Sri Chinmoy answers, part 34
Part ISCA 1120-1121. Questions asked in Bukittinggi during the Christmas trip, January 1988.
Question: At the start of the spiritual life, sometimes the Supreme will give the seeker a small experience of the goal, which gives the seeker inspiration. Then that vision becomes vague. Why is this?Sri Chinmoy: There is something called beginner's luck. All of a sudden you start playing a new game and you find that you are playing so well. Then for a few years you try to get back the same experience. You ask, "What should I do to recapture the same experience?" In this case, the answer is, "Practise the spiritual life."
God is so clever! He wants to create interest in us right from the start. If the seeker were not successful in his first attempts to meditate, he would say, "Oh, spirituality is not meant for me."
But if you have a good meditation, you will say, "Once I had such a nice meditation. Why did I get it? Did I practise spirituality at that time?"
Here God is showing us His unconditional Compassion. God is saying, "Let us go half-and-half. You aspire and I will show you my Compassion." If you give up, God will not be the loser. He showed you that it is possible to have that joy. So you have to continue, continue, if you really want God, if you really want to follow the spiritual life. Otherwise, if God gives you the experience a second time, you will not value it. Like a child playing with money, you will discard it. The parents are giving the child lots of money and he is only wasting it. Then he has to work very hard to get back the same amount.
God is not unkind. Only He is saying that in order to get joy from the spiritual life, how hard you have to pray, meditate and discipline yourself. You have an inner Goal. That Goal will not come to you and stand in front of you. You have to come to the Goal. The Goal says that it has to be won. If you really love God, then wherever He is, you have to run towards Him.
So do not be discouraged if you do not get the same high experience you got when you first started following the spiritual life. God took the trouble of coming to us. We must also take the trouble to go to Him.
Question: If we are conscious that we have failed repeatedly to achieve something, how can we still be happy and cheerful?Sri Chinmoy: We have to meditate so that we can forget the past and have a new beginning. By repeating, "I am bad, I am a sinner," shall we become saints? No! Now you have to forget that once upon a time you were in a dark room. You have to enter into a room that is flooded with light because that room is filled with hope and joy. You have to go there and become a citizen of the inner world.
In your case, you fought very hard for six or seven years to overcome the wrong forces, but now you have surrendered to them. These forces are absolutely merciless. You have to forgive me, my compassion is speaking to you. Come out of the dark room. Enter into the room that has light. This applies not only to you, but to many people.
Let us say that each person has twenty subjects to study. Previously they used to do well in ten or fifteen subjects. Now the same people are doing well in only four courses. God-realisation is one subject, true, but inside that one subject there are little, little subjects. God-realisation is a most difficult subject. The others are not so difficult. But I see that people are failing in many subjects and then they become weak. So to everyone I am saying, forget that you were in a dark room. Do not continue to stay there. Just enter into the room that is full of light.
Part IISCA 1122-1123. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in Tenerife on 22 January 1992.
Question: What is your opinion about the pollution of the environment?Sri Chinmoy: It is a very sad thing that nature is being destroyed, the environment is being destroyed. It is nature that keeps us beautiful and soulful. When nature is destroyed, when artificial things replace the natural beauty, it will ruin all the good qualities that human beings have. Unfortunately, people like artificial things, glamorous things. Many people do not like natural things which have their own beauty, purity and divinity. I feel very sad that the environment is being polluted and destroyed. I feel that we should pray that nature should remain natural. Beauty should remain always as it is so that we can derive from it our purest joy, purest love and purest oneness.
Question: To what degree does the Oriental philosophy influence the West?Sri Chinmoy: The Oriental philosophy is based on the inner reality, whereas the Western philosophy is based on the outer structure. The Oriental philosophy is like the seed and the Western philosophy is like the tree. The tree cannot be fruitful unless the seed is productive. Again, the soil has to be very fertile. So the seed has to be good and also the outer soil has to be very fertile. Eastern philosophy and Western philosophy must go together. The Eastern philosophy is inner poise and the Western philosophy is outer power. Inner poise and outer power must go together in order to be fulfilled.
Part IIISCA 1124-1129. These questions were asked at the San Francisco Centre, 25 November 1991.
Question: What should we do if we find ourselves becoming bored when we sit down to meditate and also just in our day-to-day life?Sri Chinmoy: Use your imagination-power. Early in the morning, after you have meditated —- not before your meditation —- write down three absolutely new things that you have never done, you have never thought of. Then those three things will give you inspiration or a kind of challenge. It will create a sensation in your mind or in your being to do them. Meditate first. Many people do not meditate early in the morning, even though I have been begging and begging them. It is a very sad experience. So first things first. In the morning, meditate. After the meditation, use your imagination-power. Just write down, "Three things today I will try. I will make a fresh attempt."
I am not saying that you have to accomplish these things in one day, no. It may take a few days or even longer to accomplish them. But you can make a start. Life is not boring to one who believes in adventure. Adventure does not mean that you have to climb up the tallest mountain. To allow new ideas, fresh ideas, healthy ideas to enter into your mind —- that is adventure. And then you can work on them.
Question: How do we get rid of insecurity totally, so that it never comes back?Sri Chinmoy: It depends on faith, on belief. You have to believe in vastness, you have to have faith that the vastness is not going to destroy you. Look at a child's faith in his father. The child is not even two feet tall, but the father is six feet tall and very robust, stout. The child is not afraid when he goes near the father because the child has established his inseparable oneness with his father. He goes to the father happily. He knows that his father is not going to give him a slap. On the contrary, his father will only pour affection, love, concern and fondness into him.
In our case, we have not yet developed our oneness with vastness or infinity. We are insecure for two reasons: either we want to go ahead of someone and we do not feel that we have the necessary capacity, or we feel that we are inferior to so-and-so. Insecurity starts when we are trying to go ahead of somebody else or we feel that we are behind someone and the whole world is looking at us and we have no way to proceed. Why should we proceed? We have to feel that people who are going ahead of us are carrying us in the depths of their hearts.
If I am a little child, I feel that my father's heart is carrying me although I may be unable to walk side by side with him. So do not be afraid of the vastness or enormity; do not feel that somebody has more capacity than you do or somebody is greater, no. We have to feel our oneness with the mightier capacity of other individuals. That is the only way we can get rid of insecurity totally.
Question: When the physical body is not in good condition, how can we still make the fastest progress?Sri Chinmoy: I am the right person to answer your question! My physical body is suffering so much. There are many people who suffer physically but who make faster than the fastest progress. And again, there are many who are physically fit but who do not think of God, do not think of inner progress.
Many elderly men and women, unfortunately, are not physically fit. It is true that if you are physically fit, then you get joy, you get freshness, you get more inspiration to aspire. But if, for certain reasons, you are not physically fit, what can you do? At that time, there is only one way you can solve the problem. You have to offer gratitude to God because you are still cheerful, you are still happy, you have not revolted against God.
In your case, you can say, "Oh, I can still walk and come to the tennis ground and look at my Guru every day. Every morning I am the first person to look at my Guru when he arrives." This is how you are keeping yourself happy. And this happiness is helping you to make tremendous progress.
But if you think, "How unhappy I am! Look at the other disciples. How they are running, cleaning, moving around. Had I been like them, I would have made so much progress," that is not the right attitude. You do not realise that when you are walking with such difficulty, entering into the tennis ground, you are so happy that you are able to see me. You are thinking of me, praying to me and all kinds of things you are doing. But you do not know what is in the minds of the other disciples who are moving around. So many millions of problems they have. Your only problem is that you are unable to walk as fast as they do. Are you not lucky? Your only problem is that your pain is not allowing you to walk as fast as others do. But this is on the physical plane. On the mental plane, you have no idea how much other disciples may be suffering. "Guru is smiling at him because he has done something great, he has made an exercise machine; Guru is not smiling at me because I cannot make that kind of exercise machine." And so it goes on.
People who do not have the capacity sometimes are lucky because they can make surrender — let us not call it helpless surrender, because that is very bad, but cheerful surrender. You can say, "O God, You did not give me the capacity to do something, to perform something, but my gratitude-prayer to You is that whatever You have given me, I should be satisfied with."
So if you are satisfied with what you have, then you can make the fastest progress. There is another way you can be satisfied with what you have: just look around. You will see that there are many people who are suffering much more than you are. If you go to the hospital, you will see how many are in infinitely worse condition than you are. When you think of your suffering, think of the hospital. Then this thought will be your immediate medicine. That is what I do. Sometimes, when I can walk only with utmost difficulty, I think of some human beings who cannot walk, cannot move at all, and my suffering seems like nothing in comparison to theirs. At that time, I say to God, "O God, You are so kind to me. Still I can walk a little, whereas so many people in Your creation cannot walk at all."
Again, why should I have to make comparison with other people in order to make myself happy? That is only a temporary solution. The first way is by far the best way. You have to say to yourself, "I will remain happy. Who can be suffering more than God Himself inside me?"
We feel that God is all Happiness. But God is everything. God is not only inside our suffering, God is suffering itself. Let me just give an example. When a little two-year-old child has got some serious ailment and is suffering, the identification of the mother is such that she suffers far more than her little child. How much a mother can suffer! A mother's identification with her child goes to the very root of the child's suffering.
So here, also, if we take God as our Mother or Father, we have to feel that He is suffering much more than we are. We feel that we are the sufferers. But if we love God, we will feel that inside us Someone is not only suffering as much as we are, but He is suffering much more because He has the capacity to absorb, to receive, to feel everything more than we do. In that way, the Supreme suffers more than we can ever suffer.
Again, there is a purpose in our suffering. We do not know why. So our attitude should be only cheerful surrender to God's Will. You will definitely pray to God for better health —- that is the right attitude. But, while praying to God for better health, you have to offer gratitude to God because you are still happy and you have not revolted against Him.
Question: I just got a job two weeks ago working with the homeless people in Berkeley.Sri Chinmoy: Such a big heart you have, such a magnanimous heart! I deeply appreciate the fact that you are serving the homeless. At the same time, you also have to feel that you are homeless. Your home is your soul. So, from the spiritual point of view, people who do not have a free access to their souls are homeless. You are taking care of the homeless because they are helpless, but then your soul feels, "Oh, my child is homeless, homeless." Your soul thinks of your mind, your vital and your body as homeless. In the same way that you are taking care of the homeless people on the physical plane, your soul takes care of you on the inner plane, the spiritual plane.
Question: A lot of people who are genuinely interested in meditation and become disciples disappear after the first few months. I am wondering what are some things we can do to try to make new people feel more comfortable and more a part of this group?Sri Chinmoy: Each individual should try to make friends. Boys, you should try to make friends with one or two newcomers, according to your nature. Girls, also, should do the same. If you feel a kind of affinity with some individuals, then try to mix with them. You will not lose anything. You can take it as a responsibility in your own inner life to take care of one or two people. Boys will do devoted service for the boys and girls for the girls.
And there should be more Joy Day types of activities. The newcomers should definitely come on your regular meditation day, but also two or three times a month try to have some recreational activities to make them feel that our way of life is not renunciation. From acceptance, we transcend the things that have to be transcended and illumined.
Some disciples feel that if they mix with the newcomers, they will lose their spirituality or divinity. Others become insecure. They feel that these newcomers are more talented than they are, so the best thing is to keep the newcomers beneath them by ignoring them.
That is not true at all. If you help someone to walk along the path of spirituality, God will give you the capacity to run faster, infinitely faster. And then, since you have been doing Yoga for so many years, you have to feel oneness if that person goes one step ahead of you. You will be so proud that it is you who have helped that particular person to go ahead.
Insecurity does not even need another individual. When your own heart is going ahead, your mind feels jealous. Your mind does not want your heart to go ahead. Your mind enters into your heart and creates confusion. It tells the heart that you are doing the wrong thing. Very cleverly it is jealous of the heart because everybody is appreciating the heart and they are not appreciating the mind. So the mind tells the heart, "You are doing everything wrong."
Question: How can we have more heart-power?Sri Chinmoy: Only by repeating, "I am the heart, I am the heart, I am not the mind." The qualities of heart-power are purity, beauty and the feeling of oneness. When we think of a temple, immediately we think of the shrine inside it. We think of the flowers, incense and so forth on the shrine. Otherwise, a temple is like another building. But when we say 'temple', immediately inside our body, inside our nerves, inside our being, we feel something pure. Something is elevating our consciousness. What is it? It is the candles, the incense and the flowers on the shrine. Anything that deals with purity we think of at that time.
In exactly the same way, when we think of heart-power, the most significant treasure that the heart has is purity. When you think of the mind, purity is not to be found there. At that time, you only think of confusion or supremacy: the mind is either thinking that you are useless, or that the rest of the world is jealous of you. There is nobody to feel or establish oneness with the mind. The good qualities of the mind are serenity, clarity and illumination. But these are rarely found.
So when you think of heart-power, the first thing you have to think of is purity-power. What gives us an immediate sense of purity? Any flower that you like best — a rose or lotus or some other flower. You have to feel that you are breathing in the beauty and fragrance of the flower that you like most. Please try to visualise it inside your heart. First feel that the flower is there. Imagine it inside your heart. Imagination has a reality of its own. As soon as you imagine that there is a flower inside you, a rose or any other flower, then try to smell the fragrance of that flower. Then, after fifteen minutes or half an hour or even a few days, try to feel that that flower has become invisible inside your heart. You do not have to see the flower as such, you do not have to smell the fragrance, no. As soon as you think of your heart, you will see that your heart has become the most beautiful flower, the most beautiful rose.
So in order to acquire heart-power or to be conscious of heart-power, we first have to develop purity-power. And inside purity is oneness. Purity accepts everybody. A child is pure; that is why a child accepts everyone. A flower is pure; it allows everyone to appreciate its beauty.
Question: We learn about the Greek gods in school and I was wondering if they exist in some realm the way the Indian gods and goddesses do? And also I was wondering if new gods and goddesses are created or if there is only just one set of them.1Sri Chinmoy: Let us deal with the subject of Indian mythology and Greek mythology. My outer knowledge of Greek mythology is next to nothing. But Indian mythology I have studied and studied and studied. In my oneness-heart with God's infinite Wisdom-Light, I wish to say that the Greek gods and goddesses, unfortunately or fortunately, are no match for the Indian gods and goddesses.
Indian gods and goddesses came into being from the Supreme's supreme Height. The Supreme Himself wanted to create these cosmic gods and goddesses, in the same way that a tree needs branches, leaves, flowers and fruits.
Apart from our main cosmic gods and goddesses, for example, Maheswari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati, there are many, many minor cosmic gods and goddesses whose names we may not know and perhaps do not need to know. A tree has countless leaves. If the owner of the tree wants to give a name to each leaf, he can, because he is at once omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. But for us to remember so many names will be impossible. We will become totally confused.
So, for our sake, we know that there are four cosmic goddesses whom I have just mentioned and, in addition to our trinity — Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva —- we have Indra, Vayu, Agni and so forth. All of these Indian gods and goddesses have come right from the Supreme's Transcendental Vision. They are descended from the Supreme Himself.
In the case of the Greek gods and goddesses, it is not like that. The consciousness of Greece and also the consciousness of the countries around Greece aspired and this aspiration ascended from the physical plane to the vital plane. The mental plane it did not reach so powerfully. This aspiration wanted to get something directly from Above. This aspiration was able to come up from the physical to the vital level, but from there it was unable to come up. But there was tremendous hunger to get power from Above. They cared mostly for power. Inside power, if there was light, wonderful, but they obeyed power more. Wisdom they did not care for. They wanted to separate wisdom from power. In their minds, the power aspect predominated. But it is not possible to separate them. Wisdom and power go together. While they were invoking power from Above, they were getting some wisdom as well.
So the Greek gods and goddesses are mostly formed from the aspiring vital, but we have to know that this vital is not the lower vital, or the lower elements, far from it. These are the dynamic, not aggressive, aspects of human aspiration. It went up and it went to the vital level —- the vital that is dynamic, active and progressive.
At this point, the Supreme said, "My child, since you have taken so much labour to come up to this place, let Me come down and give you what you want." So the Supreme brought down His Grace. Here, the aspiration which reached up to the height of the vital world, received the Blessings from Above, from the Supreme, and then this sublime aspiration took the form of gods and goddesses, or the form that was made eventually by the human mind into beings, which came to be called gods and goddesses.
But I wish to tell you that the Indian gods and goddesses are infinitely more tangible. You can talk to them infinitely more affectionately and lovingly. Although goddesses like Kali and Durga have tremendous power, you can deal with them more intimately than with the Greek gods and goddesses.
To be very frank with you, the stature or height of the Greek gods and goddesses and the Indian gods and goddesses is not the same. It is like comparing a hillock and Mt. Everest. I am saying this from my own realisation. Others may realise the truth in a different way. There will be people who will refute what I am saying, they may not accept it at all, but each one has to be satisfied with his own realisation.
To come to your second question. We cannot say that new gods and goddesses are being created. I see clearly that the new ones are only the old ones being manifested in new forms, new ways and with new light. The Supreme is not bringing into the world new gods and goddesses because these gods and goddesses do not believe in evolution. They do not participate in God's Cosmic Game the way we participate in it. Their realisation, their capacity, everything, is fixed.
The cosmic gods and goddesses are like millionaires in terms of inner wealth, but they will remain millionaires. They are not going to become billionaires. Again, if they misuse their wealth, their power disappears. It is the same with human beings. If somebody has lots of wealth, we have to see whether he is misusing it or using it properly. If he uses it properly, he will get joy and gratitude from mankind.
But in the case of human beings, if they aspire only to become one with God's Will, to please God in God's own Way, then they will become the choicest instruments of God, the Supreme, and their earth-transformation-power will far exceed the powers of the cosmic gods and goddesses.
SCA 1130. Question asked during a bus trip from Cardiff to London on 15 November 1991.↩
Part VSCA 1131-1132. These questions were asked on 24 July 1980.
Question: How can we prepare ourselves to be more receptive for our Wednesday night meditations?Sri Chinmoy: Try to feel that every Wednesday night is a golden opportunity. Either you are going to miss that golden opportunity or you are going to avail yourself of it. Something most precious you will get or something most precious you are going to lose. Take it in that way. If you are wise, you will try your utmost to seize that opportunity. If you are a fool, you will neglect it and lose it.
For an hour or an hour and a half we meditate. Even for five minutes, if you can remain in your highest, you will receive something. You do not have to be receptive the rest of the time. You can receive a very large quantity in a small amount of time.
Always think that there is a place where you can get the most special thing. Now you have to value that special thing. The difficulty is that a rich man's children squander their father's wealth. The father does not mind, as long as they use it. But they misuse it; they waste it. Then the father says, "In time they will learn to use it." But some will continue to neglect it, in the sense that they will not pay any attention to it. They want their father's wealth, but they do not value it.
Money-power as such is not bad if it is used properly. Similarly, spiritual power must be used properly. But some people do not have a developed consciousness. That is why they misuse the inner wealth. What do they value? Their lethargy, idleness, ignorance.
Why do I love America? I always say that America is like a mad elephant going this side and that side, breaking heads, but at least it is trying to go forward. Instead, quite often it is going sideways. But the point is that if the elephant lies down and sleeps and snores, it is not going anywhere. It is better to make mistakes than to lie idle. Each time we make mistakes, we get a deplorable experience. Then we try once more to make progress. Again, we make mistakes. And again we feel that there is something higher and deeper. But if we do not value the spiritual wealth, then what do we do? We just sleep; we remain where we have always been.
To come back to your question, on Wednesday nights, before I come to the meeting, you can read some book and create a meditative consciousness. Very often before I come to the meetings the atmosphere is almost like an Indian marketplace. Everybody is talking and moving around. The disciples are like mischievous students. They are doing everything wrong but, as soon as the teacher comes, they fall silent.
If you go to the meeting before I arrive and remain peaceful, a peaceful atmosphere and consciousness will enter into those who are not disciplined. And if you can remain silent, I will be sincerely grateful.
Question: What is the difference between your love and your concern?Sri Chinmoy: If you love someone, you will have concern for them, but love is infinitely more important than concern. Love is oneness. Concern may not be based on oneness. If you have established oneness with humanity or higher realities, you will give everything that you have and everything that you are. But if you have concern for someone, you will give according to your willingness, not according to your capacity. If you love someone, you will give according to your total capacity. You will give all that you have and all that you are.
If you have concern, you can give just a little. A beggar is asking you for alms and you are giving the beggar a dollar or two. That is your concern for a poor man. You may think, "Perhaps he has not had a proper breakfast." But if you have love for that individual, immediately you will invite him to your place and give him the food that you like best, and let him eat as much as he wants.
So there is a great difference between love and concern. Love is total self-giving, but concern is giving only the amount that you want to give, whether it is one dollar or ten dollars. Concern is limited by your willingness to give, but when you have love for someone, then you give to that person boundlessly and endlessly, according to your own inner capacity. Love is conscious and constant unconditional self-giving. If it is unconditional, then only is it real love.
Part VISCA 1133-1134. These questions were asked on 8 July 1989.
Question: Are the souls of your songs different?Sri Chinmoy: Like human beings, they are different in terms of development. Some songs are not as developed and powerful as other songs. There the inner divinity is not as manifested as it is in the case of, say, Jiban debata.
Question: You have been singing Jiban debata at every concert. Has the soul of the song made progress because you have sung it so many times?Sri Chinmoy: In the case of Jiban debata, it is not like that. I sing that song for a very special reason. I try to become inseparably one with the audience, with all the human beings that are there. And I cry to God on behalf of all of them for His Forgiveness. The individual souls of the audience I take as collective —- one unit, one individual. Then I pray, most soulfully I cry on their behalf for Forgiveness.
If you can ask God for Forgiveness every day, you purify yourself. The word 'forgiveness' carries purification. Whether God has forgiven us or not is up to Him, but if we can pray to God for Forgiveness, immediately it purifies our heart. We can pray to God for Forgiveness for the things we did today or yesterday or even for the things that we will do in the future. It is not a joke. It is absolutely necessary. Good seekers do not know what will happen in the future. The next moment they may commit a Himalayan blunder. Right now they are in a very good consciousness, so they pray to God, "Please forgive me now for the things that I am going to do tomorrow."
You may laugh. You do not believe that you are going to make a great mistake tomorrow. But this prayer is absolutely essential. If you ask God to forgive you for the mistakes that you will commit tomorrow, it is like saving money and putting it in the bank. Then, when you really do something wrong, God will see the balance and you can take the money back. Many, many seekers do this. They pray to God for His future Forgiveness. You know yourselves how your consciousness can change. Early in the morning you may be divine. Then, in two hours' time, you become undivine, your consciousness descends.
If you ask God to forgive you for your future mistakes, then when you do make a mistake you will see that your forgiveness-prayer is negating the mistake. But you do not do that. We always stay in the past. We pray to God, "Oh, yesterday I told a lie. Save me, save me!"
But yesterday is gone, now something else is coming. So let us also pray for tomorrow. Prayer is not only for the things that we have done wrong in the past. Prayer also means to look forward. When we pray, we are trying to remove the obstacles that are ahead of us. Already the ones that are behind us we have fought with. Whether we have won or lost, God alone knows, but we do know that our prayer-life and meditation-life are carrying us forward. There if we can have God's Forgiveness, then immediately the way forward will become easier for us.
The past, present and future are all at God's Command. He knows whether or not we are going to make a deplorable mistake in an hour or not. So the best thing is to ask for His Forgiveness. And also, if we can ask God for Forgiveness for future things, then God sees and feels whether we really mean it. He sees whether we have taken His Forgiveness seriously. Otherwise, we go on thinking that we are perfect. Then, all of a sudden, when we do something wrong, we cry, "God, save me! Save me!"
We must come to the point where we can say, "I am not perfect. I can at any moment make mistakes. So the best thing is to ask for God's Forgiveness. If God forgives me today for tomorrow's mistakes then already I have nullified tomorrow's problem by using my wisdom today." This is absolutely true. Tomorrow's mistakes can be nullified if you cry to God today for His Forgiveness.
Part VIISCA 1135-1138. Questions asked on 31 December 1983 after Sri Chinmoy's talk on the New Year.
Question: If somebody wants to choose one time of the year to make a new start —- such as your birthday, or the anniversary of our joining the Centre, or our own birthday, or the beginning of the New Year —- are each of these times equally good?Sri Chinmoy: My birthday, your own birthday, the anniversary of your becoming a disciple, the day I came to America —- all these are most significant days. Every hour cannot be the same. The way you can meditate early in the morning at six o'clock, you will not be able to meditate at twelve noon, unless you are an expert. Early in the morning, it is quite easy. Later in the day, it is not so easy. It is not impossible, but it is not easy.
When we remain here, in the earth-bound life, we cannot say that every day is equally important. No, every day is not equally important. Some days are bound to be more important than other days. That is why we observe anniversaries and birthdays. When a birthday comes, at that time we say to ourselves, "Why did I come here? Have I made any progress since I accepted the spiritual life? In some fields I have made progress; in other fields I have not made progress, or I have gone backwards."
In your case, you have made so much progress in music. But again, you are losing your spontaneity and childlike consciousness. I am telling you about your progress and backward march for your good. You have made progress in one thing and gone backwards in another. If you had maintained your childlike consciousness, it would have given tremendous joy to your soul. Like this, everybody is a culprit. People have made considerable progress in one thing and in another field they have lost their previous standard and climbed down instead of up.
So you can choose any date you want to make a new start, but once you start, then you have to continue. Otherwise, on your birthday you will try to meditate very soulfully and the day after your birthday you will say, "Yesterday I meditated so soulfully. So today I do not have to meditate." Our human life is like that. We eat voraciously one day and the following day we do not want to eat. But in the spiritual life, we have to eat every day because our capacity to eat is unlimited. God's Affection, Love, Blessings, Concern and Compassion are unlimited, so God gives us unlimited receptivity.
Question: I used to meditate for half an hour every morning, but recently I have only been meditating for fifteen minutes. Is it better to meditate longer?Sri Chinmoy: If you can continue, certainly. Do you think if you meditate more than fifteen minutes and still maintain your height that it will not be better? If you can meditate for half an hour instead of for fifteen minutes, certainly it will be better for you.
Some people just wait to see when fifteen minutes are over. They meditate on the hands of the clock rather than on their hearts. Instead, if you want to try to hear the sound of your heartbeat, that will be very good. Then, after you develop the power of concentration, you can meditate on your heartbeat in any part of your body. If your mind is bothering you, you can bring the hammer —- the heartbeat —- there and strike the mind so that it will be good.
Question: Every time you give a special talk, I become so inspired. Then, after a few days or a week, it goes away. Is there any way I can remain inspired?Sri Chinmoy: The question is whether you really want to maintain that inspiration. Edmund Hillary climbed up Mt. Everest, but he did not do it in one stroke. For a week he halted and then he started again.
You say that you are not maintaining the same inspiration and aspiration after a week. What you have to do is see how far you have come during that week and then look up to see if there is any space for you to go higher. You will see that the distance which you have covered is next to nothing, whereas the distance you have yet to cover is very great.
What actually happens is this: the disciples, after climbing up five feet, think that is enough. They get a complacent feeling, and this complacent feeling is their worst enemy. They are so happy that they have climbed up five feet, but they have to feel that they have to climb up five million metres! They have to feel, "Oh, if only I had climbed up seven inches more, I would have been still higher. So let me continue."
The very fact that you climbed up five feet should give you enthusiasm and inspiration to go higher. In the spiritual life, we cannot remain at one place. In the ordinary life, you can reach a certain point and stay there for ten or twenty years, or for the rest of your life. But in the spiritual life, every day you have to make a new attempt. Otherwise, you will come back to your same old, stupid self.
If you want to maintain your enthusiasm and determination, you have to feel that no matter how far you have come, it is practically nothing compared to the distance you have to go. And also you have to feel that if in one week you had the capacity to climb up five feet, then you have the capacity to climb up another five feet the following week. In this way, you will be able to climb up to the highest height. But human beings usually do not do that. Either they become tired or they look around and see how far they have come. Then they feel that this distance is enough for the rest of their lives.
So maintain your hunger and thirst. Otherwise, you will go back to your ordinary life and your mind will again become totally unspiritual. When you take part in a tug-of-war, so many times you come back five inches and then go five feet forwards. Such a struggle goes on — forwards and backwards. Like that, you have to continue to struggle in order to make progress in the spiritual life.
Question: Sometimes the outer conditions make it difficult to meditate.Sri Chinmoy: Everybody has the same problem: it is too hot or too cold, or something else. Unfortunately, the world is like that. If you are inside the meditation room, it is too hot. Again, outside the sun is very bright. Either way there is a problem. The place is not good; the sun is bothering you; there is too much noise — in addition to the inner difficulties that you face! But instead of thinking of the difficulties, try to think of it the other way: think of the opportunities. One approach is to think of the hurdles that you face in life. Another approach is to think of the joy that you will get after crossing over the hurdles. You have to say, "If I cross over the hurdles, which I can and I must, then I will be so happy." This way of seeing things increases your inner and outer capacity.
Sometimes the outer conditions make you feel absolutely miserable when you are meditating. You can easily surrender and say, "It is not my fault. It is nature's fault." In this way, you can justify your surrender very nicely. But the other way is to say, "If I can meditate in spite of this opposition, then I will become a better, stronger disciple." Instead of surrendering to those obstacles, regard them as opportunities to make progress.
Spiritual people are supposed to be warriors. When we face obstacles, we have to conquer them. This has to be our attitude all the time. Otherwise, if we surrender to circumstances, we will never be able to do anything. So if you think of the happiness you will get when you conquer the obstacles that you are presently facing and if you can bring that happiness forward, it will give you added strength. And that strength will give you the capacity to meditate more peacefully.
Part VIIISCA 1139-1145. Questions asked by children and parents on 21 October 1988 at The Oneness-Family School in Washington, D.C.
Question: Are you a famous painter?Sri Chinmoy: Good boy, I am not famous, but I paint. I have painted my inner life and now I will paint my outer life.
It took me hundreds and thousands of years, thousands and thousands of years to paint the inner life. And now I have started painting the outer life. God alone knows when I will complete painting my outer life.
With my inner painting I cried and cried for God the Creator. With my outer painting I am smiling and smiling at God the creation. We are all God's creation, you and I and all of us.
Question: Why are so many things going wrong in the world?Sri Chinmoy: Because human beings are not doing the right thing. The right thing is to love God. If you love God and pray to God every day, then you will not do anything wrong. So first things first. Pray to God. If you do not pray to God, then you cannot do the right thing. Every day, in the morning, you have to pray to God for a few minutes, you have to meditate on God for a few minutes. That is the right thing. Once you start doing the right thing, then everything goes right.
Question: How do you feel about your music?Sri Chinmoy: I get tremendous joy from my music and that joy I try to offer to the listeners. While I am offering the joy that I receive from playing, I feel that the listeners are also offering me their inner joy. I am giving you something from my heart, the joy that I feel, and you are giving me what you are feeling deep within your heart. So this is how we become a oneness-soul, a oneness-family.
Question: As a teacher, I become impatient for the children to do well. I do not want to discipline them outwardly, but I find that I am unable to bring about discipline in any other way.Sri Chinmoy: You want perfection from your children and the other children whom you teach. Let us say that early in the morning you sowed some seeds in the garden. You do not expect the seeds to germinate in the afternoon! No, you have the patience to wait for quite a few months for a little plant or sapling to appear. Then again you wait for the plant to grow and grow. And again you have to wait for the plant to become a tree and produce flowers and fruits. Then you are quite happy. In the beginning, you planted the seeds and you wanted to pick the fruits immediately. But you knew that it was not possible. At the same time, you knew that there would come a time when the tree would produce most beautiful flowers and delicious fruits, so you waited.
This patience is what we call the wisdom of the heart. Outwardly you may say, "Oh, how long do I have to wait?" But if you have the wisdom of the heart, you will see that it is only a matter of time.
In your case, you are asking the children to do the right thing, but they are not listening. Here you have to apply the same wisdom that you did for the tree. Outwardly we call it patience; inwardly we call it wisdom-light. If you use your wisdom-light, perfection will dawn one day.
Every day you can try to watch the children to see whether they have improved or not. Suppose one child is not listening to you at all. No matter what you say, no matter how sad and mad you become, this child does not listen. You can try to discipline the child outwardly, by scolding and so forth. This is one method.
Another method is this: look at the eyes of the child and show your utmost compassion. Do not bring forward any anger or frustration whatsoever, only utmost compassion. Try to make the child feel that you are at his mercy. Definitely you are stronger than the child. You can give him a smart slap, you can do many things. But you are not going to do that. You have to make the child feel that he is superior to you, you are at his mercy, and he can do anything if he wants to. You are absolutely helpless, so you are begging him to show you compassion. In this way, you will touch his heart and he will not be able to go on doing the wrong thing.
It is like this: a child is holding a ball. You can easily snatch the ball away from him, but you are pretending that you are helpless, that you are weaker than him. And you are begging him to give you the ball. If you snatch it, then he will cry, he will do many things, he may even try to strike you. But if you offer tears, crocodile tears, if you say you are at his mercy, then if he gives you the ball you will be the happiest person.
When you are trying to discipline a child, you can do the same thing. You used one way, but it did not work. So the other way is to touch the heart of the child. Not to discipline with the hand, but with the heart. If you can touch the heart of a child with your wisdom-light, that same child will become perfect. Always you have to be wise. If one method does not work, then let us adopt a new method.
When I was very, very young, I was quite naughty, to say the least. Now I have developed some peace of mind, I am not restless, but in those days it was a different story. My sisters and brothers were all older than me. Unnecessarily, I used to pinch them, box them, everything. But they were so kind to me. They never, never punished me. Then, when my mother caught me red-handed, just a few little tears in her eyes were enough for me. I immediately became calm and quiet. Her tears had infinitely more power than her scolding. My mother's tears had infinite power inside them.
Question: My son is not doing at all well. I am simply at a loss how to help him.Sri Chinmoy: Outwardly you can do a few things. You could invite some boys of his age in whom you have confidence to come and inspire him. These good boys are trying in every way to become decent citizens of the world. They will always try to lead a life of inspiration and even unconscious aspiration. So their company will help your son.
The next thing is that you have to act like a thief. At night, when your child is fast asleep, for five or ten minutes just go and stand near him and try to feel your own heart, not your mind. Your heart will have a conversation with his heart. Your heart is all affection, all love, all compassion for your son. Like this, your heart's affection, fondness, love and so many other good qualities will enter into your son. In the same way, your son has affection, love and fondness for you. Your heart will offer its good qualities and your son's heart will offer its own good qualities. Sooner or later, you are bound to see that these good qualities are being manifested in his outer life. And he will never know that secretly, when he was fast asleep, you came and injected so many divine qualities into his heart. Let him think that he is making the change by himself. It can come as a surprise to you. It does not matter who has inspired him to change his nature. The important thing is that your son is getting better.
So this change will take place from your meditation with his heart at night. When he is sleeping, he is not arrogant, he is not undivine. At that time, his mind is asleep. When one is asleep, one listens to others.
Question: Why do bad people kill the good ones?Sri Chinmoy: Bad people get malicious pleasure by hurting the good ones. They do not want the good qualities or capacities of the good ones to flourish. They want to kill their enemies so that their good qualities cannot spread all over the world. But what happens is this: when one good person is killed, the good qualities of that person are not killed.
A little bird is inside the cage. When you smash the cage, the bird flies everywhere. So when a good person is killed, like Martin Luther King, Jr. or President Kennedy, the body-cage may be smashed, but their soul-bird flies all over the world. The loss of the cage we cannot deny. It is a most tragic loss for the whole world. But the soul is flying and flying like a beautiful bird, spreading its good qualities here, there and everywhere. Mahatma Gandhi is another example. His body is gone, but his soul is all over the world. Everywhere people are appreciating, admiring and adoring him.
Today I am at Oneness-Family School. This little school has the highest visions, the loftiest visions. There are millions of schools and colleges in the world. They cannot all change their names, but if they could all have a sub-title then it would be 'Oneness-Family'. Whenever you go to a school or university, immediately you get inspiration from the person the school is named after or who founded the school. When you go to a school in Washington, you immediately think of George Washington, the Father of the Nation. When you go to Thomas Jefferson's University in Virginia, immediately you think of Jefferson's inner illumination. All the good qualities that he embodied come to your mind. Those great luminaries, great pioneers in so many fields, have left the world, but their good qualities we still adore.
In the same way, not only the name 'Oneness-Family School', but the vision of this school will one day cover the length and breadth of the world. Right now it is a tiny seed, smaller than the smallest. But eventually it will be like a huge banyan tree. This vision will one day become large, larger, largest. The oneness-family-vision will be everywhere.
If you feel oneness, who is going to kill whom? Are you going to kill your mother or father or brother or sister? So when you pray and meditate, you improve your heart's oneness. Then the whole world becomes yours. Once you feel your oneness with the entire world, you are not going to kill anybody and, if others do the same thing, then there will be no assassination, no murder. People will not hurt each other.
All the schools and universities should have the same vision: oneness, oneness, oneness. Then there will be no more fighting, no more quarrelling. Ignorance will be illumined. Now oneness is lacking. We see only the confusion of the mind. We need the heart's dedication and the heart's illumination to realise the vision of Oneness-Family.
Question: We encourage parents to come to the school and even assist us in teaching the children. Do you agree with that approach?Sri Chinmoy: I am so happy to hear that the parents come and help you. The parents have such big hearts, good hearts, that they join you. Here parents are teachers and you are teachers. It is a joint effort. You are helping their children and they are also helping their children to make progress. Parents here like the teachers, they feel they can talk to the teachers, so they come and assist you. In other schools this does not happen.
Transcendence is the supreme blessing that the divine children at the Oneness-Family School are going to learn from their dear teachers. Each teacher at this school is a giver of the self, sleeplessly and unconditionally, to the Will of the Supreme. My heart of love and my life of gratitude I am offering to all the soulful teachers at the Oneness-Family School.
Part IXSCA 1146-1147.These questions were asked on 4 December 1989 in New York.
Question: Are there some very advanced seekers in Germany who are inwardly looking for a spiritual path?Sri Chinmoy: Only this much I can say: many, many souls in Germany are awakened for the spiritual life. And a new push, a tremendous push they have got from the inner world since November 9th.1 An additional push the German soul has offered to all the Germans. Whether they were previously awakened or unawakened, this push was applied to everybody. It is like the sun. The sun shines for everybody. Some people take advantage of it and some people do not. So this new awakening, new push, the soul of Germany has blessingfully offered to each and every German. Some will definitely make use of it, while others will not. Those who are making use of it, who are soulfully using the blessing, will definitely make very special progress. Under the guidance of their own inner beings or a spiritual Master, these souls will make a tremendous contribution to the body, heart and soul of their country, Germany.
SCA 1146,1 9 November 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall.↩
Question: You recently said that after the fall of the Berlin Wall a new soul has appeared for Germany. What happened to the other souls for East and West Germany?Sri Chinmoy: The other two souls are integrated inside the new one. They have now disappeared inside the new one, which is vaster than the vastest. The two old ones, the souls in the separated worlds, East and West, are not of the same standard as the new soul. Which is better, which is worse, which is more developed, God alone knows. Then a day will come when these two souls will be taken to rest in the soul's world, according to their soul's development. But still they are staying inside the new one, the one that is guiding the destiny of Germany.
Part XSCA 1148-1166. An interview conducted by Robert Swan, the editor of Simply Living Magazine, on 14 September 1984 in Canberra, Australia.
Question: You have said that your philosophy is a merging of the inner and the outer. Most people would interpret meditation as being an inner process and I wonder if you could explain for us how you feel marathon running has a place in spiritual development.Sri Chinmoy: The inner running and the outer running complement each other. For outer running, we need discipline. Without a life of discipline, we cannot succeed in any walk of life. So when we do outer running, it reminds us of the inner running. The inner running, we know, is the longest distance, eternal distance. We do not know when it started and we have no idea when we are going to end it. Whereas, if it is a marathon, we know that after covering 26 miles and 385 yards, we come to an end.
For outer running, we need a life of discipline, endurance and patience — so many things which are good! In the spiritual life also we need many things — we have to conquer our fear, doubt, jealousy, insecurity and so on. So we feel that one is helping the other.
Early in the morning, if I have freshness in my mind and if I have sound health, then I will be inspired to pray and meditate. If I do not have good health, then I am not going to get up and pray and meditate. So it is my good health that is helping me to become a good seeker.
Again, if I am a true seeker, then I will try to do something for mankind on the physical plane. If I love God the Creator, I must also love God the Creation, otherwise what kind of love is it? If I love God, who has created this world, I must also love the Creation itself. So while we run outwardly, it is the Creation that we see and when we pray and meditate, we are trying to have a conscious awareness of the Creator.
Question: Does that mean that people who are not physically healthy cannot reach enlightenment?Sri Chinmoy: Oh no, most definitely they can. The only thing is that we do not have to be the strongest man, we do not have to be a boxer or wrestler, no. I am saying that early in the morning if I do not have stomach upset or headache or fever, if I am running or doing some other physical activity, then it helps me a lot. Otherwise, if I enter into the Himalayan caves and start praying and meditating and neglecting the body, then how many days can I go on, how many weeks, how many months?
There are some people who tend to neglect the body, the needs of the body. We are not saying that we have to become the world's greatest boxers or wrestlers, no. Only we should try to maintain a basic fitness. If I am physically fit, then I will be able to get up early in the morning. Then I can pray and meditate. If I am physically unfit, will I have the capacity to pray and meditate?
Question: I have heard from some teachers in the Shankaracharya tradition that yoga asanas are good because they lower the metabolism of the body and help lay the foundation for meditation. But running, or Western sport, would seem to be in the other direction. You do not see it in this way?Sri Chinmoy: No, no, no, because I have practised these things. It is only that hatha yoga is an Indian way of thinking and there was a time when whatever the Westerners did was very bad and whatever we Indians did was always good. For some time it was difficult for Indians to see anything good in the West. So the Indian theory was that our asanas are by far the best and the Western way of approaching the reality was wrong.
Now I wish to say that there should be a combination of the Indian spirit, which is calm, quiet and tranquil, and the Western spirit, which is dynamic. We have to take them as one. The Indians think that the West is all restlessness, which is not true. And again, the West thinks that India is all poverty-stricken and Indians are lethargic, which is also not true. Both sides exaggerate the facts.
When we think of the West, we have to think of the good quality of the West, which is dynamism. And when we think of the East, let us say India, we have to think of calmness. It is like the ocean. On the surface there are waves and surges, it is all dynamic movement, and down at the bottom it is peaceful. We cannot separate the waves from the tranquillity which is at the bottom. They have to go together. Dynamism and peace must go together. If some people feel that by doing Indian asanas they will get a peaceful feeling, they are correct. But again, by running and jumping and taking physical activities we can acquire dynamism, otherwise it will be all one-sided. So dynamism and tranquillity must go together, like the obverse and reverse of the same coin.
Question: So in this philosophy are you creating something new, something different from what has been created generally in the East and in the West?Sri Chinmoy: I do not want to say that I am creating something new. Only I am saying what the East and the West need to become complete and perfect. It is not my creation, only I am saying that I am aware of something and, if you see eye to eye with me, you will agree and, if you find it difficult to accept my theory, you are perfectly entitled to do so. I wish to say that the West has something to offer and the East has something to offer and their contributions are equally valuable.
Question: I do not think that Western sports people in the past have considered that their sport would lead them to enlightenment!Sri Chinmoy: No, I am not saying that. Sports only will help. We have to know how much importance we are giving to sports. Our goal is not to be the world's greatest athlete. Our goal is to have physical fitness and for that only the amount of sports —- of running, jumping, throwing or tennis —- that is necessary we shall do. Not to neglect the body as such is our aim.
If we pray and meditate soulfully, how can we neglect the body? It is one of the five members of our family — body, vital, mind, heart and soul. We shall pray with our heart, we shall meditate, and then, when activity is demanded of the body, we shall not neglect it. We have to give due importance to each member of our family. If we pay attention only to one member, then will not the others feel sad? If a father has five children, he has to pay attention to all the five.
Question: How do you see the new movement in the West towards the merging of scientific principles, like the quantum theory, with the ancient Vedic traditions or understanding of enlightenment?Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately, science is not my forte. I am totally ignorant of scientific developments. Since I know nothing about science, it would be the height of folly on my part to say anything about it. Only I know a little about the inner life, being a God-lover and Truth-seeker.
Question: If we look at your meditation technique itself, can you explain a bit about it?Sri Chinmoy: We do not have any set technique or method. Everybody knows that in the beginning, when you start meditating, you should make the mind calm, quiet and tranquil so that you can have a very peaceful meditation. Then I tell my students: try to meditate the way you feel is best. If you like a flower, the fragrance of the flower, the beauty of the flower, then try to imagine the flower inside you. Petal by petal your life is blossoming, the way petal by petal a flower blossoms. Your whole life is blossoming like a flower.
Or, if you are inspired by a flame, try to imagine a burning flame inside you, rising up and illumining the inner darkness. If you feel the necessity of climbing up the Everest, that is, the highest in the spiritual life, then envision the flame within you climbing up high, higher, highest.
Then again, I tell my students, it is a matter of joy. If you get joy from the flower, then do it; if you get joy from the flame, then meditate on the flame; if you get joy looking at my picture, then do it. Anything that gives you joy while praying and meditating you should do. If you want to look into the vast sky or at the sea, or if you want to be at the foot of a tree and derive peace from the tree itself, then meditate at the foot of a tree. If you want to meditate on the power aspect of life, then look at the sun and meditate. And if you want to have mildness, softness, tenderness in your life, then you can meditate on the moon. I tell the individual, while meditating keep in mind the thing you like best in your life.
Question: You said in particular that meditating on the moon is for tenderness. Can you tell us some more of these particular relationships? Meditating on the sun?Sri Chinmoy: The sun represents power, not the power that destroys, but the power that creates, originates. If you want to have power, then look at the sun and meditate.
Question: How do you know which one is right for you?Sri Chinmoy: That is the thing! You have to choose the one that gives you the most joy. If you get power, are you getting more satisfaction? Or when you develop some sweetness, tenderness, fondness is there more joy in your being? You have to decide. Then, as I said before, if the flower gives you more joy than the flame, then meditate on the flower inside your heart. If the flame gives you more joy, then meditate on the flame. And I tell my students, if my picture gives you more joy, then meditate on that.
Question: What will that effect be?
Sri Chinmoy: I am saying that from the joy you are growing.
Question: Just from the joy?
Sri Chinmoy: Joy expands. You look at the flower and then the beauty and purity of the flower enter into you. Then, if you feel purity, on that day you will not indulge in impure thoughts because already you have received purity from the flower.
Question: So it is really the joy that creates the enlightenment?Sri Chinmoy: Yes. God created this world out of joy. We use the spiritual word 'delight'. In the Vedas it says, "From delight we came. In delight we grow and, at the end of our journey, we enter into delight." This means that we go back to our Source.
If you have joy, then you create, like a child. A child has joy all the time. That is why he is able to do things here and there. If I am an octogenarian with no interest in life, am I going to create something? When we are happy, we want to do something for the rest of the world. When we are miserable, we do not do anything, either for ourselves or for anybody else.
Question: Can you tell us a little about the state of enlightenment?Sri Chinmoy: The state of enlightenment is not something that we discuss; it is something that we grow into. You may like the taste of mango. If you are eating mango, you will say it is most delicious, but if a second person is not eating it, if he does not have the opportunity to eat a mango, then how is he going to understand it? He sees how happy you are, but he is not eating it. Since he is not fortunate enough to have a mango, it will be sheer imagination for him to say it is like this, it is like this. It will be all mental.
Question: So there is no point in talking about it before?Sri Chinmoy: It is a matter of belief. If I say that the mango is most delicious, then you will try to procure a mango and see for yourself. But if you do not believe me when I say that the mango is most delicious, if you say, "Oh no, he is telling a lie," then you will not try to obtain one. So first we have to believe.
It is like a teacher and his students. If the teacher says he has seen the truth, then the students believe him. These people are my students. When I say that I have attained enlightenment, they believe me. By staying with me, they will be able to see whether I have attained enlightenment or not. If they see that I am a fake, then they will go away. So it is because of their belief in me that they have remained my students —- and because of my belief in them, as well, that they are sincere and genuine seekers. They believe in my realisation and I believe in their aspiration, so it is our mutual belief that keeps us together.
Question: Many teachers that have come out of the East don't particularly like talking about their past.Sri Chinmoy: In my case also, I always say that the past is dust. We are running towards the golden future. Today's goal will be only tomorrow's starting point, so why do I have to waste my time knowing who I was? The most important thing is what I am going to become. If I think of my past, why limit it to 40 or 50 years ago? Why not a few centuries before? At that time I was in the animal kingdom. Perhaps I was a lion or some other animal. Then if you go back even further, I was in the mineral and plant consciousness. So now, will I get joy if somebody tells me, "You were that particular tree" or "You were that tiger or panther?" Or, if somebody says, "No, you were a thief, you were a very undivine person in your past incarnation." Does it give me any joy?
Sri Chinmoy: Even if someone says, "You were a good person, a simple, honest person in your past incarnation," does it help me much? Goodness is one thing, but perfection is totally different. We have to have all-embracing good qualities, then alone can we become perfect. So unless and until I have become perfect, I am not satisfied. I do not want to be satisfied with an iota of peace and bliss. I want to have an ocean of peace and bliss.
Question: I was not thinking so much of going that far back, but I was just thinking about your early days before you came to the West.Sri Chinmoy: I was brought up in South India in a spiritual community. Then around the age of eleven or twelve, I got my inner illumination. At that time I developed free access to my Inner Pilot.
Question: You had a teacher?Sri Chinmoy: I had a teacher in those days. Sri Aurobindo was my teacher. I was at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram for twenty years. But then, when I became fully aware of my inner realities and existence, the Supreme became my Guru. At first, Sri Aurobindo was in the physical body, then he left the body in 1950. But once I got my inner illumination, then I found that the Absolute Supreme is the only Guru —- your Guru, my Guru, everybody's Guru. Only the Lord Supreme is the Guru of the entire world.
Question: Can we look at the world situation? What do you think of it?Sri Chinmoy: It is my inner feeling that the world is progressing. I do not encourage pessimistic ideas, thoughts and so forth. God Himself is inspiring the world, it is His Creation. He is not doomed to disappointment, far from it. He looks at His Creation and He sees that it needs encouragement, inspiration and guidance. When we create something, we try to make it better and more illumining and fulfilling. Even so, God has created His Creation and now He is trying to make it more beautiful, more fruitful. So the world is progressing. We are all trying to become better instruments of God.
Question: There are a lot of people who would suggest that the world situation is fairly tense right now.Sri Chinmoy: That story we have heard right from the beginningless past! Four hundred years ago, if you read any history book, you will see that they said the world was going to end and people were not nice. You can start even from the Vedic era. Everybody, from the beginning of Creation, will say this world is not divine.
All right, it is not divine. Now also it is not divine, but the fact is that we are using the terms 'divine' and 'perfect'. That means we have an inner urge to become perfect. When the very idea of goodness enters into our mind, that means we want to become good.
Our philosophy is to move forward. Once a sprinter leaves the starting blocks, he does not come back. He has to go forward until he reaches the goal.
Question: But in the scheme of things, according to Vedic thought, we are in the kali yuga now. Is that not correct?Sri Chinmoy: If we say that in the Vedic era people were more spiritual or more illumined, it will be a deplorable mistake. It is only that we get tremendous joy by saying that our forefathers were most spiritual. We extol the past to the skies. But we have to see everything as a spiritual growth. The seed that was planted in Vedic times had tremendous potentiality. Gradually, gradually it became a tree and now it is flowering with spirituality. Nothing is touching the abysmal abyss. Everything is going up high, higher, highest. If we see the bright side, the Vedic Seers prayed and meditated. They gave us inspiration. Now in so many places people are praying and meditating.
Question: What does kali yuga mean then?Sri Chinmoy: It is all mental theory. When people are not aspiring, when the consciousness has descended, it is called the kali yuga. But I want to say, was there a time when the consciousness did not descend? In the Mahabharata time, five thousand years ago, why did Sri Krishna have to fight against the Kauravas? He Himself asked the Pandavas to fight against the wrong forces. So you see, even five thousand years ago, there were undivine elements in the world. And if you can be aware of the satya yuga, the Golden Age, you will see that there were countless undivine people on earth at that time.
Our goal is not to look behind, not to enter into the past. Our goal is in the future, in the Eternal Now. Yesterday I was crawling, then I started walking. A few times I fell down. Then I began running. Now, will it help me to remember that I crawled? No. The only thing that will help me is to think, "I am a runner. I want to be a better runner, I want to be an excellent runner."