Sri Chinmoy answers, part 37

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Part I

Invoking the queen of sleep1

These words that I have just set to music, Ghumer rani, have a story behind them.[fn:: SCA 1230,1. The complete words to the song are:
Ghumer rani ghumer rani barek dekha dao
amai chhere dure theke tripti bujhi pao_] The words I wrote in Shanghai, where we stayed for one day after flying from New York. I was desperately trying to sleep, but sleep was not descending and so I was writing poems and invoking the queen of sleep. I was saying to myself, “If I cannot sleep when I desperately need it, then I will suffer. Perhaps I will develop insomnia, like Swami Vivekananda. He used to roam from one place to another. From Calcutta he would go to one place, then another place, only to sleep. But sleep did not descend. How he suffered from lack of sleep!” So I was wondering if I would develop that same condition. My connection with Swami Vivekananda is so powerful, so strong; it is closer than the closest. All of a sudden, in his subtle body, he came and stood in front of me and started scolding me in Bengali. He said, “You are _not going to have that problem that I suffered from for many years, eight or ten years, or even more. You are not going to have that kind of disease.”

On the one hand, Swami Vivekananda shows me tremendous, tremendous affection and fondness, like a brother, my real brother. On the other hand, he is very, very powerful in scolding! What can I say? If you are younger in the family, you deserve it!

SCA 1230. Sri Chinmoy offered these comments in Sanya, China, on 25 November 2004.

Part II

SCA 1231-1233. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in Sanya, China, on 26 November 2004.

Question: Before the ultra race that I did last September, I was wondering what we are supposed to do, as runners, during the race. A marathon is only a few hours long, but an ultra race is days and days. I feel it is very important, as a disciple, to still follow our discipline —- to read, to sing, to meditate —- but it is very difficult to do the same things as usual. Do you have something to say about it?

Sri Chinmoy: The best thing is to invoke the Presence of the Supreme in your speed or in your run. Invoke His Presence, Blessings and Guidance. That is all. If you cannot imagine the Supreme’s Face in Heaven or in the skies, just imagine a Being who is very, very beautiful.

If that does not satisfy you, you can think of my smiles, of how many times I have smiled at you. I am not the Supreme, no, no, no. You and I are all disciples of the Supreme. But since you do not know who the Supreme is — we all do not know — the easiest and most effective thing is to imagine my smile. You do know me. My name is Sri Chinmoy, Chinmoy Kumar Ghose. Countless times I have smiled at you over the years. If you can sincerely feel or see, or even imagine, the smiles that I have offered to you over the years, it is bound to take away some of your fatigue. The pain will be less and the joy that you will get will increase your speed. Then you will be able to continue and continue. So whether it is one mile or twenty miles, just try to imagine my smile.

Some people, while running, think of their rivals. From this approach they get a certain animal energy, but this animal energy does not help. They may stumble or fall. They will find that everything goes wrong. Again, others get angry with someone and speak ill of that person. They feel that when they get angry, their blood will circulate faster and give them more energy.

But for my disciples, my smile has tremendous power. When I smile, it comes from the soles of my feet to the crown of my head. Believe it or not, my smile has even cured the fatal diseases of some disciples. Only by remembering my smiles — at which place I smiled at them, on what occasion and so forth — they have had miraculous results. They knew it was not the medical world, but my smile, that cured them.

If I give somebody a smile, a sincere smile, that smile embodies tremendous divine power, divine will-power, and if you can imagine that that smile has already entered into your inner being, then that smile is the medicine of medicines.

If you cannot remember any other smile that I have given you during the entire year, at least remember the smile that I gave you on your birthday. Towards the end of your birthday meditation, for the last few seconds when I smile at you, at that time I pour and pour my love, affection, sweetness, fondness and power into you. If you are not receptive, if you are a solid wall thinking of somebody else or something else, what can I do? But if you can remember those moments, and if you are in your own highest consciousness, then it is like saving money in the bank. At any time during the year you can withdraw from your heart-bank.

So, dear ones, I beg of you, please take my powerful smiles very, very seriously. My smiles embody tremendous divine power.

Now I wish to tell you a funny story about my smile. I was living at that time in Manhattan, near Gracie Mansion. The apartment was on the fifth floor and there was no elevator. I used to go up and down the stairs practically dancing. I never walked. I was always running, running, running, as exercise. Whether I was going to work at the Indian Consulate, or coming back from work, or going shopping, it was always the same.

The landlady was very kind-hearted. She became my disciple and she stayed with us for many years. On many occasions she did not accept rent money from me. She tried very hard to improve my English pronunciation. Then she gave up! She wanted me to speak in the American style. Alas, alas, I never learnt.

She had a friend and that friend came to our apartment a few times to meditate. He was a strong, stout man with a very kind heart. One day he wanted to have a private interview with me. In those days I used to give many, many private interviews. It was about 7:30 in the morning and my landlady telephoned me. I was about to go to the Indian consulate. She told me that her friend had a serious problem. He needed an interview that would only last for ten minutes or so, perhaps even less.

I was always punctual when I worked at the Indian Consulate. I used to arrive even before the actual hour. I was the first one to arrive in the Passport and Visa section. On that particular morning, I was coming down as usual, running and jumping. I saw both of them, my landlady and her friend, standing at the bottom of the stairs. The man wanted to tell me his problems and I had such compassion for him. Had it been some other time, I would definitely have granted him an interview, as I had done a few times before. But on this occasion, I just smiled at him and literally ran away. I entered into the street and walked to the Indian Consulate.

Afterwards, I felt miserable. If I had been late to the office by a few minutes, perhaps nothing would have happened.

That same evening, after I returned home, my landlady came and knocked at my door.

I asked her, “What happened to your friend?”

Then she gave me a ten dollar bill.

I said, “What is this for?”

She explained, “My friend had a very serious problem. He wanted to tell you his problem, but you smiled at him and then you ran away. But when you smiled at him, he felt something inside him, something very important. Your smile took away all his problems. So he gave me ten dollars for you.”

I simply said, “Good!”

I knew nothing about his problems. Even today I do not know what his problem was. So sometimes you do not have to know the problem because God knows everything, the Supreme knows. The Supreme smiled in and through me. Through my smile, He solved the problems of that man.

Question: One lady in Moscow has asked me to give you her love. She is extremely ill, and we do not know if she will be alive when we return. She has to stay in bed all the time. Whenever I ask her something, she says, "Wait a little bit." Then she meditates for a few minutes and she gets a very clear answer from within. So she is asking if she should believe in this answer. Is it her higher self that is giving her the answer?

Sri Chinmoy: If the things that she is seeing and feeling are giving her tremendous joy, inner joy, then these answers are real. But if they make her feel miserable, then she has to take them as unreal. If there is happiness involved, take them as real. But if there is unhappiness, then they are false.

Questioner: For example, sometimes I bring her some medication, and she tells me, "Wait a little bit." Then she meditates and, after a few minutes, she may say to me, "Today I cannot take this medication. After three or four days I will take it." Like this, very precise answers she gives me. Sometimes she says, "Not now, but on the 13th of the month I can take it."

Sri Chinmoy: What is wrong with that? If she hears the inner message and she gets joy from the inner message and takes the medicine after a few days, let her do it. But if there is a conflict between the message and the feeling that she is getting, then she should not do it. When she is feeling or hearing that after a few days she should take the medicine, her immediate response has to be happiness.

May I ask, is this lady an artist also? Does she paint?

Questioner: Yes, she does a little painting on the computer.

Sri Chinmoy: Because as I am talking to you, I am seeing her soul, and her soul gave me this information.

Part III

When we pray to God, "Do not give me freedom", we are actually telling God, "I want to remain bound —- bound inside Your Heart or bound at Your Feet."3

A few weeks ago, I composed a particular song in English. The words are:

Give me no freedom!
Give me no freedom!
My Lord Supreme,
If you really love me,
Then give me no freedom,
Even for a fleeting moment.

During our Christmas trip, I would like all of you to stand up and sing this song twice every morning. It will give me tremendous joy, because if we pray to God not to give us freedom, and if we sincerely mean it, then our progress is bound to be very, very, very fast.

When we pray to God for freedom, God says, “Take it.” Then immediately we enter into the jaws of a roaring lion. But when we pray to God, “Do not give me freedom”, we are actually telling God, “I want to remain bound — bound inside Your Heart or bound at Your Feet.”

If we are at the Feet of God or inside His Heart, then we can never misuse freedom. To be guided by God’s Will all the time is the greatest freedom. Freedom means joy. What else is freedom, if not the purest joy? This joy we can get only at the Feet of God or inside the Heart of God.

Seekers who want to run faster than the fastest approach God through devotion or through love. Seekers who choose the devotional aspect ask God to allow them to sit at His Feet. Seekers who choose the love aspect want to remain always inside the Heart of God. The others also love God, but their feeling is that God’s Feet give more protection than His Heart.

Outwardly, it may seem puzzling. If somebody is inside the Heart of God, is he not well-protected? Inside the Heart of God, we are safe, true, but there we may not be able to taste the Sweetness of God. That is why seekers who choose the devotional aspect always like to be in front of God. They get more joy by touching the Feet of God than by living inside the Heart of God. They feel that it is sweeter.

Sri Ramakrishna and some other spiritual Masters of the highest order used to say, “If I am inside You, then I become You. I do not want to become You; I want to taste You.”

Let us say the ocean of nectar is right in front of you. You can be inside the ocean and lose your identity. I always say that when a little drop enters into the ocean, it becomes the ocean itself. That is one way. The other way, the devotional aspect, is when a seeker says, “God, I do not want to become You; I want to enjoy You. Please stay right in front of me, and I will remain at Your Feet so that every day, at every moment, I can taste, I can devour, Your Sweetness, Compassion and Love.”

So those who take the side of devotion say, “I want to taste You at every moment. You are so sweet. I will be at Your Feet.” And those who take the side of love say, “I have suffered enough, enough, enough. Now I do not want to have my own personality. I want to be as vast as You are. I want to become what You are.”

We cannot say that one aspect is better than the other aspect. It is a matter of individual choice. At the last moment, God Himself says, “Either you can merge into the Nectar-Ocean, or you can enjoy it drop by drop. If you want to have Me totally, what I have and what I am, then take it. But if you get more joy by worshipping Me all the time, then you can be at My Feet.”

In the love aspect, the lover and the Beloved want to become one. In the devotion aspect, the seeker is like a slave, not an ordinary slave, but a divine slave. He wants to be at God’s Feet and worship Him all the time.

So these are two different approaches. It depends on the seekers, at the last moment, when they have realised God, to decide what they want to do. Both the love aspect and the devotion aspect have one source: wisdom. But the individual seeker or God-realised person at the last moment has to make the choice between them.

Some spiritual Masters in India wanted only devotion, devotion, devotion. Sri Ramakrishna is one of those and also Sri Chaitanya. Again, there are others such as Ramana Maharshi and a few more who have chosen the love aspect. So you have to choose. For you perhaps it will take a little time before you have to make the choice!

SCA 1234. Sri Chinmoy offered these comments in Sanya, China, on 26 November 2004.

Part IV

SCA 1235-1236. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in Sanya, China, on 27 November 2004.

Question: In your writings, you have said that it is unspiritual to borrow anything, and I was wondering if you could please elaborate on that. In one of your poems, you say that God has not learnt the clever art of borrowing, unlike us.

Sri Chinmoy: Is it not self-explanatory? We borrow right and left. But God does not borrow. We borrow with the hope or with the intention — the sincere or insincere intention — to return the thing in question. In God’s case, God never borrows. He gives and gives. We give with the hope that we will get something back in return, but God does not believe in borrowing because He knows there is nothing for Him to get from human beings. And also, if He takes something from human beings, then He does not have to return it. This is the thing.

For us, it is like bartering. I borrow from you; you borrow from me. But this is a clever art. Most of the time, when we borrow things, we do not return them. This is an art that we have learnt. But poor God did not want to learn that art.

Third Person: Actually, the poem is,

God just gives and gives.
He does not take.
He has not even learnt
The clever art of borrowing.

Sri Chinmoy: So my poem explained everything. Can you imagine!

Question: We are trying to translate your books into Indonesian, and one of the difficult things in Indonesian is that they use the same word for Eternity and Immortality. Even in the English dictionary, they are very closely related. So we were wondering, when you use these two words, what are the deeper meanings that you are trying to convey?

Sri Chinmoy: It is very easy. When it comes to Life, Life is birthless and deathless, so it is immortal. Death itself is just a passage. Death is not the end; death is a road. Life, too, is a road. After the life-road comes the death-road. Some people are good, while others are bad. Similarly, some roads are good, some roads are bad. For good people, when the death-road comes, it is also a very bright road. Here, after running, we can rest and there also we can rest. Here we do not have the inner vision, but in the soul’s world, we see what we are going to do, what we are supposed to do, what is God’s Plan.

I am making it very simple for you. Immortality is when we pass through life and death. It is like the Midtown Tunnel in Manhattan. First there is light, then we pass through the tunnel, and after the tunnel again we get light. From mortality we go to Immortality. Life can be fleeting; it can be a matter of forty, fifty or sixty years. Again, the same life can become immortal on the strength of God-realisation. When the human life becomes consciously one with God’s Will, then it becomes immortal. At that time, the finite life and the infinite Life go together.

Eternity has no end, but from Eternity we do not get something concrete. Once something is done, in the course of Eternity it becomes almost immaterial. Immortality, on the other hand, is full of life-energy. While going from mortality to Immortality, we are only creating and creating, whereas Eternity is stretched very long, but on the way it does not have the same kind of productivity. Eternity is very, very long and very spacious, but something illumining or fulfilling we cannot get from Eternity. The life-force that is there is not dynamic or productive.

When we say ‘Immortality’, the heart immediately responds. The heart is closely connected with Immortality. Eternity is not like that. When it is something eternal, the mind may give a response, or something else in our life may respond.

So, for me, Immortality is more important than Eternity, because Immortality is producing, producing. Immortality has more joy and light in it. When we say ‘immortal’, immediately something happens inside our heart. But when we hear the word ‘eternal’, we think of a very endless land, almost a fallow land. That is my own inner feeling.

I understand that in Chinese there is no word for ‘consciousness’. There are so many English words that cannot be translated here. Unfortunately, that is the language barrier. Similarly, in Bengali also, there are some words that cannot be translated into English properly.

Once again, I wish to make myself clear. For me, Immortality is Life and Life is vibrant. Eternity does not carry this same sense. My third eye perhaps cares more for Immortality —- not the physical Immortality, but the Immortality that is growing and growing and growing, the Immortality that is ever-transcending, no matter where it is or at which stage. Immortality carries self-transcendence, but Eternity does not carry that message.

Part V

SCA 1237-1241. Questions asked on 4 December 2004 in Sanya, China.

Question: The other day you asked us to concentrate on conquering jealousy and insecurity. I was wondering if one way to do that would be not to focus so much on the thought, "I must get rid of my jealousy", but to invoke its opposite, to think of oneness or some other divine quality.

Sri Chinmoy: Very good! By using the term ‘jealousy’, you can again pollute your mind. You are saying that by not thinking of jealousy, by not paying any attention to it, you can pay all attention to oneness, oneness, oneness. That is one approach.

But, according to me, that is not the easiest way. You have to take jealousy as your enemy. Then you can pray to God, “God, give me the capacity to conquer my enemy.”

Jealousy-needle is sticking into you, so how can you say, “No, I have no needle”? If you look this side, you are not seeing it, but jealousy-needle is still on the other side. So you are only fooling yourself. The first thing you have to do is to take the needle out of your leg. Then you can talk about oneness, oneness.

When I am pinched with hunger, first let me feed myself. Otherwise, how can I talk about satisfaction? If I have hunger, I have to fulfil my hunger and then I shall get satisfaction. By simply repeating, “I am satisfied, I am satisfied”, am I going to solve my problem? The problem is hunger. By eating food, I am solving my hunger. But by saying, “No, no, I am all right, I am all right. I am not complaining”, you are not solving the problem. After some time, when you look at the reality, you will see that you are pinched with hunger. So first conquer the hunger, then talk about satisfaction. Otherwise, to talk about satisfaction without eating is like putting the cart before the horse!

Similarly, in the case of jealousy, insecurity and other undivine qualities, first solve the immediate problem. The immediate problem can be solved by praying to God, “Give me the capacity to conquer my enemy.”

We have to take jealousy and insecurity as our enemies. Unfortunately, we cherish them. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred we cherish them, and one time we are eager, or we are ready — not even eager — to conquer them. Anything in our nature that prevents our fastest progress, any quality within us that takes away our inner joy, has to be taken as an enemy.

When you are sick and the case is very serious, you go to the emergency room. At that time, you do not wait at home in the hope that the doctor will come and take care of you. When you are being attacked by jealousy or insecurity, it is exactly the same. That is not the time to become a philosopher and say, “O God, kindly illumine these qualities so that they know they are taking away all my joy.” No, no, no! The best way is to immediately pray to God to conquer them, to destroy them.

If you only want to see the opposite side, the positive qualities, you can try that. By looking at the light, you will not see the darkness. But can you keep your eyes focussed on the light all the time? No. After five minutes, you will turn your neck this side or that side. Then you will try to show off and turn it a little more. You will say, “Look, I have the capacity to turn my neck to the extreme!” Then you are caught.

Here I have given you the easiest way. Always, where there is a problem, solve the problem by throwing it out of your nature. Otherwise, you can fool yourself. If it is raining heavily, first we have to pray to God, “Please stop the rain! It is so dark. Do stop the rain.” Then our second prayer will be, “Let the sun be visible again.” But the first problem is to stop the rain. That is not the time to say, “Let the sun again come and burst forth!”

Question: When you offer your prayerful concerts, thousands of people attend, but when you lift, you lift only one person at a time. I was wondering if you do something for more than one person when you are lifting.

Sri Chinmoy: When I see a drop, let us say, it is up to me whether to take it as a single drop or whether to take it as a vast, infinite ocean. Today, here in Sanya, I have lifted one person only. So you can say it is a drop. But again, while I was looking at this lady and while she was on the top of the machine, I was establishing my oneness with humanity. Humanity is not one person. Humanity is made up of countless, countless people. While I was lifting her, you saw only one person. But my love of God is such that when I lift one individual, I feel that my consciousness has spread out and touched the length and breadth of the world. In this way, I am getting satisfaction. One individual I take as many, many, many.

And again, if I am lifting a number of people, not only on this machine but on other machines, I try to establish oneness between all the individuals. To me, they are one. Ten people or twenty people may be there, but I take them as one. Then I get tremendous joy. When you look at the ocean, immediately you see how vast it is. But it has become the ocean because of millions and millions of drops. If you want to separate them, you can.

Similarly, when you want to see God as one, then immediately from the many you bring Him to one. Ten or twenty individuals, I take them as one. But again, if I want to take God as many, then when I lift one person, I think of the vastness-ocean.

We have to do both. When it is one person, I try to think of it as many. When it is many, I think of it as one. God the One and God the Many — when I lift, this is the feeling that I get.

Question: When our body is wounded in some way, the body's response is to develop a scar. Usually, the area of the scar has less feeling; it is tough and inflexible. If we develop inner scars as the result of some painful life experience, is there a way to remove them?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us say there is a white board. Somebody has taken a darker than the darkest black pen and written on it. When you look at the board properly, you will see that you cannot separate the dark letters from it. The dark letters have become part and parcel of the white board. Now, what do you do? You need something to wipe the board with. With a piece of cloth, you wipe it, and the pitch-black ink disappears.

When something painful happens in the inner world, we have to remove it the same way we do with the writing on the board. There should not remain any scar. If we can use the tears of our heart, the bleeding and streaming tears of our heart, then we can erase the painful experience.

First you see the dark letters against the white board, but when you erase them, do you see any mark? In exactly the same way, when we use the tears of our heart to erase something in the inner world, no scar will remain inside us.

Question: This is a very practical question. When I work, I create piles of paper. Most of it is trash, but some of it is very important. I have boxes and boxes of paper in my house. I would like to know why I am doing this and how I can have more inspiring beauty around me instead of a clutter of paper.

Sri Chinmoy: Here your mind is working. You have to use your heart. If there is something that the heart feels is important, the heart will definitely give you the capacity, willingness and eagerness to preserve it. But when it is a matter of the mind, the mind sees everything as confusion — everything. Even if you put a few things side by side, it becomes confusion. But if you use the heart, the heart takes everything as oneness.

Let us say you have kept a few sheets of paper here and a few sheets there. To the mind, it is all confusion. Then the mind says to you, “Why do you have to worry about these useless things? Throw them out!” But if you use the heart, the heart will tell you which papers are worth keeping and which ones you can discard. The mind is telling you that there it is all pell-mell, topsy-turvy. And again, the same mind is not helping you to have the judgement to say, “If it is all pell-mell, let me select the ones that are absolutely necessary, and then I can discard the rubbish.” The heart, on the other hand, will tell you, “This piece of paper is most important. After twenty years or fifty years, it will have historical value.”

When the heart says something, at that time the heart gives you the capacity and the necessary eagerness and willingness to take the important ones and put them safely in a proper place.

So when the mind says it is all confusion, the mind does not come to your rescue to do the needful. The mind is only making you exasperated. But when the heart values something, you will see that you will definitely keep that particular thing separate from the mind-jungle. Always use the heart, and then the heart will tell you which ones are really important and which are not. You have to value the wisdom of the heart, not the judgement of the mind.

Question: This morning you said, "Those who sincerely pray will never want to be on their own." I was wondering if that is because when we sincerely pray, we always enjoy God's Company.

Sri Chinmoy: It is the same thing. Those who sincerely pray will not want to be on their own because they will always feel that Somebody will take care of them. If I sincerely pray, I will have the feeling, “What do I know, as an individual? I will always make mistakes. As soon as I open my mouth, I will say something wrong. As soon as I do something, I will do something wrong. If I am on my own, I am prone to make mistakes at every moment. Like a child, I do not want to walk alone because I see darkness all around and I am frightened.”

When a little child is alone, the mother or the father comes to accompany the child so that the child will not be frightened. Here also, if we can have the feeling that Somebody is beckoning us, or Somebody deep within is inspiring us and guiding us, then we shall be safe.

While walking along Eternity’s Road, at one point perhaps you will have to choose whether to go left or right. To the left if you go on your own, there will be snakes. On the right, there will be tigers. But if you see that Somebody else will take the responsibility for your life because you are praying to that Person and meditating on that Person, and if the Person is with you as Guide, then even if you take the wrong turn, He will protect you.

As human beings, we always make the wrong decisions. Only the mind will say that we made the right decision. Ninety-nine out of one hundred times, the decisions that the mind makes are all wrong. Again, sometimes it happens that the heart makes the decision to become one with God’s Will. Then the mind secretly comes to know about it and the mind takes the credit. Otherwise, the mind discards the heart’s wisdom at every moment.

Part VI

Question: I have seen the picture of you in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram when you were doing the pole-vault. You were very, very high —- possibly four metres off the ground. How did you land? I saw that there was only sand on the ground.6

Sri Chinmoy: In our day, we did not have mats. So, for us, how hard it was to land! It was like the long jump pit, practically flat. So we went up, and those who had a good style coming down got hurt very little when they landed. But my style was worse than the worst! I used to go up and then, while falling down, dropping, I used to have two or three different poses. Unfortunately, I was not good in acrobatics and so I used to fall down so hard! My style for landing was very bad. Going up I had good style. But, after crossing the bar, my style became horrible, horrible, horrible!

The only thing is that I was saved all the time. There was a particular tree, thirty or forty metres away from the pit. There were quite a few trees in that vicinity, but one particular tree I shall never forget. When I used to pitch myself and be in the air, quite high — either while I was crossing the bar or after I had crossed the bar — I used to see my Guru, Sri Aurobindo, looking at me. Every time, even during practice sessions, I used to have the same experience. I would not see Sri Aurobindo while I was moving around, preparing to jump, but when I was actually doing the pole-vault, at the top, I used to see him protecting me. While moving around near the pole-vault pitch, if I looked, I did not see him. Nobody was there. But when I was there at the top, I used to see him in that particular tree. I will never forget that experience.

My eldest sister, Arpita, and my aunt, when I was approaching the bar, used to keep their eyes closed. They were so afraid that I would hurt myself.

So that is the explanation. In those days, the Ashram was not able to afford to buy all kinds of athletic equipment. Nowadays they are fortunate to have a very good selection.

One of my teachers was good in sports. He taught me a certain way to do the pole-vault. That way is quite old-fashioned. You cannot go high. After one or two years, I gave up and learnt the proper way, the modern way. Then there was no problem.

Do you know the famous story about my pole-vault? On one particular day, Mother Kali examined my faith. She wanted to know if I had faith in Her. It happened in 1944, around four o’clock in the afternoon. On that day, I failed not once but twice to clear the starting height. Only one chance remained. If I failed again, I would be disqualified. And I happened to be the best pole-vaulter in the Ashram at that time. What is more, the Divine Mother was watching our performance.

Anyway, Mother Kali wanted to examine my faith in Her. So She said to me, “Go home, go home if you want to pass. Just make a round circle with black ink on your left heel and then come back.”

I said, “What has my pole-vault to do with ink on the heel of my left foot?”

Inside me, doubt and faith were fighting against each other. Finally, I said to myself, “Let me do it.”

My house was only 150 metres away from the sports field. So I ran and ran and did the needful and came back. Then I crossed the bar easily. I went up, up, up. Eventually, I stood first in the competition. For five or six years, I stood first and then I descended to second or third. One year, rain came when I was doing the pole-vault and ruined everything.

So this is how Mother Kali examined my faith. My life is full of examination. In your case also, you need more faith, faith in the Supreme. He will do everything for you. The more you can increase your faith in the Supreme, the happier I will be. Have more faith only in the Supreme.

SCA 1242. Question asked in Sanya, China, on 6 December 2004.

Part VII

Imagination has a reality of its own7

When you are singing very, very devotional songs, at that time try to imagine the Feet of the Supreme. If you can see and feel that you are looking at the Feet of the Supreme, then your devotion will automatically come to the fore. This is a very effective way. I always say that imagination has a reality of its own. So if you can imagine the Feet of the Supreme, according to your aspiration and dedication, then automatically the soulfulness will come. You will be filled with prayerful feelings.

That is one way. There is another way. While singing very powerful songs, if you can concentrate on one particular limb of your body, then you will be able to bring to the fore the power aspect. Divine power is inside the heart, true, but as soon as we think of power, we think of our shoulders or our arms. If you place your concentration there, you will be able to sing most powerfully.

I like the song Khule dao ankhi very much.

Khule dao ankhi khule dao hiya
khule dao man pran
khule dao deha khule dao sab
ogo prabhu bhagaban

It means:

O, open up my eyes,
Open up my heart,
Open up my mind,
Open up my vital,
Open up my body,
Open up everything of mine,
O my Lord, O my Lord Absolute Supreme.

In Bengali, the word ‘God’ has many, many synonyms, but the one that comes immediately in the hearts of all Bengalis is bhagavan. Ishwa and param prabhu are other words that we use, but in the Bengali heart, we get an immediate response from bhagavan. Bhagavan is absolutely embedded in our heart-breath.

When you sing the song Bhagavan, bhagavan nicely, I get such joy. God has hundreds of synonyms, but bhagavan comes first of all, before all other synonyms. It embodies all the God-aspects. Again, when we say param pita or param prabhu, at that time the devotion aspect comes more to the fore. Prabhu also means God, but there the devotion aspect is paramount.

Similarly, to a little child, his mother and father are one, but the word ‘Mother’ touches the heart or breath of the child more than the word ‘Father’. This is my own feeling. The Bengali word for Mother is ma. We use this word when we want immediate attention. When you are in pain or anything is wrong, the Mother comes first. The Father enters into the picture when it is a matter of something very large. The Father belongs to the large, larger, largest world. The Mother is intimate, most intimate. She is the one who will come to our immediate rescue. When the Father comes, immediately we enter into vastness. But when the Mother comes, immediately we enter into the world of affection, sweetness, fondness and intimacy.

SCA 1243. On 17 December 2004, in Xiamen, China, Sri Chinmoy made these comments on singing devotional songs, after a musical performance by his students.


SCA 1244-1248. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in Xiamen, China, on 20 December 2004.

Question: I love everything in nature. It inspires me and makes me happy. But I do not like the wind and I am wondering what is the quality of wind?

Sri Chinmoy: Very good question! The wind has many, many spiritual meanings. Let us say you are in a park or an open space and you are doing something serious. Then the wind comes. From the human point of view, it ruins everything. But then again, it depends on how we take it. In my case, the wind gives me tremendous joy. On the one hand, we can say that the wind embodies restlessness. On the other hand, we can say that the wind makes us feel that the entire world is very small. It starts blowing in one place and then it goes to another place. So far and so fast it goes! So, unless it is very, very cold, I really like wind. In Chittagong and Pondicherry, it used to give me tremendous joy.

The wind shows us that nothing is permanent at any one place. We feel that one particular place is permanent. We have kept some important papers there and we are sure that the papers will remain in a fixed position. Then the wind starts blowing. Alas, everything flies away.

In my case, when there is wind, I get nourishment in my entire being. Even if the lower portion of my body is covered and only my face and upper portion are exposed a little, when the wind comes I feel that it goes inside my body, like the blood it is flowing.

The wind has many, many good qualities, but the main thing is that it shows us life is not permanent. It breaks our way of living. We have a fixed way of staying peaceful and so forth. But the wind comes and gives us the message, “No, no, no! Do not take life so seriously! This life is not permanent. It will go away. So why do you have to take life so seriously?”

In so many ways, the wind helps us. But if you do not like the wind because of your personal feelings, there is nothing wrong with that. It depends on how you take it. Sometimes, while children are playing, the wind is blowing and they get additional joy and energy. Look at the difference! Here you are disliking the wind, but these children take it as great fun. The wind is blowing and when they kick the ball, it does not score, it goes in a completely different direction. But they get more joy, even when they are not scoring, because it is great fun for both sides. Like that, in hundreds of ways the wind gives me joy.

There is one particular poem of Sri Aurobindo’s, Invitation, where the wind is blowing and he is inviting everyone to join him:

With wind and the weather beating round me
Up to the hill and the moorland I go.
Who will come with me? Who will climb with me?
Wade through the brook and tramp through the snow?

Not in the petty circle of cities
Cramped by your doors and your walls I dwell;
Over me God is blue in the welkin,
Against me the wind and the storm rebel.

I sport with solitude here in my regions,
Of misadventure have made me a friend.
Who would live largely? Who would live freely?
Here to the wind-swept uplands ascend.

I am the lord of tempest and mountain,
I am the Spirit of freedom and pride.
Stark must he be and a kinsman to danger
Who shares my kingdom and walks at my side.

Here the wind is blowing and the invitation is coming from Sri Aurobindo to join him.

There are many who may not like the wind. In my case, I like it very much, very much.

Question: Do sports help to purify the vital?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely! Sports help considerably to purify the vital, provided that is what you hope to achieve from them. Some competitors adopt foul means in sports in order to stand first. They take to drugs and so forth, which is out of the question for spiritual seekers. But if you do sports as such, without adopting undivine methods or bringing drugs into your system, then sports can help you to achieve purity, because as soon as you practise sports, all the limbs of your body become alert.

When we do something active, we feel joy. If we walk, even if we just stand up, we get joy. Then, if we can run, we get more joy. The blood is circulating in the body, the vital feels more dynamic, and even the mind gets a tremendous feeling that it has done something.

Not by thinking of the results — that you have to be first in running or throwing — but by caring for sports as such, definitely it disciplines and also purifies the body, vital and mind. By practising sports, many, many people — whatever their events — have developed purity.

If you are about to throw the shot-put ten metres, for example, and an impure thought comes, all of a sudden you may find that you can only throw seven metres. That impure thought has taken away your capacity. Then you hate yourself. You say, “Why did I allow that impure thought to come?”

Before you throw, if you can pray to God, “O God, save me! I do not want any undivine thought to come and ruin my performance”, God will listen to your prayer. Then God will keep His Protection ready for you when it is needed. It is a matter of necessity. When you need to buy a piece of cloth, for example, you go to the shop and buy it. That necessity you can meet only with the money-power inside your pocket.

So here, prayer is like that. Before you do something, if you can pray to the Supreme for protection and for purity, it will help you considerably. These things you are asking for consciously. You know when the wrong thought comes how much you suffer. You can throw the shot-put much further, but it goes a shorter distance. That is why you are praying to God. Had you not been doing sports at that moment, perhaps you would not have prayed to God for protection and purity.

Again, sports discipline us. If you have to go out running, you will get up at six o’clock. Otherwise, you can get up at ten o’clock. Sports give us discipline in our body, vital and mind. That is the most important thing.

There are hundreds and hundreds of sports. You can choose one that you like. Now you have chosen swimming. Do it! You will find that when you are in the water, if you have a good thought, a pure thought, your strokes, your style — everything — will be much better.

Purity plays a most important role in our spiritual life. One pure thought has the strength of an atom bomb. That pure thought will enable you to identify yourself with thousands of people at a time. And one impure thought will break your connection with twenty people in one second. You will see that one wrong thought has cut off your connection with so many people. You may not know the names of the people, or you may not want to know, but you will see the result.

You are not obliged to take up any particular sport because that one is better than the others, no. I always tell people, do the one you like. If you feel like swimming, do it. If you feel like ping-pong, do it. If you feel like running, do it. It is enough that you like it. That is the sport you should practise. Sport is not only running, jumping and throwing. Lifting weights is also sport. Anything that is physical activity is sport. Sport is necessary, necessary!

Question: Should we repeat one particular prayer, or can we repeat many different prayers?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on you. If you want to have one particular desire fulfilled, it is better to have one prayer. If you want water, if that is your prayer, you have to dig at a certain place. Today if you dig here and tomorrow you go there and the day after tomorrow you go somewhere else, you will not get water. You have to dig at one place. Like that, if you have one desire, then continue with the same prayer.

If you want to have two or three desires fulfilled at the same time, you cannot maintain the same intensity in each prayer. On an everyday basis, if you have three desires to fulfil, you will not have the same eagerness and intensity in all three prayers. So the best thing is to have one desire. Then, when that desire is fulfilled, you can take up another desire. True, you may have three or four desires, but one desire has to be fulfilled first. Then pray to God to fulfil your second desire.

Otherwise, in the morning if you ask God for one thing, in the afternoon another thing, and in the evening a third thing, then there will be no intensity on your part. There is a great possibility that not even one desire will be fulfilled. So it is better to wait and deal with one at a time.

Question: I wanted to ask if you have any dreams when you are resting.

Sri Chinmoy: I do not have dreams. I used to have many dreams, but since becoming fully conscious of what I am, I never have ordinary dreams; I have visions. Even when I sleep, they come to me as visions. Once you come to a certain stage, dreams no longer occur.

To give you an example: let us say that during the night, some Indian gods and goddesses come and bless me. If I see them, I will not take them as dreams because I will be able to converse with them, I will be able to commune with them on their own level.

Usually, when human beings have a dream, they see it, they watch it. But there is a great difference between having a dream, enjoying the dream, and becoming one with it. You and the dream are two totally different things. You, as an individual, are one thing, and the dream is something else.

In my case, when I see someone, at that time I have the capacity to identify myself with that person. Even if it is an object, like the moon, I can identify myself with it. So I cannot call it a dream because at that time the communication problem is gone. Normally, when you have a dream, you are the enjoyer and the dream is something separate. In my case, I can become both the enjoyer and the enjoyment all together.

You may have a wonderful dream that tomorrow you will become the most perfect disciple. Then, as soon as day breaks, problems and worries descend on you and that sweet dream goes away. Again, during the night you may have a nightmare attack. When day comes, the nightmare has gone away, but the suffering and fear still remain.

Some dreams can be very sweet and encouraging. Again, some dreams can be very discouraging. When you have an encouraging dream, give value to it, take it seriously. And when it is discouraging, just throw it out of your system. That is called wisdom. Anything that helps you, take it as your very own, and anything that does not help you, why do you have to keep it? You stay with your friends. Do you stay with your enemies? No. So, as soon as a good dream comes, cherish it. When a bad dream comes, discard it, discard it. Do not think of it in the morning. You do not need it at all.

Question: Could you please tell us what is the most powerful way for us to feel the Supreme's Protection?

Sri Chinmoy: Only by praying to the Supreme. As soon as you get up in the morning, sing the Invocation. Invocation means “to invoke the Supreme — His Presence, His Blessings.” Then afterwards, you have to pray to the Supreme for His Protection.

During the day, if you are in a car, even if somebody else is driving, you must pray for protection. The driver will pray, plus the passengers also have to pray for protection. Most of the time, only the driver prays. Sometimes unfortunate accidents take place because inside the car there are some people who have not prayed. If the driver is alone, and he has prayed to the Supreme for protection, at that time 95 or 98 times out of 100 we see that protection has been granted. So sometimes unfortunate accidents take place because of the passengers.

Again, there are some people who pray to the Supreme for one minute before driving, but their prayer is mechanical. When the prayer is mechanical, it does not work. When you pray to the Supreme, it has to be like a fresh beginning. Every morning when you get up, there should be freshness and newness in your prayer and meditation. Similarly, when you pray to the Supreme for protection, at that time you have not to think of the previous day’s prayers. Do not think that for the last ten days or ten months you have been praying for protection. No. When the day starts, after singing the Invocation, if you pray to the Supreme for protection, then it has to be very fresh. Do not think of yesterday or ten days ago or ten years ago.

At every moment we have to pray for protection. It is absolutely necessary. Prayer solves each and every problem. To conquer jealousy, to conquer pride, to conquer any undivine force, we have to pray. Protection is something that we need at every moment in our lives.

To give you an example: Just recently, when I was in Sanya at the previous hotel, I was walking very slowly inside the hotel. I was walking practically against the wall. One hotel worker, a young girl, suddenly came running, not very fast, but perhaps she was not keeping her eyes open. I was going absolutely against the wall, grinding the wall, and she had to dash against my left shoulder. Now she was a very thin girl, very light, so luckily I did not fall down. Nothing happened. But I felt miserable for her. It was one hundred per cent her fault, her unconscious life. She did not pray to the Supreme for protection, far from it. It is her own life, but I am the one who could have been injured. So you see, at every moment we have to pray for protection. Otherwise, we are not responsible for what happens.

Again, so many times it happens that when you do pray to the Supreme for protection for yourself, if your protection is very, very strong, it goes to the other person also. It does not last only for yourself. If you pray for protection very seriously, then you can help the person who is going to dash against you.

In this city, our driver was driving so dangerously. He was absolutely callous. My seat was right behind him and I could see that many times we were on the verge of having an accident. So I had to scold him. I said, “Now, go slowly!” Then that stupid fellow began going fifteen miles per hour. Before that, he used to go forty-five!

In New York, I like to go twenty-five or thirty miles per hour. When my disciples drive me, I ask them to go twenty-five miles per hour. It is my law.

So this fellow was going forty-five miles per hour or even more. Then, when he got my scolding, he reduced the speed to fifteen miles per hour! Today I had to tell him, “Go a little faster!” I do not know which lane is faster, but whichever lane he took, he stayed at fifteen miles per hour. So slowly! Finally, I surrendered. I said, “All right, that is better than going very fast!”

Here, in this case, I am praying for protection, but I have to think of the hostile attack that may come from somebody else. If we pray for more protection, then our prayers will enter into the persons who may unconsciously attack us. So many times, when something untoward happens, we say, “Not our fault, not our fault. We prayed for protection, we prayed.” But if we can pray for more protection, then God will enter into those people who are going to unconsciously attack us and they do not attack us.

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