Sri Chinmoy answers, part 5

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Question: How can one adequately express gratitude?

Sri Chinmoy: You do not actually have to try to express gratitude. If you have true gratitude, it will express itself automatically. It will be visible in your eyes, around your being, in your aura. It is like the fragrance of a flower. True, there are some flowers that do not have any fragrance. But in most cases, if there is a beautiful flower, the fragrance will be there naturally. The flower and its fragrance cannot be separated.

Gratitude is the sweetest thing in a seeker's life — in all human life. If there is gratitude in your heart, then there will be tremendous sweetness in your eyes. When I see a disciple, I look at the beauty of his eyes. The beauty of the eyes is determined not by their shape or their colour. No, the beauty of the eyes depends on the heart's beauty. Inside the eyes I look for purity, gratitude and a few other things that come directly from the heart.

But of all the things that I look for, gratitude is the most important. If there is gratitude inside your heart, then it will be expressed through your eyes in the form of sweetness. When some eyes look at me, I see such sweetness in them — like the most delicious Indian sweets.

Question: I feel that my love for you is really a gift of Grace. Since Grace is not conditional, how does the Supreme decide whom to give the Grace to?

Sri Chinmoy: In the ordinary human life, everything is always conditional: if you give me something, then I will give you something. You have to give me ten dollars, and then I will give you one dollar. Or I will give you ten dollars if you give me one dollar. There are always conditions, conditions, conditions.

When the Supreme gives something, He gives unconditionally and does not expect anything in return. But if you are wise, you will also give Him what you have and what you are. If you do not give what you have and what you are, then you will not be able to receive from Him. The infinite ocean is always ready to give everything that it has and is to the drop, so that the drop can become one with it. But if the drop does not also give itself to the ocean, then how can it receive the ocean's infinity? The ocean is always ready for you to receive it. But if you are not willing to give the drop that you are to the ocean, then how can you become the ocean?

Sunlight is for everybody. But if I keep my doors and windows closed, then I will not be able to receive it. The Supreme is constantly showering each and every individual with His infinite Light, His infinite Peace and His infinite Bliss. But we are receiving these things only according to our love for the Supreme and our need for the Supreme.

Great spiritual Masters do so many things for mankind unconditionally. They go here and there giving talks and holding meditations, but how many people come to receive from them? I give peace concerts, I write poems, I paint and draw. Many, many things I do that I do not have to do. Sri Krishna said that after God-realisation you do not have to do anything else. None of these things that I do will increase my God-realisation. But I write, paint, give concerts and do all these other things only to inspire others.

Question: I know, unfortunately, that the mind goes through varying degrees of receptivity. Is this also the case with the soul, or is the soul always receptive?

Sri Chinmoy: The soul is always receptive. The soul is always eager to receive more light, more joy, more blessings and every divine quality. The mind and the vital very rarely receive. The heart from time to time receives, though not always. But the soul always receives. If the Master wants to give peace, if he wants to give love, if he wants to give light, if he wants to give bliss or any divine quality, the soul just grabs it. The soul is always eager and hungry for these things because the soul values them. If someone is a doctor, then he appreciates the value of medicine. But if you are not a doctor and if you do not feel that you are sick, then you are not interested in the subject of medicine.

Question: Can you talk about compromise? Because of the stress of our way of life, sometimes I feel I need to vegetate, although I know that is not the best thing to do.

Sri Chinmoy: This is a most significant question. From the highest spiritual point of view, compromise is absolutely wrong. If I know the highest, if I know what is best for an individual, then I should not compromise.

When two countries compromise, it is a joke. It is out of fear that compromise comes. I have been fighting with you for many years but now, because I am weak, I say, "Let us not fight anymore!" But my heart is burning, and secretly I will work to make some new weapon or new strategy to conquer you. Then tomorrow, when I feel strong, I will again want to fight. The only reason I may not attack you is because I am afraid that you also have built some stronger weapons. So the peaceful compromise that we are reaching is based only on mutual fear, not on mutual wisdom. In our heart of hearts, we only want to remain peaceful for a few years or a few months so that we can prepare ourselves for some future battle.

In the spiritual life, if you are dealing with the highest divinity in an individual, then compromise is out of the question. I have taken the full responsibility for my disciples' spiritual progress. Each time I make a compromise and let an individual do the wrong thing, I am delaying that person's progress. My goal is to take each one as fast as possible to the destined goal. If I allow somebody to delay his progress and do the wrong thing, then afterwards, when that person is in a divine consciousness, he will blame me. When he sees that Tom, Dick and Harry have gone much faster than he has, he will feel miserable. He will say, "O God, they were inferior runners. Now they have all gone ahead of me. Why did you allow me to compromise?"

It is like this: when you want to get up at five o'clock to meditate, the mind says, "Oh, it is too early." At six o'clock, seven o'clock, even eight o'clock, the mind says it is still too early. Then, when you finally get up at nine or ten o'clock, the mind says, "You fool, now it is too late to meditate! Who asked you to listen to me?"

Again, sometimes the disciples force me to compromise. I know that someone is doing the wrong thing, but out of compassion or for various other reasons I am obliged to allow it. Then I am the one who really suffers, because I have to put that person on my shoulders and carry him, since it is the Master's divine responsibility to make sure that each of his disciples runs the fastest.

Question: How does a god or goddess feel when a human being has their name?

Sri Chinmoy: In India, parents sometimes give their children spiritual names such as Lakshmi or Krishna in order to bring forward their divine qualities. They give these names with the idea that at every moment they will try to see inside their children the presence of these gods or goddesses. They are praying that the divine qualities that these gods and goddesses have will be manifested in and through their children. Some parents will pray for months and years for their children to have these divine qualities.

Again, some parents will not pray even for a second. They give the name not because they want their children to be spiritual, but because they get joy from saying their son's name is Rama or Krishna. They will give their children divine names, but they will teach them unthinkable things while they are growing up so that they can become successful in professions where the consciousness is not at all aspiring. They give their children the ideal names of some gods or goddesses, but then they lead their children into the jungle of deception rather than into the garden of divinity.

When I give a spiritual name to a disciple of mine, it is because I see the potentialities and inner capacities of the disciple. I see which qualities this person is likely to bring forward in this incarnation. Each person has many divine qualities, but some of these qualities are more likely or more ready than others to be manifested in this incarnation. So I give different names depending on the soul's capacity, willingness and eagerness to manifest the divine through some particular divine qualities.

When the gods and goddesses see that some seekers are manifesting the meaning of their spiritual names, they are very happy. But they become sad when they see that children who have been named after them are leading very undivine lives and desecrating their names. Some parents just give a spiritual name and then show their children the way to hell. In my case, I try to bring to the fore the divine qualities that the spiritual name embodies, and help the disciple consciously manifest those qualities.

Question: I once had the opportunity to tell you about a very serious inner problem I was having, and you said that since I was able to reveal to you this problem, you could take it away. If someone does not have that outer opportunity, what is the best way to completely surrender a problem to you? Inwardly I had tried, but I was unsuccessful until I could offer it to you outwardly.

Sri Chinmoy: This question breaks my heart. When someone has a secret inside his heart, do you think that his mind does not know? Do you think that his vital does not know? Do you think that his body does not know? If someone is suffering because he is holding a particular secret, his entire being is suffering. His vital is suffering, his mind is suffering, everything is suffering. Again, if someone is cherishing a sweet secret, a good secret, then his whole being is rejoicing. That is because his body, vital, mind and heart are one. This is the reason a good secret gives joy to our whole being and a bad secret creates problems for our whole being.

The moment you can share your secrets with the Master, you have already taken one step forward. Then the Master says, "Now I want you to go ten steps, a hundred steps ahead, and stop doing the thing that you are doing wrong." For two years or ten years or twelve years you may try to keep a problem hidden, let us say, inside you. Because you have kept your heart-door closed, there is all darkness, darkness, darkness inside. When you tell me your secret, it is like opening your heart-door and letting in fresh air and light. At that time I am so proud of you; you cannot imagine how much I appreciate and admire your sincerity.

But now that you have opened your heart just a little, why do you not open it the whole way? Many people confide their secrets to me; I hear millions of secrets. But they do not take the next step: obedience. They are ready to tell me that they have done something very bad. But when I give them advice and tell them, "Do not do that anymore," they are not willing to listen. And you have to know that it is not mere advice that I am giving. When I tell you not to do something, I am also giving you the strength not to do that thing. I am giving you the inner strength not to repeat your mistake. But you do not want to receive it.

Most of the disciples' problems start with disobedience and continue because of unwillingness. First you do something that you know your Master will not approve of. You break the divine rules and do something unspiritual because of worldly temptation or the desire for worldly name and fame or because you think you can make your life happier in some way. Then you do something else wrong by keeping it secret and not telling the Master. Disciples who have established their oneness with me or who want to establish their oneness with me will not be afraid to tell me their difficulties and problems. If they remain silent because they think I will be angry, then where is their love for me; where is their oneness with me?

When your sincerity finally comes forward to save you from your disobedience, you tell me your problems or why your consciousness has descended. But when I tell you what to do, at that time defiance or resistance comes and you do not listen to me. So what happens? Your sincerity is cut to pieces. When you do not listen to the Master, you are only betraying your own spirituality.

Some of my disciples are absolutely in their own world, and their world is millions and millions of miles away from the divine world. They have created hell for themselves, and they are enjoying it, so they try to fool and deceive me. When they finally come to realise that they are living in hell, they tell me that their secret is tormenting them and they are suffering like anything. I say to them, "Please, please, do not stay in hell. For years and years I have tried to create Heaven for you, but you did not want to remain there. Instead you wanted to live in hell. Now you want to become divine again, so I am giving you the capacity. In fact, I am the capacity for you." But these people do not listen, and both of us are the sufferers.

First you avoid the doctor; then finally you tell the doctor, "There is something wrong inside me." The doctor says, "It is cancer; take medicine." But you say, "No, I will not take medicine. I want to enjoy my way of life. I want to enjoy my cancer." But a spiritual Master is not like an outer doctor. If the patient dies because he does not take his medicine, the outer doctor simply says, "It is not my fault." But the inner doctor, the Master, is not like that. He suffers and cries because the disciple has not listened to him. When the disciple dies spiritually, the Master says, "If this person had followed my advice, I would have been able to save him."

The seekers and disciples who have been able to solve their vital and other inner problems have done so only because of their sincerity and their willingness to accept spiritual advice.

Inside your Master you can see the Supreme, the Highest. If the Highest cannot solve your problems, then who will be able to solve them for you? When the Master is in the physical, this is your golden opportunity to make the fastest progress. As Sri Ramakrishna said, the cow's milk is in the udder. If you want to get milk, you have to press the udder, not the ear or the tail. Similarly, if you want to solve your spiritual problems, you have to go to the right person.

Your Master is the right person to give you wisdom. If you have a problem, then you have the golden opportunity to go to the Master and have the problem solved. When the Master is on the physical plane, it is the easiest time for you to develop spiritually. The Master is the udder of the cow, which is the Universal Reality. Inside the house at one particular place is the shrine. At one particular place in the garden is the most beautiful rose.

If you can establish your oneness with the Master's will when he is on the physical plane, then you will be able to maintain it when the Master leaves the physical. But if you cannot establish your oneness with the Master here, do you think that you will be able to establish your oneness with him after he dies? It is infinitely more difficult! When I am on the physical plane, if people are disobeying me, are they going to do the right thing when I am on the soul's plane? You have to build your oneness-bridge here, right in front of me, if you want it to be there after I have gone to Heaven.

Question: Sometimes disciples push and shove in order to be closer to you. I know they do it because they want to get more light from you, but it seems like such an unspiritual way to behave.

Sri Chinmoy: When you come to a Master, do not look around to see who is sitting beside the Master or who is the Master's closest. You came to the Master to be in the Master's Universal Consciousness, not to be in the world of competition. The competition-world will fail you, but the Master's oneness-world will save you. Those who establish their oneness with the Master's will and manifest the Supreme in their Master are the ones who will become supremely chosen instruments to offer the Master's light to mankind.

Sometimes a disciple inwardly tells the Master, "If you care for so and so, then I will punish you by leaving you. He is such a bad person that I do not want to be around him." Many people have left the spiritual life because they felt that their Master was giving more importance to people they considered bad than he was giving to them. In my case also, quite a few excellent seekers have left our path because they remained in the world of competition and tried to become close, closer, closest. But when they saw that they were not becoming close or closer or closest, they disappeared. Those people wanted me to please them in their own way. Inwardly they said, "I have done so much for you, but you do not care for me and do not think of me."

I always do what is best for the disciple's spiritual progress, and a true disciple will have faith in the Master. A true disciple does not care whether he is outwardly close or outwardly far away from the Master, so long as he can serve the Master in the Master's own way. Only those true disciples give me joy, because they are part of me and I am a part of them. They are the ones who really love me and really understand me, and their only goal is to manifest the Supreme in me on earth.

Question: What is the difference between God's Compassion-Eye, God's Compassion-Heart and God's Compassion-Feet?

Sri Chinmoy: God's Compassion-Eye acts like a magnet. It pulls into itself all the suffering, weaknesses, wrong-doings and other defects of human beings. It has an immediate magnetic pull. God's Compassion-Heart absorbs everything; it takes everything inside itself. His Compassion-Heart just grabs all the seeker's suffering and holds it inside. Fatherly affection we get from the third eye, but motherly affection we get from the heart. God's Compassion-Feet embody protection. There is not much practical difference between God's Compassion and Protection, because inside Protection there is tremendous Compassion.

God's Feet are always ready, again and again, to show their Compassion aspect, whereas God's Eye after some time will bring forward its Justice-Light. God's Compassion-Heart will show Compassion many more times than His Compassion-Eye, but far fewer times than His Compassion-Feet. If God's Eye shows Compassion ten times, His Heart will show it forty times; but His Feet can go on to one hundred or two hundred times.

Once somebody takes shelter at the Feet of God, no matter how many times that person does something wrong, God is ready to forgive him. The seeker is always protected at the Feet of God. No matter how many times he makes mistakes, God will say, "At least let him stay on the spiritual path."

Question: When you write poems in English, some of them are so beautiful and inspiring; they are like mantras. But why is it that when you make songs out of your poems, the Bengali songs are always much more beautiful and melodious?

Sri Chinmoy: Not always! When I sing, I came to Your Lotus-Feet with a hopeless hope-heart, that song is as beautiful as any of my Bengali songs. There are also a few others. But you are absolutely right — in most cases there is no comparison between my Bengali songs and my English songs. Because of my Bengali incarnation, I find it easier to express some things in Bengali. The Bengali words come immediately from my heart, whereas the English words still come from my mind. In Bengali everything comes spontaneously, but when I use English, the mind is always there. Because English is a borrowed language for me, when I use English, sometimes a borrowed feeling comes. But the feelings I express in Bengali are never borrowed; they are my own.

I have learned the English language to my satisfaction. But when you want to give a borrowed thing to another individual, it does not come so spontaneously. Since I feel that it does not really come from me, I do not get the same joy in offering it. The English grammar can be correct, and the idea can be expressed properly, but an intimate feeling does not come for me.

I have written many, many mantras in English, and I know that they came from a very, very high source. But in singing, it is not a question of something coming from a high source. In singing, the feeling has to come from the very life-breath. That is why I will never be able to sing any song — even Jiban debata — as soulfully as I sing the Sri Aurobindo song. The way I can give my heart when I sing that song, I cannot do with any other song — especially not with any English song.

There are ten or twelve English songs that I can absolutely give my heart and soul to when I sing, whereas there are hundreds of Bengali songs that I can give my heart and soul to. When I sing certain Bengali songs, some of the subtle nerves in my being literally tremble, and I enjoy a kind of divine thrill. It is not excitement, but something very sweet, soft and delicate. I am filled with such bliss that my whole being is transported.

Again, there are times when I am singing some songs most soulfully, not because I am trying to sing soulfully, but because at that particular moment my throat chakra is completely open. The throat chakra is the spiritual centre for sweetness, tenderness and expressiveness in speaking and singing. There are times when I see it flooded with light — my soul's light. When the throat centre opens and functions very powerfully, at that time my voice is totally different. I even pronounce some words differently. But it is not my conscious will; it is all the doing of the throat centre.

Question: A lot of times the souls of great people who have been dead for many years come to visit you, or you invoke their souls. Why have these souls not taken another incarnation already?

Sri Chinmoy: Some really advanced souls want to swim, but when they come to the shore they get frightened. They remember how much they suffered in their previous incarnations, and they do not want to jump into the water again, especially if they were people with big hearts who went through tremendous suffering and misunderstanding. These souls want to remain longer in Heaven, and Heaven is happy to have them.

The souls that were unaspiring and did not do anything significant in their previous incarnation are not wanted by Heaven. After six years the authorities say, "Get out, get out!" Then they have to go back, unless they are connected with some God-realised or highly advanced soul and get a recommendation from this soul to stay longer in whatever higher world they are in. Some souls may not be advanced, but because they have tremendous love and devotion for me, they get special Grace. Otherwise, ordinary souls cannot stay longer than just a few years in the higher worlds before coming back to earth.

Question: What about people like Schubert, for instance; is he really a highly developed soul?

Sri Chinmoy: Musically he was developed, but not spiritually. Some souls that at one time were great in the musical world or in some other world have taken incarnation again. When we think of them, we immediately feel that they are in Heaven. But if we use our occult vision, we see that some of them have long ago taken another incarnation. Some of these souls who did something very significant in a previous incarnation are now leading very ordinary lives on earth.

Question: When they come down, do these souls appreciate your outer activities?

Sri Chinmoy: I am involved in all kinds of activities which puzzle some of these souls. They are hovering here and there and trying to get joy from my activities, apart from my spirituality. Thousands of souls who have not taken incarnation are getting inner joy and benefit from my art and poetry and other activities, whereas hardly any of the souls that have taken incarnation are benefiting outwardly from my activities.

If I look strongly into the human mind — and sometimes I see not only one mind but thousands of minds at once — I see that hardly a single mind is responding to my outer activities. The souls of these people are trying desperately to make the rest of the being respond, because the souls have chosen to have these kinds of minds. But the body, vital, mind and heart do not always listen to the soul.

A mother may give birth to several children, and each one eventually exercises its own freedom and independence. In exactly the same way the body, vital, mind and heart have an individuality. They are like a solid formation, and they can be very strong. When they are undeveloped, like little children, they listen to their parent, the soul. But when they grow a little older, they may not listen at all.

I can give you another example. Sometimes the manager of the office is so pleased with his new workers. But after a few years he sees that the workers are not listening to him at all. Similarly, in the beginning the soul may be so pleased that it got this particular body, vital and mind. Then, because of ignorance, temptation and other wrong forces, disobedience comes, and the soul becomes sad and miserable.

Some individuals, even though they have university degrees, try to ignore or discard the mind when they enter into the spiritual life. They want to remain only inside the heart in order to make the fastest progress. They do not care at all for the mind's illumination. Then, after fifteen or twenty years, they say, "Why did we give it up?" The same mind that they earlier put aside, they now want to consciously develop. So they start feeding the mind, and the soul suffers tremendously.

Before you entered into the spiritual life, for eighteen or twenty years you enjoyed freedom. That freedom did not make you happy, so you decided to try another kind of freedom. Instead of listening to your mind or your vital, you decided to listen to your heart and soul. If you feel that you are not listening to anybody, then you are only fooling yourself. Either you are listening to your soul or you are listening to your mind, vital and physical. To say, "I am the one who is making the decision," is absurd! You are your body, vital, mind, heart and soul, and your choices are made by one or more of these parts of your being. Only you may not be conscious of this because your meditation is not deep enough to see where your inner decisions are coming from.

Question: Can we usually tell when a message comes from the heart?

Sri Chinmoy: You may think a message is coming from your heart, but the vital is right next to the heart. The spiritual heart is not in the middle of the chest but a little towards the right, whereas the vital is on the left side. It can be the dynamic vital; it can be the emotional vital. The vital is so deceptive. It hovers just near the heart and fools you. And when the vital approaches the mind, it gets nourishment there. The mind gives the vital most delicious encouragement-food because it wants to take the vital's help in defeating the heart. It will try to defeat the heart's divine impulses by hook or by crook.

The spiritual heart is fought by the mind and betrayed by the vital. Most people confuse the emotional vital with the aspiring heart, feeling that it is so luminous, so high, so sublime, so pure. But only spiritual Masters who have realised God can always recognise the real inner voice. Otherwise, the voice may come from one place but make you feel that it is coming from someplace else.

Again, very often what people take as the inner voice comes not from the vital but from the mind itself. The mind is speaking and the mind is also listening. And while listening, the mind is dragging along the body, vital and heart as well. I have had some disciples who believed they were getting inner messages when they meditated on my picture. They insisted that these messages, which came from my picture, were higher or more authentic than the messages I gave them directly in the physical, face to face. This is the stupidity of the human mind!

Sri Aurobindo had a disciple who was on the verge of realisation. Like me, he came from Chittagong. Then he started getting inner messages. Sri Aurobindo personally said, "No, these are coming from your vital, from your mind. These are wrong forces." The disciple said, "Oh no, you have come to me in a most luminous form and told me to do such and such." Sri Aurobindo said, "If I am your Guru, then why are you not listening to me? Just listen to what I tell you in person, and do not look at my picture! If you have to make a choice between me and my picture, which will you choose? At least while I am on earth, listen to me." But the disciple said, "No, when I look at your picture, I get high experiences." Sri Aurobindo told him these were all mental hallucinations, but he did not listen. Instead of realising God, he was caught by the hostile forces which fooled his mind.

I am telling all of my disciples, if you consider yourselves my disciples, please listen to me and not to my picture if you are getting two different messages. The picture did not create me; I created the picture. If outwardly I tell you something, that is what you should believe. Listen to the messages that come out of my mouth, if they are different from any inner message that you feel you are getting from my picture.

Question: When the Christ said, "I am the Way, the Goal," he did not say he was the only way, although that is how the Christian world has interpreted it. But when he said that, was he consciously aware of the Avatars who preceded him?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely he was aware of them. But when he said, "I am the Way, the Goal," he was right. At that time he had become inseparably one with his Heavenly Father, the Supreme. Lord Krishna said something similar. He said, "No matter whom you worship, no matter whom you take as your Guru, all your love, devotion and surrender will come to me because I am the Ultimate." When you realise the Highest, you become inseparably one with the Highest. Once the drop becomes one with the ocean, you cannot separate them. It is the ocean; they are one.

At the end of your road, no matter what road you take, you are bound to see this. Now you are seeing me as a human being, so you say, "Oh, you are with us on earth. How can you also be in the ever-transcending Beyond?" But the Supreme in me can be at many places at once. Lord Krishna showed Arjuna his Universal Form. When the disciple sees the Master's Universal Form, at that time he will really know that what the Master has been saying is one hundred per cent true. When the disciple sees the Infinite, at that time it will be easier for him to see the finite. If you see that somebody has millions of dollars in Heaven, then it is easy for you to believe that he has one dollar on earth.

Question: What if the soul is really very good, very spiritual, and the rest of the being is creating problems for the soul?

Sri Chinmoy: At that time the soul will do something! If the soul is trying to manifest the Supreme at every second, but the rest of the being is not listening to the soul, at that time the soul will definitely do something. The soul may not have the power of a great spiritual Master, and the soul cannot have the power of the Supreme, but it has infinitely more power than the heart, vital, mind and body. So if these members are really interfering with its progress, the soul will punish them before it becomes a hopeless case. The soul will mercilessly punish the body, vital, mind and even the heart. It will give them an absolutely unthinkable punishment so that they will be forced to surrender to the soul.

It is like this. The father is begging the son to come home, but the son is delaying, delaying, delaying. Perhaps the heart is trying to come, but the vital or mind want to play football or something else. After waiting and waiting, finally the father will give the son a smart slap. At that time the son listens to his father and comes home.

So if the soul is very developed, and if it is desperately trying to please the Supreme, but the body, vital and mind are not, then the soul will use its divine strength. The soul does not want to accept defeat. It took human incarnation with this body, this vital and this mind in order to do something for the Supreme. If it cannot fulfil its purpose, then the soul feels miserable. But it all depends on the soul's connection with the Highest. Not all souls have the same connection.

I know of one case where the soul punished an individual by not allowing him to speak for fifteen years. Just before this happened, that individual was talking with his Master, and the Master was crying inwardly because he could see that this punishment was about to begin. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. If you do not know anything about the soul, you can say the punishment was an accident, or you can blame it on natural causes or karmic reasons. But sometimes the soul is the real reason you have this problem and that problem, or why you have contracted a serious disease.

The soul is such a tiny thing — tinier than the tiniest. But it is also mightier than the mightiest. One of our most famous Indian mantras says: "Tinier than the tiniest, yet larger than the largest, the soul dwells in the secret heart of man." Like a magician, at this moment it is tinier than the tiniest inside the heart. But when it becomes absolutely huge, like twenty lions right in front of you, at that time, how are you going to ignore it?

Question: If we pray that our soul goes to you, will it?

Sri Chinmoy: You do not have to pray to the soul to come to me. Your souls are praying to you to come to me. Your souls are dying to be with me and to please the Supreme in me at every moment. To think that the body, vital and mind are going to bring the soul to God is a real joke! It is the other way around. The soul is constantly crying for the body, vital, mind and heart to come to the Supreme.

Question: Have people who were disciples of other spiritual Masters in previous incarnations come to you in this incarnation?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, many have come. They have come from Sri Ramakrishna, Buddha, Sri Krishna, the Christ, Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi and others. A few have also come who had been with me in my own previous incarnations. In Japan, when one of these souls recognised me, how he cried! In front of so many people he was crying and crying. Others also have recognised me, but they did not create such a scene. A few brothers and sisters of mine from previous incarnations have also joined our path. I even gave one disciple the same spiritual name that he had when he was with me before.

In my last incarnation, some seekers came to me in the evening of my life. I said, "Soon I will leave the body, but I will take another incarnation. Come back to me at the beginning of my journey in my next incarnation, when I shall be on earth for a long time." When I started my journey in America, some of them did come back.

Question: Sometimes a person is very, very unhappy for a long time, and then all of a sudden it is gone. It is as if a curse has been lifted. What causes this?

Sri Chinmoy: It has happened in many, many cases that for months, even years — and not just a few years but ten or twenty years — somebody has been miserable. People who were once aspiring, after they lose their aspiration, suffer unbearably. Then, all of a sudden the Grace descends at the moment when they are receptive, and their suffering is gone. It is like taking medicine. Sometimes it takes years and years before the medicine works. Then all of a sudden you are cured, and you think it is a miracle.

Question: Is there a specific date when God-realisation comes, or does it just gradually happen?

Sri Chinmoy: Some spiritual Masters declared the date of their realisation, whereas others did not. Sri Aurobindo declared a specific date when the Krishna Consciousness fully descended into him, and he recognised that day as the day of his God-realisation. Buddha also declared his realisation on a specific day. Sri Ramakrishna, on the other hand, did not observe any date for his realisation. In my case, I do not want to declare it. Also, I achieved realisation in previous incarnations. Again, there is no end to our realisation, since God Himself is all the time transcending His own Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. So God-realisation, after it has been attained, can eternally be transcended, expanded and perfected.

Question: If you develop occult or other spiritual powers in one incarnation, do you keep them in future incarnations?

Sri Chinmoy: Most of the time you accumulate these powers. If you become spiritually rich in one incarnation, then you become richer in your next incarnation — unless you misuse your powers. If you misuse your powers, then they go. My maternal uncle had tremendous occult power. People used to come and touch his feet, begging him to help them. "Oh, please cure my wife," they would say. "She is dying and I cannot live without her." Or, "My cow has been stolen, please help me to get it back." So he would use his occult power without consulting God's Will, and gradually he would lose it. Then he would cry to Mother Kali, begging her not to give him occult power again because he was always misusing it and did not have time to think of her. But Mother Kali always used to give it back to him. She wanted him to learn how to use her gifts properly.

At first my maternal uncle thought that he was being compassionate by helping these people. Later he saw that by using his human compassion he was only creating more problems, because usually it was God's Will that these people suffer the karma that they had earned.

Question: Can a spiritual Master use occult power to destroy wrong forces and expedite a seeker's progress?

Sri Chinmoy: In the past the Masters used occult power not so much to elevate the seekers' consciousness as to destroy wrong forces. Destruction is very easy. It takes just a few minutes to destroy a building. But if you want to rebuild the building and make it better, it takes a very long time. This body, vital and mind we have built over many years. If there is some dislocation inside the body, inside the vital, inside the mind, we try to cure it. We try to repair the house and make it into a good, strong house.

This is what the spiritual Masters are trying to do today. In the past they did not have this kind of compassion or patience. They would tell the seeker once or twice what he had to do, and if he did not listen, they would just destroy! In the twentieth century we are a little wiser. We give someone many chances, and if he does not do the needful, we just let him linger and linger without making much spiritual progress. The destruction part does not come from the spiritual Masters. People sometimes have seen me looking very powerful during meditation. You may have seen how powerfully I have meditated on someone. But you have no idea what kind of power you would have seen if I had opened my third eye!

Many years ago when I was a teenager living in the Ashram, I showed this power to the Ashram's strongest boy. He was a close friend of mine, very fond of me, but he did not believe in occult power. He felt all swamis and sadhus were fakes. I insisted that some people do have occult power, but he did not believe me; he challenged me to show him. So I was caught. I told him to come the next morning to a small room where I used to work in the library. When he arrived, I asked him to stand against the wall, and then I used my occult power to take away all his strength. I thought he would just fall against the wall and nothing serious would happen. But after three or four seconds he collapsed at my feet, absolutely unconscious. When he woke up, he was terrified, and he ran away. He told people that I had tried to kill him with my eyes. After that he was always afraid of me. If he saw me walking on the sidewalk, he would cross to the other side of the street. So I lost a good friend because I misused my occult power.

Because of my love for mankind, I do not use my occult power much in this incarnation. But occult power does exist. Just because you do not have a million dollars you cannot say that millionaires do not exist on earth. The power I use to help my disciples is not occult power but spiritual power. Spiritual power is infinitely stronger than occult power, but it does not destroy, and usually it takes more time to act. Occult power is like a ferocious wave, whereas spiritual power is like the ocean itself. So you can see the difference between a powerful, tumultuous wave and the entire ocean.

Spiritual power has only one task: to raise the consciousness of humanity. Occult power does not do that; it mainly destroys. If occult power is properly used, and if the seeker is ready, in the twinkling of an eye it can destroy the wrong forces in the seeker. But if it is used improperly, it can be very destructive in an uncontrollable way. Spiritual power is slower, but slow and steady wins the race.

Question: Do our faces become uglier when we leave the soul's world and enter into physical bodies?

Sri Chinmoy: In the soul's world, our faces are very beautiful. But when we enter into the earth-consciousness, we lose much of that beauty. When we are in the soul's world, or when the soul's consciousness permeates our entire body, we become so beautiful, so ethereal — with absolutely unimaginable beauty. But when we are in the vital consciousness or physical consciousness, there is such a difference!

Question: Does one have to wait until one is on the verge of realisation before one becomes consciously aware of the soul?

Sri Chinmoy: No, you do not have to be on the verge of realisation to be consciously aware of the soul. Far from it. If you have real devotion, your devotion can easily make you consciously aware of the soul. So many of my disciples have experienced this. Not only have they felt their souls, but also they have exhibited the soul's consciousness for a day or a month or even a few years because of their sincere devotion. Sincere devotion can perform miracles at every moment. It is like a sharp knife. It will just cut into pieces anything that is unclean, impure or unwilling in you. Even unreadiness it will not allow.

Someone may fold his hands, but his devotion may be totally false or superficial. The hands are folded, but the mind is roaming somewhere else. When you fold your hands, you have to feel that your very heartbeat is entering into the nerves of your fingers. If there is real devotion, how can a disciple do anything wrong? Devotion has a very powerful magnetic pull that immediately draws the Master's compassion and affection. Even if you are lost in a dark cave, immediately the Master's compassion will pull you out. If someone has pure devotion even for a minute, he will make real inner progress. With your devotion if you have caught someone who is affectionate, powerful and illumining, or if that person has caught you, will he not give you what he has and what he is?

When the Master receives the disciple's devotion, he responds, not only with compassion and affection, but also with divine pride. Divine pride is not like human pride. It does not say, "Oh, that person is so devoted to me." No, divine pride says, "How wonderful that the disciple is pleasing and manifesting the divine in himself." It is the kind of pride that the parent feels when the child does the right thing. Since the disciple is the Master's spiritual son or daughter, the Master feels divine pride when the disciple does the right thing, the spiritual thing.

Question: How can we recognise genuine devotion?

Sri Chinmoy: If you have real devotion, you immediately feel that something is going out of you and entering into your Master and that something is coming out of your Master and entering into you. When there is real devotion, there is always a link between Master and disciple; the disciple's highest divinity and the Master's highest divinity remain all the time together.

Inside devotion there will always be surrender — not the surrender of a slave to his master, but rather the surrender of the lower part in you to your own highest self, which is what your spiritual Master represents. Also, inside devotion there will always be gratitude — first surrender and then gratitude.

Genuine devotion the Master will definitely see inside your eyes. When you have real devotion, your eyes will look like beautiful flowers. They will be filled with beautiful light; absolutely divine beauty the Master will see in them. Human beauty we can describe with words, but divine beauty can never be described. Anything divine we cannot describe adequately with human language.

Question: If we are trying to give up something undivine and want to make a promise to our soul to lead a better life, are there certain auspicious times when we should do it? In other words, if we make a promise to ourselves, will the promise be stronger if we make it on a particular day?

Sri Chinmoy: Every day is not the same. When I am meditating on a disciple on his birthday, let us say, this is his golden opportunity to renew the inner promises he has made to the Supreme or to his own soul. If someone made a promise ten or fifteen years ago that he will try to be a most devoted, surrendered disciple, his birthday is his golden opportunity to renew that promise. Even if the disciple has not pleased the Master for ten years, he gets the opportunity to please the Master on that special day.

You cannot make a promise every day; otherwise, it becomes mechanical. But if you do it on certain auspicious days, then the force behind the promise lasts for a long time. A special day surcharges your inner promise with extra strength.

My father and my maternal uncle were very close. When my maternal uncle was alive, he used to beg my father not to smoke. Still my father used to smoke two or three times a day. He could not give up this bad habit. When my maternal uncle died, my father shed bitter tears and made a vow never to smoke again. He said, "When you were alive I could not listen to you. But now I give you my solemn oath that I will never smoke again." My father lived for four or five years after that, but he never smoked. So that kind of thing can happen when you take a solemn oath on a special day.

Question: Why does the soul come forward most powerfully only on our birthdays?

Sri Chinmoy: Who is keeping the door closed? Instead of putting beautiful and divine flowers in your mind, you are putting garbage there. When the soul wants to come forward, do you think it will be inspired to come if it sees only garbage? Instead of a beautiful garden, if the soul sees doubt, fear, suspicion, lack of faith and other undivine things right in your mind or in other parts of your being, why should it take the trouble to come forward? But if you have flowers or beautiful and pure thoughts there, then the soul will definitely come. So you have to see what kind of readiness you have to bring the soul forward.

Some people's souls may not be as developed as others'. But even if the soul is not as mature, sometimes the vital or mind — according to their capacity — may be more obedient to the soul. These people have more simplicity because they do not utilise the mind. They did not develop the mind from the beginning, so that is a great advantage for them, spiritually.

The level of spiritual development is not the most important thing when it is a question of bringing the soul forward, or allowing the soul to come forward. People may be developed enough, but out of laziness or carelessness they do not do the needful. I know that milk will give me better nourishment than water and lemon juice. But out of laziness or callousness, I do not want to take the trouble of going to the supermarket to buy milk. Because I have lemon juice inside the house, I do not take the trouble of going to the store. But laziness is not the only problem. Even if you are not lazy, readiness, eagerness and willingness must also be there.

Question: The last line of The Invocation says, "Thou art one Truth, one Life, one Face." What does 'one Face' mean in this context?

Sri Chinmoy: Inside the Universal Consciousness there are millions and billions of faces. In their outer form, all these faces are different, but they all have the same divinity. The divinity I see in your face I will also see in his face and her face. When I see many individual faces flooded with light in the Universal Consciousness, I see only one Face. If you want to count the number, they are countless. From a physical point of view, I can see many, many faces. But in terms of radiating divinity, I see only one Face.

Question: Is there a higher world where poetry originates?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. When your consciousness awakens or somehow you enter into those higher worlds, you find that everything is already written. You do not have to be God-realised to go to these worlds. The great poet Rabindranath Tagore, for example, did it. So did Sri Aurobindo, although of course he was God-realised. I started doing it when I was thirteen or fourteen years old. Some of my poems I really did not write; I just saw the words on the wall and copied them down. Quite a few poems that I wrote in 1944 came to me like that. I was seeing the exact words, punctuation, everything. These poems came from that world.

It is not that I have stolen somebody else's words. They were all prepared in some other world, but not yet manifested in this world. When you get inspiration, it comes from your heart and your mind, and it also comes from another world. You are just the messenger who is conveying it. But what I am talking about is more than that. In the poetry world the words are written — absolutely written.

Sometimes a being will come and dictate. Sri Aurobindo said that one of his books was not written by him at all, although it had his name on it when it was published. According to Sri Aurobindo, a particular being dictated it from beginning to end.

Question: Have some great composers also gotten their music by going to these worlds?

Sri Chinmoy: Some of them have done it, I am sure. I am sure that Beethoven, for example, has done it.

Question: Are a person's deeds erasable after they have been entered into the Akashic record?

Sri Chinmoy: You may keep a lot of things in your room. Then after a few months or a few years you discard some of them that you consider unnecessary. There are many things that you feel are important today, which after a few years you will not feel are important. There are many beings who record the Akashic records. First they record everything, but after some time some unimportant things may be erased.

Question: Sometimes you are paying off karma from many incarnations ago. What would happen if that was suddenly wiped off the Akashic records?

Sri Chinmoy: You are thinking in terms of escaping. But the deeds that are going to bring you punishment will be kept aside and very nicely preserved until you have paid your debt. Then the record of them may be erased if they are quite insignificant.

Question: Is it possible for a soul to go directly from the plant incarnation to the human incarnation, and skip the animal incarnation entirely?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. If a particular plant or tree is blessed by a spiritual Master and its soul is very receptive, the soul may beg the Master to allow it to skip the animal incarnation. Some spiritual Masters have granted these kinds of requests. If a child is at the bottom of the stairs and he wants to get to the top, he may beg his father to take him. If the father is very strong, he can just lift the child over the intermediate steps. Similarly, if the soul begs, a Master may help the soul skip some of the steps.

Question: Does this mean that when these souls take human incarnation they will not have animal qualities?

Sri Chinmoy: No, they may not carry animal qualities. But you have to know that animal qualities are not all bad. True, animals have aggression and other undivine qualities. But many animals also have dynamism, sweetness, playfulness, enthusiasm and affection. So when a soul goes directly from the plant to the human level, it may lack those qualities as well as aggression and restlessness. Each step along the way gives the soul something solid. But these souls are willing to sacrifice enthusiasm, along with aggression, so they say, "Let us go directly to the human incarnation where we can consciously aspire and again go higher." Who knows whether it is really a sacrifice? Perhaps if they had not skipped the animal life, they would have remained at that stage for a long, long time.

Question: What is the psychic being, and what does it do?

Sri Chinmoy: The psychic being comes from the soul and is the soul's representative. Not everybody has a psychic being; it depends on the development of the soul. If the soul is very highly developed, then the psychic being will come. The psychic being tells the body, vital and mind what to do. They can listen to the soul directly if they want to. But sometimes they find it easier to listen to the psychic being than to the soul. The soul is the boss, and the psychic being is the soul's cute little child. The boss tells his little child to show off and tell the office workers what he wants them to do. Sometimes it happens that the workers do not like listening to the boss, but when his cute child comes and tells them what to do, they will listen. They let the child boss them around, but they do not listen to the real boss. The psychic being, in a similar way, can sometimes inspire the body, vital and mind to listen to the soul.

The psychic being is an intermediary between the soul and the other members of the being. As the soul is the link between the Supreme and the rest of the being, so too the psychic being is the link between the soul, on the one hand, and the body, vital, mind and heart. The soul is ageless, but in appearance, the development of the psychic being stops when it is seventeen or eighteen years old. The psychic being can appear as a child of two or three years old, or older; but the fully blossomed psychic being will appear to be seventeen or eighteen, not older than that.

Question: What happens to the psychic being when the body dies?

Sri Chinmoy: First it goes to the subtle physical plane, then to the subtle vital and then to the subtle mental plane. After passing through the mental sheath, it takes rest in its proper place — inside the heart. Then, when the soul is ready to reincarnate, it will take the same psychic being with it. The soul will not take the same heart, the same mind or the same vital. If the body, vital and mind were pure, the soul will take their quintessence back with it to earth again. Otherwise, the soul will not take any part of the body, vital or mind that it previously had. In the higher regions, the psychic being can go and visit the soul whenever it wants to. They are like parent and child.

Question: What determines how the psychic being grows?

Sri Chinmoy: The psychic being comes from the soul; its source is the soul. It develops by receiving light from the soul, its source. At the same time, if the psychic being can get the body, vital and mind to listen to the soul, then it gets more confidence. So the psychic being develops by receiving the soul's light and also by giving the light that it has received to the body, vital and mind.

Question: Is it necessary to develop the psychic being before you realise God, or can you realise God without the psychic being?

Sri Chinmoy: You do not need the psychic being to realise God. That is why I do not give much importance to it. If you can be conscious of the soul and get direct help from the soul, then you do not need the psychic being. But if you cannot get direct help, then the psychic being can be of real benefit.

Question: Can a person have more than one psychic being?

Sri Chinmoy: You can have only one psychic being, but many vital beings. Sometimes vital beings become lazy or lethargic when there is no work for them to do. But when there is a battle within the person between the divine and the undivine, at that time the vital beings become very alert and active. During a war, even the most useless soldiers become dynamic. So when a serious war takes place between the soul and the other members of the being, all the vital beings take sides. They can take either the divine side or the undivine side. When they take the undivine side, usually the physical body's health suffers. Strangely enough, even when the vital beings have taken the side of the undivine, if the undivine wins the battle with their help, they torture the person ruthlessly after he has surrendered to the wrong forces.

Question: Do you believe in ghosts?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. Many, many times I have seen ghosts. They are dissatisfied and destructive vital beings. When undivine people die, because their lower desires have not been fulfilled, their vital beings are very dissatisfied. Ghosts have the capacity to create tremendous fear in people whom they have attacked. For months and even years after the attack has taken place, the victim may suffer from fear. Ghosts are very frightening and treacherous.

Question: Right from the day I joined the path, I have always been concerned about your safety when you are in public. How can I make sure that my concern is not just inviting in wrong forces?

Sri Chinmoy: Worry-power does not help. Only love-power will help. Whenever a thought that I will be attacked comes into your mind, feel that tremendous love is coming from my heart, and immediately try to enter there. Enter into my heart and try to get as much solid love as possible. Once you have received a large quantity of solid love from my heart, then try to spread it so that the whole room is flooded with my love. Many people in the room will be able to receive this love that you are offering. And if there are wrong elements that are about to attack me, they will be compelled to surrender to my love-power. My love-power is omnipotent because it is coming from my soul. It can easily conquer any undivine forces or destructive forces. They will either be illumined or frightened.

Since I have come to America, hostile or destructive forces have tried to attack me many times while I have been giving talks or concerts, or while I have been in other public places. But he whom God wants to save, nobody can kill. Again, if God feels that someone's time has come, then who can save him? Lord Krishna was very, very strong, but his weak point was the sole of his foot. When it was time for him to go, an arrow from a hunter entered into the sole of his left foot and poisoned him.

Question: What is the best way to be happy?

Sri Chinmoy: You are always comparing yourself with others. You are standing in front of me, and I am looking directly at you. You also are looking at me, but your mind has gone to the fish market and is moving from this side to that side. You are trying desperately to remain either inside your own heart-garden or inside my heart-garden. But your mind is saying: "Oh, he or she is getting more blessings, more compassion, more love, more concern than I am." Sometimes your mind is not doing it consciously, but unconsciously it is happening. Even if you touch fire unconsciously, your hand will get burned.

Perhaps at this moment you are not consciously thinking of others when I am looking at you. But for ten days or ten weeks or ten months you have been doing it consciously. Now it is unconscious, but what about the times you have done it consciously when you were at home or in the office? If you wrote down each time you thought of God during the day, you would be shocked at the number of times that you have also been thinking of somebody else with jealousy or rivalry at the same moment. When this is happening, at that time you are not thinking of God or of your Guru. You are thinking of yourself. You are thinking of making yourself happy in your own way.

I always say that no human being can ever be happy by trying to make himself or herself happy. It is absurd! Happiness is like a most delicious mango. The mango grows on a mango tree; you cannot make one yourself. If you do not climb up the tree to get the mango or wait at the foot of the tree for one to fall, how are you going to get it? Right now you are not in a position to climb up the God-tree; you do not know how. But your Guru knows how to climb the God-tree. If you do not wait for your Guru to bring you this most delicious fruit, which will give you infinite joy, then how are you going to get it? You want joy, but you do not have the capacity to get it yourself and you do not have one-pointed faith in the person who can bring it to you.

People say, "I have been with you for so many years, and still I am unhappy." But it takes time for the Master to climb down with the happiness-fruit. To get earthly things it takes so many years. To get a Master's Degree takes twenty or more years. And even then you are not satisfied. Still you want more knowledge, so you get your Ph.D. But even then you are dissatisfied because you inwardly feel that you can have more wisdom, more light, more knowledge. So you go on studying, only to get earthly knowledge.

Heavenly knowledge, or illumination — which unites you with the Highest, with the Absolute Supreme, with the Universal Consciousness — takes infinitely longer to acquire. Do you think it happens in one year or ten years or even thirty years? O God, it is not like that! It takes incarnation after incarnation to become a real seeker and God-lover. To achieve conscious, constant, sleepless and breathless oneness with God's Will is not like drinking water. It takes time and tremendous patience. It is not only my disciples but also the disciples of other Masters who do not have that kind of patience.

I am trying to make everything easy for my disciples, but they try to make it complicated. I will say, "Come and give me a flower, or just come near me." But they will say, "If I come near Guru or just give him a flower, it is too easy! To prove how much I love him, let me first chop off my arms and legs; let me pluck out my eyes." This is what is happening. Did I tell you that to prove your love for me, you have to pluck out your eyes or cut off your arms and legs? No, I just asked you to come near me with whatever you have and whatever you are, whether you are in your purest consciousness or in your most impure consciousness.

When Lord Krishna used to play his flute, did he care what the gopis were doing at the time? Whether they were feeding their children or doing their housework, when they heard the flute they just ran to Krishna immediately. The call had come! In your case also, the call has come. Has the Master said that you have to make tremendous sacrifices? No, the Master is not saying, "Make a sacrifice and then come to me." He is just saying, "Come to me!"

As I said before, the road is simple and the method is simple. The Master tells you to do something simple, but your minds try to make it complicated in order to prove how much sacrifice you can make. The spiritual life is a matter of oneness with God's Will. God gave each and every disciple common sense. If the Master says, "Come here!" you do not have to waste time looking for a flower or a glass of water or a piece of candy to bring to him. No, just come!

It is oneness with the Will of the Supreme alone that can make you really happy. If you follow your own will, for a while you may have the kind of happiness that comes from vital pleasure. But soon you will see that this vital pleasure is like a sharp knife. After a day or a month or a few years, that knife will stab you.

Once you enter into the spiritual life, if you are a good disciple, you cannot escape it. Your own sincerity will keep trying to make you perfect, which means pleasing the Supreme in His own Way. If you try to be happy in other ways, you will never be happy. You can pray to God for protection — for your protection, for your Master's protection and for the world's protection. That is a very good thing. I will be very happy and grateful if you pray for protection. But the very, very best thing is to become one with the Supreme's Will. That will make both you and me infinitely happier.

Real happiness, not only for my disciples but also for disciples of other Masters, and even for seekers without any Master, has to be based on oneness with God's Will. It is only through oneness with God's Will that we can have inner peace and true happiness. I have realised this supreme truth; others have also realised it. There is no other way to make oneself happy.

Question: How can I know who I truly am?

Sri Chinmoy: Ramana Maharshi, who was one of India's Himalayan spiritual Masters, had only one question: "Who am I?" He followed the yoga of knowledge or wisdom. No matter how anyone answers this question, the answer will be called wrong or inadequate by his devotees, and even by me, for it cannot be answered with mere words.

If we try to answer this question for ourselves with our human mind, with our human intellect, with our human wisdom or perception, then we will always be mistaken. In our lives we have encountered so many discouraging and disheartening experiences. If we live in the mind, we think, "I have not achieved this and that. I have not grown into this or that. On the way to my destination, I have made millions of blunders. So how can I claim to be a child of God?"

But if our answer comes from the heart, we will say, "I belong to my Lord Beloved Supreme only. He is my heart's aspiration, He is my life's realisation, He is my All." At that time we are not using our mind to see, to measure and to limit the Creator, whom we call the Transcendental Self. We are using our heart to feel, to expand and to grow into our own Highest, which is at once our own Transcendental Depth and our own Universal Length. So if at every moment my disciples can answer this question, "Who am I?", using the sweetness of the heart, the devotedness of the heart, the self-givingness of the heart, then they are bound to be illumined and fulfilled.

Question: Does the Supreme ever think that He made some mistakes when He created the world?

Sri Chinmoy: When I am in my monkey-consciousness, I may joke around and say that He made the worst possible mistake. But when I am speaking seriously, when I am not speaking nonsense or even imagining nonsense, I feel that my Lord Beloved Supreme never has made any mistake and never will make any mistake. For Him there is no such thing as a mistake. For Him there is only one Reality: Dream. That is what He is. When we look at God the Dream from various angles, we call these angles realities. But actually, it is the Dream which is in the process of blossoming into reality. What we think of as reality does not exist in the inner world. There is only Dream.

You can say that God has millions and billions of Dreams or just one Dream. It is like a tree that produces countless leaves, flowers and fruits. The Tree, which is God, embodies the universal Dream and also all the individual Dreams. So God Himself is the Dream that is blossoming at every moment, the Dream that embodies Eternity's Vision, Infinity's Heart and Immortality's Life. This Dream has in it will-power, eagerness, vision, creation, manifestation — everything. So how can this Dream make any mistake? When the highest Absolute Lord is All, how can He make any mistake? If we try to divide Him into separate aspects which the mind can grasp, then we will say that one part of Him is more beautiful than another part. But when we see and feel His Unity, we see that He is infinite Perfection, and inside His Transcendental Perfection there can be no mistake.

When we look at something like a beautiful flower, we look at it as a whole. We do not look to see if all the petals are perfectly formed. As soon as we see the flower, its beauty captures us. Its beauty enters into us and sweetens our entire being. This is the experience we can get from the ordinary earthly beauty of an earthly flower. When we see the infinite and immortal Perfection of the highest Absolute Transcendental Lord Supreme, we realise that nothing about Him can be a mistake. Only we have to know that inside this tiny earth-planet He wants to play His own Eternity's Song and dance His own Immortality's Dance.

With our human mind, which we call the 'intelligent' mind, we think that we could have created a better world. Or we think that the reality which is presenting itself so naturally and spontaneously before us should be altered or corrected. But we are making a deplorable mistake. If we try to see the world according to our limited light, we will never be satisfied. We will constantly find fault with the world and see imperfection all around us.

But when we are happy, we feel that everything God is and everything God has created is perfect. How do we become happy? We can become happy only through our conscious and constant surrender to God's Will. If we approach God with devotion and surrender, our life is absolutely filled with happiness. When we develop tremendous sweetness in our heart and life, at that time we feel that everything around us either is perfect or is moving towards perfection.

When Sri Ramakrishna's disciples used to devotedly fall at their Master's feet or devotedly touch the dust of his feet, they used to feel utmost sweetness inside their pranam. Devotion is like a magnet which pulls our Beloved Lord Supreme towards our own heart. And while we are pulling God towards us with our devotion, He is also pulling us towards Him with His Compassion. So there are two magnets that are operating: our devotion and His Compassion. These magnets are stronger than the strongest and sweeter than the sweetest. If we can consciously feel these magnets operating in our lives, then each thought we have will be sweet, and everything that is within us, around us, before us and behind us will be all perfection.

So let us all try to love God and be devoted and surrendered to God, for our own divinity has come from Him. Our divinity and His Divinity go together, like the drop and the ocean. Again, we have to know that the Ocean has the capacity to treasure the little drop infinitely, infinitely more than the little drop can treasure the Ocean.

Question: A few months ago you said that the sun is getting old. What did you mean by that?

Sri Chinmoy: The sun is losing its heat and brilliance. It does not have the same brilliance that it had when it was created as a star. With the occult eye, the third eye, you can see that it is not the same. When the Vedic Seers gazed at the sun, or even forty or fifty years ago when people looked at the sun, it was much brighter. But if the Supreme wants to, He can again inject into the sun new energy — infinite energy, infinite heat and infinite light.

Question: That time when you spoke about the sun getting old, you also said the Supreme was getting ready to use His Justice-Light after thousands of years of using His Compassion. How are these two things connected?

Sri Chinmoy: The way the earth and sun have become old, our human habits and propensities also have become old and dim. So inside the earth-consciousness God will put new dynamism, new light, new hope and new inspiration. God will inject these things in order to illumine the earth-consciousness. But when something new comes, if our receptivity is not strong, we become frightened. If the old vessel, which is the earth-consciousness, is receptive enough, then these changes will be taken as illumination. Otherwise, they will come as torture. When the Supreme brings a new reality, it can be taken as illumination or torture, depending on whether the earth-consciousness is ready to receive it or not.

Question: Is the loss of the sun's brilliance a physical phenomenon or is it caused by a lack of aspiration on earth?

Sri Chinmoy: Before, the sun was dissatisfied; now, it is disheartened. If, year after year, you try to give something to an individual and he does not take it, then you feel miserable. The sun rises each morning, but how many people get up at five o'clock or six o'clock to meditate? We easily can keep a few windows open to let in the light, but we keep them all closed. In how many ways we are rejecting the arrival of the sun in front of our eyes and inside our hearts. It is like a spiritual Master who is trying to make his disciples perfect. First he is disappointed; then he becomes disheartened. So how long can our sun be rejected?

Question: You say that the undivine forces are always vigilant, full of energy and looking for an opening, whereas the divine forces are more complacent because they know that ultimately the Supreme will be victorious. Is there anything that we can do in our lives to inspire the divine forces to be as vigilant and energetic as the undivine forces?

Sri Chinmoy: A child has such love and admiration for his father that at every moment he tries to imitate him. If the father walks one way, the child also wants to walk that way. If the father sings a particular tune, the child tries to sing the same tune. When the father sees that his child's entire world, his whole existence, is his father, at that time the father not only becomes happy and proud of his child, but also tries to act in a more divine way. It is not only the father who has the capacity to inspire the child. The child also has the capacity to inspire the father by trying to imitate his good qualities.

If we are doing something and another person comes and observes us, we immediately try to do it better. While we are meditating, if somebody looks at us, our meditation goes up high, higher, highest. Similarly, if the cosmic gods and goddesses see that they are being observed, appreciated and admired, their dormant good qualities are aroused to start functioning more dynamically.

The Supreme Mother is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. But according to certain schools of Indian philosophy, she becomes dynamic when one of Her children feels and appreciates Her infinite Capacities. It is not because of the devotee's flattery, but because the devotee has reminded Her of Her Capacity, that she showers him with the blessings of Her Compassion. He may not be the possessor of even one of those capacities himself. But just because he has noticed Her divine Capacities, She exercises these Capacities on his behalf. So when we sincerely appreciate, admire and adore the cosmic gods and goddesses and their capacities, they are more inclined to use these capacities to help us.

We can appreciate, admire and adore certain world figures, but we do not love them, and we certainly do not want to become them. In the case of the Supreme, not only do we appreciate and admire Him, but we also love Him. And by loving Him we become one with Him. While we are observing His divine Qualities and Capacities with love and devotion, we are becoming consciously one with them. From appreciation we go to love, and from love we go to oneness. So by loving all the good qualities of the cosmic gods and goddesses and of the Supreme, we can acquire these qualities in our own lives.

Question: When the dinosaurs ceased to exist, did their souls also cease to exist, or are there people now on earth who were once dinosaurs?

Sri Chinmoy: Some souls did not want to take any more incarnations; they did not want to make progress on the earth-planet. So they entered into the soul's world and remained there. Again, some souls wanted to be part of God's manifested creation. They wanted to make progress on the earth-planet, so they entered into the process of evolution and started taking birth in different forms as animals and human beings.

Question: In the beginning of the year you said you were so proud that in this difficult year our vitals — unlike our minds — chose to help us in our spiritual life. I was wondering if you could give us some tips on how to make use of that strength in fighting our spiritual battles.

Sri Chinmoy: It is the tears of our heart that can expedite our progress, not the tears of the vital. Sometimes when people cry, they think it is coming from the inmost recesses of their heart, whereas actually it is coming from the vital. The heart and vital fool us because they are very close. In the twinkling of an eye someone can swim in the sea of tears and think it is coming from the very depths of his heart. But actually the tears are coming from the dramatic, emotional vital, almost like crocodile tears. When you see a first-class actress shed tears, do you think it is coming from the heart?

There are two ways to make progress with our heart's cry. If the cry comes from the very depths of our heart because we feel that we have lost God's Compassion, God's Love or God's Blessings, and we are crying to regain these things, then definitely we are going to make progress. We have to feel that we have lost something very precious and then cry to get it back. This is one way to make progress.

The other way is to dive deep within and cry to love God only and please God only. Again and again we may fail; but inside our heart-breath we have to feel that this is what we really want to do.

We shed tears through our eyes. But God's Eyes and His Tears are inside His Heart. And when we pray and meditate, we see that His Heart is inside His very Breath. The deeper we go in our meditation, the sooner it becomes clear to us that He takes our spiritual failures as His own defeats. On the one hand, He is beyond everything. On the other hand, because He has accepted human form, He wants to evolve and make progress in and through the human form.

So we have to see if we are really trying to make Him happy in His own Way or if we are only trying to make ourselves happy in our own way. The moment we try to make Him happy in His own Way, we see Him smile and dance. Again, if we do not try to please Him in His own Way, immediately we see the undivine, hostile forces dancing in front of us. Each time we lose in the battlefield of our own aspiration, they dance most shamelessly.

When two teams play football, very often the winning team will congratulate the losing team, saying, "You played really well." The winners try to console the losers, either sincerely or insincerely. But in the case of divine and undivine forces, it is not like that. The divine forces have come to illumine the hostile forces, but the hostile forces have come to destroy the divine forces. The hostile forces are not gracious losers or gracious winners.

Question: Is grief a form of negativity?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes people suffer when members of their immediate family pass away, even though they have not kept much connection with the person for years. When the so-called dear one dies, all of a sudden they feel that there must have been some special reason why he came into their family. At that time a kind of sadness comes: "I should have been a better person and shown him a little more affection and concern." This feeling we can call concern.

If someone is very spiritually developed, for a short while he may experience grief when a loved one dies. But as soon as he enters into his highest consciousness, he no longer experiences grief. At that time he feels only the dance of oneness.

Human grief or remorse purifies the aspiring and evolving heart. The idea of grief purifying the soul is all rubbish. The soul does not need to be purified; it is already pure. What is purified is the heart. Sorrow can illumine the heart.

But there is no direct link between grief and the hostile or negative forces. Through our prayer and meditation we will come to feel that our dear one is happy somewhere else. The deeper we can go with our prayer and meditation, the clearer it becomes to us that the person who has physically left us is spiritually with us and around us. When we can feel our oneness with the person we have lost, then our grief disappears.

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