Sri Chinmoy answers, part 8

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Part I

SCA 305-323. These questions were answered in 1995 and 1996.

Question: How often do the disciples' souls come to you for blessings and how often do they come with complaints?

Sri Chinmoy: The disciples' souls come to me for blessings infinitely more often than they come to bring complaints. Although your mind may not need my blessings even once a year, your soul needs my blessings every day. But every day your soul does not have complaints against you. I do not think that even one of my disciples is so bad that his or her soul comes more often to complain than to receive blessings. Some people's souls have very serious complaints, but they do not bring them up every day because the problem is like a chronic disease. When you have chronic pain, you do not make complaints all the time, even though the pain is so severe, so severe!

If you do not want your soul to bring complaints against you, then you have to run very fast in your life of love, devotion and surrender. Love, devotion and surrender are like a 100-metre race. Let us say the first thirty metres is love, the next thirty metres is devotion and the last part is surrender. For most runners in the 100 metres, the speed increases after the first thirty metres. Some have a very powerful start and some have a poor start. Again, some people do well up to sixty or seventy metres; up to love and devotion they do quite well. But when it comes to surrender, the last part of the race, all their energy and speed go away. Again, some people go fast right from the beginning to the end. But no matter how fast you run any particular segment, you have to complete the entire distance — love, devotion and surrender — if you are doing the 100 metres.

For some people, it takes several years before they are able to run well. Other people run well for the first five or ten years and then something goes wrong. Then again after some time they regain their previous speed. But no matter how well you are running, if you want to become a champion, then every day you have to practise your love, devotion and surrender. Some days, the first part of the race you will do to your satisfaction, but the second part will not be as satisfactory; other days the opposite will be true. Again, there will be some days when you will run all three segments of the race at top speed, doing well from the beginning to the end. There is not a single disciple of mine who at one time or another has not experienced love, devotion and surrender according to his fullest capacity. On that day you were a totally different person. But then the mind came forward and you did not value your achievement, so your speed and eagerness diminished. But if you can remain all the time in the soul, then you will always run the fastest, and your soul will have no complaints at all — only the greatest joy.

Unfortunately, many people used to run fast when they were young, but after practising the spiritual life for fifteen or twenty years their speed has gone down considerably. This is to be expected in the outer race because the physical body ages. But it should not happen in the inner race; here there is no age limit. Because you are dealing with Eternity, at every moment you have to try to increase your capacity. Whether you think of yourself as twenty-two or fifty or ninety is up to you. Only your mind is keeping the record; your soul is not keeping that kind of earthly record. Your soul is seeing only how fast you are ready and willing to go, which depends entirely on your receptivity to your soul's light.

Question: Is surrender like going to a new country — one day you are there and then you never leave it?

Sri Chinmoy: It is not like going to a new country; it is like returning to our original country, our own home. It is like returning to our Source. If it is reluctant surrender, we do not reach the Source; we get lost before we reach our home. If it is cheerful surrender, we go to our Source, which is all Delight, and stay there for some time. It is like entering into a flower shop — immediately we are inundated with the fragrance of flowers. If we enter into a place that has ecstasy and light, then definitely we will be inundated with these qualities.

Again, the intensity or profundity of joy we get from cheerful surrender is not the same as what we get when we make unconditional surrender. Unconditional surrender, even if it lasts one minute, brings the sweetest joy. I am not talking about the thought of surrender but about the act of surrender. If we make unconditional surrender in a particular action, for days afterwards we will feel so proud of that surrender. If we make unconditional surrender for a few minutes at a time for several days or months — even if it is not done every single day or all at a stretch — it will be an achievement that we can treasure for the rest of our life. As soon as we think of it, we will be the happiest and proudest person.

Each and every disciple of mine has made unconditional surrender to God's Will for a few minutes or for an hour at least once in this lifetime. But I doubt that any of you have done it for a whole day. It is impossible for you right now; after two hours or so something goes wrong.

Question: How can you conquer nervousness when singing in front of an audience?

Sri Chinmoy: Take all the members of the audience as one person, and feel that this person is yourself. If you see many people watching you, naturally you become nervous. You feel that they are judging you or criticising you. But if you take all of them as yourself, then you will not be nervous. When you are singing by yourself, even if you sing incorrectly, you do not become nervous because there is nobody to hear it. You are the singer, and you are also the audience. So when you are singing in public, take the whole audience as one individual, and then see that individual as none other than yourself. At that time, nervousness goes away.

Question: If we are singing in a group, what should we do if some of the members sing off key?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are really singing soulfully, at that time you are in tune with your own deeper reality. When you are in tune with your own highest reality, nothing can affect you because you are divinely enamoured of your own voice; you are enjoying its fragrance and beauty. At that time, even if the person right beside you is singing incorrectly, it will not affect you.

But if you are in a normal consciousness, you will definitely be affected if somebody is off key. So just make your consciousness and aspiration infinitely higher and deeper. Then you will not suffer from others' incapacity or incompetence. That is the secret and sacred way to rise above the poor capacities of the other deplorable singers.

Question: Some of your songs are quite long. Is there a trick to learning them?

Sri Chinmoy: There are many ways to learn a long song — not just one way. Take, for example, my longest song, Dyulok chariye. One way is not to do it page by page, not to attempt to learn each verse or stanza in order. Instead you can break the mind by learning one page here and another page there. Then it becomes easier. Start, for example, by learning the first two pages and then learn the last two pages. In this way you can make your mind feel that you have started the journey and also that you have completed the journey. Another thing you can do is to first learn the lines or verses that you feel are easiest or the ones that you feel are most melodious. If the words or music are appealing to you, they are easier to learn. Then, for each verse, write down the first two words and the last two words and learn only these. Like this, you can do jugglery with your mind.

There is another thing you can do. Over the years you have learned many, many of my writings by heart. If one line or one particular poem from some book of mine gives you immense joy, then repeat it ten or twenty times before you start practising the song. You will get real joy from your own retentive faculty.

When you feel that you have learned one page thoroughly, you can recite it three times instead of singing it. You will get more strength from your own recitation. The mind will say, "Oh, why do I have to recite it three times since I have learned it by heart?" But you have to break the mind's pride. On the one hand, the mind is unable to memorise it. On the other hand, when the mind feels that it has learned something, it is beneath the mind's dignity to repeat what it has learned again. So you have to break the mind's pride into pieces and then use the heart. At that time, feel that you are learning the song because you like it and not because you have to learn it.

Another thing you can do is pray to the Supreme for a few minutes to give you the capacity to learn the song quicker than otherwise. There is nothing wrong with doing this. When I was a student I had a very powerful, extraordinary memory and many books I used to learn by heart. My teachers could not believe it, but it was all because of my prayer-life. Thousands and thousands of times I used to repeat a mantra to Saraswati, the goddess of learning. In your case, you do not have to learn the Sanskrit verses; just repeat "Supreme, Supreme, Supreme."

Question: Your songs embody consciousness and so do your paintings. Do their souls ever fight?

Sri Chinmoy: Each one has a different soul, but they do not fight. My poetry has a soul; my music has a soul; my art has a soul. Very happily, they are all growing together in the same family.

Question: Do your poetry and music both come from the same world?

Sri Chinmoy: There is no hard and fast rule. To put it simply and in a general way, the source of my poetry is the third eye. The vision-eye supplies the poetry for a seer-poet, but spiritual songs come directly from the heart. All my songs are of the heart, in the heart and for the heart.

Question: What is the difference between your songs and your poetry?

Sri Chinmoy: If somebody is wearing a white cotton sari, people will appreciate its beauty and simplicity. This is like my poetry. Then again, if the same person wears a silk sari, it looks so beautiful. This is like my songs. Natural beauty I want from my songs and also from my poems, but my songs have more luminosity.

Poetry, in my case, is like a spontaneous fountain, whereas my music, you can say, is like a flowing, murmuring river. Only a few hundred of my Bengali songs originated as poems. Most of my 8,000 Bengali songs were songs right from the beginning. But my English songs almost always began as poems.

Question: What is the best way to bring out the soulfulness of your songs while we are singing?

Sri Chinmoy: Try to visualise a beautiful garden inside your heart. If you see a beautiful garden, then soulfulness automatically will come. Or feel that you are seated alone at the foot of a tree, facing a river. That also will help you. But the other way is better; it will bring forward soulfulness very quickly.

Question: Are the souls of your bird drawings created equally, or do the souls of the more elaborately drawn birds have a different quality than the ones that are quickly drawn?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the soul's receptivity. When a disciple has a birthday, for example, I will very often invite him to sit in front of me to meditate. Sometimes I look at the individual for a long time because he is receiving so much. Then I am so happy, but my happiness you will not be able to see on my face. On other occasions I am only exercising my patience with the hope that after five or ten seconds the person will receive an iota of my light. In the end I am smiling, but you will not know if it is because the disciple received or only because I am showing compassion and hiding my sad face.

There is no hard and fast rule about the amount of time it takes me to draw a bird. I may take only four seconds to draw a bird because that bird has tremendous receptivity, and after four seconds it satisfies me immensely. Or I may take many seconds to draw a bird because it is receiving so much light from me. Again, I may take half a minute to draw a bird, but if there is no receptivity, then it is useless. So the souls are not equal. Unfortunately or fortunately, some birds come with more potential. Or you can say they come from a somewhat higher or a somewhat lower world. They are not all coming from the same plane.

For a few days recently I was drawing my birds on white paper, and sometimes it happened that each page had a different receptivity. You will say, "O God, how can a blank page have receptivity? Receptivity is only inside the bird-consciousness." But that is not true; even the paper can have receptivity. Sometimes after drawing only six birds on a page, I see vividly that I do not need to draw any more. I am satisfied because the receptivity of the blank sheet is enough. Again, sometimes I do twenty birds because I see there is more receptivity on the page. Still other times I am not satisfied with the receptivity of the page, so I keep on drawing and drawing. It is not until I draw twenty, thirty or forty birds that I am satisfied with what I wanted to give to that particular page.

Question: When I see a disciple doing something wrong, I don't want to be a policeman. But sometimes I feel I have to say something. At what point should I speak up?

Sri Chinmoy: At the very beginning, before it becomes a serious case! If you know that somebody is doing something wrong, immediately you should warn that person or tell him very compassionately to stop. Always you have to act when it is a small thing — before it becomes a most serious disease. Do not wait one month or two months to see whether the individual is going to change his mind and adopt the right course. If someone is going away from the light, it will be difficult not only for him but also for you to come back to the light. So if you have real concern for that person, then right at the very beginning you have to beg him or beg her not to take the wrong step.

Question: You have asked us to fold our hands when we sing The Invocation. But sometimes while walking down the street I start singing The Invocation, and I wonder what to do with my hands.

Sri Chinmoy: If you are driving the car, then I do not want you to take your hands off the wheel. You have to think of traffic and all kinds of things. And if you fold your hands while walking down the street, people will take you to the mental asylum. If you try to fold your hands while you are combing your hair, your hair will look peculiar! So, at these times, why do you have to sing out loud? You can sing in silence or you can chant "Supreme". But when you are in a proper place — at home in front of your shrine or in the meditation hall — then definitely you should fold your hands while singing The Invocation. You have to use your practical wisdom.

Question: Guru, why are you always making sure that we are comfortable and are eating enough, rather than teaching us austerity?

Sri Chinmoy: When the Buddha did not eat, at that time did he realise God? It was only after he started following the middle path that he got enlightenment. We also are not going to the extreme. Because of my Indian background, my compassion, affection and kindness come to the fore. So I ask you, "Have you eaten?" I am not telling you to eat like ten pigs! Only I want you to eat as much as your body needs.

Knowing perfectly well that her child has eaten, the Bengali mother will tell him, "I will give you a coin for each sweet that you eat." Then she will give him rasgulla. I had that kind of mother; she always wanted to feed me. That is called either affection or stupidity. Even after the child has eaten, she will put something else in his mouth and get such joy when he eats it. But the next day she will be the sufferer when the child has stomach problems.

Question: My mother is always asking me "Have you eaten today? Have you eaten healthy food?"

Sri Chinmoy: "Have you eaten?" is the right question! The right question is not, "Have you eaten healthy food?" To the end of my life, I will speak ill of so-called healthy food that has no sugar, no salt, no oil and no taste. Too much sugar is not good, I agree. But food also has to give the mind joy.

The mind plays an important role in our physical well-being. People today are turning towards a vegetarian diet because animals eat so much rubbish. But when we eat vegetables, the mind has to feel that we are eating something very solid and nourishing. The mind has to feel that the vegetables have some strength in them. As soon as we think of cauliflower or potato, for example, the mind gets a sense of something solid. But if we think of a leafy vegetable like spinach or cabbage, at that time the mind does not get a feeling of strength. When we think of the leaf-consciousness, all our strength goes away.

The term 'salad', for example, will never give us the feeling of strength, but today everybody is eating salad. The fat man eats salad to lose weight and the thin man eats salad in order not to get fat. Unfortunately, the fat man is still gaining weight! If we want to get the utmost nourishment from salad, immediately from the word itself the idea has to enter into our mind that it is all-nourishing, that it is like a medicine that will cure all diseases.

Even the term 'bread' has real strength in it because down through the centuries bread has represented something very solid to the mind. The same is true of rice. If we say the word 'rice', immediately our whole being is satisfied. When we say 'bread' or 'rice', from head to foot we get some satisfaction. From the soles of our feet to the crown of our head, like an electric current there is the feeling that we are really eating something good. When we say 'bread and butter', the word 'butter' is not adding anything; it adds only fatness! But as soon as we say 'bread', our whole being is immediately nurtured.

Question: Because you were born on the 27th, any time I hear the number 27 I get tremendous joy. Is there any significance to your birth date?

Sri Chinmoy: In itself, the 27th has no special significance. Millions of cats and dogs were also born on that day. But if you identify yourself with me and my birthday, then the 27th will give you a kind of inner joy and your love, devotion and surrender to the Supreme in me may increase. Your own birth date also should make you feel happy. God wanted you to take birth on a particular date, so that particular date should make you happy.

Question: Your family calls you Madal, your disciples call you Guru and the world calls you Sri Chinmoy. Do you have any other names?

Sri Chinmoy: I had so many names in the ashram. My dearest friend, who saw something in me long before anybody else, used to call me Chinny. Someone else used to call me Chinnymoyda. 'Chinny' means sugar and 'moyda' means flour. When I was very young, some people used to call me a name that meant 'Japanese doll' because they felt I was cute. Then some people, especially girls, gave me a name meaning 'fire' because my eyes were always red, wide open and very fiery; they felt there was no compassion in my eyes. Others called me Jogisamrat, Jogibar or Jogiraj. Everybody can give names. When my disciples are pleased with me, they give me one name; when they are displeased with me, another name they give me. Every day they may give me a different name, and I am ready to accept all of these names.

So these are the names that I had. I also have many, many inner names, but those are not for the disciples to know. Some special souls have given me names and also some of my disciples have given me names, but that information is restricted.

Question: Is there anything that your disciples can do in this life so that in our future lives we can remember that we were with you and what we did?

Sri Chinmoy: If a disciple can please the Master wholeheartedly while he and the Master are on earth, then in the disciple's next incarnation he will have inner experiences or spiritual dreams right from childhood. Those who establish a very, very soulful connection with me in this lifetime will feel me inside their heart right from childhood in their next incarnation. Also, they will come into a family that will have a picture of me in the house. Millions of families keep pictures of Krishna or some other spiritual figure. In some cases, as soon as the children see a picture of that spiritual figure, they get such powerful inner feelings. Similarly, those who establish the closest connection with me while I am on earth will get joy even when they hear my name in future lifetimes. And if they see my picture, no matter which picture it is, they will get tremendous joy. Everything depends on the soul's connection established while the Master is alive. If there is no inner hunger, an individual will get almost nothing from a Master — no matter how great the Master is. Many people knew who Buddha and Krishna were when they lived on earth, but most of these people rejected their light. The Buddha had infinite Compassion, but people felt, "I don't need it. Who cares if he is inwardly the richest man? I am happy to remain a beggar in the street."

Question: Why is it that you are always hoping for new disciples, whereas some Masters were satisfied with only a few disciples?

Sri Chinmoy: Each Master has his own way. After getting a certain number of disciples, some Masters stop. In my case, I try to be of service to everyone who wants light. You can say I am greedy. No matter how many disciples I get, I say, "I am still hungry, I am still hungry." Some Masters like a small garden with just a few flowers. I like a big garden where many flowers can grow, with the hope that among them there will be a few flowers that will be most beautiful and most fragrant! That will give me so much joy!

Question: Will some of your disciples become real elder brothers and sisters to humanity?

Sri Chinmoy: In the evening of his life, my father taught everything to my brother Chitta. Then, during the last ten or twelve years of his life, if there was any problem involving the family, my father would say, "Go to Chitta. He knows better than I do." My father had such confidence in Chitta! When you see that somebody else in your family can do your job well, it is such a relief. You get tremendous joy because you are the one who taught him.

I also am hoping to have disciples like that. I am not just talking about individuals who are good at manifestation. No, no! I am talking about some disciples who will have such love, devotion and unconditional surrender that they will become supremely chosen instruments of our Lord Beloved Supreme. If some disciples of mine can become really good, really perfect, you have no idea how much joy it will give me. Then, from their example others can learn; you can call it inner or outer teaching. It is not that I will be like my father and delegate my responsibilities to them. No, only I will be so happy to find disciples who will please me by serving God unconditionally in God's own Way.

Part II

SCA 324-328. Questions and answers drawn from remarks Sri Chinmoy made in the spring of 1996 to his disciples who work at the United Nations.

Question: With all the unwise things being done at the United Nations, do you still feel that it can be an instrument for world peace?

Sri Chinmoy: In matters of world peace, for me the United Nations is still by far the best divine instrument — no matter how many unaspiring workers are there and no matter how many unwise things are being done every day by those who are in the United Nations, with the United Nations and for the United Nations — right from the highest to the lowest. If the United Nations fails completely, then I do not think any world organisation or institution will ever succeed. The dream of the United Nations, the vision of the United Nations, the reality of the United Nations came from the Highest, the Absolute Highest. For the establishment of world peace, UN the temple, UN the shrine, UN the heart and UN the soul are unparalleled. The United Nations is not a mere building; the United Nations is a reservoir of divine Light for the manifestation of world peace. Then again, it can be something else altogether if the instruments do not do the right thing and do not want to become the right persons. If the instruments are unwilling, then what can the poor Inner Pilot of the United Nations do?

Question: What do you expect from your disciples who are working at the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: Both the soul of the United Nations and I expect something special from my disciples who are working at the United Nations. I do not want you people to behave like ordinary workers in a factory or bank or restaurant. I do not want you to work mechanically — like a computer, in which everything is fixed, mechanical, mathematical. No, I want you people to bring to the fore your divine qualities to please the illumining soul and the aspiring heart of the United Nations.

I want my disciple UN workers to offer the spontaneous beauty of a flower that is blossoming and giving fragrance daily. Every morning when you arrive at your office, you should place your own heart-flower on the altar of the United Nations. How? For two minutes or even two seconds you can simply say, "O United Nations, you have the highest goal. I want to become part and parcel of this loftiest goal."

Each day I expect you people to identify with the loftiest vision of the United Nations — the vision which is not from the Secretaries-General or from any other high-ranking UN officials but which came into being in 1945. Working at the United Nations is like being affiliated with a great university. There are many, many universities; but if you can become a student at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cambridge or Oxford, it is a special privilege. The ideals and the vision that these special universities embody, other universities unfortunately have not embodied. We cannot say that the others are not also universities. But the height that these special universities have reached, the others have not reached. Some may say that these prestigious universities have not maintained their height, but nevertheless the world recognises these universities as top-ranking.

Similarly, some spiritual Masters are highly respected. In the spiritual life, there is great joy in identifying oneself with a genuine Master of the highest order. If you think of Lord Krishna, Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ or another of the world's greatest spiritual figures, you get tremendous joy. Among the living spiritual Masters, if you can identify yourselves with those who have achieved the highest height, you get tremendous satisfaction. In the same way, I am asking my disciples who work at the United Nations to identify themselves with the loftiest ideals of the United Nations and serve the United Nations as real divine instruments.

Question: Sometimes when I am working, I get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of what my boss wants of me that I forget about my spiritual life.

Sri Chinmoy: You have been cultivating your own divinity for five or ten or twenty years, but now you are compromising it just to please your boss. I always say that the spiritual life is not a life of compromise. Either you accept God on His own terms or you accept the outer life on its terms; there is no in-between. You cannot be fifty per cent for God and fifty per cent for the ordinary, unaspiring world. If you try to compromise in that way, you are neither here nor there; you are finished.

The things that you should take pride in are the very things that you are discarding because one of your co-workers may ridicule you or your boss may not promote you. If you do not value your own spirituality, your own divinity, then there will be nobody on earth to value it. Because you are afraid of losing your outer wealth, which is not going to happen, you are not valuing your inner wealth. Your inner wealth is your real treasure, but you take it as only a grain of sand.

Your inner treasure you have to cherish at every moment. At every moment you have to become your heart's aspiring cry and your soul's illumining smile. At every second you have to allow your inner cry to lead you, guide you, shape you and mould you. Your heart's mounting inner cry wants to climb up to the highest height, but for the sake of outer success and outer comfort, you are destroying its upward flight. You are sacrificing and silencing your inner cry or throwing cold water on it. Your inner cry is like a ladder that will take you up, up, up; but you are not using the ladder. This is a most deplorable mistake that you will regret to the end of your life!

Question: Some disciples seem to be afraid that their bosses and colleagues will hold it against them for following the spiritual life, and they will never get a promotion.

Sri Chinmoy: They will not hold it against you. On the contrary, if you are very strict with your own life, others will respect you for abiding by the truth that you have seen and felt. If you have the conviction that what you are doing, what you are saying and what you are becoming is right, then there shall come a time when others also will value you because you are doing the right thing. In fact, people who ridicule you or consider you useless eventually may see more true divinity inside you than you see inside yourself. I have seen this happen many times. If someone remains faithful to his own convictions, people who once ridiculed him develop faith in him — even more faith than he has in himself.

I am not telling you not to get a promotion. I am saying, do get a promotion — by working hard. Definitely you should please your boss, but only in the way that you are expected to please him. If you are supposed to be punctual, be punctual. If you are supposed to be attentive, be attentive. If you are supposed to concentrate on something to meet a deadline, then do it. There are so many essential things that you must do. But you must not discard your inner life to fulfil your outer life.

In fact, you could be infinitely more helpful to your bosses if you manifested your own divinity. Each of my disciples possesses and embodies many divine qualities that come from the Supreme. With these qualities He is hoping to manifest Himself in and through you. You have to be extremely, extremely grateful to Him for these qualities and use them in a divine way. If you can bring these qualities into your work, if you can offer your divinity through your work, then you will be able to help and please your colleagues and bosses infinitely more than you are helping and pleasing them now. Then, instead of being a good worker in their eyes, you will be a super-super-excellent worker.

Right now you are only giving them your cleverness, but your divine qualities you are not giving because you feel that you will be misunderstood. You feel others will regard your divine qualities as craziness or stupidity and take them as a joke. But if you let your colleagues and bosses see your divinity, it will immediately penetrate their hearts. If they see light in you while you are touching a piece of paper or talking to them, if they see a beautiful flower on your face and beautiful luminosity in your eyes and movements, these qualities will enter into their hearts.

Question: How can we spread your light among our colleagues at the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: If you cannot remain in my divine consciousness or even think of me, how are you going to offer my light to others? If you remain in my consciousness and receive the inner food that your soul is eagerly trying to give you, then you will be in a position to share it. But if you are not receiving my light at all, if you are not even hungry for light, then how are you going to distribute it? Some people who say they want to give light are themselves not thirsty for light. It is only when you become a dynamo of my light that you can hope to offer my light to others.

If you make real progress in your spiritual life, then the light and the other divine qualities that you are getting from your inner life you will give to your colleagues and bosses spontaneously. Naturally you will manifest your own height — not showing off, but just spontaneously expressing it. If you remain in a garden or a flower shop for a few hours, the beauty and fragrance of the flowers will enter into your consciousness and remain inside you. Then, when you go out, the people you encounter will see you as a most beautiful flower. At that time they will see such inner fragrance in your eyes, in your face, in your smile!

Part III

SCA 329-332. Four questions asked at Aspiration Ground by some of Sri Chinmoy's younger disciples who were visiting New York from abroad in early September 1994.

Question: When I am in New York and near you physically, I feel that your grace and protection is stronger than when I am home in England. Is this just my imagination, or is it really true?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on your love and oneness with me. The Supreme's Protection inside me is omnipresent. But when you are here and you can see me with your physical eyes, you feel it more; that is the advantage of being in my physical proximity. Actually, this Protection is everywhere. So if you see me as a God-realised person, then you will feel that no matter which part of the world you are in, the Supreme in me will protect you with utmost compassion and affection because of your prayerful, soulful life.

If you have the right attitude towards your Master's physical presence, then you can get the utmost benefit. Otherwise, the mind can be tricky. You will see me limping and immediately your doubting mind will say, "Oh, he cannot even walk, so how is he going to protect me!" But if your aspiring heart comes forward, it will say, "Even if my Guru cannot walk for some inner or outer reason, I know that he is one with the Supreme and I have utmost faith in him."

The advantage of coming to see me in New York is that it helps you to renew your inspiration and aspiration. Undoubtedly, the two weeks that you come here for our April and August celebrations are like a refueling. Many people come with practically no inspiration, but they go back with new inspiration and new aspiration.

Question: A week before I come to New York I feel that my consciousness always falls.

Sri Chinmoy: That is your way of thinking. I am not flattering you, but when you come here, I see that your aspiration is quite high — right from the very first day. I do not want others to be jealous of you, but when I see you in New York I am very pleased, very pleased!

Before you come to New York, if you have problems with your consciousness, just try to imagine as often as possible, during the day and at night, that you actually are here with us in New York. Only think of Aspiration-Ground and of your Guru; dream of everything in New York that inspires you. Physically you are still in your country, but inwardly and spiritually you will already be in New York. If you do this, it will solve your problem.

Question: How can I overcome my impurity?

Sri Chinmoy: Purity is already inside your heart — inside everybody's heart. The mind is the thing that lacks purity. So you have to exercise your imagination. Imagination has a reality of its own. Imagine that your mind is a most beautiful flower. All right, you may not know what the mind is. But you know your head; it is a solid object. So imagine that your head is a most beautiful flower — whatever flower you like most, which gives you utmost joy. Imagine that you do not have a nose, or ears, or eyes; only feel that your entire head is a most beautiful flower that is full of fragrance.

Then look at your flower-face in the mirror. While looking lovingly at the flower for a few seconds, you cannot have undivine thoughts. When the beauty and fragrance of the flower are entering into your mind, you cannot think of undivine things. So always think of a flower. There are other ways also to get purity, but this is the easiest way.

Impurity does not originate inside you; it is coming from outside — from the undivine consciousness of the outer world. It starts with the breath, when you inhale. Our impurity does not start below the navel; it starts in the nose, when we breathe in, and then it goes downward. So when you breathe in, you have to feel that it is the flower that is breathing in; you have to feel that the beauty and fragrance of the flower are receiving everything that is coming inside you.

Question: Sometimes I am afraid of meditation. Why is this?

Sri Chinmoy: Fear comes from a sense of separativity; you are afraid of someone or something only because you have not established your oneness. To the little child, his father is a giant; but he is not afraid because he is all love and all affection for his father. He is not afraid to grab his father, for he knows that his father is not going to slap him.

You have to take meditation as your dearest friend, who is taking you to God. Prayer is your friend and meditation is your friend. These friends will do only the right thing for you. They will take you to your Highest. Meditation is not something to be afraid of; it is something to love, cherish and treasure. So if you think about meditation in a positive way, if you take it as somebody who is full of affection, love and concern for you, then you cannot be afraid of it.

Part IV

SCA 333-339. General questions.

Question: Is it all right for disciples to write soulful songs, or are your songs all we need?

Sri Chinmoy: You do not have to worry about writing devotional songs or poems to express your feelings or to increase your devotion; I have written more than enough on your behalf. So many times in my songs and poems I have identified with the disciples — with your thoughts and feelings. In a particular poem when I am saying how helpless and useless I am, at that time I am not in a low consciousness. No, no, no! Then again, when I am imploring God for forgiveness, I am being absolutely sincere because at that time I have identified myself completely with this person or that person.

Over the years I have written so many poems and songs about the heart's love, devotion and surrender, about forgiveness and gratitude, in order to offer the world inspiration and aspiration. If you can identify yourself with my songs, my writings, my aspiration and my realisation, then they will all become yours. Again, if you want to write songs, it is fine with me. If you feel it will increase your aspiration, then definitely do it. But if you do not have the capacity to compose, do not feel miserable. It is not at all necessary for your spiritual progress, since you can get the same inspiration and aspiration by identifying yourself with the writer and composer in me.

Although God is infinite, immortal and eternal, because of my love for Him I can claim Him as my own, very own. Similarly, when you sing one of my songs most soulfully, if you can feel that this particular song has become part and parcel of your life, if you can feel that each breath of yours is inside that song, then how can you not claim that song as your own? I will never say, "You are stealing the life-breath from my song." On the contrary, I will be so happy if you can claim my songs as your own.

During yesterday's Peace Concert, I brought down solid light, solid peace, solid bliss. While I was meditating, I was absolutely trembling with these divine realities. If somebody receives an iota of this wealth, then I am the happiest person. The Creator is not Sri Chinmoy but the Supreme in me. So if He shares His inspiration, aspiration and realisation with me, then why should I not share these with you? It is like sharing a mango. If I can share my mango with you, then I get added joy. The Supreme gave me some most delicious mangoes and asked me to share them with the rest of the world. Again, although it was the Supreme who gave me these things, I claim them as my own. Because of my feeling of oneness with Him, I do not feel that I got these divine realities from a third person.

Some spiritual Masters advise their students to express their creativity. They say, "If you create something, then you will learn something about the creative process and be more satisfied." The theory is that if you achieve something through the sweat of your brow, then you will appreciate it more. If you have to earn your own money, you will realise how difficult it is and you will be wiser in the way you spend it. But there is also another theory: if your father gives you inner wealth, then from your spiritual life — from your meditation and aspiration — you can also get the wisdom to use it properly.

Question: Since so many people are crying for light, what spiritual qualities do the disciples lack that prevent us from manifesting the Supreme's Light and attracting more people to the spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: It is a question of the readiness and eagerness of the disciples who are working to spread or manifest the Supreme's Light. Some of those who come to work on manifestation are ready and eager. Others are ready but not eager to work, and some are not even inwardly ready. It is like a class. Some students are no good at all; others are very good and a few are super-excellent. Yet they are all studying together in the same class and the teacher is giving them the same lesson. But until all of them become excellent, the teacher cannot be confident that his teaching has been successful.

Some people come just to have fun; they enjoy putting up posters and doing similar kinds of jobs. But when I look at them, I see that from the spiritual point of view they are only wasting their precious time. They are serving the Supreme in their Guru, and for that I am grateful to them. But if I am sincere, I have to say that their consciousness is not being elevated. They are not gaining anything spiritually because they have no intense sincerity and no devotion in their heart. Each time you put up a poster, you have to see twenty or fifty faces there. For each poster you put up, you have to feel that there are fifty hearts crying for light who are going to see this poster. But many of you are just working mechanically. In India, if someone works for four hours he gets a few rupees. In my case, I do not give you people money; I give you my love, my affection, my blessings. But in his heart of hearts, this Indian Master is not pleased with you because you did not have intense sincerity in your heart; you did not work with a pure heart, soulfully, devotedly and lovingly.

There are many other things that I also notice. I see how much purity you are carrying inside your mind, inside your vital and inside your heart. If there is no purity in your mind, for example, if your mind is thinking that someone else has a better job than you or is getting closer to the Master than you, then you are finished! Also, your inspiration has to be more pure. Many times when you are inspired to do something your inspiration is heavy — filled with carelessness, callousness and indifference. At least inspiration is there, but inside inspiration there also has to be one-pointed eagerness. Again, I see how much insecurity you are carrying. While you are working, many of you are thinking, "Perhaps Guru is appreciating so-and-so more than me." So whom do you think you are fooling? You are not fooling me; only you are breaking my heart.

The Message has come from Above that 7,000 or 10,000 or 13,000 souls inwardly are crying for the kind of light that we can offer them at a Peace Concert. God's Hour has struck. But the instruments that I have got are not spiritually or inwardly ready and eager. Unfortunately, I am a beggar, and beggars cannot be choosers. The divine in me is hungry and the divine in you is also hungry. But the divine in both of us is being fed such a small portion that our hunger is not being fulfilled. How long will the world remain in this kind of unaspiring consciousness?

It is like the Indian story about the king who asks his subjects to fill the pond with milk. Each one says, "If I put in water instead of milk, no harm! The others will put in milk and the King will not notice." So in the end no one puts in milk. It is never you, but always somebody else who you feel should do the right thing. But that somebody else does not exist! Each worker is like a petal of a flower. Each petal is responsible only for its own beauty; it is not responsible for all the other petals. But if the flower is to have beauty and fragrance, then all the petals have to be beautiful and fragrant. So if each petal seriously tries to have the necessary purity, beauty and fragrance, then the flower will become perfect.

These things are needed to bring down peace in the way that we want to bring down peace. Others can bring thousands of people in their own way, but it is not for peace. A jazz musician or somebody else can get thousands and thousands of people, but their standard is totally different from ours. They can succeed because they are working on one level of consciousness, whereas we want to establish peace and divinity on another level.

Question: Guru, in the morning prayer that we are supposed to say every day, the second half says, "When I see my Master's God-smiling eyes, my God-realisation-hope blooms..." Because I have no conception of God-realisation, I can't really relate to the second half of that mantra.

Sri Chinmoy: In the spiritual life we do not need to have a conception of things. We have not seen God, but we are taught from the very beginning by our soul and by our parents that God exists. We know that God is all kindness and affection, that God embodies all the divine qualities. God and God-realisation are part and parcel of one another. They are like the flower and its fragrance. If God is the fragrance, then God-realisation is the flower, and vice versa. If you say that you have no idea of God-realisation, then I will say, "You have no idea of God either, so how can you think of God and love God; how can you pray and meditate?" But you can and do love God; you can and do pray and meditate, even though right now God remains for you only a vague idea.

Before we learn a subject, we have no idea what the subject is all about. In fact, that is the reason we study it. In the case of God-realisation, we study the subject through our prayer, meditation and other disciplines. It is the most difficult subject, but whoever is praying and meditating sincerely, or even insincerely, is studying the God-realisation subject. To get the fruits of our outer study, let us say a Master's degree, it takes many years. Step by step we proceed from kindergarten to university. In the spiritual life also, we start with prayer and meditation. Then we dive within and advance to contemplation and, finally, one day we complete our journey. Again, when we complete our inner journey, to our wide surprise we see that we are just at the beginning of a new journey! In the spiritual life, everything is a totally new beginning. It is like discovering a most beautiful garden. We feel that there cannot be any garden more beautiful. But God says, "No, there is a garden infinitely more beautiful."

Before God-realisation, we can have only the vaguest conception of who and what God is. It is only after we become God-realised that God becomes an absolutely living reality for us. At that time, the Universal Consciousness becomes ours; consciously we become part and parcel of it. What is happening anywhere in the universe we can know if we want to. Also, there are thousands of things a God-realised person does every day that an ordinary human being cannot do. Before God-realisation, I used to do perhaps five or six things per day. Now there is not a single day in which I do not do thousands of things in the inner world. It is the same for all the spiritual Masters who have realised God. God-realised Masters can do all these things because they do not use their mind. With our mind we can do only one thing at a time. The mind can work very fast; it can accomplish one, two, three things very quickly. But the mind cannot do two things at the same time, whereas the God-realised soul can do many, many things simultaneously.

God-realisation is oneness with God's Will. Before we enter into the spiritual life, God's Will is not our concern; we are doing whatever we want to do. But once we enter into the spiritual life, at every moment we try to know what God's Will is. When we start practising spirituality, God does not come and stand in front of us and tell us what He wants. But always there is somebody inside us who is telling us the right thing and prompting us to do the right thing, and that is God. During our prayers and meditations, our soul or the Supreme tells us inwardly what should be done. If we do it, then we walk towards light; but if we do not listen, then we walk in darkness.

If the seeker is fortunate, God also sends His representative to tell His Will, and this representative happens to be the spiritual Master. The disciple may say, "If God Himself were standing in front of me, perhaps He would give some other Message." Or the disciple may think, "This Master is not pleasing me; he is not fulfilling my desire. Perhaps God Himself is not hearing my prayer or does not even know what my desire is." In so many ways the disciple can fool himself by separating God from his Master and convincing himself that God is somewhere else. But if the disciple is spiritually mature, he will feel that God and the Master know what his desires are and, if they do not fulfil his desires, it is because God does not want them to be fulfilled.

If the disciple's aspiration descends and inwardly or outwardly he starts doing wrong things, the disciple may think, "Oh, the Master does not know what I am doing." The Master does know; only he does not speak. If the Master sees that the disciple is always doing the wrong thing, that he is always walking in darkness, then eventually he becomes the silent witness; in silence he witnesses everything. It is just like our human parents. Our parents tell us to do the right thing. But when time and again we do not listen to them, finally they keep quiet and just observe.

I shall tell an incident from around 6:40 this morning. Five disciples were angry with me, but I do not want to say who they are. While I was looking in the mirror and shaving, such blows I was getting inside my head — one after another! Luckily, my face was not cut! I opened my third eye to see who was striking me. The culprits may say, "I was sleeping at that time." True, they may have been sleeping, but last night their aggressive or dissatisfied vital was so displeased and angry with me that some wrong forces entered into me from them and I got such blows!

These experiences almost all the spiritual Masters have. Absolutely the way Muhammad Ali gets punched — that kind of beating we get! Sometimes I do not want to know where it is coming from, because if I see that it is my dear ones who are striking me like this, then I will feel more miserable. The best thing is to get your blows, suffer for a few minutes and then, if you have the capacity, throw the experience into the Universal Consciousness. This morning I did not suffer for more than two minutes. I was strong enough to manage it, so I did not have to bother throwing the attack into the Universal Consciousness. Afterwards, I went downstairs and did my exercises.

This is no cock-and-bull story. Believe me! One day you will have the same fate. All of a sudden you will ask yourself why you are getting such blows. What have you done? One does not even have to be a spiritual Master. Sometimes an ordinary individual may stumble for no rhyme or reason. While you are seated, all of a sudden you may get a muscle pull. It is not because something is wrong in your system, but because something has happened in the inner world. Consciously and deliberately someone was aiming such powerful undivine thoughts at you when you were not aware of it. Because your entire being was not energised or dynamic, your body could not resist and you got the attack. Many, many times you suffer from what you think is some physical ailment that all of a sudden appears out of the blue. But it is not a physical ailment; somebody has attacked you! This game goes on and on.

To come back to your question about the Master's God-smiling eyes, I have shown those God-smiling eyes many, many times, and they are not fake. There shall come a time when each and every disciple of mine will see the truth of what I am saying, whether you now take me seriously or not. The higher you go, the clearer it will be who I am, and the more faith, love and devotion you will have. Again, the lower you go, the more confusion you will find. But when your God-realisation day dawns, somebody will come and give that realisation. At that time, you will not see a totally strange face or body; no, this very face and body of mine will come! But this applies only to the close disciples; I cannot do it for all.

Question: When we die, will we see you?

Sri Chinmoy: When my close disciples leave the body, they will be able to see me in this body — with this form, with this face. Or I may send one of my representatives — one of my inner beings who will assume my face, my eyes, everything of mine. At that time you may be uttering the word 'Supreme', but this body, this face, this form will appear before you because the Supreme is sending me. My Highest is the Supreme and your Highest is the Supreme. But at the eleventh hour, if you are sincerely praying to the Supreme either to cure you or to take you back to Him, this face and this body you will see. Whether you see me wearing my track suit, my Indian garments or my shorts, you are bound to see me.

Some of my close disciples already have died. During a dream if they come to you, you can ask them, "Did Guru come? Did Guru come to take you?" I assure you, Guru did come, even if Guru on the physical plane was perhaps playing tennis at that time. I have so many inner beings, and I assure you that one of my beings took my form exactly and carried the person from this world to the other world. Again, I have to say that this experience is not for all, not for all.

But in every case, when somebody dies the Supreme always sends some emissary; you may call it an angel. Sometimes many beings come. Sometimes the being, out of compassion, will take the form of the departing soul's dearest one on earth — whether it was his father, mother, brother, sister, husband or wife. The dearest one may not even be in Heaven; he or she may already have taken a new incarnation in Australia or Africa. But if the departing person is very sincerely crying while going to the other world, and if he is afraid of death, the being whom the Supreme sends can take the exact face and form of his mother or father, or somebody who was very close to him. If the person who is leaving this world sees that his mother has come to take him somewhere, how can he be afraid? He will feel that he is going to a very safe place and he will not be alarmed.

Question: If it is difficult for somebody to strive for the Supreme, for the Highest, is it better to insincerely strive for the Highest or to sincerely strive for an intermediate goal?

Sri Chinmoy: An intermediate goal is for those who have not accepted the spiritual life, for those who are caught by ordinary life. Because they have to think of their children, their husbands and wives, their earthly life, they are already at a lower level. When aspiration is not involved, when someone does not have the inner urge to climb up the mountain, then naturally he will be satisfied to climb up a hill. But once someone begins aspiring and accepts the spiritual life, his goal must be the Highest. There can be no intermediate goal for sincere seekers.

Insincere seekers can have an intermediate goal. But for those who want to be true instruments of God, for those who have the inner courage to dare to say, "I have come into the world to please God in His own Way," there can be no intermediate goal. They have to go to the topmost branch of the aspiration-life-tree. After climbing up a few metres they may slip and fall down; they may fall down again and again. But their goal has to be the Highest.

Once we start compromising with the outer life, our spiritual life is finished. If we think we can be totally involved in the outer life or social life, then we are only fooling ourselves. Before we know it, the outer life will start lording it over us and our inner life will end. As soon as we lose our seriousness in the spiritual life, we are gone. At first we may say to God, "I will please You fifty per cent and You please me fifty per cent." But eventually we will say, "God, You please me ninety per cent because I am so weak." Finally, our message will be: "God, I am so useless! You have to please me ninety-nine percent." Then the game is over. If we can be satisfied with keeping only a one-percent connection with our inner life, with our Source, then our spiritual life is a complete failure.

The day we accepted the spiritual life, we had the hope and eagerness to reach the Highest. Nobody came to our spiritual path with the idea, "If I get a little joy or conquer a little of my jealousy and doubt, that will be enough." No, everyone came with the eagerness, the readiness and the inner urge to become an absolutely divine person. In rare cases, people may have joined the path only to see what it looked like, to see what kind of flowers it had and whether those flowers were really beautiful and fragrant. But in most cases, the disciples joined the path to reach the Highest, which is to please God in God's own Way through love, devotion and surrender. When this is our goal, then inwardly we have to climb up the highest mountain. The problem is that we cleverly and deliberately forget our goal.

True, everybody's height may not be the same, but everybody's willingness can be the same. One disciple may have the capacity to walk with the Master only for one mile, while another has the capacity to run a marathon with the Master. But along with capacity, readiness and eagerness also are of paramount importance. If someone does not have the same capacity as somebody else, that person's willingness God will also take into account. If God sees sincere willingness, immediately He will increase the person's capacity. So many people have run only two miles a day and then completed a marathon. It is all due to their eagerness. Before I completed a marathon, I had covered at most only three or four miles. But my eagerness carried me to my goal.

Question: How can we have more discipline?

Sri Chinmoy: There was a time twenty or twenty-five years ago when, for several months at a stretch, some of my disciples did everything right, everything good, everything positive from morning to evening. Why? Because they were disciplined! They used to get up at six o'clock every morning to pray and meditate and they used to spend their evenings involved in spiritual activities. At that time they cared only for their inner life. They said, "I will not allow myself to mix with undivine people! I will not let myself wallow in the pleasures of ignorance!" Because they led a disciplined life, their love, devotion and surrender to God became most powerful.

But over the years they have become negligent and careless; they have stopped valuing the disciplined life and what it could offer them. As time passed, the outer world has become infinitely more important than their inner life. Gradually their love, devotion and surrender diminished and left them. Now they are convinced that love, devotion and surrender are gone, that they are all in the past. In most cases they have given up; they feel it is not possible to regain these qualities or they feel they are not worth having. Either they say there is nothing in the spiritual life or they say it is too difficult now.

How can you regain your lost inner wealth? By remembering how much joy and satisfaction it gave you! When you led a life of discipline and your love, devotion and surrender were strong, at that time you had infinitely more joy and satisfaction than you have now. At that time, something was roaring within you. You had a childlike feeling. Your whole existence was like a flower. It is not that you were standing in front of a flower, but you yourself had become a most beautiful flower. At every moment you were aiming at something high, higher, highest. Constantly good thoughts were entering into your mind, into your heart, into your life.

If you can once again value most sincerely the joy that you derived from being disciplined, then you will get back that kind of life. If you value the taste of the mango that you ate, then you will do everything to regain that satisfaction. You will go to this shop and that shop enquiring, "Do you have a mango, do you have a mango, do you have a mango?" And if your cry is sincere, God is bound to give you back the thing that you are crying for. When you valued the disciplined life, God gave you the opportunity and the necessity to achieve it. If once more you value it sincerely, then once again God will give you the opportunity to regain your disciplined life, along with the joy, the conviction and the assurance that it offered you.

Question: What is your inner feeling about the city of Philadelphia?

Sri Chinmoy: For me, Philadelphia is the capital of America. From the spiritual point of view, America's capital is not Washington, but Philadelphia. That very name is a ringing bell, which is very, very haunting and, at the same time, illumining and fulfilling. As soon as I hear the word 'Philadelphia', no matter who utters it, I hear a bell ringing — like the Indian heart-temple-gong or the American church bell. Philadelphia, for me, always carries Divinity's Reality.

Part V

SCA 340-345. Sri Chinmoy had this conversation with a disciple at Annam Brahma on 11 May 1996, the day after her birthday.

Please ask me two questions

Sri Chinmoy: Please ask me two questions. The first question I will answer because of all the expressions that you have given me to inspire me in my poetry. Since the beginning of creation, you have given me the most expressions! Nobody can come near you. The other question I will answer because you make most delicious salad. So you get two questions.

Question: If a person has a very strong personality trait, does that have anything to do with the soul? For example, if a person is stubborn or has some unique quality, what relation does this have with the soul?

Sri Chinmoy: Stubbornness comes mostly from the vital. The vital is very stubborn and the mind is rigid. But any good qualities come only from the soul. From the soul they are received by the heart, vital, mind and body. The heart receives much more than the mind. Sometimes the vital also receives more than the mind. The body receives the least amount of light. The body is like an Indian bullock cart. It always wants rest; its dearest friend is lethargy. If the vital becomes dynamic, then it pushes or pulls the body so the body does something. The body becomes divine only when the vital commands it, like a military commander. If the heart becomes strong, then the heart also can inspire the body.

So any divine quality that you are expressing in and through your life is definitely coming from the soul. Sometimes one particular good quality can be expressed on many planes. The good quality can express itself on the psychic plane, the mental plane, the vital plane or the physical plane. Devotion, for example, can be expressed through the heart, the mind, the vital and the body. When a divine quality that is descending from Above or coming from the soul is expressed on all the planes — physical, vital, mental and psychic — then the seeker becomes really excellent.

Bad qualities also exist. But they come from the mind, vital or physical. Impurity, for example, does not come from the soul or even from the heart. But when too much impurity enters into the heart from the vital and the mind, the poor heart also embodies some impurity. Then the soul comes and tries to save the heart because the soul feels that the heart by nature is good. So the soul puts light into the heart and purifies the heart. Because the mind and vital are quite often very bad, the soul gets disappointed or disgusted with them and lets them take their own time. But the soul does not do that with the heart because it has tremendous love, concern and compassion for the heart — more than for the mind, vital and body.

Question: The next question is a curiosity question.

Sri Chinmoy: Remember my story about how curiosity is good! Out of curiosity the thief went to see the princess getting married. Then his curiosity was caught, and he became a saint!

Question: I was reading a book about the Dalai Lama and I was wondering if I had a connection with Tibet.

Sri Chinmoy: Why do you have to know the past? The past is dust. Did you realise God in your previous incarnations? Your goal is God-realisation! If the past did not enable you to realise God, then what good is it? Stupid curiosity is useless. At times we start with curiosity. Then we enter into real spirituality. Then comes one of two things: either frustration, which is destruction; or hope-flowers, which become beautiful, more beautiful, most beautiful. Finally we see the reality, and then we get real satisfaction.

Question: What is my soul asking you?

Sri Chinmoy: Why do you have to think about your soul at this stage of your spiritual development? You have me permanently and eternally, so you do not have to think of your soul. I shall deal with your soul. Just think of the Supreme and pray to the Supreme. Right now you cannot see your soul; God alone knows when you will be able to see your soul. But you can see me. If you believe in me, then I will be able to take you directly to the highest Absolute. If you ever see how your soul meditates on my transcendental photograph, you will say, "Why do we have to do anything as long as we have this picture?" The higher and deeper you go, the more value you will give to my transcendental photograph.

Question: Is there anything we can do to create harmony? You have given us so many answers. Is there another answer you can give?

Sri Chinmoy: Who wants to live in the basement if one can stay on the topmost floor? On the physical plane, a building can have God knows how many floors, but always there is something called the basement. From the spiritual point of view I use the term 'abysmal abyss'. When we do not have harmony, we remain in the abysmal abyss. It is all darkness: screaming, fighting, wrestling, strangling, boxing, kicking!

Lack of harmony comes when I feel that I know how to do something better than you. Lack of harmony is the song and dance of superiority. Because everybody feels superior, disharmony at every moment is entering into our lives. But what is this feeling of superiority if not a feeling of inferiority expressed in a clever way?

It is only because we are so inferior to God that we are constantly finding fault with God. We say, "I know better than God! God does not understand my situation! God does not see when I do good things; He sees only when I do bad things!" Like this we are always criticising God. If one is really superior, it is beneath his dignity to come down and quarrel with others. God is infinitely superior to us, but does He come down and fight with us? No!

When children argue with their mother, the mother acts as if she knows nothing. The child may have gone only to primary school or high school and the mother perhaps has a high degree from the university. But the child thinks he knows much more than the mother and he is telling the mother all kinds of stupid things. Inwardly the mother is crying and praying to God to give the child illumination, but outwardly she is saying, "Oh, you are right; I am so stupid. I am learning from you."

Similarly, even if we know perfectly well that so-and-so is absolutely wrong, we have to be wise and remain silent. Eventually, the other person will see the light. But if we are all the time fighting and quarrelling, we will only destroy our subtle nerves, which are needed to expedite our spiritual journey. So if we use our wisdom, automatically self-effacement comes. Self-effacement is the easiest and the most effective way to establish harmony. One thing we can do is practise japa, repeating, "Self-effacement, self-effacement, self-effacement." If we do this japa, we walk on pavement that is sunlit, and we reach our destination.

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