Sri Chinmoy answers, part 30
Part ISCA 1013-1024. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 18 December 1999.
Question: How can I find the quality of enthusiasm more appealing?Sri Chinmoy: You have to use your imagination. Think of something sweet, either honey or something else. Or you can think of divine nectar, which is definitely sweet and immortal. Let us say that you want to taste something sweet in your own life — in your soul, heart, mind, vital and body. Now, if you lick your finger, there is no sweetness. If you taste any part of your body, you will not get sweetness. But you can take enthusiasm as sweetness in your life. You definitely like sweet things, whether it is sugar or honey or something else. There is nobody who can say they do not like sweet things at all. That is absurd.
Take enthusiasm as something very, very sweet and imagine that you are enjoying that sweetness. Never take enthusiasm as something that you cannot enjoy or that is out of your reach. No, no! When you think of enthusiasm, use the word 'sweetness' instead of 'enthusiasm'. Either your heart will enjoy the sweetness, your mind will enjoy the sweetness, your vital will enjoy the sweetness or your body will enjoy the sweetness. You are bound to increase your enthusiasm if you replace the word 'enthusiasm' with 'sweetness'. While you are looking at a flower, if you feel that you are getting sweetness, then that sweetness will give you enthusiasm.
Question: What is the easiest way to make my body, vital, mind and heart — every part of my being — irresistibly attracted to the Supreme?Sri Chinmoy: Think of the sun and think of yourself as a pilgrim who is either running or flying towards the sun. Or you can imagine a sun inside you that is extremely, extremely beautiful — infinitely more beautiful and more powerful than the outer sun. Feel that as a pilgrim, you are running as fast as possible, and the faster you are running, the more beauty, the more power, the more light, the more affection, the more love, the more fondness you are seeing in the inner sun. The faster you are running towards the sun, the more its own divine qualities are increasing, and at the same time they are beckoning you. The inner sun has all these divine qualities: love, affection, sweetness, fondness, concern and so on. If you can see yourself as a pilgrim running towards the sun, you will be able to make the fastest progress. When you look at the morning sun, darkness disappears. At first the sun may be covered by clouds, but then it emerges from the clouds. Similarly, our human nature — our whole existence — has to come out of darkness. Then only can we make the fastest progress.
Question: Where is determination to be found? In which part of our being do we have to work on determination? Is it in the mind or the heart?Sri Chinmoy: Determination can be found inside the mind. With determination, you can try to do many things. You can have the determination that says: "I will do something good. I will do something great. All bad things I will give up." But at any moment the determination that comes from the mind can be challenged by doubt, especially self-doubt. Then our determination is destroyed.
If you want to become a good person, a great person, or if you want to do something great, there is another way. That is the way of oneness. If you can identify yourself with something very strong, very powerful and very vast, then inside your oneness you will find all the positive qualities. When you use determination or will-power, you are entering into someone or something. Like a dagger, you are piercing into something. But the way of oneness is to just throw yourself into the vastness. I always say that when a drop enters into the ocean, it becomes infinite, boundless — that drop you will no longer see.
Problems can be solved permanently only by identifying yourself with something very strong, very powerful, very vast. Look at the sky. How much vastness it has! Look at the ocean. How much power it has! Just throw yourself into the vastness or into the power. This is the wisest way and this way is also permanent.
Question: Among the spiritual qualities, you very rarely speak about loyalty. Is it something you value?Sri Chinmoy: Loyalty is bound to come if there is obedience. If I tell you, "Do this," then if you are obedient, loyalty is automatically there. What else is loyalty, if not obedience? When a servant is loyal to his master, it means he is obedient. If the master says, "Go and do this for me," he immediately goes. But obedience is something infinitely deeper than loyalty. When you obey your spiritual Master or when you obey your boss, at that time there is a feeling of oneness. You love your Master or you have respect or admiration for your boss. Your obedience is bringing you closer and closer. But when you are merely loyal to someone, at that time there is a kind of separativity. When I am loyal to a person, that means I will not deceive him, I will not betray him. But there is a sense of separation. Somebody is great, and I am inferior to him. That is why I am loyal. But when there is obedience, in between you and the other person there is love. I love my Master; my Master loves me. Therefore he commands me, and I obey him.
Obedience is infinitely more important than loyalty. Again, if one has obedience, it will house loyalty. The Master will not tell his disciples, "Do not be loyal to me." It is understood. If I love my Master, if I obey my Master, then how can I be disloyal to him? Immediately my heart will break. If I am going to betray him even for a second, my heart will bleed. It is because of my obedience that I cannot go this side, I cannot go that side. I feel that my freedom is inside my obedience. Obedience houses freedom. And if you have freedom inside your obedience, then you are bound to be loyal.
Loyalty is very, very inferior in comparison to obedience. In the outer life, a servant may be very loyal to his master or a worker may be very loyal to his boss. But obedience is like the ocean — it will absolutely engulf everything. If you are obedient, then you are bound to be loyal. Loyalty is on the physical level or, you can say, the practical level, while obedience is on a much higher level. Obedience immediately brings oneness.
Question: Is there a colour for bliss and, if so, can you describe it?Sri Chinmoy: The colour for bliss can be any colour that gives you joy. If you like green, then for you green represents bliss. If I like blue, for me blue is the colour for bliss. If somebody else likes red, then for that person, red is the colour for bliss. Any colour that satisfies you can represent bliss.
Again, this colour may change. The cosmic gods and goddesses embody bliss. On the highest plane, their light is one colour. When the same light is touching the earth realm, it becomes another colour totally. Both of these colours can give us joy.
Let us take Mother Kali, for example. Mother Kali is the Mother of Compassion. When you see her in the highest plane, her whole being is golden. But when she descends into darkness and fights with the impure vital of the world, she is so ferocious. She carries a scimitar in her right hand and wears a garland of heads. She absolutely destroys everything. When a seeker's consciousness goes to the highest plane, he sees that the colour of Mother Kali's light is golden, and it gives him such joy. Again, on the lower plane, when the colour becomes red, the seeker can get so much strength. He feels, "My Mother Kali is killing all the hostile forces only for me, to save me, to protect me. She loves me so much!" It is the same light, but on one plane it is golden and on another plane it is red.
Similarly, the experience of bliss is according to our inner height. This moment if I go very high — to the top of the tree, where I can eat mangoes to my heart's content — then I am in bliss. Next moment if I very confidently stay at the foot of the tree, I am also in bliss. So bliss depends on the consciousness we embody at each moment.
Question: When we cannot be with you at special and sacred times and we hear afterwards it was something that should not have been missed, something very important, how can we not feel sad that we had to miss it?Sri Chinmoy: If you know I am having a seven-hour meditation or I have lifted 700 pounds, if something very significant has taken place in New York and you are in Switzerland or Hungary or some other place, then if you feel miserable that you were not there, that you could not participate, you get zero. When you hear that I have achieved something or something great has happened, immediately say, "My Guru has done it!" Then if you get sincere joy and if your joy is absolutely one with my achievement, you are bound to feel that you have done it. If you are sincerely happy, immediately my achievement belongs to you.
A child is sincerely happy when his father buys a car. He claims it as his own. He tells his friends, "This is my car." His father will not say, "When did you have the money to buy a car? It is all my money." No. His father is so happy that the child is claiming the car. The father is so pleased that his child is as happy as he is with the car or perhaps even happier.
In your case, suppose you are in San Francisco and I do something very significant in New York. As soon as you hear the news, either you can be happy or you can feel miserable that you were not there. If you start thinking that so and so was there — either your friends or your enemies — then your consciousness will descend. But if you can immediately say, " My Guru has done it!" then sooner than at once you are bound to feel that you yourself have done it.
There have been many, many occasions when the Supreme has done something and I have claimed that I have done it because of my oneness. I love the Supreme so much. When He tells me in the occult world that something has happened, my joy is such that I immediately feel that I have done it. I have had nothing to do with it outwardly, but my oneness with Him is such that I am there. He is the ocean and I am a drop. How can we be separated? If I claim myself to be a drop, then I belong to the ocean. So if you are sincerely happy on the strength of your oneness with my achievement, then you can receive much more than those who were there to see it.
Recently I celebrated my brother's birthday with a special weightlifting demonstration. There quite a few disciples were tired and exhausted. Some were sleeping. Some were in another world — they were unhappy, miserable. If you watch the video, you will see how I was killing myself to lift such heavy weights and some of the disciples were looking so bored. Some of the guests who were not disciples were receiving much more than my disciples! I was so shocked when I saw the video. While performing, I could not see the audience. Then afterwards, when I saw the video, I said, "Some of my disciples are like lifeless wood, while some of the guests are like most beautiful flowers." You cannot imagine to what extent some of the guests became one with me on that night! They were so eager to watch my performance.
All the disciples around the world take me as their spiritual father. If they really love their father, then when their father does something, will they not be happy? Wherever there is happiness, we make progress. Otherwise, by saying, "Oh, Guru did something, but I was not there to witness it," you are only bringing in a sense of separation between you and me. The best disciples are those who are happy. They may be in another part of the world, but they may be receiving much more than those who are right near me. Perhaps those who were near were not in a high consciousness. If their consciousness is lower than the lowest, are they going to receive anything? Whoever is happy at my achievement establishes his oneness with me and receives much more.
Question: How can I increase my dynamism?Sri Chinmoy: To increase your dynamism, meditate on flames. You can look at a candle flame or any other type of flame. Flames embody dynamism. If you look at a flame or imagine a flame, your lethargy will go away. Fire will burn all our lethargy or lack of enthusiasm. Anything that is undivine in us, fire will burn. If fire burns our lethargy, then automatically dynamism will come to the fore.
Fire has dynamism. That is why it keeps everything under control. Everything surrenders to fire. So always imagine flames or fire. If you imagine fire, you may think more of destruction than dynamism, but if you think of flames, climbing flames, then destruction will not come into your mind. Flames take us upward. How can we go upward without becoming dynamic? If I want to climb a tree, if I want to climb a mountain, then I have to be dynamic. Flames show us the way. They are going up, up, up and touching the sky. So, to increase your dynamism, look at flames. That is the easiest and most effective way.
Question: What is the quality that I should concentrate on right now to help me make the fastest progress?Sri Chinmoy: To make the fastest progress, you must forget the past. Do not dwell on your past failures or past imperfections even for a second. You have to feel that you do not have a past with imperfections, defeats or any kind of discouraging negativity. Feel that you were just born; you are just a little baby; you are now only a few hours old. Do not think that you are even one year old. Or look at a flower that has just begun to bloom. See that it will blossom petal by petal and soon it will become a most beautiful flower.
Another way is to see yourself as the dawn. Imagine the sun rising little by little. When we look at the sun, we never think of yesterday's sun. We never think of the day before yesterday's sun or the sun that rose before us two years ago. We just watch the sun climbing higher and higher, giving its light. We do not see the past of the sun. We just see that, like a little baby, the sun is taking birth, becoming bigger and bigger.
Always feel that you have just been born. Then you will make the fastest progress. A little baby is always making progress — he is crawling, he is standing up, he is walking, he is marching, he is running. Never think of the past — your past failures, past defeats or past imperfections. Feel that the past does not exist. Feel that only today, here and now, exists in your life. Do not carry anything with you from the past — whether it is good or bad. If you can sincerely feel that you have just been born, that you are only a few hours old, and that you are on the Lap of the Supreme, that He is responsible for you, you can make the fastest progress.
Question: We know that it is very important to have affection between you and us and between God and us, but among your disciples, is there a role for affection? Is it important to feel affection for one another?Sri Chinmoy: Affection as such is not bad. Affection is sweeter than the sweetest, but unfortunately, right next door to affection is attachment. Affection and attachment are only separated by a wall, and even that wall has a side door. You have to always keep the door between affection and attachment locked from both sides. Many times affection is sweet, sweeter, sweetest. If you bring forward your affection, you can make tremendous progress. But after some time, affection may become attachment. Then, inside attachment, the problem starts. All kinds of emotional demands come forward: "I have been so kind to you, so why did you do something to displease me?" or "Why did you not include me when you were doing something?"
A mother is full of affection for her child. When the child does something on his own, if the mother uses her affection, then the mother will be very, very happy. But if the mother uses her attachment, the mother will say, "Why did you not involve me? Why did you not tell me? How could you do it without my knowledge?" Inside attachment there is expectation and demand, whereas affection will only say, "My child has done this? I am so happy, so happy!"
We have to keep affection and attachment separate. Affection is absolutely necessary — it is sweet, sweeter, sweetest. But if attachment comes, then we only create problems for ourselves. I am so fond of my dog. When I have to go to the United Nations or somewhere else, if I am attached to my dog, then I will try to take him with me. Then the dog will create problems. Exactly the same way, when I am attached to someone, I will try by force to keep that person with me. But affection will say, "Now I am needed somewhere. Please remain here." Affection has wisdom in it, but attachment does not. So affection is very, very good, but you have to keep attachment out of it.
Question: Why do Avatars have to suffer so much?Sri Chinmoy: The higher you go, the more you care for the world. The higher you go, the more you have to suffer, because you become one with God. On the one hand, God is beyond all suffering. On the other hand, God suffers infinitely more than His creation. When a child is sick, his mother's whole world collapses. But when the mother falls sick, the child goes and plays football. The mother will give up everything because her child is sick. But if the mother has the same sickness, what can the child do? When a child cries, his mother wants to take it on herself. But when the mother has a stomach upset or headache, the child will feel bad for one minute, and then he will go out to play.
Avatars have to prove that they love God the creation. When we realise God, first we realise God the Creator. Then inside God the Creator, we see God the creation. First we go up, and then we see that up includes all around. At that time we become one with both God the Creator and the creation. Now if the Creator does not care for the creation, who will care? The higher one goes, the more one identifies with God the Creator, the more responsibility one has to take.
Some spiritual Masters want to remain only on the top of the tree. There they are ready with the most delicious fruit. They say, "You come. I am ready for you. I have the fruits." This is the Father aspect of God. The Father aspect is very strict. The Father aspect says, "You have to learn how to climb up the tree. Then only will I give you the fruits." But the Mother aspect is not like that. Even if the child is strong, even if he knows how to climb, the Mother will come down and give the fruits to the child.
The Father aspect is like the entire cow, while the Mother aspect is like the udder, where the milk comes. The Mother will immediately bring the child and say, "This is the place where you will get the milk." The Father aspect will say, "You have to search for the place where the milk is." Then you will go and look at the foot, at the ear or at the head. You will find that there is no milk there. When an Avatar takes the aspect of God the Mother, that is the time when everything falls on his back. But when he takes the aspect of God the Father, he says to the seekers, "Take your own time."
On the one hand, the Mother aspect is slow and steady. The Mother aspect says, "Oh, my child is so weak. Let him take his time." The Father aspect will say, "No. Be strict, be strict, be strict." But the Mother has another aspect, which embodies intensity, intimacy and affection. The Mother wants the child to crawl, to march, to run as soon as possible.
Why do the Avatars have to suffer so much? Because God loves the Avatars. Whoever is loved by someone immediately gets responsibility, whether willingly or unwillingly, whether consciously or unconsciously. Immediately the Avatars feel, "We are responsible." Ordinary people will say, "No, we are not responsible." Again, God does not make anybody indispensable. It is one thing to be responsible and another thing to be indispensable. You may be responsible for doing something. But if you do not do it, do not think you are indispensable.
If someone declares himself to be a spiritual Master and if God also declares in and through certain human beings that that person is a spiritual Master, then that person has to play his role. How can one be a spiritual Master if one does not carry the burden of the world? Whose wisdom, whose oneness with God is more genuine or more established than a spiritual Master's? The higher we go, the more responsibility we have to take. Then, when we take more responsibility, God says, "Do not think that you are indispensable." Sometimes when a spiritual Master takes responsibility, he may feel that he is indispensable, since he is taking care of thousands of disciples. If anyone feels that he is indispensable, God laughs.
Before the Christ, the world existed. Before Sri Krishna, the world existed. Before anybody, the world existed. But when a spiritual Master takes responsibility happily and cheerfully, God says, "You are one with Me. I am carrying a heavy burden. Now you carry as much of that burden as you can." But the moment responsibility becomes proud or haughty — "I am responsible and I am proud that I am responsible" — then comes, "I am indispensable." God can work only in and through individuals who always think that they are not indispensable. They make the fastest progress.
The boss in a factory feels he is indispensable. The boss in a bank feels he is indispensable. The boss in a supermarket feels he is indispensable. But let any of them die today. Then somebody else will come to take his place. Spiritual people, if they are conscious, take responsibility as a blessing. They say, "Because I can take care of hundreds of people, God will be so pleased. He will ask me to take care of 2,000 people, then 5,000 people. He will ask me to take care of the whole world." In that way, taking responsibility is very good. But when we have the feeling of pride — without me, the bank will not function, the factory will not function or the office will not function — then it will be our spiritual downfall. Spiritual Masters take responsibility, but then they are very, very careful. They must not say, "Because I exist, my centre or my mission exists." That is a joke. God laughs.
The higher we go, the more we have to suffer, but again the more joy we feel. Perhaps God has given me the capacity to be of service to 4,000 or 5,000 people. The more I can serve, the more I can get joy.
To come back to your question, a spiritual Master's suffering is absolutely real. But again, in my case, when I suffer, I see that I have taken the suffering in the right way. When I see that my Supreme is very happy because I have taken my suffering with the right attitude, then I get boundless joy.
Question: If the disciples are the ones who create the suffering, do the disciples also have the power to undo the suffering?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, by not doing the same wrong thing again. It is the wrong forces that have entered into the disciples that create suffering for the spiritual Master. If the disciples want to undo the suffering, they should not allow those wrong forces to enter into them again.
Let us say that today you have struck someone. Tomorrow if you do not strike that person, then again he will get his strength back. When the disciples do the wrong thing, it is like somebody has struck me. I suffer. But God is constantly supplying me with new light, new vision, new energy, new divine qualities. Then, if I am not struck by darkness, will I not maintain these divine qualities? God is like an ever-new supply — a river running towards the ocean, murmuring. If you place a dam or some obstruction there, then the river is stopped. Again, if you remove it, the river once again starts flowing towards the ocean. If the disciples do not repeat the wrong action, then the Master will not suffer.
Question: If all of us could be sincerely happy, would all your problems be over?Sri Chinmoy: Happiness is of different types. Sometimes we call something happiness, but it is not happiness; it is pleasure. We have so much difficulty separating them. In the morning you are supposed to get up at six o'clock to meditate. Now suppose you get up at six o'clock, and then you start looking at the sunrise. By looking at the sunrise you become so happy. You think, "I am so happy. Now Guru should be happy." But you are actually enjoying pleasure-life. At six o'clock you are supposed to pray and meditate. If you had gotten up and prayed and meditated, that happiness would have really helped me. But instead, you found your so-called happiness in pleasure.
Then perhaps you want to sleep five minutes more, ten minutes more, half an hour more. By establishing friendship with your lethargy, you feel that you are getting joy. But you do not realise that you are only enjoying pleasure-life. In a clever way you are feeding your lethargy, and you are saying you are so happy. You have gone farther than the farthest away from me. I want you to get up at six o'clock and pray and meditate. That happiness would have really helped me, because you would have become one with my will. Instead you are becoming happy by feeding your lethargy. You get up two hours late, and then you feel that you are so happy. If I see that you are losing your inner capacity, will I be happy?
So you see how clever human beings can be. Your pleasure-life you are identifying with your real happiness-life. True happiness-life can only be found in your oneness with the will of your Master. It is very difficult to separate pleasure-life from true innocent happiness. Your innocent happiness definitely helps me. Good disciples come to me with pure happiness, innocent happiness. Some good disciples come to me like a flower that has blossomed. Others come with forced happiness. In their minds they are thinking, "Guru will be displeased if I do not show him a happiness-face." That happiness is not helping me at all.
Like an arrow, you are piercing me when you are not sincerely happy. Again, when good disciples come to me with an innocent, sweet smile, they are definitely helping me. Some are coming with happiness only in their mind, while some are coming with an open heart. Then do I not see the difference? In the line some are giving me so much joy, while some are giving me so much pain. Next to you somebody may be coming who is only giving me a false smile. But if anybody gives me a true smile, it takes away so much of my suffering. Your smile is the only thing that helps me. At that time you are not adding anything to my problems. On the contrary, you are sharing my suffering through your happiness.
To come back to your question, we must always separate pleasure from happiness. Very easily you can distinguish between the two if you are sincere, if you are strict with yourself. Otherwise, so many times pleasure-life is taking the place of our innocent happiness.
Part IISCA 1025-1032. Excerpts from an interview for Hessischer Rundfunk (National German Radio) which took place on 28 October 1991 in Frankfurt, Germany.
Interviewer: Could you introduce yourself?Sri Chinmoy: I am a student of peace. I pray to God and meditate on God for world peace.
Interviewer: How did you become a student of peace?Sri Chinmoy: By praying and meditating. Everybody on earth can do whatever he or she wants to do. In my case, I prayed to God for peace, so He has given me ample opportunity to offer my service to mankind.
Interviewer: How can one learn meditation?Sri Chinmoy: Either one goes to a teacher or one prays to God and cries like a child for God to teach him how to pray and meditate. The first person who began to pray and meditate, thousands of years ago, definitely received this teaching from within. In the outer world we find that there are many people who have not gone to school who are quite learned. Our Rabindranath Tagore, India's greatest poet, and the great dramatist and philosopher George Bernard Shaw did not go to school, but they were both men of knowledge and wisdom. Again, there are many, many people who went to universities in order to learn and become endowed with knowledge. In the same way, to learn meditation, either one has to go to a teacher to learn or one has to learn it by himself.
Interviewer: You are not only meditating. You are also doing sports, writing songs and poems and painting. Where do you find the time to do all this?Sri Chinmoy: When I use my mind, it is impossible even to imagine doing all these things. But when I use my heart, I feel that everything is possible because I know I am a mere instrument of God's Compassion and, according to my receptivity, God does everything in and through me. It entirely depends on my own receptivity. God's Grace is like the sun. If I keep all the doors and windows open, naturally the sunlight will enter into the room in abundant measure, whereas if I leave only one tiny window open, then very little light will be able to enter. In exactly the same way, if we can open our heart-door completely, then God's Grace enters into us.
Interviewer: Could you sum up your philosophy?Sri Chinmoy: My philosophy is very simple: love and serve. We love God the Creator and serve God the creation. God is at once the Creator and the creation. When I pray and meditate, I love God the Creator, and when I serve mankind, at that time I am serving God the creation.
Interviewer: How do your concerts bring peace to the world?Sri Chinmoy: Everybody has a way to give what he has. Suppose you have love and you want to offer this love to mankind, or you have joy and you want to offer your joy to mankind. Then you need to find a special way to give what you have and what you are. In my case, I feel that when I play soulful music and when I sing my spiritual songs, I can offer whatever peace I have to humanity. So this is my way of offering. There are many others who are also offering peace to mankind. Their ways are different, but they are equally effective.
Interviewer: You conduct meditations twice a week at the United Nations in New York. Do you think you can change the world in this way? Do you want to change the world?Sri Chinmoy: I have not come into this world to change it. I have come only to love the world in such a way that you and I and everyone else can work together. I pray to God to give me the capacity to be of service to Him. One individual can never, never change the world, but collectively everybody has to work together. Jointly, with a oneness-heart, we hope to bring about world peace.
Interviewer: Do you get stage fright when you give a concert?Sri Chinmoy: Not in the least! I have established my oneness with the people in the audience. When you play in front of the members of your family, you do not become frightened. They are your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your cousins, so why should you be afraid? Even if you play wrong notes, they are not going to say anything. So I have established that kind of oneness with the hearts of my listeners. I do not claim to be a great musician who has to play everything perfectly. I only call myself a student of peace. As a student of peace, I feel this is the most effective way, in my case, to offer peace. I say to my listeners, "I love you and I wish to offer you peace. This is the way that I can do this. If you feel like seeing what I do, and if you feel you can derive some benefit from it, then please come."
Part IIISCA 1033-1038. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions for the Italian magazine Armonia in New York on 13 July 2000.
Question: Which spiritual qualities has humanity developed at this point in its evolution?Sri Chinmoy: To be very frank, because the world has not developed appreciable spiritual qualities, it is in such miserable condition. If I have to say what spiritual qualities the world has developed up until now, I will say: compromise, mutual agreement and a deep hunger for world peace.
Question: How can mankind make more inner progress?Sri Chinmoy: To make more inner progress, mankind must resort to spirituality. Prayer and meditation in our everyday life are of paramount importance.
Question: What contribution can each of us make to Mother Earth?Sri Chinmoy: Each one has to make his own contribution. There is no hard and fast rule that everybody has to make the same contribution. According to his inner capacity, each one has to contribute to Mother Earth for her happiness.
Question: Why are you so involved in so many worldly activities?Sri Chinmoy: For me, the inner world and the outer world go together, like the fragrance and the beauty of a flower. Again, we can think of a seed and a tree. The seed is underground. There it germinates and eventually it becomes a tree. Then in the course of time, this tree produces new seeds. Like this, inner activities and outer activities must go side by side. Otherwise, there will be no balance between the two.
Question: Can music transform our consciousness?Sri Chinmoy: Definitely music can transform our consciousness, provided it is soulful, devotional music and not the music that produces vital stimulation. That kind of music can never transform our consciousness. There is a type of music that is all inner illumination and outer progress. This music is spiritual, devotional and self-giving. It can awaken us from deep ignorance-sleep.
Question: Do you have a special wish for the New Millennium?Sri Chinmoy: My only wish in this New Millennium is to see everybody happy — happy while looking at the world, happy while helping the world, happy in becoming a true citizen of the world for the tremendous evolution and progress of mankind.
Question: Is there anything in particular we can do to live up to our fullest potential?1Sri Chinmoy: To live up to our fullest potential, we should value the life of aspiration. There are only two lives we can have — not three or four. One life is the desire-life; the other life is the aspiration-life. One life binds us; the other life liberates us from ignorance.
At every moment God gives us the freedom to make a choice. When God gives us this freedom, most often, if not all the time, we make the wrong choice. But we can ask God, "Please make the choice on my behalf." Then when God makes the choice, we have to immediately say, "Ah, that was the choice that I wanted to make!" On the strength of our identification with God's Will, we have to know that His is the right choice.
Always we have to feel that there is Somebody who is wiser than we are. Our difficulty is that we always think that we know everything. We feel that nobody knows as much as we do, especially about our own lives. We say, "After all, it is my life. Who else can know how much suffering I am going through?"
But we have to have faith in Somebody else, and that Somebody is our highest Self, God. Of course, that Somebody is only an extension of ourselves. He is our larger Self. Always we have to feel that there is Somebody who gets more joy from our good thoughts and actions than we do. If they are divine actions, God gets infinite joy. If they are undivine actions, He receives only suffering.
If it is difficult for us to identify our lower self with our higher Self, let us at least try to feel that there is Somebody else who knows infinitely more than we do. Each individual should play the role of a student. If I am a student, there should be a teacher. The teacher knows more than I do; that is why I go to the teacher. Otherwise, if a student does not study either with a private tutor or a schoolteacher, it is very difficult for him to make progress — unless he is aspiring every day for hours and hours and the inner Guide is giving him the message what to do. To live up to our highest potential, always we have to believe in Somebody who will give us the light that separates our desire-life from our aspiration-life.
There is also another way to live up to our fullest potential. Most human beings want to possess the world. Instead of trying to possess the world, let us pray to God to possess us. God is in us, God is with us and God is for us. We have to pray to God, "My Lord, do possess me in such a way that I cannot be out of Your Sight even for a second. Possess me, possess me!" Here the word 'possess' means to claim. We are actually saying to God, "My Lord, You are claiming me all the time, but unfortunately, I am not claiming You. Do allow me to claim You."
All our problems can be solved only by thinking that God has claimed us right from the very beginning of creation. He created us, and now He has every right to claim us. Similarly, we can say to God, "Since we are Your creation, we have every right to claim You."
The father claims the son as his own, very own. The son also has the right to claim the father as his own, very own. But when there is separation between the father and the son in thinking, countless problems arise. So it is very easy to live up to our highest potential if we listen to Somebody else. That Somebody else is our own highest Self, but it is very difficult to identify ourselves with our highest Self if we are living the desire-life. If we feel that Somebody else is giving us the message, then we believe it.
In many cases, young boys and girls do not listen to their parents during their adolescence. Instead they try to mould their lives according to those of their friends. If their friends are doing something, they try to do the same thing. But in the spiritual life, we do try to listen to God, our Father, and mould our lives according to His express Will. Until we come to realise that God is none other than our highest Self, we should feel that He is Somebody who knows infinitely more than we do.
When I guide you or advise you to do something, you have to feel that I know better than you do. Then again you have to feel, "He who knows me better than I know myself will definitely be one with me in my suffering." In the ordinary life, somebody can be wiser than you, and he may give you advice, but he is not going to identify himself with you in your suffering. But because of the oneness between the spiritual Master and the disciple, the Master feels very, very sad when he sees that the disciple is struggling with mental problems, vital problems or other problems. The Master feels, "That particular soul came to me for illumination. That soul has brought its heart, mind, vital and body, and now those members of the family have become unruly." When the mind, the vital, the body or all three are misbehaving, then not only does the one that brought them feel miserable, but the one who is supposed to illumine the heart, mind, vital and body is unable to act in and through the person.
To reach our highest potential, we have to claim the Highest as our very own. If I am an ordinary subject and the king claims me as his own, the king will really inundate me with his love, concern, blessings, gratitude and pride. If I am the prince, I will have even more right to claim my father, the king, as my own. In exactly the same way, we should think of our relationship with God as the relationship between a prince and a king.
So always try to identify yourself with Somebody who you think knows better than you do. In life, we are always listening to somebody or obeying somebody, either from deep within or from without. Is there any moment when we are not listening to someone? That someone can be a physical person or it can be the mind or the vital or the heart.
When we receive a message from within, we have no time to think about where the message is coming from. It may be coming from the soul. Again, it may be coming from the heart, the mind or the vital. The message comes so quickly that you take it as your own discovery. You do not see that perhaps your mind is giving you this message and not your heart or your soul.
So you have to discriminate. You have received a message, and now you are claiming it as your own. Whether the message has come from the mind, the vital or the heart, you think that it is your own idea. If it is a negative thought, you have to feel that you have a knife or a gun or a sword in the form of thought. Then what will you do? Your heart will say, "Throw it away. You do not need it. You do not have to kill anyone with your sword or with your gun." The mind will say, "Keep it. In case somebody comes to kill you, you will be able to use it." But you have to know that the mind's way is not the right way. By looking at the negative side, already the mind has invited the wrong forces, the undivine forces, the destructive forces. We have to look only at the positive side, the pure side of life. As soon as a desire comes, we have to feel that it is a sword, a knife, a gun or an atom bomb, and we have to cast it out immediately.
To fulfil your highest potential, you have to be the judge of your own thoughts. As the judge, you will use your discrimination-power. Again, you will say, "I am only a judge. A judge always has to listen to the Chief Justice." The Chief Justice here is God. God will always try to mould us into the best possible instrument to please Him in His own Way. There are millions and billions of people on earth. Why does God choose someone to accept the spiritual life? There are countless people who have not accepted the spiritual life. Then why has God taken the trouble of bringing you into the spiritual life?
In the spiritual life, just like in a class, some do well, while others do not do well. If I am studying a subject, will I not use my wisdom and try to become an excellent student? Will I not try to stand first in my class? To become an excellent seeker, think of the golden days in your life — how much love, devotion and surrender you had for the Supreme — and then try to go beyond them. Always think of all the good things that you have done for God, for the Supreme, for your Master, and do not allow the depression-clouds to prevent your inner sun from coming to the fore.
If you remain in the vastness, then you will not be affected by anything. Your name means water. Water symbolises a vast expanse of consciousness. In that vastness we have to live. Without water we cannot live. What a great percentage of water the human body has! The rest of our body is negligible in comparison to it. In Bengal, we say that another name for water is life because without water one cannot live. Similarly, as seekers, we have to feel that without the vastness of spirituality we cannot live.
We have to take our spiritual life as seriously as possible. Every day, every hour, every minute, if we take our spiritual life very seriously, we shall not do anything wrong unconsciously. Just because seekers do not take the spiritual life seriously, they enter into the vital world, the world of romance, the desire-world. But if we take our spiritual life seriously, then even for a second we cannot do undivine, unaspiring and uninspiring things.
It is absolutely necessary to take the spiritual life seriously. God created us. We live here on earth for sixty or seventy years or even more. Each individual is a dream of God. When the gardener sows a seed under the ground, does he not expect that the seed will germinate in a few months' time? Then he will have a plant, a sapling and finally a banyan tree. In exactly the same way, when God created us, it was His dream. Now He wants to see that dream blossom into reality. If we do not value that dream, how will God ever see the reality?
Always think of yourself as a golden dream of the Supreme. Again, God wants that dream to be manifested as reality. For that, we have to offer ourselves to God. You, as a seeker, have done so many striking things. Make a list of all the good things that you have done. You will be surprised and say, "How many good things I have done and how few bad things!" When you make the comparison, you will laugh at your own stupidity for feeling that you are a useless seeker. You will be able to say, "I have done this for my Guru, I have done that for my Guru."
Even if you have done a hundred bad things, the very fact that you have joined the spiritual path is infinitely more important than your hundred bad things. From the desire-life, you came to the aspiration-life. What a jump! It is like a leap. It is not like a nine or ten-metre long jump of a world champion. It is as if you have covered hundreds of miles. Once you enter into the spiritual life, you have to feel that you have jumped hundreds and thousands of miles. For this great leap that you have taken, God will forgive hundreds of wrongdoings.
In addition to that great leap, over the years, how many good things you have done. Many times I have appreciated you for something you have done or I have given you a smile. You have to know that it is my sincere smile. When I pointedly look at you and give you a very powerful smile, that smile has the solid strength to last for three or four weeks or even a month. You have to take that smile as a most valuable thing, as a most powerful weapon against your depression, frustration and all kinds of negative feelings.
Everybody has problems, everybody is struggling. For how many years one disciple of mine suffered from depression! Now by participating in our plays, he has conquered depression to a large extent. How? By taking the positive side. By being depressed, he was only weakening his inner life. Similarly, each time we think of what we have done wrong, we have to feel that we have already weakened ourselves. Each time we want to do something good, we have to feel the energy, the dynamism and the capacity of a roaring lion.
Always we have to take life in that way. If what you have done is discouraging, forget about it. You have done so many good things. Bring them forward. Then you will be surprised, you will be astonished. Your wrongdoing is nothing, nothing, nothing in comparison to the good things that you have done over the years!
How can you reach your highest potential? By thinking of the Highest and by meditating on the Highest. If I want to climb up to the top of a tree, I have to value the tree. I have to value the leaves, flowers and fruits of the tree. Then, if I value the tree, I will try to become what I am seeing in the tree. Then I will be able to climb up.
Always we have to value what we want to become. If I value something, only then will I pay attention to it. If I value my physical strength and my health, then in the morning I will take exercise. Here also, if we value the spiritual life, we shall do the needful. Every time I value something, I do it. If I value running, no matter what kind of weather arises, I will go out and practise. If I value my spiritual life, I will always pray and meditate and do the things that are needed in the spiritual life.
At every moment in our life we have to value something, appreciate something or admire something so that we can grow into that reality. Otherwise, our life will be only an act of expectation. Expectation has to be actively and dynamically fulfilled by entering into exercise: physical exercise, mental exercise, vital exercise or spiritual exercise.
To come back to your question, only think of how many good things you have done. Write them down and look at them, study them. Then you will say, "My God, I was this, I was that! What is wrong with me now? Why have I created a self-styled mental fever?"
Swami Vivekananda once became very sad and miserable because he was not getting the highest inner experiences that he once upon a time had. Then he meditated and concentrated only on the highest experience that he had had. I always say that imagination is a reality of its own, but it is in another world. If we can enter into that world consciously, from there the reality descends. On the strength of his imagination, Swami Vivekananda entered into the world of his highest experience. Then he went beyond it.
You can also try to remember how many times you had your highest meditation. Out of those, select only one meditation that was absolutely your highest. Then go up and up and up. You will see that there you have really become what you want to become. Where is your highest potential? Not here on the physical plane but at the top of the tree. On the strength of your highest meditation, once upon a time you reached a certain height which was so sublime. All your sublime capacities and qualities have all been kept on that level. Now you have to bring them down here. Until you bring them down, you will not be able to say that you have fulfilled your highest potential.
Again and again I am telling you to think of how many good things you have done. In the spiritual life, there is no such thing as sacrifice. You may say, "Oh, I have made such tremendous sacrifices for my Guru." Even by saying the word 'sacrifice', you are getting divine joy and divine pride. Again, when we establish our oneness with someone else, there is no such thing as sacrifice. But until you can establish your oneness, if you want to keep a sense of separativity — "My Guru is this; I am that" — then see how many hundreds of times over the years you have made sacrifices for your Guru. If you think of that, it will also give you strength.
From the highest point of view, there is no such thing as sacrifice. It is only oneness, oneness. But if you cannot remain in your highest consciousness, use the word 'sacrifice'. Write down all kinds of sacrifices that you have made. You will say, "I have done so much for my Master." That will give you enormous joy. This joy is your strength.
Again, you may say, "Alas, my Master has not done anything for me. I did so much for him for months and months." Then the human in you will be depressed. You will say, "He is so ungrateful." At that point, you can say, "No, let him not give me anything. I am not a beggar. I will only give and give and give." That attitude comes when there is love. When there is real love, we give and give and give.
You have made sacrifices. If you feel that I am not giving you anything or your soul is not giving you anything in return, say to yourself, "I will play the role of a giver." Eventually the time will come when you will realise that the capacity to do what you did actually came from Somebody else, from your highest Self, from your Guru, from the Supreme. For now, if you want to maintain your individual will, then transform that individual will into a divine will until the time comes when this divine will becomes completely one with the immortal Will of the Supreme.
To use your absolute potential, always look at your life-tree as a whole. Try to see how many times you have observed beautiful flowers and most delicious fruits. If you once saw these beautiful flowers and most delicious fruits, how is it that you cannot see them again now? When you had them, you definitely valued them. All the good things that you have done over the years, you have to give tremendous value. See how many good things you have done and how many sacrifices you have made! You will see an endless list of what you have done. The bad things that you are thinking of, the unaspiring things, desire-bound things — you will see that they are nowhere. Because you are valuing the real in you, the real in you will make you see that the unreal is absolutely useless in comparison.
The more we value the real in us, the more we value the good things that we have done, the stronger we become. When we become strong, stronger, strongest, then the uninspiring or desire-bound things that we have done or we are planning to do will pale into insignificance. When you think of the good things that you have done, you are invoking the sunlight. The other things are like a tiny little cave. The sunlight is vaster than the vastest; it is illumining the whole world. Who cares for the little, unlit, dark cave when you have the radiant sun to enjoy?
Life is a constant tug-of-war. One side is the side of darkness; the other side is the side of light. In this tug-of-war, you will be surprised to see how many times you have been on the side of light, pulling your ignorance towards its transformation. You may feel that at times you took the side of darkness. No, always think of how many good things you have done and how many good things you plan to do. Those good things are like the ocean, and the bad things are like a few drops.
SCA 1039. Sri Chinmoy answered this question in New York on 11 February 2001.↩