created medical science. You should take as much help from medical science as possible, and at the same time you have to think of our spiritual science, which is prayer and meditation. They have to go side by side. First, of course, since we are spiritual people, we have to give preference to the aspiration-aspect of life, and at the same time we have to give considerable importance to medical science. God is also operating in and through medical science.

Question: Does the New Millennium mean something for everybody on earth or just for those who are using a particular calendar?

Sri Chinmoy: The New Millennium is meant for everybody. When the light descends, it is like the morning sun, it is for everybody. No matter how bad we are, no matter how good we are, we receive the same light. The sun is for everybody, irrespective of our character. But then comes the question of our receptivity. Some will get up early in the morning, look at the rising sun and pray and meditate. Naturally they will get much more benefit, while others will enjoy their sleep. Again, there will be people who will be praying or doing things, but without caring for the sun's arrival.

Similarly, when the New Millennium starts, it is bringing new hope, new promise. But we have to know how wide we can keep our heart's door open to the light. The light is descending, but we have to cultivate receptivity. According to our receptivity, we are going to receive blessings from the New Millennium. Exactly like the sun, it is for all. But if one country or one individual is more receptive than the rest, then naturally that country or that person will receive much more.

Newness is definitely going to descend from Above with the arrival of the New Millennium. But it may be difficult to separate the oldness from the newness because we are so tied to our oldness. When newness appears, we may not value it. Since we are not familiar with it, we may take it as something very strange and we may not take as much help as we should from the newness.

Again, the calendar will say that the New Millennium is not in the year 2000; it is in the following year, 2001. But for me, the New Millennium has already started. The New Year's Message that I gave is not only for the year 2000. It applies to the following year as well, or even to quite a few more years. This time God's Hour has seriously struck. Sometimes in a theatre, a bell rings to indicate the end of the intermission. After three minutes it rings again, and after that nobody is allowed to come inside. In our spiritual life also, the warning may come once and then it may come again. But at times there is no second warning. Therefore, as soon as the first warning comes, we have to wake up. We must not wait for the second warning to arrive. We must wake up and run, run, run. We must run to the class to study.

Question: The other night you spoke about our plays that we perform for entertainment here on the Christmas trip. What can we do in our plays to please you more?

Sri Chinmoy: What do I know about this kind of thing? Most of the time I do not even understand your English. How fast you speak! The only thing I can say is that sometimes when you are performing, it is not strictly spiritual. If it is innocent, then you are safe. But sometimes when you sing or do things, I see that from the very, very strict spiritual point of view, you are touching the unaspiring vital. Of all the parts of the being, the vital is the one that you have to be so careful of. The mind is the worst, true. But the vital is right below the navel, and a few inches above it is the heart. The vital quite often tries to steal the wealth of the heart. The vital is a thief, but it pretends to be a saint. It has two aspects: a dynamic aspect and an aggressive aspect. Unfortunately, we human beings do not know how to differentiate between them. Sometimes when you think that you are being very dynamic, you are not being dynamic at all. It is aggression. When there is dynamism, there is bound to be light, inner light. When there is aggression, there is no light. It is all darkness. It is as if ten elephants are fighting somewhere.

The other day some of our girl singers were imitating famous singers. They know they can enter into that consciousness, but once they enter into the consciousness of those famous singers, perhaps it will take a long time for them to come back to their own original consciousness. Again, who knows? I enjoy innocent skits, but on that day the songs were not so appropriate.

You are all so talented. I sincerely mean it. But when you touch the border of the vital, it is not helpful to your spiritual life. The vital is a very dangerous place, and at the same time its territory is very wide, unlimited. It is so vast, like the ocean. If you touch water, whether it is here or one thousand miles away, you will get the vibration or consciousness of water.

On the twenty-fourth of December, Christmas eve, when the Germans were singing with such simplicity, soulfulness and tenderness, I invoked the Saviour Christ. Everything can be done either in a mechanical way or in an ultra-modern fashion or in a simpler than the simplest way. Jesus Christ was simplicity incarnate. He was a carpenter's son. How simple, how humble he was! He was always giving us the message of simplicity and humility. Simplicity and humility cannot be separated. On that occasion, the German singers proved that you can sing these carols in a very simple way, without vital exuberance.

Most of the time when the boys' aphorism group performs, whether others get benefit or not, I get benefit, because that is my life — this devotional way that they perform most of the time. If people are sincerely watching and not making fun, they receive so much. When that particular group performs in New York, how much devotion they generate and how much disciples who are sincere seekers can benefit. I have written so many stories and plays where devotion can be expressed.

Three things I like. The first is devotion, which is the fastest speed. Then comes surrender, which carries you to your goal. Then this devotion and surrender need a foundation. That foundation is obedience. If there is no foundation, there can be no superstructure. Again and again I am saying, never take the word 'obedience' lightly. If your Master asks you to bring him a glass of water, immediately you have to bring him water. Immediately if you do not bring it, what will happen? Your mind will say, "Oh, he has told me to bring him a glass of water. Let me see if there is a beautiful flower. After all, he is a spiritual man, and my devotion will increase if I give him a beautiful flower. Silly water is not going to increase my devotion."

You can say that your today's disobedience is very minor, negligible, but I am seeing that if disobedience starts today, then you will get the results after thirty or forty or fifty years. Even before you joined the path, your inner being often told you to do something or not to do something. Before I came into your life, you did exist. Tomorrow when I kick the bucket, you will still exist. This matter is between you and your inner guide. At the age of five if you realised that something was wrong, you cannot say that just because for twenty or twenty-five years you have been doing the same wrong thing, that means it is not wrong. Unfortunately, this is what happens. At the age of five we started doing something wrong, and then at the age of forty we say, "I have been doing it all along, so it cannot be wrong." But no, this wrong force is only increasing and increasing in strength and power. Then when you are forty-five or fifty years old, it may act like a volcano.

Most of you joined the path at the age of seventeen, eighteen or twenty. But you have to know how many things you did contrary to your conscience prior to that. Just because you have now entered into the spiritual life, those things are not nullified. It is not automatic. For that you have to pray and meditate, meditate, meditate. You have to gain peace, light and bliss. Then only will you be purified.

If you just forget about all the wrong things that you have been doing for thirty or forty years, is it not going to tell upon your health or do something destructive in your life? Perhaps the hour has not yet struck. Perhaps the hour will strike when you are sixty years old. Let us say you started smoking at the age of ten. Then you go on doing it for twenty or thirty years, thinking that nothing is happening. When you are sixty, you will get the results of your smoking in the form of serious health problems. For forty or fifty years you may not be affected. But when you are sixty, you will see what has happened because you have been smoking for so many years. This happens in the spiritual life also. Once we know that something is harmful to our spiritual life, then we must not do it.

The difficulty is that once you have been on the path for many years, all the things that you wanted to conquer — jealousy, insecurity, impurity — if you have not conquered, then you feel it is impossible to conquer them. You have been fighting and fighting, but neither side is winning. Then you say, "All right, forget about it. Let ignorance win." When ignorance wins, it takes away your strength. Then you become its slave and ignorance utilises you for its own purpose. All the things that you wanted to conquer — jealousy, insecurity and all kinds of wrong forces — are forms of ignorance. First we try to come out of ignorance. But when we see that ignorance is stronger than we are, we surrender. Then ignorance gets us back and we become its soldiers. This is happening in almost all cases.

Because today we are doing something wrong and afterwards nothing happens, we think we can continue. We say, "I was a fool. I thought it was something harmful. Since nothing is happening, God's Hour did not strike." Recently I said that the Hour of God accepts no excuses. When that Hour of God will come, we do not know. The Hour of God we have forgotten about. That is why we continue doing the same wrong thing with so much confidence. We say, "I was mistaken. I thought that I was doing something wrong. If I am really doing something wrong, then how is it that I am not being punished?"

Question: You were talking about the New Millennium and how, like in the theatre if you do not go inside at the third bell, then you cannot go inside any more. So for this New Millennium, God's Hour has struck. Can you speak more about this?

Sri Chinmoy: The Hour has struck. Either you accept the divine in you or the undivine in you. They are both there. The undivine comes with such temptation. It is so beautiful, so glittering, so charming. Then you say, "How can it be undivine?" The divine, on the other hand, is very simple. So you turn towards the one that is charming and beautiful. Then afterwards you will say, "My God! This is such deception!" When Ravana came to kidnap Sita, he came as a saint. Then he showed his true form, how bad he was. When the hostile forces attack, they always come in a very charming form. We have to be so careful to dive deep within and see which forces are good and which forces are bad. Undivine forces can take a most beautiful form.

Most of you know the story of what happened when I was seventeen or eighteen years old. Usually I started meditating at seven minutes past two and continued for two or three hours. Once while I was meditating, a hostile force took the form of Lord Vishnu. It was most beautiful! It was absolutely Lord Vishnu's form. I was sitting cross-legged on my bed under a South Indian mosquito net. On my right side on the wall I saw Vishnu. How beautiful he was! For me to see Lord Vishnu was a tremendous thrill! But I had read and I also knew that when the cosmic gods or goddesses come in such an extremely beautiful form, you have to determine whether they are real or not. You have to exercise utmost purity from your central being. If your purity is less than those forms, then they are divine. But if your purity is stronger, more powerful, then they will be destroyed.

When you see a cosmic god, immediately you are supposed to touch his feet, but I did not do it. I brought forward my purity from my central being. Immediately the form of Vishnu burst. A thunderous sound it made! From across the street people came to see what had happened. Upstairs there were six or seven people, and downstairs there were people also. They all came rushing because they knew something had happened.

Question: You said that when the New Millennium comes, the newness that can help us may take a form that we may not be able to recognise.

Sri Chinmoy: Our heart will recognise it if we have purity. Purity is the judge. If one is pure, extremely pure, that person will recognise it. Purity is the x-ray machine — physical purity, vital purity, mental purity, psychic purity. Nothing can stand against purity. Some people think that purity is something silly, feminine. Some people feel that we become pure just by changing clothes. But our mind is also like a dirty, filthy dress. We have to throw it away and put on something new. Then we become pure. Purity starts always in the consciousness.

The New Millennium is coming. For me and for my disciples it has already started. This New Millennium embodies hope and promise. You have to use your adamantine will-power and at every second choose either light or night. But night can come in a very charming, fascinating form. You have to know whether it is real light or night that is tempting you. People who are really innocent will get an extra supply of divine concern and divine power. But there are many who only pretend to be innocent. Somebody may be a rogue, but he will pretend to be innocent.

The New Millennium requires utmost seriousness. Whether we take God seriously or not, God is going to take us seriously. We may think that God is like our grandfather. No. From now on He is not going to act like a grandfather. He is going to be like a strict magistrate. He will use His Justice-Light. Compassion-Power He has used, Tolerance He has used, Concern He has used. But there is another aspect of God that we have not seen.

On the one hand, Lord Shiva is full of Compassion. If you give him only one leaf, that one leaf is enough to please him. To other cosmic gods you have to bring lots of beautiful and fragrant flowers. Lord Shiva's name is Ashutosh. 'Ashu' means 'speed'. So Ashutosh is one who is quickly satisfied. Other gods can take twenty years to be pleased. But in twenty seconds you can please Lord Shiva. Again, when he is angry, when he starts his thunder, which is his destruction-dance, he destroys everything. It may take only ten seconds to please Lord Shiva, but if the same Lord Shiva is displeased for one second, he can destroy us. Then to rebuild our spiritual life-energy may take twenty years.

This is Lord Shiva. On the one hand, he is kinder than the kindest. No cosmic god can come near him in terms of compassion and gifts. He can tolerate us indefinitely. If he is pleased with us, in the twinkling of an eye he can give us the vast ocean. But if he is annoyed, then there is no mercy. That is the aspect of God which we will see in the New Millennium.

Question: There is one line in the New Year's Message that is not clear to me. It says, "Either we bind and blind the old world and retire, or we embrace the new world of the forward march." What do you mean by "bind and blind the old world"?

Sri Chinmoy: The old world blinded us and bound us. The old world tortured us, kept us in a lower than the lowest consciousness and punished us. The old world means anything unspiritual. So now if we want to have a tit-for-tat attitude, we can say, "You tortured me for so many years. Now that I am seeing the light, shall I bind you, shall I blind you, which you have been doing to me for years?"

The new world has come. The dawn of the new light has entered. Shall we go towards the light or towards the darkness that has punished us for millennia? Now the golden light has appeared right ahead of us. Shall we waste our time?

If we are wise, we will say to ignorance-night, "Forget about what you have done, whatever has happened between you and me." Ignorance-night has tortured us for centuries. Now we can bind it, we can blind it because the beckoning hand has come. Now we have so much power. Shall we waste our time destroying the one who wanted to destroy us, or shall we go and become the ocean of light, the ocean of peace, the ocean of bliss? We have to make the choice. Let us run towards Infinity's Peace, Light and Bliss.

In that line also I use the word 'retire'. It is like two boxers who strike each other mercilessly. Then they retire. It is all over. They do not want to play any more. If I have the capacity now to come out of darkness, shall I go and attack darkness? In that case, both players will have played, and they will have become exhausted. You defeated me; I defeated you. Now we are exhausted. The game is over.

Instead of that, with the new power that I have received, I can embrace the new world. I always say that with a knife we can stab someone or we can cut fruits to share with others. If somebody has stabbed me, then in return I can stab that person. But no, I will not do that. Instead of stabbing that person, I will throw away the knife.

If we are wise, then we will say, "Forget about what the old world has done to me." We are seeing that a new dawn has entered and we are not fools. We shall enter into the New Millennium — the new world of the forward march.

Question: When you scold us, how can we accept it cheerfully?

Sri Chinmoy: Recently I gave one prayer: "If You really love me, then prove it by scolding me." Even if we are not doing anything wrong, this prayer can be applicable because God knows that the next moment we may do something wrong. We may not have the vision to see it, but God does. Therefore, we can pray to God, "Please scold me. In the next moment I may do something wrong. So the best thing is if You scold me now so that I do not make that mistake."

When I scold you, seventy per cent of the disciples, if not more, do not take it properly. Outwardly they may say, "Oh, I am so grateful to you." Then they go home and say, "I have done so many good things in my life! Only one thing I have done wrong, and he is scolding me so mercilessly!" The other thirty per cent will be sincerely grateful to me because I pointed out their weakness or their shortcoming.

Recently I was scolding one of my main guards. You know how much I love him. On that day I barked at him like anything. Finally he said, "Guru, this time I am not the culprit, but I am sure I have done many, many other things wrong. Therefore I deserve your scolding." This was his divine attitude. Then, just a few days ago, another disciple did something wrong and he was challenging me. He was arguing with me face to face. There was no end to it. I was scolding him, and he was justifying his actions. But did he do the right thing? Look at the first one's divine attitude. He did not do it. Somebody else gave me the wrong information. Then he said, "I am not the culprit, but I am sure I have done many other wrong things or I am going to do something wrong." This was his divinity speaking. The other one got so angry! It is our divine attitude that will save us.

When a disciple becomes angry with me, it is the outer expression of inner arrogance. This arrogance comes when you lead an undivine, vital life. First it starts with disobedience. Then it becomes defiance. After defiance comes arrogance, insolence and betrayal. Disobedience ends only with betrayal. The whole thing starts with disobedience. Disciples who are unspiritual will argue with the Master. They will find fault with the Master. Everything that the Master is saying is not correct according to them. Those who are spiritual will not see anything wrong in the Master's advice, even when it applies to something in the outer life which they know far better than he does. They see that there is something very high, very deep that he is expressing in this way to test their faith in him. In hundreds of ways the Master tests the oneness of the disciples.

You all know the famous story of Lord Krishna and Arjuna. Lord Krishna said, "This fruit is not black; it is white." Then, the next moment, he changed the colour. Each time Lord Krishna said that the fruit was another colour, Arjuna agreed with him. Others were saying that Arjuna was either an idiot, a rogue or a flatterer number one. Yudhishthira and others, once they said the colour of the fruit, were not going to change their opinion. But each time Krishna changed, Arjuna changed. That is why others were saying that Arjuna was a flatterer of the first water or a rogue. But Arjuna was right. He said, "If I see the reality, whatever it is, in my Lord Krishna's own way, through his heart, through his eyes, then only will I realise God. For me, morality or reality is on this level. Who cares whether it is black or white or green or any other colour? If he wants me to see it as red, I will see it as red. Then only will I become inseparably one with him. Otherwise, what kind of inseparable existence do I have with my Master?" That is why Arjuna became the dearest disciple of Sri Krishna — because of his inseparable oneness.

If the Master says, "This is cold water," even if it is hot water, if you are wise, you will say, "Who cares if it is hot or cold? I want to be one with him inseparably. I will take it as cold water." Ordinary people will laugh at this approach. They will say that you are either a flatterer or a rogue. Those who say that it is impossible are in the mind. But our philosophy is to go beyond the mind. If you go beyond the mind, then you can establish your oneness with God's Will. If you want to be one with God's Will, then do not keep your own will. After all, what do you want — His Will or your own will? If you want your own will, then why did you accept the spiritual life? Who forced you? Who bound you? Who went to your house and dragged you? Who put chains around your legs and then brought you? You have your freedom. With your freedom you can say, "No, it is hot water." Then see how far you can go.

If the Master says it is cold water, it may be to examine how much inseparable oneness you have with his will. You may tell the Master, "I love you only. I want to fulfil you only in your own way. Let my will be your will." Then the Master may say, "My will says it is cold water." Then you may say, "Oh, he is an idiot. I am seeing that it is hot water!" Then you go your own way. Yes, it is hot water, true. But at that time do not say that you want to have inseparable oneness with your Master's will.

Here is the problem. The Master says one thing. You say the opposite because your mind is saying you are one hundred per cent right. On which level? On the level of the mind. But you have to go infinitely higher than that level. Otherwise, it is better not to accept spirituality. If you accept spirituality, only pray to God, "I want to see through Your Eyes. I want to feel through Your Heart." Everything has to be experienced in His own Way.

We pray to God, "I want to please You in Your own Way." Then, when God's representative comes, we say, "I want to please you in your own way only by not listening to what you say because my mind is saying you are wrong." If that is the case, then you stay with your great mind. But why torture your outer life by being in the Master's boat? Go your own way.

At every moment we are being examined. The way Arjuna had to change his mind, we have to change our minds. Each of us is a lump of clay. The Potter is constantly changing us. You may say, "Oh no, no, no! Why is He doing this?" But He has the liberty to change us because afterwards He is the one who will make us into something beautiful. So the real disciples are the ones who have the determination or the will to see things the way the Master sees them. These disciples are the ones who will pass the examination. Otherwise, if you choose to exercise your own freedom, you may be right in your own way. But I wish to say that if the Master has reached the Highest, if he embodies the Highest, and if the disciple does not try to see everything in the Master's own way, then that disciple is in trouble.

The message of the Saviour Jesus Christ was "Let Thy Will be done." He could easily have said, "I am suffering so much! The torture that I am going through in the crucifixion — how can it be Your Will?" But instead he said, "Let Thy Will be done." He became one with God's Will. That is why he became the Christ.

If your Master pinches you, you will say, "Oh, I thought you were a most kind-hearted person. How could you pinch me?" We judge the Master with our very limited mind. Forget about the Master. Your own highest divinity you are judging with your lower than the lowest intelligence or knowledge. Knowledge cannot go beyond a certain level. We can read thousands of books. A book can only prepare us a little to go to the Highest. A book can never take us to the Highest. A book can inspire us, like a guide. A guide shows us the way, but he is not the goal. So book knowledge shows us the way, but knowledge is not the goal. It is wisdom that can go higher than the highest, farther than the farthest, deeper than the deepest. Our wisdom will say that our highest divinity is always right.

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