Sri Chinmoy answers, part 35
Part ISCA 1167-1171. These questions were asked in 1976.
Question: How can we see life itself as art?Sri Chinmoy: When you have a good thought, feel that it is your art. You have created that good thought. And the next thing is, that good thought has to feel the necessity of manifesting you. So your creation is your thought, and your thought's duty is to manifest you. Anything that you do from now on should be based on that realisation.
When you talk to someone, immediately the goodwill that you feel for that person must come to the fore so that you can manifest more of your divinity.
If art and life cannot be combined, then life will not be fulfilled. Art in life is your aspiration and art without life is inconscience or ignorance. You have to combine art and life at every moment while you are aspiring. It is your life and when you do not use it to aspire, that is your spiritual death. While you aspire, you are alive. While you are not aspiring, you are dead.
In a sense, you can say that both life and death are art. But the art that is not alive has to be brought into the art that is alive. We are in ignorance. That is one art, true. Again, if we are aspiring to become a divine instrument of God, that is another art. So the lesser art, which we right now represent, has to enter into the higher art.
The lesser or inferior art is lack of oneness with God and the superior art is conscious oneness with God. Every day you stand between the inferior art and the superior art. Early in the morning, when you pray and meditate, you create a higher art. At that time you are consciously aware of God. Then, during the day, the moment you are about to forget God, just catch your awareness and throw it into your morning prayer. In this way, you are compelling your inferior art to enter into the superior.
Life is divided into conscious art and unconscious art, superior art and inferior art, higher art and lesser art. So it is you who have to be between the two arts and throw the lesser one into the higher one, the inferior into the superior, the unconscious into the conscious. Then life's problems will be solved.
Question: With each new day, how can I have the feeling of transcendence, especially in meditation?Sri Chinmoy: Every day comes to you as a new hope, new promise, new aspiration, new energy, new thrill and new delight. You have already seen thousands of days and tomorrow will dawn in its turn. If you think that tomorrow will be just another day like the thousands that have gone before, then you will make no progress. You have to feel that tomorrow is something absolutely new. You are going to create something new in your life.
Or you can remember one particular day when you got tremendous joy, or the day that you accepted our path wholeheartedly. On that day you got the greatest joy. I accepted you and you accepted me. Remember that, and try to go one step forward. When tomorrow dawns, if you can have more delight than on that special day in your life, then remember tomorrow's greater joy. And the following day, try to go one more step forward. Always try to go forward. From joy we can have greater joy; from greater joy we can have greatest joy.
Now, how can we transcend ourselves? You can transcend yourself only by discovering and maintaining your joy. If you discover your previous joy, and then if you can maintain it, you will have energy to go one more step forward. To go ahead, you need capacity. But if you do not have the first capacity, which is joy, then you cannot have the second capacity and the third capacity.
You are lying down, then you have to get up. That is the first capacity. When you get up, you have to start walking. That is your second capacity. The third is to run fast, faster, fastest. So in this case you have to think of the first day you entered into the spiritual life seriously. That is your first capacity. Tomorrow you should get more joy. That is your second capacity. The third day try to cultivate more aspiration, more promise to yourself, more serious promise to the Supreme. Every day you have to energise yourself to such an extent that you can feel new hope and aspiration. If there is no hope, that day is dead. If there is no promise, then I am dead.
If we want to live on earth, we need hope. This hope is not our mental hallucination. Far from it! Hope is like a vast, sunlit field. Promise is the seed. If you do not have a field, how are you going to sow the seed? The seed grows and your promise is fulfilled only through constant aspiration. Aspiration was inside hope. Now it is inside promise. Then you will see that one day it will germinate, one day you will get the fruit of your aspiration, which is realisation — constant, conscious, inseparable oneness with the Supreme, the Highest.
At every moment bring forward newness, newness. Then only you will see that you will transcend yourself. Always have newness in thought, in action, in speed. Then you can transcend what you have got. What you have is good, but it is not enough. You need something more. What for? Not in order to personally fulfil or aggrandise yourself, but for the sake of the Supreme. If you do not have infinite peace and light, how are you going to manifest the Supreme?
Hope and promise at every moment you have to treasure. From hope and promise you have to think of Infinity. A day will dawn when you will fulfil the message of Infinity.
Question: When our team was mountain climbing recently, we had quite a few conflicts of personality among the different members.Sri Chinmoy: Individuality and personality will ultimately disappear in our universality, but first we have to know our individuality. If we do not know that we have something undivine inside us, then why should we become divine? If we are already perfect, what is the use of spending hours and hours crying for God-realisation?
Just because we have not realised God, we are crying for God-realisation. Just because you are imperfect, you are crying for perfection. Just because you have ego, personality, you are trying to illumine it. The sooner our shortcomings come to the fore, the better! Otherwise, these shortcomings lie dormant in our consciousness and it may take quite a few centuries for us to illumine them.
So whenever you notice undivine forces in yourself, do not be disappointed. On the contrary, be grateful to the Supreme that they are coming out. It is very painful, but they are coming out. Once they are out, we are totally free. If these forces come —- personality, ego, jealousy and so forth —- do not be frightened, do not be disappointed. Feel it is another opportunity.
I had a friend who used to say that each obstacle, each hurdle in life, is an opportunity if it is taken as such. Otherwise, if undivine forces remain inside us, they are secret enemies. God alone knows when they will strangle us. If we see the problem right in front of us, we can change; but if it is deep inside, we do not see it. Then, in an unconscious moment, these forces can destroy us.
So let them come up. Do not worry when these problems arise. Let us fight to the end. Our Inner Pilot is bound to illumine us. Only feel that you are all of the same Source, you are all of the Supreme and for the Supreme. Feel that all the members of your team are like the notes in the scale. Each one is significant; each one represents real wealth. When you sing, you have to use all the notes. Then only will you have a beautiful song. All are necessary. So here also, think of yourself not as an individual, but as a note. Each note has the utmost importance.
Sometimes we have to accomplish something individually, at other times collectively. When we accomplish something individually, it does not mean that we can look down on others. We should not think, "I can do this. Others cannot do it." No. We should think, "I, as an individual, have got the opportunity to show my capacity. But I know that it is the Supreme in me, not anybody else, who is showing His Capacity."
And if somebody else has the opportunity to do something extraordinary, try to feel that the Supreme in you and the Supreme in him are the same Person. In this way, individuality has to surrender to capacity. If an individual does something, please feel that he is an extension of your own existence. He is part and parcel of your consciousness. You can go even further and try to feel that it is you who have done it. We have two hands. We can use one hand and let the other take rest or both hands together can play the game. In this way we establish oneness.
My divine pride I am offering to each member of this group. Physical brothers appear and disappear, but spiritual brothers remain together eternally. Unlike human friends and human brothers, spiritual brothers are Eternity's friends.
Question: Do you have any special message for people over forty?Sri Chinmoy: O children of the Supreme, you are not the children of the past, but the children of the Eternal Now. You are the children of the ever-glowing Heart of the Supreme, the ever-flowing Soul of the Supreme and the ever-illumining Body of the Supreme.
Question: If one is short, is it to make him humble?Sri Chinmoy: Not at all. Very often, when one is deprived of something, he becomes haughty. Then negative forces attack that person. For a few years he may feel sad and miserable, but humility does not come. Humility is something that comes from within. Humiliation does not bring humility.
Part IISCA 1172-1175. Sri Chinmoy was inspired to offer these blessing-light-messages at Aspiration-Ground on 23 April 1988 on the occasion of N's birthday.
ConcentrationPut your hand between your eyebrows and a little above. Now say, "I am now concentrating. I know that my Lord Beloved Supreme is right above my head."
MeditationPut your right hand over your heart with the thumb on your heart. Now say, "I am now meditating. I can feel the blessingful Presence of my Lord Beloved Supreme right inside my heart."
ContemplationPut your right hand over your heart and your left hand on your head. Please press both your head and your chest a little hard. As quietly and slowly as possible, you will breathe in and out. Now say, "I am now contemplating. I can vividly see my Lord Beloved Supreme right in front of my vision-eye, and He is telling me that He is eager to play with me the hide-and-seek game."
More mantrasPut both hands right behind your head. Say, "My God-disappointment-past."
Now put the fingers of your right hand on your forehead, in between your eyebrows. Say, "My today's silver dreams."
Put your right hand on your heart and form a small circle. While forming a circle, feel you are forming the circle with light. Say, "My tomorrow's golden realities."
Clench your fists. Say, "I must immediately shake off my God-disappointment-past so that my Lord Beloved Supreme can smilingly and proudly grow, glow, sing and dance inside my today's silver dreams and my tomorrow's golden realities."
Question: Tonight you gave an aphorism encouraging us to practise 'ancient disciplines'. Could you please elaborate on that?1Sri Chinmoy: To start right from the beginning: one ancient discipline is to meditate in the small hours of the morning, not at seven o'clock or eight o'clock or nine o'clock. It has to be around four o'clock or three o'clock or even two o'clock. You can try to start at three o'clock. That is the first ancient discipline. In Vedic times, meditation started between three o'clock and half past three. That is called brahma muhurta — 'The Hour of God'.
The second ancient discipline is chanting. In Vedic times, the seekers and sages used to recite mantras hundreds of times. Now we have made it simple. Our mantra is 'Supreme'. Some of my soulful songs are also like mantras. Since you have not studied Sanskrit or the Indian scriptures, you can sing these songs. Even if you are not a singer, try to sing in your own way as soulfully as possible. Another thing that you can do early in the morning is to read my writings.
The most important thing is to sing The Invocation every day. This Invocation is our mantra. Here it is my own life-breath and my disciples' life-breath that I have offered. I have composed thousands of songs, but in terms of my inner depth and spirituality, my own aspiration and realisation, I will always consider The Invocation as the most effective and fruitful mantra. Sometimes, when you sing it most soulfully, I can see that your aspiration-flames are mounting to the highest Heavens from your own depths. I see how fast your aspiration-flames are climbing. I see your flames, flames, reaching the Highest.
So try to practise ancient disciplines early in the morning. At least one hour or an hour and a half you can spend in prayer, meditation, reading spiritual books, and singing devotional songs. If you have some favourite songs, they will definitely help you in the same way that the Vedic seekers received abundant inspiration and aspiration from their mantras.
SCA 1176. Question asked at Progress-Promise in New York on 19 March 1989. The aphorism referred to is ST 14607, My Lord Supreme tells me | That if I sincerely want | To make the fastest progress | In my spiritual life, | Then I must every day | Apply my ancient disciplines | To my modern life. Sri Chinmoy in the following months composed a group of aphorisms about practicing ancient disciplines, ST 15204-15207, possibly related to this question.↩
Part IVSCA 1177-1182. These questions were asked on 9 August 1989 at Aspiration-Ground, New York.
Question: You once said that there is a new consciousness growing in Austria. What is it?Sri Chinmoy: Long live the Austrian consciousness! In the Austrian consciousness I am seeing both dynamism and eagerness. Some people are dynamic, but they have no eagerness. Still others are eager, but they have no dynamism. But the Austrian consciousness has both. I am very, very pleased with Austria.
Question: Is there any special significance to the town one is born in?Sri Chinmoy: Definitely your soul selected that particular town. There are countless towns on earth. Why did your soul choose that particular town? So here the choice itself is something significant.
Question: There is a saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Is that true in the spiritual life?Sri Chinmoy: Spirituality is not a matter of pulling and pushing. Those who pull and push are eventually pushed aside and pulled behind. Pushing and pulling is not spirituality. Spirituality is surrender to God's Will, patience, tolerance, acceptance of the situation for its transformation.
Acceptance of the situation does not mean that you are surrendering to the situation. But you have to accept something in order to transform it. If you do not accept it, how are you going to transform it? If you see some obstruction on the street, some dry wood for example, if you do not pick it up, how are you going to keep the street clean? Spirituality is like that. You accept something, then you transform it.
If somebody tries to come near me by pushing others aside or by pulling them out, then that person can never be close to me. In spirituality there is no pushing, no pulling, but only cheerful acceptance, a cheerful feeling all the time.
Whether you have come late to the meeting and you have to sit at the back, or you come before anyone else and you can sit at the front, be cheerful. Cheerfulness if you have, no matter where you are — right in the front row or at the back —- that is how you will receive the utmost.
You have to know that the Master hides. He can be looking at one person, but his heart will be looking at someone else, his heart will be working inside someone else. So try to have that cheerful consciousness no matter where you are; my eyes can be looking at another person, but my heart will be working inside your heart.
Question: If we are aspiring to do something like swim the English Channel or run 1,000 miles, how can we know if it is your will or just a desire on our part?Sri Chinmoy: You can easily ask me, "Shall I do it?" Then if I see that you have the capacity, I will say, "Do it." If I do not see the capacity, I will ask someone else to try. I am very proud of one German girl who has swum the English Channel and, again, six German girls have swum it in a relay. So one has done it all by herself and six have done it together. How can you know if you should try? Just ask me. And if you get permission, then you can try. And if you fail, do not give up. But first you have to know whether you have the capacity.
Question: I have a hard time finding joy in running. Do you think if I play tennis it will help my running?Sri Chinmoy: Tennis will never help your running, far from it. But running will help your tennis, especially if it is sprinting. Stretching exercises and speed work definitely will help your tennis. That is what Arthur Ashe does. Again, if you want to play five sets, if you want to become a world champion tennis player, then you need stamina. For that you have to practise long distance running.
Tennis is not going to help your running speed, that is absurd. But if running does not give you joy and tennis gives you joy, then you can play tennis for joy.
Question: How can I get more joy in running so that I can continue running?Sri Chinmoy: If you do not get enough joy from running itself, then you have to do something with your running to get joy. Try to bring in some variety. Seven days a week you run, so you can vary your schedule. Do not run each day at the same speed or for the same distance. One day you can run one mile, the second day two miles, the third day seven miles, then again one mile. Every day change the distance and change the speed. If you run at seven minutes per mile, then one day go deliberately at a nine-minute pace. The next day do something different: 100 metres walk, 100 metres run, 100 metres walk, 200 metres run. In that way, you will develop a different kind of joy and confidence.
That is what I do. In one mile, if you can have all kinds of variation, then you may get joy. I find that it gives me joy. Otherwise, if I have to run one full mile, sometimes it is so boring.
Another day you can run according to your mood. Just let your mind or your heart decide. Sometimes you will run for 20 metres and walk for 200 metres, then again you will run for 800 metres. Allow yourself to be carried by your inspiration. Do not have a fixed distance in mind. You just surrender to your mind's whims. Then afterwards you will get so much joy when you see that you have covered so much distance.
There are so many ways to get joy from running, but if you are badly injured, like me, then there is no way to get joy from running. At that time, just enter into a different field.
Part VSCA 1183-1186. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on receptivity and surrender in the Philippines on 30 January 1993.
Question: I want to have higher experiences in my meditation.Sri Chinmoy: When Swami Vivekananda was a young man, he used to go to various spiritual Masters and say, "Tell me frankly, have you seen God?" The reply was usually, "I have read the Vedas and the Upanishads. There God is mentioned, but I do not have firsthand experience of God." Since he could not get any satisfactory answer, Naren [Swami Vivekananda] continued to ask the same question. It became his mantra.
One day, Naren came to Sri Ramakrishna and asked him the same question, "Have you seen God?" Sri Ramakrishna immediately said, "Yes, I have seen God face to face. I see Him more vividly than I see you and I can prove it to you."
So Sri Ramakrishna accepted the challenge and, in a few years' time, he showed Naren the state of Nirvana. At once, Naren cried out, "What are you doing? What are you doing? I have my father, I have my mother, I have my brother and sister at home!"
It was he who challenged Sri Ramakrishna by asking, "Have you seen God?" Then, when Sri Ramakrishna showed his power, Naren said, "What are you doing?" Naturally, Sri Ramakrishna insulted him. "You rascal," he said, "you ask everybody if they have seen God and what happened? When I wanted to show you God, you were thinking of your father and mother."
This lesson applies to many of my disciples. You feel that if I give you a high inner experience, you will be the happiest person. But when the time comes, what actually happens is that you become frightened. You do not see any connecting link between your own consciousness and the inner experience. There is a gap and you feel totally lost because there are no steps, no rope, to bridge that gap. If there were steps, then you would know that you can come down again. But since you do not see anything in between, while you are being lifted up all the attachments of the world, all your dear ones, suddenly come forward.
Vivekananda had prayed and meditated for six or seven years. But when the time came and Sri Ramakrishna wanted to give him a higher experience, he got frightened because he knew that if he remained in that state he would not be able to think of his family —- and he was so dear to them. That is why he cried out, "What are you doing? What are you doing? I do not want this!" Here he was literally dying for God, but when somebody accepted his challenge, he became frightened.
It is very easy for us, when we are seated comfortably, to say we want higher experiences, but when somebody really wants to give them to us, that is the time fear comes. Vivekananda prayed for so many years, and he was a mature soul from previous incarnations, but when the time came, he was not ready.
Again, a few years later, when he was ready, he passed his examination. His father died and he did not have any money for food for himself and his family. Sri Ramakrishna was examining Vivekananda. He told him, "Go into the temple and ask Mother Kali for material wealth." Sri Ramakrishna himself could easily have given a little money to support the family of his dearest disciple, but instead he said, "On this particular night, your prayer will definitely be granted."
For three days in a row, Vivekananda's mother had not been able to feed him and it was beneath her dignity to ask for food. How much poverty that family suffered! So Vivekananda went to Mother Kali's temple three times and each time he uttered exactly the same prayer: "Mother, give me the light of knowledge, the light of discrimination and the light of renunciation."
When he came out, Sri Ramakrishna was waiting for him. Sri Ramakrishna said, "What are you doing? Here your brother is starving, your mother is starving. You have only to ask and Mother Kali will give you material wealth." But Vivekananda could not ask.
So the same Vivekananda had two completely opposite experiences. When his divinity came forward, he could not ask for earthly things. But earlier, when God was giving him the experience of divinity, at that time he said, "Oh no, I have got my father and mother."
The spiritual Master has to wait for receptivity to develop. Otherwise, if all of a sudden he tries to give the disciple a higher experience, he will simply break the vessel. It is better to use a slow process.
The negative forces are so powerful. The ultimate Victory always belongs to God, but one negative force is enough to hold back a seeker's progress for years and years. The whole being has surrendered to God's Will, but one undivine force, like an insect, is enough to make the surrender incomplete. You look at the person and you see only surrender in the entire being but one particular place, one spot, has not made the surrender.
Let us say we have a large quantity of milk. In appearance, it is absolutely white. But one tiny drop of poison is enough to ruin it. Who can trace that drop? But, if I drink that milk, that drop has the capacity to destroy me.
So I am saying that one drop, one negative thought, one thought that is not surrendering, can ruin your progress. If you enter into the vital, the physical, the heart, you will see that everything is surrendered. But inside the mind, one little drop has not surrendered. Such a tiny insect has ruined the whole system.
In the case of some disciples, when they have this particular experience, they immediately think, "My entire being is not surrendering." No, the entire being has surrendered, but one portion has not. One hostile insect has entered. Just take a needle and remove it. Then you will see that the whole consciousness, the entire being —- body, vital, mind and heart —- wants to make cheerful and unconditional surrender.
Some disciples suffer because they cannot make cheerful and unconditional surrender. I tell you, it is a one-second job — one second, not even five seconds. One second is enough. In one second, if you remove the cork, then surrender will come. Of course, disciples who are not at that stage may take five years or five incarnations.
You can also liken it to a stove. You are turning the knob, but you are not getting a flame. The flame is not very far away —- perhaps a quarter of an inch. Even less! An eighth of an inch. But because the flame is not coming, you are disappointed and you think there is no flame inside the stove. Try! Try just a little more and you will get the flame. Unfortunately, that little extra bit you do not try. Every time you turn the control to the same point, and then you stop. Sometimes you do not even reach that point. You have to turn it just a little more and then you will see the joy of surrender.
I see that there are a few disciples who are not getting the joy of surrender because of that little fraction. It is not that they have to come a long way in order to make surrender, no. Of course, there are some who do have to come from an unimaginable distance. But others have come so far, they only need to go a little further. They do have the capacity, but what has happened? They are stuck at one point. And sometimes they even begin to go backwards again. Then cheerful surrender, willingness-surrender, oneness-surrender, all go away.
If they can go just a little further, just a little, then they will see that the joy they wanted from life is there. They will find infinitely more joy than they ever dreamt of.
Because they cannot come up to that point, they carry all the miseries, all the doubts, all the fears. Today they doubt themselves, tomorrow they doubt the Master, the day after tomorrow, they doubt the whole world. I always say, if you doubt me, no harm. But do not doubt yourself. If you doubt yourself, your spirituality will end there.
If one is really sincere, however, it is easier to have faith in the spiritual Master than to have faith in oneself. That is also true from the practical point of view. The Master has achieved many, many things on the outer plane as well as in the inner plane. We can easily identify with his achievements.
It is so easy to have more faith in somebody else than in oneself. When we think of our own lives, we are tortured by our shortcomings, our failures, our weaknesses. Perhaps that other person is also being tortured by the same problems, but you do not actually know how many times he has failed or made mistakes.
As an individual, how rarely you think of yourself as a good person! Let us forget about being a perfect person. Your incapacities come forward much more than your capacities in your day-to-day life. As soon as you start your day, incapacity is there to greet you.
Right now, if anybody asks me to run a mile, I will tell them, "Oh no, I cannot run. I have had my breakfast, my stomach is full, plus I have not taken proper stretching exercises." My immediate answer is no. So you see how incapacity is present in our daily lives at every moment. Capacity comes very, very rarely. The mind immediately brings forward incapacity and incapacity comes in the form of negativity: "No, I do not want to do this or that."
How many times are we cheerful when we are doing something? When we come out of the house in the morning, on how many days do we have a childlike burst of energy? You can ask yourself, how many days do you come out of the house like a child, absolutely full of energy, and how many days do you appear, full of lethargy, as if you were dragging a dead body? Early in the morning, you prayed and meditated. You did everything good and divine. But then, when you stepped out of the house, you were assailed by negative forces —- lethargy, sciatica, stiffness and so on. Perhaps if ten doctors were to examine you at that time, they would all agree that you do not have sciatica or any other medical complaint. Why then do you feel like that? It is because your mind has given you so many physical complaints. And this is happening in your life only because of one thing: lack of cheerfulness.
We can never have cheerfulness by possessing something or by becoming something. Cheerfulness itself is something that we become. Right now we feel that by getting a certain material thing or by pleasing someone we will get cheerfulness. No. Real heart's cheerfulness we can never get by pleasing ourselves in our own way. The mind's pleasure is what we actually get. For five minutes or five days, we will experience the mind's pleasure. But the heart's cheerfulness, which is spontaneous oneness with God's Will, or with your Master's will, or with your own soul's will, you will never get by possessing. It will come only from surrendering to your soul's will, or your Master's will, or God's Will.
Question: What do you, as a spiritual Master, feel when you see that someone is so close to making complete surrender but one little insect is holding that person back?Sri Chinmoy: I feel miserable because some negative forces are not allowing that person to come a little further forward, just a little forward.
Question: If it is something coming from outside, what can we do about it?Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately, you do not believe in prayer. You have to consciously pray to God or you can pray to your Master. You can say, "O Master, you know better than I do. I want to make surrender to God. Please give me the capacity." That kind of prayer very few people make. But that is why prayer exists! However, because of their minds, my disciples do not realise that fact. Outwardly you may say, "My Master knows better than I do," but your mind has so many preconceived ideas: "If I do this or if I do that then…" That 'if' has to go away from the mind. When 'if' goes out of the mind, then prayer becomes serious. Otherwise, your prayer will be, "If you do this, then, Master, I will do that." Or you may say, "If you do this, God, then I will do that."
By putting 'if' between you and God, or between you and your Master, or between you and your inner existence, you are ruining all your prayers. But take away 'if' and where is the difference between your heart and God's Will or your Master's will or your soul's will? Absolutely no difference! The heart is always ready to do God's Will, but the mind comes with 'if' . The heart will never put 'if' between itself and God. Only the mind puts it there.
Most of the time, the mind is saying, "God, if I give You one per cent, you have to give me ninety-nine per cent." But again, the same mind can be excellent. On rare occasions, the mind will say, "God, I am ready to give You ninety-nine per cent, but I expect one per cent from You." The highest the mind can give is ninety-nine per cent, but it will never give one hundred per cent. That is because the mind has put the word 'if' into the picture.
When the heart comes, there is no 'if'. The heart will spontaneously say, "God, I will give You one hundred per cent. You do not have to give me even one per cent." The heart is not tricky. The heart knows that God will give everything in return. If a child is very close to his mother, this child will never expect anything from the mother. And whatever he has, even if it is only one cent, he will go and give to his mother. He will not go to the mother and give his one cent and expect a dollar in return, no. His entire possession is that one cent piece. And yet, he will just go and give it to his mother and run away. Then his mother has to call him, "Where are you? Where are you?" After giving his possesion, he is nowhere near his mother. His job is over. That is what the heart does.
The mind is also giving, but while giving, it is watching to see whether the other person is also giving something. The mind will look to see whether your hand is in your pocket to give something in return. The heart does not look. The heart gives and does not expect anything in return.
Everybody's heart is good. Again, God also created the mind. Do you think that God will not transform our minds one day? He created something. If it is something completely useless, will He keep it that way forever? He wants to challenge His own impossibility. Right now, we are saying that it is an impossible task to transform the mind. But God gets tremendous Joy in challenging His Capacities. That is what we do not understand. God's Capacity is limitless, true. But He gets tremendous Joy by challenging Himself. His Infinity is challenging Itself.
We, as humans, do not challenge our capacities. The capacities that we have, we are using for our own purpose. But our will-power is not challenging those capacities. Am I making it clear? Will-power itself is capacity. From my will-power, I have got a certain capacity. But once I have separated capacity from will-power, I do not try to increase my capacity further with the help of my will-power. Why? Because capacity itself has formed some idea that I cannot go beyond this particular limit, or this particular domain. Capacity has formulated its own ideas.
You have to know that will-power can come and challenge this capacity. If the capacity does not want to increase, then will-power cannot do anything because we have separated capacity from will-power. That is the mistake we are making. We have to realise that capacity came from will-power. If capacity surrenders to will-power, then at every moment we can challenge impossibility. We can!
Question: The problem is, when we have a weakness — say insecurity or anger or jealousy —- and we are experiencing it, to us, at that moment, it is our reality, it is part of us. To step outside that feeling and say, "This is something I can challenge," is so difficult.Sri Chinmoy: You are saying that insecurity or some other hostile force has become a reality in your life and you cannot separate yourself from it.
Now you have to ask your fresh mind and your pure heart whether it is the first time you have ever been stung by the insecurity-bee. Is it the first time in this incarnation that you are suffering from insecurity? Perhaps you will find that from the age of two you have been suffering from insecurity-attacks. If it is the first time you have ever been attacked, then you are helpless. But if you have been attacked by your enemy many, many times, then by now it should be clear to you that this is something which is destroying you.
Think of your heart as a beautiful mirror for your own reflection. Right now, each time you suffer from an insecurity-attack, you take it as reality, you cannot get away from it. But what actually happens is that your beautiful heart-mirror drops and smashes into millions of pieces. To have that experience, to have your reality smashed into millions of pieces, is so destructive in your life.
Why then do we allow these negative forces, such as insecurity, impurity, doubt and fear, to attack us? The answer comes from our unwillingness. You can ask yourself if it is the first time that you are noticing some imperfection in your nature. If it is for the first time, then you are helpless because perhaps you do not have the medicine. But over the years, if you are sincere, you will have to admit how many times you have suffered from the same ailment. Do you think that God allowed us to have these ailments but He did not create any medicines or antidotes? God did create a medicine and that medicine is willingness, willingness. If you do not use this medicine, then all the negative forces will come to you in the form of unwillingness —- unwillingness to change.
President Clinton uses the word 'change' frequently. In his Inaugural Address, he has used the word ten or eleven times. In the spiritual life, we use the term 'transformation'. There is only one thing that God needs from us and that is willingness to change, willingness to transform ourselves. The medicine is available but we want to be cured without using the medicine. Is it a joke? Fear, doubt, anxiety —- all the things that we are suffering from —- let us take them as diseases. There is only one medicine for all of them and that is willingness. But that medicine we never take. We do not want it. Why? Is it something bitter or is it something we cannot get because it is so expensive? No, not true, not true. Willingness is not like earthly medicine. If we want it, it will come from the heart. It is Heavenly medicine, so it is already there. Our problem is that we have separated the disease from the medicine. Otherwise, we would see that right by the side of the disease is the medicine. But we do not take it.
Keep your body fit if you really want to make progress1The younger you can become, the faster will be your progress. This is absolutely no joke! I am fast approaching sixty-five years of age. I shall do a few more things in this lifetime which I could not do in my adolescent years. I have already done the head balance, which I could never do, even when I was a champion athlete. And there are five or six more things I shall do in this incarnation which, at the time of my athletic career, I could not do.
If you sincerely want to make faster progress, you have to have a childlike heart. By any means, I am begging each and every disciple to bring back your childhood consciousness. Your childhood consciousness is not silly, no. When you were a little boy or a little girl, you were a most beautiful flower. Then over the years age descends on us. We become fruits and then the fruits become rotten. So let us not grow into fruits. Let us only feel that every day we are blossoming, blossoming. Every day we shall blossom and place ourselves at the Feet of our Lord Beloved Supreme.
To each and everyone I am saying, try to make yourself young. Feel that you are only seven years old if you want to make the fastest progress. I assure you, this is the most effective way to make the fastest progress. Do not think that you have to be childish. It is not childish but childlike that we wish to become. God Himself is childlike. When we are childish, we do many, many stupid things. But to go back to our childhood days is not a stupid thing. If you really want to make progress in your life, this is the only way to think of yourself — as young as possible.
It is the mind that makes us feel we are too old, we are useless. This mind has to be silenced by the will of the heart, by the will of the soul. God is always asking us to silence the mind, the mind that tells us we are too old, we are helpless, we are useless, we can do nothing. We must tell the mind that says we can do nothing that the mind itself is nothing and we are everything.
It is the light of the soul that can illumine the mind. True, it is a very, very long process, but the mind can be illumined eventually. If you silence the mind, the mind becomes like a tame and faithful dog. Now the mind is all the time barking and biting and frightening us: we cannot do this, we cannot do that.
Age is in the mind; age is not in the body. When we think that we are old, that is the end, the very end, of our journey. Every day at every moment only think that you are a seven-year-old or a nine-year-old or ten-year-old, but do not think that you are over thirty. Do not make it into thirty-one and absolutely not into forty-one! If you cannot make yourself into a seven-year-old child, then at the maximum think of thirteen. Just imagine! Imagination is a reality of its own. Imagination is a world of its own, but you have to bring down that world every day or you have to enter into that world.
I always say that physical fitness is of paramount importance. Inside the body is the soul. The soul is not somewhere else. Inside the body-temple is the shrine. If we do not keep the temple in proper condition, the shrine will be totally ruined. So take exercise, lose weight, those who have to lose weight. Those who are physically weak, become strong. Keep your body fit if you really want to make progress.
There are some schools of thought that say the body is useless. Ramana Maharshi and others said to meditate and meditate. I also say the same, but since you are following my path, I must add that the body also plays a most significant role in our spiritual life. Let us strive for physical fitness, not world championships! We shall progress, we shall transcend and transcend, but our goal is physical fitness.
There are some men and women, especially some women, who have surrendered to age. I am telling you that you have to surrender to the heart, not to the mind. If you surrender to your heart, you can make progress every day. If you surrender to your mind, your progress will come to a complete halt.
Even if you do not want to take exercise early in the morning, try to make yourself feel that you are quite young. Just go outside and see what happens. Then, while you are walking, try to walk a little faster. While you are doing anything, make the movement faster. Bring back your childlike days when you used to run and play with utmost joy.
SCA 1187. Sri Chinmoy made these remarks in Sacramento, California, on 1 June 1996 after competing in the California Senior Games.↩
Part VIISCA 1188-1201. Questions asked at Los Angeles Airport on 3 July 1989.
Question: Could you please speak about bad habits?Sri Chinmoy: You have to know which bad habits are very powerful or prominent in your life. Somebody may be in the habit of telling lies; another person smokes and drinks. These are all bad habits. For each bad habit, you have to feel or imagine what is going to happen eventually or what is happening inside you now.
When we look at the moon, we see how beautiful it is. Again, when it is overcast, the beauty of the moon we do not see. Our lungs are so beautiful and pure, like the moon. But once you start smoking and drinking, what happens? Their beauty and purity are ruined.
Again, if someone is in the habit of telling lies, he creates so many problems for others. When you stand in front of that person for two minutes, what kind of wisdom and illumination will you receive? A saint on the other hand is always blessingfully saying the correct thing and doing the right thing. If you stand in front of him, you will receive his blessings, affection, love and so forth.
Being seekers, at every moment we have to know what is going to help us and what is going to take us away, far, farther, farthest from God. Once we know what is carrying us to God and what is taking us away, it is infinitely easier for us to give up bad habits.
Question: I would like to know about inner progress and how to be aware of inner progress.Sri Chinmoy: You can be aware of your inner progress by observing the happiness inside you. This happiness is not to be confused with pleasure. Let us say that today you got up at five o'clock, instead of ten o'clock, so you were able to pray and meditate and do the needful. That is happiness. But if you were just relaxing and being full of lethargy, then that is pleasure.
If you make progress, you are bound to feel happiness. That happiness comes from inside you. When you are happy, you look at the world, you look at a flower and you get joy. And this joy is so solid. Even when you see your worst enemy, you are getting joy because he is also a Creation of God's. Each and every thing, each and every individual at that time gives you joy, because they are all Creations of God's. So each time you make progress, each time you go one step ahead, just dive deep within and you are bound to feel joy. And this joy, consciously or unconsciously, you are sharing with others. Your heart is full of joy, your face is radiating joy, and whomever you see, that person is drawing happiness from you like a magnet. Through joy itself, we make progress. Otherwise, depression, frustration, doubt and self-doubt will all come and attack us.
Question: If we are running a race in New York and a great runner is running a world record on the other side of the world, does our aspiration or intensity help that other runner?Sri Chinmoy: Definitely, provided that runner is also aspiring and on the same level as you are. It is like two individuals who are in the aspiration-boat together. This boat is so long. An ordinary earthly boat is only six or ten metres long. But your spiritual boat, your Heavenly boat, is very long. That boat can easily span the distance between New York and some other country.
You are in the boat and you are running in New York, while he is running in his own country. You do not have the same capacity as he does. But both of you are aspiring on the same level, with the same intensity. Since you are in the same boat, your capacity, your intensity, will enter into him and he will be able to go faster.
Question: Is there a proper way to start any project?Sri Chinmoy: Always start a project with inner happiness and feel that this project is not yours; it belongs to the Supreme. It is very important to remember this when you are asked to do something on your own. Otherwise, in order to glorify yourself or to prove that you are the best person to do that job, you will kill yourself to succeed. With your ego you will do it because you want to surpass others.
There is another way of thinking. Feel that the Supreme has entrusted you with this golden opportunity to embark on a new project. This opportunity you will try to manifest into reality with utmost humility, devotion and feeling of oneness with the Supreme. That is the divine attitude.
Right now some people have the attitude that they have been given a project because they have the capacity. They want to defeat others and glorify themselves. It is all 'I' and 'mine'. But you have to change this attitude. Try to feel that out of His infinite Compassion, the Supreme has given you the capacity and the opportunity to do something for Him. And you will do it soulfully and devotedly. But start with happiness. Always we have to start with happiness.
Question: If we are inspired to do something, how do we know that it is divine inspiration and not ego that is prompting us?Sri Chinmoy: The previous answer also covers this question. If you are getting inspiration from within, from the depths of your heart, then you will experience tremendous joy. At that time, you will not look around to see if anybody is watching you and appreciating you; you will only try to execute the job. When you get the message from within, when you have heard the inner voice, you do something spontaneously and sleeplessly, not looking to see who is seeing, who is admiring. If this voice comes from your very deep meditation, then you can trust it. Otherwise, while you are working or running if you hear a voice, you may feel that it is coming from the very depths of your heart, but it may be coming directly from your vital, your intense vital. But if you have a very deep and powerful meditation, a long meditation where there is no thought, nothing, and an inspiration comes in the midst of it, at that time you can trust this inspiration. Otherwise, if people say they are receiving messages from within, it is mostly their mental hallucination.
Question: I have been suffering so much physically and I am wondering if God is giving me this experience for a reason?Sri Chinmoy: Once you enter into the spiritual life, you have to take each incident in life as a God-given experience. If we take it as a God-given experience, then we do not get angry at God because we know that God is full of Compassion and Affection for us. But if we say it is the negative forces which are giving us this experience, and we have done nothing wrong, nothing to deserve it, then we become angry with the negative forces and we lose our peace of mind. Whatever happens in our life, either God approves of it or He sanctions it or He tolerates it. For various inner reasons, something wrong may be happening in our life and God is just tolerating it. Since you are a seeker, you should always feel that if God is tolerating your suffering, it must be for a special reason.
In my case, I have been suffering with my knee problem for the last four or five years. I can blame the negative forces, true, but what good does it do? But if I am one with my Lord Supreme, I will say, "Is He not suffering along with me?"
I have two little dogs. When they suffer for some reason, on the strength of my oneness with them, I also suffer. God has created these little dogs, but I have established so much oneness with them that I feel miserable when they suffer.
In our case, God has created us. Naturally His Affection, Concern and Compassion for us will be infinitely more than what I can ever feel for my little dogs. So when we are suffering, we have to feel that God also is suffering. If my Beloved Supreme agrees to suffer with me, then I have to accept my fate as it is.
It is not that God has given us this suffering so that we can become a better person. God does not work that way. Only if it is something really good does God give it. But if something painful happens, then God may tolerate it. At that time, if we love God, we will say, "If God can tolerate this pain inside me, with me and for me, then I will have nothing to say against it. I will only pray to God for the fulfilment of His Will."
Question: Is it God's Grace that is responsible for all our action?Sri Chinmoy: If we think that on the strength of our own capacity we have made progress, that is the worst possible lie; it is a Himalayan falsehood! If that is our belief, then at every second we will dig our grave very nicely! It is God's infinite Compassion, God's infinite Grace that enables us to make progress.
I am sure you remember what some of your friends were doing in your school days and college days. You were praying to God to become a good instrument of His, to become a good citizen. They were taking drugs; they were absolutely inundated with worldly problems and all kinds of wrong forces attacked them. Perhaps these forces also started to attack you. Now who has saved you? It is God's infinite Compassion that has brought you into the spiritual life.
You may say, "I tried, I tried to become a good person." But we cannot do this kind of thing on our own. At every second undivine forces are there to halt our progress. Self-doubt will enter into you. You will say, "What good does it do if I become a good person? Nobody is going to believe me."
When we have a good thought, immediately self-doubt comes and we think, "I will never be able to do it." Or another kind of thought will come and that is, "Nobody will appreciate what I have done; nobody will believe it." These negative forces come in a clever way to destroy your good thought before it can manifest itself.
But if it is God's Will, then from the beginning to the end you will feel His Grace working in and through you. In the beginning, we always feel that it is one per cent God's Grace and ninety-nine per cent our hard labour. That is what our stupidity tells us. Then gradually we change our philosophy. We say that it is ninety-nine per cent God's Grace and one per cent our labour. Then we come to the point where we say, "Are we sure that our labour is even one per cent?" We dive deep within for just a few seconds and we see that it is all one hundred per cent God's Grace.
Question: I was wondering if you have seen the new brochure about our restaurant?Sri Chinmoy: It is very beautiful, but I would like you to add one line at the bottom to make it clear that this restaurant is part and parcel of a high vision. In this way, your customers will know the purpose of the restaurant. Otherwise, there are millions of restaurants on earth which do not have a divine purpose. This restaurant exists to expound our philosophy. So I feel you should make it very clear in your brochure that this restaurant exists to awaken and serve mankind in accordance with our worldwide philosophy and vision.
Question: How does God choose which human beings He is going to illumine?Sri Chinmoy: Like a farmer, God scatters seeds here and there. When He is throwing the seeds, He does not say, "The plant that grows from this particular seed has to be far better than the rest." No, He just scatters seeds here and there, like in a divine factory. It is the receptivity of one particular place which causes that seed to grow faster than the rest and to become more beautiful, more radiant.
You can observe a classroom. The teacher tells the same thing to all the students, but one student will stand first in the examination and another student will stand last. They have heard the same thing, but because of the receptivity of the first boy, he did well and because of lack of receptivity, the other one could not do well.
Question: Did you choose us to become your disciples?Sri Chinmoy: Usually it is said that a few are chosen for the spiritual life and the rest join it by some miracle. In my case, I say it is the other way round. The fact is that there are so many groups, so many Masters, why is somebody inclined to follow my path? True, he may be making a mistake, but the fact is that he is not choosing some other group; he is choosing me. So even if I do not choose you, you are choosing me. Then the question comes, why are you choosing me? It is because you see something in me, that is why you are choosing me. Let us say I am a flower and I am also the fragrance of that flower. I gave you something. I gave you the beauty of the flower to appreciate and the fragrance of the flower to enjoy. You may say, "No, it is because I saw the beauty in the flower that I enjoyed the fragrance." Either way is fine. If I want to take the credit, then I chose you because I gave you the fragrance; if you want to take the credit, then you chose me because you saw the beauty. So it is mutual.
Question: I am always so disappointed when promising seekers leave our path.Sri Chinmoy: You should not be disappointed, because you have done your duty. Your duty is to offer them the aspiration that you have received from this path. Then it is their choice whether or not to believe in you. You have played your role. You have received a mango from me. You have tasted the mango and you have discovered that it is so delicious, but some other person, without tasting it, may say that it is not delicious at all. As soon as that person sees the mango, they do not feel any joy.
But somebody else is holding another fruit; so that person goes there and tastes the second fruit. Do not be disappointed. You are not that individual who is not appreciating the mango. If you have offered them the mango most soulfully and devotedly, then you have played your role most satisfactorily. You should be disappointed only if you have not done it soulfully, devotedly and sincerely. If that person is now interested in somebody else's fruit, why should you be disappointed?
Our goal is not to take countless people to the Destination; our goal is to take only those who are meant for us. There are many, many people who are not meant for this path. Again, there are many who are meant for this path. Unfortunately, you have not been able to approach them. But I have never said that the whole world should follow this path, far from it. Why should there be only one boat? There can be many boats and many boatmen but the Destination is the same. The only thing is that our boat still has plenty of room to house many, many more seekers.
So if you are not successful today, do not be disappointed. Try some other day or go to some other place and try. But if you are disappointed, it will affect your subtle nerves, your spiritual nerves. Then tomorrow, when the time comes for you to give another course on our philosophy, you may not get any inspiration.
Remain cheerful and try, try again. If nobody comes to your course, it is not your fault. I know there are many, many, many seekers who are not meant for our path. Again, we cannot always say that for each and every person the Hour has not yet struck. That is a wonderful explanation, but there is a way to expedite God's Hour. If you want to expedite God's Hour, those who are awakened should be more self-giving, more willing to devote themselves to this path.
Question: What is the spiritual way to approach our job?Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the job you are doing. If you are working at a particular place only to maintain your livelihood, to defray the costs of your earthly existence, then do your work the way you are supposed to do it. You have to please your boss, you have to be regular, punctual and so forth.
But if your job is directly connected with our Mission, let us say you work in a Divine Enterprise, at every moment you have to feel that God Himself is in front of you. Between the customer and the one who is serving, there should be a brief connection, an inner connection. It is an exchange of goodwill. You are serving and the customer is eating or buying a book or something else. The person who is serving has to do it more carefully, more sincerely and more soulfully. He is consciously following the spiritual life, whereas the other person may be a good person by nature and that is why he is receiving something from you.
If you are working in an ordinary job, you have to be regular, you have to be willing to create harmony in the section, not to create any problems and so forth, but there you do not have a higher goal. There is only one goal: to go there regularly and to get the salary at the end of the week. Again, in order to live on earth, you need a salary, so it may be necessary for you to stay in that job and do your spiritual work in the evening or on the weekend.
But if you are working at a Divine Enterprise, then you are getting much more opportunity to be spiritual. You may not get a proper salary, but at every moment you are getting a tremendous opportunity to become more spiritual because the goal is right in front of your nose. At every moment you are reminded that you have a goal, you have a goal. Each Divine Enterprise has a very special message to offer, not only to the disciples but also to humanity. Please try to keep that message right in front of you at every moment.
Question: All your musical instruments belong to you, but when you travel, you perform on the piano or organ that belongs to that particular concert hall or establishment. Does the consciousness of all the people who have played those instruments in any way affect you?Sri Chinmoy: At the beginning, when I meditate for two or three minutes, I dive deep within and at that time I do anything that is needed. If purity is needed because some undivine person has played, then purity will be granted. The thing is that when I enter onto the stage, nothing affects me. I am not thinking of purity, I am not thinking that a great player has played before me. I do not think of anything. I enter into a state of consciousness where neither the instruments nor the persons who have played before are able to affect me. If I play for five minutes or fifteen minutes, while I am performing, I am playing in my own way. I am not allowing my heart or my musical talents or my consciousness to receive anything either from the individuals who have played or from the hall itself.
Question: Recently sports writers have been talking about a feeling in all kinds of athletes where everything slows down. What is it all about?Sri Chinmoy: If I understand your question correctly, it is like a smooth sailing. In the beginning, all kinds of personal effort is necessary. For years an athlete may work very, very hard, with tremendous intensity. Then, during his race, he feels that he is not moving at all; but actually he is moving —- like smooth sailing. At that time, he may not realise that he is not the doer. Somebody else is doing it in and through him.
When Bill Rodgers is running a marathon well, he is coasting. He may be running for 20 or 26 miles, but he is maintaining the same speed or even increasing the speed, but with no effort. So something is definitely doing it in and through him, otherwise he would have remained at the same spot.
When you start a machine, you hear all kinds of noises. It takes time to warm up. But once the machine is operating at full speed, you do not hear those same noises. That is like coasting in marathon running. At the beginning of a race so much personal effort is required, but then, when it becomes smooth sailing, sometimes you do not appreciate it because you have the feeling that you are doing nothing.
At that time, definitely Grace has descended and God has added something new to your capacity. Because God is pleased with you, he has given you the thing that you asked for, let us call it a mango, and He is bringing you an apple as well. God says, "Since I am pleased with you, I am giving you both a mango and an apple, and now you will be the happiest person." Although you did not ask for the apple, God is giving it to you. Then you will offer God your tears of gratitude.
Receptivity increases only in one way: by increasing our gratitude to God. There is no other way to increase receptivity. You can offer gratitude to God not only for what you have, but for what you are going to have. What you already have, what you are right now, how can you deny? What you are going to have or what you are going to become, you may not know. But you can use your imagination. The more gratitude you can offer to God, the more you can create positive thoughts, positive ideas and positive goals for yourself.
In my case, when I lifted forty pounds for the first time, I offered gratitude to God most sincerely. If you see that I make rapid progress when I enter into a new field, it is all because of my sincere gratitude to the Supreme. I know I cannot do it. I cannot do anything. If I have done anything in my aspiration or dedication or manifestation, it is all due to gratitude. God gave me a little capacity and because of my gratitude, God is increasing the capacity.
So if you want to increase any good quality in your life, just increase your gratitude to God. If you are an artist, offer gratitude; if you are a cyclist, offer gratitude; if you are a singer, offer gratitude. As an individual, you have capacities in perhaps seven or eight areas. For each thing, try to offer gratitude to the Supreme.
This morning, if you had a good meditation, if you did not suffer from doubt, fear, anxiety, worry, jealousy and so on, then offer gratitude, sincere gratitude. The following day, your meditation will be better.
We can offer gratitude to God not only for the positive things in our life but also for our weaknesses. We can say, "God, I am so grateful to You that I have only one weakness, it is limited, whereas there are many people on earth who have countless weaknesses. In their case it is unlimited." If you can offer gratitude to God because you only have one weakness, then God will take away that weakness. But if you blame God for your weakness, if you find fault with Him, what can He do?
Some seekers attack God. They say, "I have done so much for You, for years and years, how is it that I still have these weaknesses? How is it that You did not remove them?" What can poor God do? So our gratitude-heart can be of great benefit to us. The more gratitude we can offer to God, the more He will increase our receptivity and capacity in so many different fields.