Sri Chinmoy answers, part 7
Question: Has it ever happened that the soul changes its mind about a particular reincarnation after a baby is born and therefore the baby dies?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, it has happened. And if the soul leaves the body for more than eleven hours, usually it will not come back.
Question: If a soul has already come into a body and then decides to leave, could another soul take its place?Sri Chinmoy: No, it does not happen that way, except in some mythological Indian stories. Only if the soul changes its plans before it enters into the body can another soul take its place.
Question: Has a Master ever changed the sex of an individual?Sri Chinmoy: On very rare occasions it has happened that a feminine body with a feminine soul is being born, but in the occult world Mother Kali, let us say, wants a masculine body with a masculine soul. At that time, a spiritual Master has had to use his highest, fastest and strongest occult power. For more than seven hours the Master was fighting and fighting. It is very difficult when the material body is already formed. One has to completely change the heart and remove the soul so another soul can come in.
Question: Could a spiritual Master totally remove the mind from a particular person and put another mind in its place if the person is an adult?Sri Chinmoy: Suppose you are forty years old and for a special reason God wants you to stay on earth for another fifty years. Perhaps your heart, vital and body are extremely good, but your mind is not surrendering to God’s Will. You could make the fastest progress, but your mind is standing in your way. In a case like this, God could ask a spiritual Master to replace your mind with a new mind. It is done with good intentions and infinite Grace.
If it happens, it is like an experiment. If it works well, then it is a miracle. But sometimes the old mind does not want to leave, so it comes back. When a Master puts in a new mind, it is like coming up with a new machine that has more capacity and potentiality than the old machine. You expect the new machine to perform well, but sometimes it does not work.
But things like replacing minds happen very, very rarely because they defeat God’s Purpose. If God has to put in another mind, then it defeats whatever purpose He had in giving the original mind to the individual.
Question: If two souls have a connection, do they often incarnate together?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, they decide in the soul’s world that they will come, for example, as father and son or mother and daughter. It is not by chance that a great tennis star is born into the family of another great tennis star. In the soul’s world they already had decided that they would play tennis, so one came as the father and the other as the son.
Question: When you say that two people are twin souls, does it mean that they were twins in a previous incarnation?Sri Chinmoy: It does not mean that they were twins. It means that in previous incarnations both of them had similar inclinations and similar interests. Twin souls see the truth from a similar perspective.
Question: What are group souls?Sri Chinmoy: Some souls come down together and move around together while they are on earth. A group of souls came down together around Sri Ramakrishna and became extremely close to each other. Outwardly they may have felt insecurity or jealousy towards one another and had all kinds of differences, but basically they were fond of each other.
Question: Sometimes when a great soul is about to be born, earth is aware of the event and there is a special sign, like a star. Does the soul want this kind of thing?Sri Chinmoy: The soul does not care whether the star is oriented this way or that way. When a king is coming or going, his subjects honour him by blowing a trumpet, but the king does not care.
Question: When the soul takes incarnation, are the astrological forces also chosen or is the soul more or less stuck with the astrological conditions that happen to prevail when it descends?Sri Chinmoy: The soul is not ‘stuck’. The soul is descending and the planets are recording what is happening. It is like somebody standing on the street corner observing you while you are going to the bank. On the way to the bank you may pass this individual or that individual, and the person on the street is observing your movements. But you are not seeing him or paying any attention to him because you are focusing only on your destination. When the soul is descending, its destination is earth. We cannot say that the planets are compelling the soul to come down or take a particular body. The planets have nothing to do with it; they are only recording what is happening.
That is why I say a person’s astrology can be nullified. It is like a tape. You say something on a tape; but if you want to erase it, then you can record right over what you said with something new. When the soul is descending, it is not inviting people to watch and write a book. From the planets the astrologers are making a chart and predicting what will happen. Sometimes their prediction comes true, but if God’s Grace descends, then everything may be nullified.
Question: So the soul doesn't work in conjunction with the planets?Sri Chinmoy: The soul comes from a plane infinitely higher than the reach of the planets. It is not that the soul has meetings with the stars and planets to decide how they will work together. No! Before descending to earth, the soul will have an interview with the Supreme, with the Highest, concerning how much it will achieve in its next incarnation. The Supreme tells the soul what He expects it to do in its next incarnation. At this time, the soul is guided either by the Supreme Himself or by one of His messengers. The soul promises that it will do such and such for the Supreme while it is on earth, and the Supreme says, “I hope that you will do it. I have faith in you.” So the soul makes a promise to the Supreme, and the Supreme’s Hope lies in the soul’s promise.
Question: When you give a disciple his soul's name, is it connected with the promise that the soul made to God in the soul's world?Sri Chinmoy: The soul’s name that I give is very often the outer indication of the soul’s promise. If I give you a spiritual name, which describes your soul’s qualities, that name will help you remember your inner qualities so that you can try consciously to manifest them. Inwardly your soul is all the time telling you what to do. But if outwardly also you are conscious of your soul’s qualities and trying to manifest them, then your mind and your soul will go together. The message is coming from the soul and the physical mind is receiving it and trying to fulfil it.
Question: When the soul incarnates in a new body, is it still able to communicate with previous family members?Sri Chinmoy: If the soul wants to keep a connection with the family members from its previous life, it can do so. It may not only keep a connection, but it may actually reincarnate in the same family. At that time, however, it may not have the same relationship with the other family members. Suppose you were somebody’s daughter in one incarnation. In future incarnations you may come as that person’s mother or sister.
Question: What is more important to the soul in selecting an incarnation: the family or the place?Sri Chinmoy: The family is more important than the country, but the country also plays an important role. In my case, it was so easy for me to come to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram because I was born into a spiritual family. Then, when it was God’s Intention, I came to America, a young country full of life and promise. America is an excellent place, but it would have been a mistake for me to have taken incarnation in America.
Because I was born in a small village where religion and spiritual life are practised with utmost sincerity and humility, my spiritual background is very solid. The soul-seed was sown in the right place, and then it was nurtured in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, which was also the right place. If I had been born in America, perhaps I might have gone into another line instead of following the spiritual life. So it was absolutely necessary for me to take incarnation in India in a spiritual family.
Question: What determines the actual moment when the soul will leave the body?Sri Chinmoy: The last note of the song is played either by the soul or by some being or representative of the Supreme. It is like what happens when a machine is turned off in a factory. There are many workers who know how to turn off the machine. The machine has been running for a long time and then the manager says, “Now one of you turn it off!” He does not point to someone in particular and say, “Do it immediately!” He only says, “Now we shall stop!” Sometimes a few days or even a few months will go by before it happens.
In some cases the manager will say, “Do it immediately!” In that case, death may come abruptly. But in other cases, he says, “One of you turn off the life-machine.” The workers are taking their own time, and the manager is not very strict. Then, after some time one or two of the workers will say, “The manager said to turn off the machine. Let us do it; otherwise, he will be mad.” Then one of them goes and turns off the machine.
Question: That is in the case of someone who is gradually dying. But what about the case of a plane crash or something involving many people?Sri Chinmoy: In the soul’s world it was all pre-recorded that these people would die together on a particular day and at a particular hour. It is like a game. Either you are playing individually or you are playing collectively. At home, for example, you may be doing juggling all by yourself or you may be playing some other game together with a few people. Here it is exactly the same. These particular souls may not be at all connected with one another; only they are destined to have the same death hour. So these souls are put in the plane together.
Question: When a soul is born in a particular body, does it always stay in that body until the body dies, or does a more advanced soul sometimes take over the body for a particular mission?Sri Chinmoy: Usually one soul is enough, but every rule admits of exception. On very rare occasions — perhaps one time out of a billion or a trillion — if it is the Will of the Supreme, the soul can be taken away and another can be put in its place. If it is the Will of the Supreme, not only the soul but also the heart can be changed; occultists can do it. Almost always the heart tries to listen to the soul, but sometimes the heart fails because the vital and mind are putting tremendous pressure on it. At that time the heart becomes confused and does not see the light. So if somebody has accepted the spiritual life and the heart is not progressing fast enough, if it is the Will of the Supreme, then the Supreme can change the heart and put in a different one. For various inner reasons it can be done.
When the heart does not listen to the soul, or when the mind or vital or body revolts and does not listen to the soul, then the soul’s journey is delayed. At that time the soul cannot run the fastest or manifest God’s Will. The soul, heart, vital, mind and body are like members of a family. If you have four children, sometimes one or two listen to you and the rest do not listen. Occasionally, to your extreme sorrow, all your children revolt at the same time. In the seeker’s case, not only the mind but also the vital and the body may revolt. And even the heart may be shrouded in darkness. Then it can be a very deplorable situation, for all the children are really bad. But in almost all cases the soul acts like a very compassionate parent. The soul is willing to wait and wait indefinitely in the hope that the children will one day become good. It will wait for thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy years with the hope that the body, vital, mind and heart will all become good members of the spiritual family.
Question: If a person gets a new heart, mind or vital, is he consciously aware of it?Sri Chinmoy: Someone will not know that his heart has been replaced, but he will have better feelings, higher feelings. Somebody may have had a bad mind for many years, but now he is thinking good thoughts, encouraging thoughts, ennobling thoughts. The individual will see the difference, but he will not know how it was done. He will not know whether it was God’s Grace or the Master’s grace or some divine force that has acted.
An individual knows his own mind. Two years ago or twenty years ago he knows what kind of mind he had. He knows his weaknesses. For years and years, let us say, someone suffered from insecurity and jealousy. But now that individual has very little jealousy, very little insecurity. Overnight how could this have happened? He did not even specifically pray for it, but now it has all changed!
Question: Certain disciples have incredible oneness with one another. Have their souls had a connection from birth or is it something that developed?Sri Chinmoy: In one incarnation one cannot develop a very close connection with someone. The closeness and intimacy that some disciples have with one another, or with their Master, in most cases is due to connections made in previous incarnations. Closeness with the Master can be the result of a few or more close incarnations, or the result of the fastest progress that an individual made in one or two incarnations.
Question: How do you help the soul?Sri Chinmoy: I give the soul what it needs and wants from me. Sometimes a soul will come to me for consolation because the body, vital, mind and heart are not listening to it. Sometimes it will come for peace because in the body, vital and mind there is no peace. Each soul comes for its own reason. There are many, many souls that come to me from people who are not my students. In some way these souls have established an access to my soul, and in the inner world these souls know who I am.
Question: If we are in a good consciousness at night, can we feel when you come to help our souls?Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely! If you wake up at any time during the night, for any reason, you will feel something if you wash your eyes, ears and nose and then meditate for five minutes on your bed. You do not have to sit in front of your shrine, and you do not have to sit cross-legged; but you must sit properly — with your spine erect.
Then imagine a particular colour. If you want to feel God’s infinite Love for you, think of the colour blue. If you want God’s infinite Energy or Strength, then think of the colour green. If you want God’s Delight or Happiness, then think of the colour purple. You can imagine any colour, but blue is very good because blue represents Infinity. When you invoke Infinity, if it sees that your vessel is very limited, it tries to increase your receptivity by giving you more enthusiasm or eagerness. At that time it acts like a mother. The child has such eagerness to lift up ten pounds, but he has the capacity to lift up only five pounds. So Infinity, like a mother, immediately gives the child the strength, energy, joy and enthusiasm so that he can lift up ten pounds.
Question: Should the anniversary of the soul's departure from the earth-plane be celebrated as well as its birthday?Sri Chinmoy: Some family members are very attached to their parents and children, while others are not. In the same way, some souls keep a very close connection to their family members after death. They come not only to observe the anniversary of their departure but also quite a few times during the year. Some souls, not so much out of attachment as out of affection and genuine love, try to inspire their dear ones who are still on earth to become better human beings. These souls come when their dear ones are meditating. But again, some souls do not come at all because they want their dear ones to be more detached. They want their dear ones to think only of the Highest, of God, instead of thinking about their departed relatives.
If someone here on earth very sincerely invokes the soul of a departed dear one on that person’s death anniversary, most of the time that soul will come unless it is on a very high plane. Highly developed souls sometimes do not want to come because they are countless miles away from us. For them, it is a difficult journey because of our lack of purity. Ordinary human beings are full of desires. They do not or cannot keep their consciousness pure even when they invoke their dear ones. The passageway between the relative’s prayers and the soul’s compassion is like a column of light. If the light is not pure, then it is very difficult for a high soul to travel through that passageway. Again, some souls are very brave. As soon as they hear the sincere invitation, they come, no matter how difficult it is for them. But if the person on earth is praying with pure concern and a very pure heart, then it is quite easy for them to come.
Usually, once a year on the death anniversary, people think of their dear ones and pray for them very soulfully. When they pray intensely, at that time they are likely to have purity also. When one is intensely concentrating on something, at that time one does not look around or allow outside thoughts to enter one’s mind. So intensity often brings absolute purity. To invoke a soul from the soul’s world, both purity and intensity are needed. With purity you go one step, and with intensity you go ten steps.
But if those on earth are seekers, they need not wait a year before invoking the souls of their dear ones. If they want to feel the presence of their dear ones, they can try any time they want. To wait for one year before invoking their dear ones or thinking of them is not advisable. Again, you have to know that after a few years of rest, most souls again take human incarnation. After ten or twenty years, if you are still observing the anniversary of someone’s death, thinking that the person is still in Heaven, you are not going to get a visit from that soul. Most probably that person has already taken human birth in some other family. Once the soul has taken a human body again and entered into the ordinary world, it can no longer travel, even with difficulty, to visit those who are invoking it.
Question: Does the soul usually take the same mind when it reincarnates?Sri Chinmoy: When the soul returns to the soul’s region, it will not carry the human portion of the mind with it. It will leave the mind on the mental plane. Whatever good or bad qualities the mind has will remain there. If the soul forgives the mind and wants to take the same mind again, it can. Otherwise, that mind will be given to another soul. The same mind will not usually be taken by the soul. But if the soul wants to take the same mind, it will get first preference.
Question: What percentage of the time will the soul take the same mind?Sri Chinmoy: It does not happen very often — twenty or thirty per cent of the time. We cannot generalise, because there are countless souls.
Question: When the mind is taken by another soul, does the mind carry the karma from its previous life?Sri Chinmoy: The mind will keep the essence of all the bad qualities that it had; this is its punishment or karma. The essence of these bad qualities is like a very powerful dose of homeopathic medicine; it has tremendous potency. You will take two pellets of homeopathic medicine and in a second your boil will burst! Can you believe this potency! So, like that, the mind carries with it the full potency of the bad qualities it embodied. That is why the mind is not more evolved or more illumined. Also, that is why the mind is not all of a sudden illumined when it goes to the mind’s world. When you have earned only one dollar, you cannot expect suddenly to get one thousand dollars.
So the mind suffers most of the time. Only if the person had an accidental death — a sudden car accident, for example — will the mind not get punishment. Again, if a person lives for a long time, it is possible for the mind to nullify its karma. Let us say that someone had many bad thoughts or was very cruel to others for ten or twenty years. If this person begins to pray and meditate and tries to lead a good life for the next twenty years, then while he is on earth he can purify or illumine or nullify his mind’s bad qualities. Unfortunately, for many people it works the other way. When they are young, they have a pure mind, a broad mind, a sympathetic mind; then gradually, gradually they develop a greedy and destructive mind. So all their mind’s good qualities are nullified.
Question: Isn't the vital as destructive as the mind?Sri Chinmoy: The vital is destructive; it is true. But the vital is more likely than the mind to listen to the heart. In many instances the vital can touch the heart or the heart can touch the vital. In some people the vital is very strong; they are very restless and destructive. But when the heart touches the vital and the vital sees the joy and love of the heart, at that time the vital surrenders. But it is very difficult for the heart to touch the intellectual mind or the sophisticated mind.
That is why spiritual Masters find it so difficult to deal with mental people; they are the worst! Immediately the mind of the mental person starts judging the Master; it wants to scrutinise his wisdom instead of trying to become one with it. As soon as the useless, third-class student starts judging and criticising the professor, the student is lost. When the student, who is worse than the worst, feels that the professor does not know anything, then the student will never be able to learn from the professor. Again, if the mind can be illumined, it is a great achievement; but most of the time it is very difficult to deal with the mind.
Question: How can the mind evolve?Sri Chinmoy: The mind has to feel that the heart and soul are superior. If the mind becomes humble or modest and feels that something else is superior, then humility and purity enable the mind to progress and offer concern, compassion and the feeling of oneness.
Question: From which part of the being do most people get their sense of identification?Sri Chinmoy: In most cases it is the mind — especially if somebody is mentally predominant. Again, even if the mind is not properly developed, it is usually the mind.
Question: When we leave the body, is there a sense of continuity?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, but it is the soul’s continuity. It is all the experience of the soul, which is the divine in us. The soul is one hundred percent divine, whereas the heart, mind and vital are not fully divine. In each incarnation the soul tries to illumine the heart, mind and vital. The soul has taken up the challenge to perfect all the members of the family. Sometimes it is so painful: the soul is begging the mind to be more divine, but the mind will not listen.
Question: Why do people with a soul's connection look alike?Sri Chinmoy: When two persons are really fond of one another, they try to emulate or imitate one another’s good qualities so they can be more worthy. If they are really fond of one another, each one thinks that the other one is super-excellent. So a woman will say, “She is beautiful. Since I am her friend, let me try to be as beautiful as she is.” A man will say, “He is such a good warrior; he is such a great singer. Let me try to be like him.” They have such feelings for one another that they try to be the same. They feel their oneness and want to be indivisible. So if you really care for someone and have tremendous love for that person, then even on the physical plane you want to resemble one another. Many, many times you can see the soul’s connection in the face. Again, in many cases there is no physical resemblance at all. Two people may have a very strong soul’s connection but look totally different.
Question: Why is the soul affected by outer circumstances?Sri Chinmoy: The soul is not affected. When you touch ink, you feel that your hand is affected. But if you have the wisdom to wash your hand, the ink will vanish and your hand becomes clean. Then, if you do not touch ink anymore, your hand will remain clean. The soul is so luminous. All the undivine things that you do are like ink. If the soul wants to wash off all the undivine deeds of the physical, vital and mind, it can easily do so. The soul has inner wisdom, inner light. So just as you can wash the ink off your hand, at any moment the soul can regain its own illumination.
Part IISCA 272-278. Questions asked on 21 March 1996.
Question: When a jury is deciding a verdict, is there any karma involved if they find somebody guilty who happens to be innocent, or vice versa?Sri Chinmoy: If no deception was involved, if the mistake was made unintentionally and they were absolutely convinced that their way of dealing with the case was perfect, then the Supreme may forgive those persons because of their innocence. Again, He also may give them a kind of punishment.
If you are the supreme authority in dealing with someone and you make a mistake because you are unaware of the law, then it is a very serious matter — especially if somebody is hanged or some other very serious punishment is given. When one is a judge, one has to know one’s business thoroughly. If it is a matter of one or two months’ wrongful imprisonment, at that time the Supreme may forgive the person and nullify the law of karma. But if an innocent person is getting a very severe punishment, the utter ignorance of the person sitting in judgment will not save him. The person who is the judge is supposed to know more about the case and have enough wisdom to deal with it properly. He will not be excused just because he is unaware; he should have more wisdom and capacity.
Question: I never meditate consciously on my soul; I only meditate on the Supreme. Is this a mistake?Sri Chinmoy: There is nothing wrong if you concentrate on the Supreme! Perhaps the Supreme is a little higher than your soul.
How many people on a daily basis even think of their soul, let alone feel its existence, which is infinitely more difficult? Many people enter into a temple or church, but how many give importance to the altar? Some come to work there and others may move around everywhere in the temple, but how many of them even look at the shrine? The body is our temple and inside the body is our soul, the shrine. But we do not pay any attention to the soul. Most of my students, not to speak of other human beings, are not aware of their souls or consciously thinking of their souls even for one second in the day. Yet the soul is our most precious inner wealth; it is the most precious inner wealth of our body, vital, mind and heart.
Most of the time we act like crows. When the crow eats food, it keeps its eyes closed. It feels that if it cannot see others, then others are not able to see it, either. Human beings act the same way. Because our third eye is closed and we do not see our soul, we think that nobody is watching us. But somebody is watching us with his eyes wide open, and that is the soul. The soul is not fast asleep. The soul is observing us at every moment. If we have a little faith in the existence of the soul, we may say that the soul is watching us secretly. But the soul is not watching us secretly; it is watching us openly, only we do not see it.
Because we do not feel that there is anybody inside us who is watching us, we let our mind or restless vital rule us. We let our physical consciousness instigate us to do all kinds of undivine things, and we feel that only our mind or vital is aware of our behaviour. But no matter what the body, vital, mind and heart want to do in and through us, if we feel that there is a third party — infinitely higher and better — who is watching us, then we will be compelled to behave. In ordinary human life, if a child knows that the father is watching, he is reluctant to do something wrong. If he does, he knows his father may punish him. But if the child thinks that his father is in his office or out of town, then the child will do whatever he wants.
Again, it is possible for someone to make himself feel that he is misbehaving secretly and that the soul is not observing him. But he is only fooling himself. The soul is observing him at every moment, but it will not act immediately; it waits for the right moment to illumine him or punish him. Again, punishment itself is illumination.
So if we believe in the existence of the soul, then we are bound to take our outer life more seriously, for we know that we do not have permission to do certain things. And if we do not believe in the soul, if we do not feel the necessity of pleasing the soul, then there is no spiritual life at all for us.
This body will go, this vital will go, this mind will go; everything will leave us except the soul. The soul takes on the body to transform it and to manifest the divine light. Then, after forty, fifty, sixty, seventy or eighty years, the soul goes back to its own region. If the body, vital and mind have done good things, then the soul takes with it the quintessence of their achievements. But if they have not done anything good, then the soul does not take anything from the body, vital or mind. The heart usually does a few good things, so from the heart the soul can carry something. Then, after some time, the soul takes up a new body, vital, mind and heart.
Question: When my first husband died, I felt that his soul came into me.Sri Chinmoy: The soul cannot live inside someone else, but some of its divine qualities it can leave behind with someone else. The soul is like a most fragrant flower. When the flower is gone, the fragrance remains for some time. When your husband passed away, at that time he may have left behind some divine qualities of his soul.
In your case, what you felt was not your husband’s soul but the soul’s good qualities or, you can say, the soul’s memories. Many, many positive incidents took place between you and your husband, and the memories of some of the most striking of these incidents remained inside you. But the soul itself cannot remain inside another human being after death; it has to go back to the soul’s world.
Question: When he passed away, I felt that I was half dead.Sri Chinmoy: If husband and wife are very close to each other, when one of them dies the remaining one is very badly affected. If they are not close, then nothing happens. In India, very often women do not live more than six months or two or three years after their husbands die because they feel absolutely dead. It also happens with the husbands when the wives die. Again, there are always exceptions. But if you go to an Indian village, you will see many, many cases like this. Those who remain on earth pray to God to take them to their dearest ones, wherever the dearest ones may be. They do not want to stay on earth because nothing pleases them here anymore. They may have children and other relatives, but they love their departed husbands or wives to such an extent that they do not want to stay.
Question: How do we actually know that we are getting close to realisation?Sri Chinmoy: The more we are able to get rid of wrong forces from our system, the closer we come to our destination. If we have less impurity in our mind today than we had yesterday, then we are approaching realisation. If we have more sincerity in our spiritual life, if our lower vital problems have decreased, if we have less doubt than we had two weeks ago, then we are approaching realisation. Our mind can tell us what negative, unaspiring forces we have been cherishing for so many years. If we see that these bad qualities are decreasing, it means the divine, aspiring forces are lovingly embracing us and taking us towards the light. If we see that we have many more good qualities than bad qualities in our life, we are getting closer to the destination. But if we see that the bad qualities are absolutely predominant, then we are not doing well at all.
The whole problem in life lies in our obedience. We do not want to do the difficult thing; only the thing that is easy we want to do. We know what is right, but we want to follow the easier way. Americans do not like to take orders, but we do not realise that at every moment we are listening to someone or something. Most of the time we are obeying our stupid mind or vital. We are not doing it unconsciously. We know what we are doing; we are doing it deliberately.
Spiritual Masters who have realised the Highest can dictate to their own minds if they want to. But for ordinary human beings, it is usually the mind that is telling them what to do. And when it does so, it brings worries and anxieties into the picture. At first, when we surrender to these wrong forces, they give us some candies. We eat those candies and get false satisfaction. But eventually we come to know that those candies will not give us real satisfaction, so we challenge the wrong forces. When we are spiritually developed, immediately we challenge those forces and eventually we defeat them. Then we get real satisfaction.
Question: Does the Supreme have the same capacity of infinite Justice as He has of infinite Compassion?Sri Chinmoy: We can speak of the Supreme’s infinite Compassion, but we cannot speak of His infinite Justice because it does not actually exist. He has the capacity of infinite Justice, but He does not use it. If we are sincere, then we will see how many bad, undivine things we do in our life. If God wanted to punish us justly, then we would be lost. Again, we may say that we do not get the proper reward or the satisfaction we deserve for the good things we do. But if we count how many good things we do consciously and how many bad things we do consciously, I tell you, our good deeds will be insignificant in comparison to our bad deeds!
Even on the outer plane, in comparison to the number of crimes being committed, how many people are actually caught? Crimes are happening everywhere, but how many people are being punished? And then there is the matter of inner crimes. It is an inner crime to try and destroy someone or to use bad will to prevent someone from getting ahead in life. It is an inner crime to hate someone because he or she is more beautiful than we are. It is an inner crime to curse someone because we are jealous of that person. For these crimes, who is getting punishment? If God used His infinite Justice the way He uses His infinite Compassion, then we would be nowhere. At every second, with an iron rod God would be standing before us! If we did something wrong, then we would be finished.
God has infinite Compassion, but inside His Compassion there is Wisdom also. We cannot separate God’s Wisdom from His Compassion. We may say that God’s Compassion is nothing but stupidity, but this is not true. God uses His Compassion because He feels that this medicine works better than anything else. But there may come a time when He sees that His Compassion-medicine is not working. Then He changes to another medicine: His Justice-medicine. But that particular medicine He will use only on rare occasions, when His Compassion is absolutely not working.
Day after day we go on doing the wrong thing, and we think that God is not aware of it. He is aware of it; but the hour has not struck for Him to use His adamantine Will-Power or Justice-Light. He is still using Compassion-Height for me, for you, for everybody. But when it is absolutely unavoidable, He has to use Justice-Light. At that time, He is not actually punishing us; He is only trying to get rid of the forces that have attacked us. Our souls act in the same way. For years and years they watch us do the wrong thing. One day they will punish us; only the hour has not yet come. So the Supreme’s Justice will come at the right hour. But why should we make it necessary for Him to use His Justice? If we know that He has infinite Compassion, then let us be worthy of His Compassion. Let us try to please Him in His own Way and join our will with His Will.
Question: Is God's Compassion for man diminishing over time?Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme is not like the sun! The scientists say that in a few years, or God knows how many years, the sun will melt and there will be no warmth or light; they say that it is losing its power. A human being can jump high when he is young, but he loses his capacity when he grows old. A man has plenty of wavy hair when he is young but becomes bald later in life. But the Supreme is not like that!
According to Indian tradition, if you have a wide forehead, it is an auspicious sign. One day I was doing the long jump and a friend of mine said to me, “Oh, you will become very great! You have such a wide forehead.” So I went and told my sister Ahana, “I will become very great.” She said, “Yes, yes, wait for another ten years and you will see what it means. In ten years you will lose all your hair!” In her loving way, she threw such cold water on me!
If I have a dollar and give it to you, then I have nothing. That is what happens on the outer plane. But God’s Capacity is different; it is like wisdom. If you give wisdom to somebody, you do not lose it. On the contrary, you gain more. When the teacher teaches his students, he does not lose his capacity; he only increases and increases it. Similarly, the Supreme’s Capacity does not decrease at all. At every second the Supreme is increasing His Capacity, whether it is Compassion or Forgiveness or anything else. It is always increasing, increasing, but we are not aware of it.
While we are meditating, if we can dive deep within even for a few seconds, we can enter into the Universal Consciousness and become the universe. If in two or three seconds we can become vaster than the vastest, do you think that the Supreme Himself, who is Lord of the Universe, cannot also expand? If I can become good by doing the right thing, if I can increase my inner love, inner light and other qualities, then is it not possible for the Supreme also to transcend Himself? Infinity is not a mere dictionary word. Infinity is all self-expansion. In the Supreme’s case, every second is Self-expansion, Self-revelation and Self-manifestation.
Part IIISCA 279-282. Questions asked in Myanmar in January 1995.
Question: It seems as though man today is only explaining things. When is that going to stop?Sri Chinmoy: Explanations are needed because we are using the mind instead of the heart. The mind gets satisfaction when something is explained, but why do we need this kind of satisfaction? If I drink milk, I do not need a milk specialist to tell me it tastes good and gives me strength. If I am holding a flower and appreciating its beauty, I do not care to know the scientific explanation of why the flower is beautiful and fragrant. I can be fully satisfied just enjoying the beauty and fragrance of the flower.
Especially in the spiritual life, explanations are only a waste of precious time. The person who wants to explain is a fool and the person who wants to have something explained is equally a fool. The spiritual life starts with faith, and faith does not need any kind of outer demonstration or justification. Each time we try to explain or have something explained, we are only feeding the reasoning mind. But God does not operate with the reasoning mind.
It is like dribbling a football. Let us say I have been dribbling all the time with my left foot, so the goalkeeper thinks that I will use my left foot to try to score a goal. But I only pretend to use the left; I actually score with the right. The goalkeeper is all the time preparing for a left-footed kick, and then I score with the right. Similarly, if our expectation-mind is following the ball, we will never be ready for what happens.
God is playing a game with us in exactly the same way. If we try to use our mind, we will be lost because God is not bound by the mind. He is not bound in any way, and He wants us also to be like that. When a child is running, he gets joy by running a little to this side and a little to that side in a zig-zag way, and God is nothing else if not an Eternal Child.
Question: How do we get beyond the mind?Sri Chinmoy: The mind is a jungle; the heart is a garden. So let us spend as much time as possible inside our heart-garden and become one with its beauty and fragrance. Later, when we develop the capacity, we will try to clear the jungle and replace it with beautiful plants from our heart.
Question: How can we experience the sweetness and purity of Mother Nature when we live in a place like New York?Sri Chinmoy: It is true that the aspiring Mother Nature helps us spiritually. But when we dive deep within, we see that real aspiration comes from a higher and deeper source. People who live in a beautiful place like Woodstock are not more aspiring than people who live in New York City. Mother Nature is ready and eager to help, but where is the receptivity?
Many people go to church, but their mind and heart are somewhere else. You may come to meditate with me, but your mind may be thinking of this person or that person. The temple is ready, but the seeker is not. Let us say that Mother Nature is the temple. Are you going to the temple to realise God or to watch who else goes there? If your enemy is going there, you may say, “I do not need this temple.” Again, if your friend is going there, you may say, “Now I shall talk to my friend.” So where is your prayer and meditation? People live in a place of natural beauty more often for mental pleasure than out of a real psychic inner urge. It is true that Mother Nature can help us spiritually. But when we go to Mother Nature, does our aspiration increase or do we get lost doing something else?
Question: Why is humanity polluting and destroying Mother Nature?Sri Chinmoy: Mother Nature is being polluted and destroyed by the unaspiring realities of life. It is very sad. Mother Nature has become so helpless, and the people who are trying to preserve Mother Nature are in no way helping. They are only talking, talking, talking! Governments also are only talking. They come forward and say, “Yes, we want to preserve the trees and fields,” but their actions produce the opposite effect.
Because we human beings see enemies all around us, because we are afraid someone will come and attack us, we use all our money and energy to make ourselves powerful. To make ourselves powerful enough to fight our enemies, we cut Mother Nature into pieces and take her resources. We give importance only to scientific and chemical advancement, which does not allow Mother Nature to remain beautiful or powerful. Chemical advancement and Mother Nature’s progress cannot go together. As long as there is fear on earth, Mother Nature will never be able to fulfil her divinity. It is only when we no longer see others as enemies that we shall be able to keep Mother Nature intact.
Part IVSCA 283-284. Two questions asked by Mrs. Hanne Strong, wife of Maurice Strong, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.
Mrs. Strong: The degradation of the earth is so far advanced right now that the great mystics, shamans and spiritual people are saying that we have already crossed the line of no return regarding the oceans, the soil and the forests. What is your opinion?Sri Chinmoy: If we start doing the right thing, we can always begin making progress again. From the drop we get the ocean. Let us say that because of our stupidity we are destroying the ocean; we are turning it into a few drops. But if we start doing the right thing, then eventually the drops will grow into an ocean again. Sometimes it happens that there are no plants in a garden. But when a most skilful gardener begins working there, once again it becomes a garden with most beautiful plants, flowers, trees and fruits.
Mrs. Strong: But if the soil is dead, it’s dead. If a forest is gone, it’s gone. If the ozone is gone, it’s gone.
Sri Chinmoy: We must not underestimate the power of spirituality. Prayer and meditation mean new life. When we pray and meditate, at every second we are bringing into our life a divine consciousness, which is constantly growing. You are saying that Mother Nature is being destroyed. But Mother Nature is nothing other than God the creation. So we are praying to God the Creator to save God the creation. He who created once can again create a new creation on the strength of our prayers and meditations.
Question: In the movie Apollo 13, people were getting involved with all these machines and moving away from nature. Is it good for people to be so involved with machines? Is it good for people to go into space and do things that are unnatural? Is this useful for them?Sri Chinmoy: In this kind of movement we are going far, farther, farthest from nature. True, God is everywhere; He is both the Creator and the creation. God is also to be found inside science because science itself is God’s creation. But the kind of link we have with God through science is not very direct.
With space exploration we are trying to do something that is like fireworks. It charms us, but it does not elevate our consciousness; it does not have sustaining power. In Apollo 13 we see people walking on the moon. We are enjoying it, but it is mostly the vital in us that is getting enjoyment. The soul is not enjoying this. Not even the heart is getting joy, because the heart wants to hear the melody that keeps earth in tune with Heaven, and that tune is not there.
Science is like a cow tied to a post. The cow is given limited freedom, but inside that limited area, the cow is destroying everything. If it sees a bucket, then it kicks that bucket. By kicking the bucket several metres, the cow is getting joy. But this kind of joy is all destruction. Fortunately, the cow has a limit. It cannot go beyond the length of the rope. Similarly, no matter how many centuries or millennia shall pass, the capacity of science will always be limited. Science is progressing and developing; miracles are being created at every second. You press a button and an atom bomb drops somewhere. But anything that is not creative will never be able to unite the suffering of Mother Earth with the smile of Father Heaven.
Scientists may descend on the moon and see a few stones, but they will not get the consciousness of the moon. Only by praying and meditating can you get the consciousness of the moon or commune with the soul of the moon. Scientists do not regard the moon as a sacred place, filled with aspiration. No, they see it as fallow ground for their experiments. Then, if they find something nice there, they just grab it and smash it to bits with their scientific instruments. But these scientific instruments will never reveal the soul or divinity inside the moon. Never, never! So science will never discover the real divinity inside the moon; only seekers will discover that.
Part VSCA 285-295. Questions asked in Maui on 25-26 January 1995.
Question: Is the spiritual life easier or less strict today than it was in ancient days?Sri Chinmoy: In ancient times, spiritual Masters used to test and examine their disciples in such severe ways. Matsyendranath, for example, demanded that Gorakshanath pluck out his eye, and immediately he obeyed. That is why Gorakshanath became what he was and had such great occult power. In those days, just to become a disciple of a Master, the seeker had to go through such an ordeal! The initiation process was so difficult. When I initiate a disciple, I only offer light to the disciple’s soul, and then it is up to the vital and the mind to accept the light from the soul. Again, if that person decides not to become my disciple but wants to go somewhere else for different blessings, no harm! We are all one family.
Today everything is cheap — as cheap as water. Again, water is life. If we do not have water, we die. But in terms of strictness, there is no comparison between the spiritual life two hundred or four hundred or seven hundred years ago and twentieth century spirituality! In many, many ways we have made the spiritual life simpler and easier. We cannot say that God-realisation has become like instant coffee; that we will never dare to say. But we have made it very, very easy. Because of the kinds of world problems, sufferings, imperfections and weaknesses found in the twentieth century, God uses His Compassion aspect infinitely more than His Justice aspect.
Question: Spiritually, is the world going forward or backwards?Sri Chinmoy: Twenty years ago the world was not ready for some things, but now the world is ready for them. Look at the way modern science has improved outer facilities over the past fifty years! The same kind of progress has been made in the spiritual world. One hundred or two hundred years ago, it was so difficult for spiritual seekers to get the experiences that you people get. The kind of experiences it took people years to get during the time of the Vedic Seers — experiences they tried for and cried for and shed bitter tears for — in the twentieth century people get in perhaps a few days or a few months. In the past it took so long to make a little progress or to get an iota of peace. But now, as Sri Aurobindo wrote, spiritual figures are coming who are infinitely more powerful than the Vedic Seers. So the world is progressing, progressing. Then again, some Masters of the past like Krishna and others not only reached the Highest but became the Highest.
In general, modern-day seekers have many opportunities that seekers of the past did not have. Now if you want to get inspiration by praying and meditating with hundreds of people, you get in your car and drive to church. In the days of the Vedic Seers, where could they find thousands of people meditating and praying, such as we find at our peace concerts? If many people are aspiring together most sincerely, there is often more intensity than if one person is doing it alone. In the tug-of-war against ignorance, if on one side there are ten or twelve people, there will be more strength. Some of the seekers may be weak, but even their little strength helps you have a better meditation. Again, if somebody is weak and you waste your time thinking of him or her in a negative way, when the time comes for you to pull hard and use all your strength, you cannot.
So there are advantages and disadvantages today; but on the whole, it is much easier today than in the past. Again, the seekers of the past had more intensity and more aspiration. Today there are more distractions; we have wonderful friends like television and other things! Now we have more outer facilities, but they offer no spiritual benefit.
Question: What do you mean when you speak about our highest meditation?Sri Chinmoy: Each one has his own standard. My highest meditation may not be as high as somebody else’s highest. According to my own standard, today I may have my highest meditation; then tomorrow perhaps my meditation will not be so high, and the day after tomorrow my meditation can be lower than the lowest. When we have our own highest meditation, it is because on that day our love for the Supreme, our devotion to the Supreme and our surrender to the Supreme are most remarkable. Or you can say that God unconditionally showers His Compassion on us that day, and that is why we have such love, devotion and surrender. Or perhaps God wants to do something in and through us on that day, and He finds us ready to accept His Compassion.
When the outer world is tempting us or beckoning us, we have to remember these happiest moments. It was because of the things that we chose in our life — our love, devotion and surrender to God’s Will — that we got the highest bliss. So if we can remember that bliss when unaspiring forces are attacking us or we are allowing ourselves to be attacked by them, then we will be inspired to resist these hostile forces.
Question: Can we lose our God-realisation when we try to reveal or manifest it?Sri Chinmoy: First comes God-realisation. Inside your heart-garden you see a most beautiful flower — the God-realisation-flower — and you become that flower. Then you bring it out of your central being and reveal it to the world, not to show off, but in order to offer the beauty and the fragrance of your heart-flower to others.
Some people, after realisation, do not want to reveal God’s Light because it is so difficult. They say, “Who cares whether others believe that there is a most beautiful flower inside my heart? If they do not believe that I have divine peace, which they lack, then I do not have to show them.” They also say, “Who knows? While revealing or manifesting God’s Light, I may lose it.”
But others want to share the peace and light that they have inside because they feel that others will be miserable without it. This is the heart’s generosity and magnanimity of those daring souls who try to reveal and manifest God. They are not afraid of losing their inner wealth. They feel, “If I only possess something, then definitely I can lose it because my possession is separate from me. If there is a difference between my existence and my realisation, then naturally I can lose my realisation. But if I have become what I was longing for, then how can I lose it? What I have, I can lose; but what I am, I cannot lose.”
Again, it is possible to have an impermanent realisation. When Arjuna got a vision of the Krishna Consciousness, he had not actually achieved God-realisation, so it did not last. In the case of one very great spiritual Master, at first the Krishna Consciousness used to come and disappear. It took twenty-eight years before the Master declared that the Krishna Consciousness had descended fully into his personality. But once you truly realise the Supreme Consciousness, then it can never go.
Question: How should we deal with our defects?Sri Chinmoy: In the beginning, all the defects that we have we consciously or unconsciously cherish. Then, when we become wise, we feel so sad that we cherished these weaknesses. But even when we want to overcome our weaknesses, we feel helpless. This is the time when we need determination, which has to come through God’s Grace.
Everything has to happen step by step. In the beginning, unconsciously or consciously we are cherishing all our weaknesses, which come in the form of temptation. Then we realise that these defects are no good and we separate ourselves from them. We do not want to be insecure; we do not want to be jealous. We do not want to have doubt, impurity and so on. Then we decide that we must conquer these weaknesses. At that time we cannot be relaxed; we have to be fully determined. And where does this determination come from? Its source is God’s Compassion. So ultimately we have to go to the Source, God’s Compassion, to get the determination to conquer all our defects.
Question: What is poetry?Sri Chinmoy: I always say that man writes prose, but it is God who writes poetry in and through man. In poetry, each word carries us into the Unknowable, where there is tremendous joy. We may think that when we enter into the Unknowable, we will be totally lost. But we are not lost; we are flying.
Poetry is intuitive, so we should not try to understand it. It is not the mind we need in order to derive joy, but the heart.
Question: What is the relationship between eagerness and perseverance?Sri Chinmoy: Eagerness expedites everything; it goes faster than the fastest. With eagerness we can climb up the Himalayas. But sometimes eagerness gives up when it meets obstacles and hurdles in life. With all eagerness we try something once, twice, three times, and then we give up. We approach somebody to ask for this or that, but after two or three attempts we feel it is beneath our dignity to approach that person again. Then we fail. But if perseverance comes to join eagerness, then we are saved.
When somebody succeeds, others may say, “Oh, he was lucky.” But it is not luck. Previously, this person may have failed over and over again; many times he may have been unlucky to the extreme. But unlike others, he did not give up, and then finally he succeeded.
Many people are eager, but after two days their eagerness disappears. Two days is more than enough for them. If they do not succeed in two days, they will bring me the report: “I tried so hard, but it cannot be done.” To succeed, we have to maintain our eagerness day after day. Eagerness can move mountains. But if eagerness cannot do something, then perseverance and patience are needed.
Question: How can I not criticise others and what can I do when others criticise me? Sometimes I get very mad.Sri Chinmoy: When somebody criticises you, think of that person as an insect or worm and feel that you are the strongest and largest elephant. Since you are larger than the largest, you do not have to pay any attention to a little insect or worm. Vivekananda used to say that the elephant is going to the market for bananas and the dogs are barking. The elephant does not pay any attention to the dogs; he just goes to the market and eats bananas to his heart’s content. So when others criticise you, you have to convince yourself that you are infinitely stronger than the criticism that you are getting.
When you are inspired to criticise someone, immediately feel that what is disturbing you in the other person is some weakness that he has. Feel that the wrong thing that he or she is doing arises out of some deplorable weakness. Then try to feel that your criticism of the other person is only increasing his weakness and making it worse.
Also, you have to feel that your criticism is causing all kinds of ailments inside the other person. Then try to pull these ailments into your own system — into your hands or legs or head. Immediately you will say, “My God, it is so painful, so painful!” Then you will see how much suffering you are causing that person. Or imagine that your words of criticism are like an arrow that you have hurled at the other person, and now his entire being is bleeding. When you see him bleeding, your sympathetic oneness will make you feel miserable. It is the same kind of sympathetic oneness that Lord Buddha felt when he picked up the bird that had been wounded with an arrow.
When you identify yourself with the other person’s suffering, you will feel, “No matter how imperfect and useless he is, I have no right to cause this kind of suffering in him. I have come into the world to establish my oneness with others and not to destroy others with my criticism.” Then your heart of oneness will make you stop criticising the other person. These ideas I am giving you are very practical.
Another thing you can do is to feel that your criticism of the other person, which you are cherishing in your being, is a very heavy load. Also, the other person’s criticism of you is another heavy load that that person has thrust upon you. How can you move or even breathe if you are carrying two heavy loads on your shoulders? What you have to do is get rid of both loads. You have to cast them aside so that you can run the fastest towards your destination.
Here is still another way. Each time you criticise someone, feel that you have created a black spot on the moon of his heart. By diminishing the beauty of his heart’s inner moon, you can never get real joy. Also, you have to feel that if you criticise him, he also will criticise you and ruin the beauty of your inner moon. By destroying one another’s inner beauty, neither one of you can be happy. So you have to feel that your happiness can come only with the other person’s happiness; it has to be simultaneous. If you do not darken his moon, he will not darken yours, and both of you will be happy.
Question: Sometimes the world lowers my consciousness.Sri Chinmoy: That is why people remain inside the Himalayan caves. As soon as they come to the village to have a glass of milk or a few fruits, they say their consciousness descends. So they are ready to remain without milk or fruit and give their body to God. But that is not our philosophy. We feel that meditation and the spiritual life are like a boat. Because we are in the boat, we are not affected by the water. If our meditation is really solid, if we can meditate soulfully and powerfully for two hours each day, then definitely the power of our meditation will keep us safe.
But during meditation if we think of tomorrow’s breakfast or of who insulted us, then that kind of meditation will be useless. The clock will say that we have meditated for three hours, but during those three hours we have gone to so many peculiar lands and mixed with so many people! If we count how many thoughts we had during our meditation, we will be shocked. So our highest meditation may not be enough. It may be the highest for us, but it is not the kind of silent meditation that advanced seekers have, not to speak of spiritual Masters. If I am a pole vaulter, it is not enough to reach my highest; I have to reach Olympic standard or world champion standard. I have to come to a certain height.
Question: You said that the process of successfully realising God is ninety-five per cent God's Grace and five per cent personal effort. But when we realise God, you said we realise that even our five per cent was God's Grace. That being the case, how can a seeker be responsible for his success or failure?Sri Chinmoy: When you realise God, at that time you will see that everything was unconditional from God. Why did you get up at six o’clock to pray and meditate, whereas your friends and acquaintances did not? It was because something within you responded to God’s Wish or God’s Will. God was able to inject His Will into you, whereas someone else was not receptive enough. The moment you feel God’s Will operating in and through you, at that time you are responsible to do prayerfully and soulfully what God asks. If you do not do it prayerfully and soulfully, then only will you be blamed.
God will not blame you if you do not succeed, but God will definitely blame you if you do not try cheerfully, soulfully and self-givingly. God will blame you only if you do not try with a divine, self-giving spirit. You are responsible only for making the journey with the right attitude; you are not responsible if you do not meet with success. Success and failure are at His Feet, and you have to offer the results happily and prayerfully to Him.
What does this mean? Suppose you expected something to happen in your own way; you worked very hard for it, but it did not take place. Let us say you expected your daughter to pass her driving test, but she has failed very nicely. With so much hope, eagerness and joy you taught her. If you want to do the spiritual thing, when she fails you have to place at the Feet of God the same amount of energy or feeling that you had when you were hoping that she would succeed.
Question: How important is common sense?Sri Chinmoy: Common sense is wisdom. Suppose I see a flame. It is so beautiful that I want to touch it. But common sense tells me that if I touch it, then definitely I will burn my hand. So we start with common sense, but then afterwards we have to go beyond common sense, using whatever wisdom we have got from our past lives or from earlier in our present life. Then we come to a certain stage or height where we see that common sense no longer works. So from there we have to go forward and upward until we are far, far beyond the domain of common sense.
Part VISCA 296-304. Questions asked in April and May of 1995.
Question: You often tell us the story of when Lord Krishna asked Arjuna the colour of some fruit on a nearby tree. Each time Arjuna said it was one colour, Krishna said it was a different colour, and immediately Arjuna changed his opinion to agree with Krishna. When we are dealing with you, how can we know when we should agree with you and when we should offer our own personal opinion?Sri Chinmoy: A spiritual Master deals with many, many planes of consciousness. There is a plane of consciousness where earthly realities do not exist as such. If you say that something is blue or red, you are describing the earthly reality. But realities in the higher worlds are not like that; they entirely depend upon God or the cosmic gods. Lord Krishna knew that on the earth-plane the fruits that Arjuna was seeing had a particular colour. But he wanted Arjuna to go to a higher plane where fruits do not even exist, where the tree itself does not exist. On that plane, all that exists is oneness with God’s Will. For Arjuna, Lord Krishna was the embodiment of God. So, to reach this higher plane, what Arjuna needed was oneness with Lord Krishna’s Will.
No matter how many times Krishna contradicted himself, Arjuna agreed with him. If Arjuna had been an ordinary human being, he would have said, “How many times do I have to agree with you? You corrected me and I agreed with you. Now why are you changing your mind again? What kind of man are you?” But Arjuna did not do that. He showed his obedience and also tremendous patience. All spiritual people have to go through this kind of examination.
To you, Arjuna may appear stupid because he continually changed his opinion. But Arjuna was not a fool. He was not as well-educated as his brother Yudhishthira, but he was far better educated than many people of his day, including Bhima, his other brothers, his cousins and so on. But Arjuna realised that he had to go beyond both form and formless to be one with Lord Krishna. Arjuna’s prayer was, “Lord, I want to be one with You. I want to see through Your Eyes; I want to feel with Your Heart.” Some people are clever. They say this prayer but continue to see with their own eyes and feel with their own heart. But Arjuna was not one of those; for him, this prayer was not mere words. He knew that Lord Krishna was a God-figure. That is why he made the promise, “Lord, from now on, I will make full surrender to You and become one with Your Will.”
This kind of oneness also exists in the ordinary human world. A Bengali mother will teach her child the word phul, which means ‘flower’. But a small child often is unable to pronounce it properly. He says, phu, phu! and does not use the ‘l’ sound. Even after twenty times he still says, phu, phu. The mother sees that by saying phu, the child is getting tremendous joy. So, if her heart is all oneness, she also starts saying phu to make the child happy. Her love for her child is infinitely more important to her than the correct pronunciation of the word. Her mother’s love exists one hundred per cent on the human level, and it is so strong that she surrenders to the child’s way of speaking. Sometimes twenty or thirty years later, after their children have grown up, you find Bengali mothers still using those wrong words that they learned from their children! Still they are getting so much joy from these childish words. This is called love between two human beings on the ordinary human plane.
On the human level, if the mother will call a flower phu to please her small child, on the divine level can the disciple not also surrender, out of his heart’s love, to the Master’s way of seeing reality? If the Master says, “One plus one equals four,” ordinary humans will say, “The Master is obviously an idiot. I do not want to be associated with him.” But the true disciple will say, “My Master is an ocean of love, light and delight. If he says that one plus one equals four, then he must be correct.” The disciples who insist that one plus one equals two are correct in mathematics, but spiritually they are millions and billions of miles away from the supreme truth.
On the human level, if you flatter a small child and agree with him, then the child will go into the kitchen and bring you some delicious food to eat. If you do not agree with him, he is not going to bring you such nice food. Sometimes God acts exactly like a child. By listening to yourself, you will get some satisfaction, certainly. But will you get your Master’s ocean of love and light? Who is going to give it to you? The one with whom you did not agree?
The problem is that each and every human being has formulated certain ideas on the mental plane. But a spiritual Master cares not for your mental ideas; he cares only for how much oneness you have established with him. When you agree with him, he gives you such a smile, such affection, such blessings. No matter how certain your mind is, it cannot give you that kind of smile, that kind of affection or blessings. So you have to make a comparison. See what you can get from your own mind-room and what you can get from your Master’s heart-room. By agreeing with the Master, you will be able to get infinitely more of the Master’s inner wealth than by remaining with your own limited mental conception of truth.
Question: During the Battle of Kurukshetra, Krishna got down from the chariot to fight even though he had taken a vow not to fight at all. I was wondering what this tells us about Krishna's personality?Sri Chinmoy: When Arjuna saw Vishma advancing towards him on the battlefield, he said to Krishna, “We lost our father when we were quite young, and Vishma became our father. Such affection, such love he had for us! Is there anything that we would not have done for him? He is so dear to me. I cannot fight him.”
Krishna told Arjuna, “He is already dead in the inner world. You have to fight him!” Still Arjuna could not bring himself to fight with his grandsire; so Krishna came out of the chariot with his discus. When Krishna decided to fight, he said, “My love for my Arjuna is infinitely more important to me than my so-called promise. People will say that I am not a man of my word. I do not care. I want to prove that my love for my Arjuna is infinitely more important than preserving honour in the eyes of the world. I am prepared to go against the ordinary light of morality in order to win the victory for Arjuna.”
When Vishma saw that it was Krishna himself who had come to fight him, he came running to be killed. He said, “My Lord, my Lord, I know who You are! If You kill me, I will be the happiest person. On the one hand, I am so sad that You are breaking Your Promise. But again, I am so glad that I will die by Your Hand. Kill me, kill me! I am dying to die by Your Hand!”
Then Arjuna said, “No, no, I am ready to fight!” He pulled Krishna back into the chariot and fought Vishma with utmost determination. At last, Vishma lay dying, and Arjuna brought water to his grandsire. When Arjuna saw that Vishma was shedding tears, he said to Krishna, “Our grandfather did not do anything wrong. He was so good, so divine. Why does he have to suffer? Why are there tears in his eyes?”
Krishna said to Arjuna, “Why are you asking me? Ask him! He will tell you.” So Arjuna asked his grandfather, “Please tell me why you are crying, Grandfather. In our kingdom, there is nobody as divine as you. It was you yourself who told us how to kill you. Who else on earth would have been so noble? But now that your death is fast approaching, why are you crying? Are you afraid of death?”
Vishma replied, “You fool! I am weeping not because I am afraid of death, but because the Pandavas have suffered so much. Krishna, the Lord of the Universe, was all the time with you and for you. So how is it that you have suffered so much? I do not understand the Lord’s Game. That is why I am shedding tears.”
Krishna answered him, “This is my creation. You will never be able to understand it. My mystery is unfathomable.”
The Mahabharata is sweeter than the sweetest and, at the same time, deeper than the deepest. On the mental level, we cannot justify many of the things that Krishna did. But, again, his divinity is all the justification that is needed.
Question: Did any of the Kauravas consciously take the side of the Pandavas?Sri Chinmoy: Just before the battle began, Yudhishthira did something most remarkable. He came and stood in front of the enemy and said, “If anybody from your side wants to join us, now is the time. We shall be very happy to have you.”
Hearing these words, one of Duryodhana’s own brothers came running and said, “My brothers are very bad. I want them to be killed! Please accept me on your side.” This brother’s name was Yuyutsu. He was born not to Gandhari but to a Shudra woman. At the end of the Battle of Kurukshetra, he was the only brother to remain alive.
Question: If someone is connected with a particular god or goddess, does that god or goddess show special concern for that person?Sri Chinmoy: Provided the person leads a good and spiritual life, concern is definitely there and these cosmic gods and goddesses will help. In a school, not all the students are of the same standard; the teacher has to teach every Tom, Dick and Harry. But if there are some excellent students who give the teacher joy, he gives those students more attention. Privately, he tells them, “Come to my house. I will teach you more.” But a third-class student he will teach only during school hours. In the spiritual life also, if somebody is a good seeker, that person will get more attention and inner concern from the cosmic god or goddess who is ruling his destiny. But again, the cosmic god has only limited authority over the person; only the Supreme has full authority.
In the beginning, the cosmic gods and goddesses will help the seeker in so many ways when the seeker is praying and meditating. Then, when they see that the seeker is going beyond their height or domain, at that time they stand against him. First they feed you and feed you; then they stand in your way. But if you can go beyond them, they again become extremely close to you and try to help because they see that you have direct contact with the Absolute.
Again, if one has a spiritual Master, the cosmic gods do not get involved. Because the spiritual Master keeps direct contact with the Highest, the Absolute Supreme, on the seeker’s behalf, the cosmic gods or goddesses become like dear relatives. With relatives we do not keep daily contact. Once a month or once in six years we may see them. But with our father and mother we keep contact every day. So our spiritual Master is the one with whom our soul has to keep a daily connection.
Question: Why do the gods or goddesses stand in somebody's way?Sri Chinmoy: Nobody wants somebody else to go beyond him. The Puranas are flooded with stories of Parvati’s jealousy and insecurity. She is a cosmic goddess; people worship her. But every second Parvati is dying for more beauty or cursing someone! Look at her human aspect! Again, we pray to Parvati for our illumination, for our liberation, for everything.
Question: Do cosmic gods and goddesses have the capacity to make spiritual progress?Sri Chinmoy: Evolution requires human incarnation, and they do not take human incarnation. Mythology tells stories about how one god cursed another so that he would be born into a servant-class family; but these are just stories. Actually, cosmic gods do not take human incarnation because they are not evolutionary beings. They started meditating thousands of years ago and got tremendous spiritual or occult power and enormous light, and this satisfied them. They reached a certain height, which is infinitely superior to the height of ordinary human beings. But they will not go any higher.
According to our present standard, the cosmic gods seem unlimited. We have one dollar, let us say, and the cosmic gods have ten million dollars. But ten million is not the ultimate. After ten million comes one billion and so on. We feel that the cosmic gods are dealing with the Unlimited, but that is not the case. For that, it is necessary to take a physical body and evolve from the animal to the human to the divine and, finally, to the Supreme.
Compared to the cosmic gods, right now human beings are like little children. A child is so small; who can ever imagine that one day he will be six feet tall? But although right now we are weaker than the weakest, our evolution never stops because human beings have the eternal hunger, the eternal aspiration, to go up, up, up. By praying and meditating and surrendering our will to God’s Will, we human beings can eventually become saints, then yogis, and go beyond the cosmic gods.
Question: Are the cosmic gods still cursing each other and fighting with one another as they did in the Puranas?Sri Chinmoy: In that era, 3,000 or 5,000 years ago, evolution was at that level. Sometimes the cosmic gods, knowing well God’s Will, did not listen to the highest Absolute, and they created disharmony amongst themselves. They were not willing to surrender to anyone — not even to the Supreme. But the spiritual Masters have taught us to surrender to the Will of God. Jesus Christ taught us, “Let Thy Will be done.” So here is the proof that we have improved.
Also, we have to know that in those days the world was at a particular level of consciousness, and at every moment the cosmic gods had to deal with the imperfect nature of reality. Sometimes they showed their compassion aspect or forgiveness aspect, but most of the time they showed their power aspect. They used the power aspect of God right and left to exercise their supremacy — to conquer others and rule human life. They did not care for God the creation; they were ready to destroy it in the twinkling of an eye. But with power we cannot conquer anyone permanently; we can conquer someone for only five seconds or five days. It is only if we conquer someone with love that our victory lasts forever. Similarly, the joy that comes from supremacy is no joy at all, whereas the joy that comes from oneness, which is based on love, is true joy.
When America dropped the atom bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan surrendered. But did America conquer the heart of Japan? Did the Japanese love or respect America for having destroyed their country? No! By dropping a bomb on your head I can silence you for a few years. At that time I feel I am the happiest person. But eventually I realise that there are many people who are speaking ill of me, and I cannot get any joy. Everybody wants admiration from other people. If I am killing you, are you going to love and admire me? No! But if I come and embrace you with both arms wide open, then naturally you want to be my friend.
Many things they put in the Puranas only to make the stories more juicy. Then, when we read these things, we say, “Oh, the cosmic gods are also like us.” Otherwise, who is going to pray for thousands of years for milk or for beauty? But the cosmic gods were ready to pray for thousands of years for whatever they wanted, including someone’s death. Again, the thousand years they spoke of was not really a thousand; sometimes it was only one year. But even for one year will we pray for anything — even if it is our greatest desire? If we do not get what we want overnight, we say, “Oh, it is not meant for me.” After two weeks or two months we say, “Since there is no hope, let me give up.” But they continued. Even the demons or asuras did not give up so easily. They wanted to throw the gods out of Heaven, so they prayed and meditated in a most austere way for years and years. They said, “Unless and until we have arrived at our goal, we are not going to stop.” These stories teach us that nothing can be gained easily; they teach us the necessity of patience and perseverance. No matter what kind of desire or aspiration we have, these stories are teaching us not to give up until we have achieved our goal.
Question: In one of your poems you say that God will do everything for us if our every breath embodies soulful gratitude. This kind of gratitude seems far beyond our reach. How can we have it?Sri Chinmoy: Gratitude is not found in dryness or in strictness; it is not found in a morbid life. Gratitude comes from sweetness — sweetness in life, sweetness in breath. The sweetness of our own nature, our own character, our own movements will create everlasting gratitude. Gratitude is nothing but a spontaneous feeling of sweetness, which does not even have to be expressed in words. A child may not say “Thank you” to his mother, but the sweetness of his entire being is expressed through his eyes in the form of a smile. He does not know the word ‘gratitude’, but when the mother sees his sweet smile, she knows that the child is full of gratitude. So the more we can create sweetness in our hearts and in our being, the easier it becomes to offer gratitude to God.
One way to get sweetness is to look at a most beautiful, fragrant flower. When we look at the flower and smell its fragrance, consciously or unconsciously we become one with its beauty and fragrance. At that time, its sweetness enters into us or our own sweetness comes forward; sometimes both happen simultaneously. Then our whole being becomes sweet and it is easier to have good thoughts. If we are really focusing all our attention on the innocent beauty and fragrance of God the creation through this flower, then impure thoughts — which include not only lower vital thoughts but also jealousy and meanness — disappear, and only sweet thoughts remain. And when sweetness comes to the fore in our nature, it becomes very easy to offer gratitude.
Another way to have gratitude is to think of what we would have become if God had not shown us the light. Then we would have been somebody else — lower than the lowest. But rather than take a negative approach, we can take the positive approach and say, “O God, I am so grateful and I shall eternally remain grateful to You because You have shown me Your Light and You are allowing me to remain in Your Light.”
Question: How can we be sweeter?Sri Chinmoy: Simplicity is the direct way of bringing sweetness into our life. Pure people can sometimes be very nicely arrogant. Indian saints are pure, but if you try to take a flower from their garden, they will come and break your head because they care only for justice! But if you only want to lead a simple life, then when a thief comes to steal your blanket, you will go running to give him your pillow also. You will tell the thief, “You like these things more than I do, so you keep them. I am satisfied only to look at the moon at night.” In this way you are making your life simpler and simpler and depending only on Mother Nature. In this kind of simple life, sweetness grows.