Sri Chinmoy speaks, part 10
Prayer and meditation1Dear seekers, I wish to give a very short talk on prayer and meditation.
I pray. Why do I pray? I pray because I need God. I meditate. Why do I meditate? I meditate because God needs me.
When I pray, I think that God is high above me, above my head. When I meditate, I feel that God is deep inside me, inside my heart.
There are two types of prayer: right prayer and wrong prayer. Similarly, there are two types of meditation: right meditation and wrong meditation. The right prayer says, “I am helpless, I am innocent, I am weak. I need You, O Lord Supreme, to strengthen me, to purify me, to illumine me, to perfect me, to immortalise me. I need You, O Lord Supreme.”
The wrong prayer says, “Although I need You, O Lord Supreme, I have some strength of my own, I have some capacity of my own. I need You because if I have Your Power and Capacity, then there shall come a time when I shall be able to lord it over the world and dominate the world. The whole world will be at my feet and I shall act according to my sweet will. But for that I need power in boundless measure. I have some power, but I need infinitely more. Therefore I invoke You, O Lord Supreme.” This is wrong prayer. This prayer is for the fulfilment of the vital in us, the vital that wants to dominate the entire world.
The right meditation says, “Lord Supreme, out of Your infinite Bounty You have chosen me to be Your instrument. You could have chosen somebody else to play the role, but You have granted me the golden opportunity. To You I offer my constant gratitude, my gratitude-heart, for You have chosen me to become Your instrument to manifest You here on earth in Your own Way.”
The wrong meditation says, “Lord Supreme, this world of ours is full of ignorance. We all are swimming in the sea of ignorance, wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance. You need me because in this world of ours, God-manifestation is extremely difficult. Your manifestation, Your full manifestation, is a far cry. Therefore You need considerable assistance from me here on earth. You need an ignorant human being like me to fight against ignorance in this strange world that You have entered into. You need my help for Your own manifestation; so I will be Your instrument.”
Prayer is a flower. When we see the flower, we are inspired. Inspiration compels us to run the farthest, to climb the highest, to dive into the deepest depth. Meditation is a tree. The tree aspires. It aspires to reach the highest height, the highest plane of consciousness. When we see the flower, inspiration dawns in us. When we sit at the foot of the tree, our aspiration to reach the Highest, the absolute transcendental Consciousness, comes to the fore.
Prayer is purity. It purifies our mind. The mind is always subject to doubt, fear, worry and anxiety. It is always assailed by wrong thoughts, wrong movements. When we pray, purification takes place in our mind. Purity increases our God-receptivity. In fact, purity is nothing short of God-receptivity. Each time we pray, our inner receptacle becomes large, larger, largest. At that time, purity, beauty, light and delight can enter into our receptacle and they can sport together in the inmost recesses of our heart.
Meditation is luminosity. It illumines our heart. When illumination takes place in our heart, insecurity disappears, the sense of want disappears. At that time, we sing the song of inseparable oneness, our inseparable oneness with the universal Consciousness, the transcendental Consciousness. When our heart is illumined, the finite in us enters into the Infinite and becomes the Infinite itself. The bondage of millenia leaves us and the freedom of infinite Truth and Light welcomes us.
Prayer is followed by meditation; not the other way around. First we must pray, then we meditate.
Asato ma sad gamaya
tamaso ma jyotir gamaya
mrityor ma amritam gamaya.
Lead me from the unreal to the Real.
Lead me from darkness to Light.
Lead me from death to Immortality.
This is the prayer that we have learned from the Vedic seers of the hoary past. This immortal prayer in the firmament of India knows no parallel.
Here in the West, the Saviour has taught us the supreme prayer: “Let Thy Will be done.” Again, the same Saviour has taught us the supreme meditation: “I and my Father are one.”
Tat twam asi: “That Thou art.” You are That, the ever-transcending Beyond, the Lord Supreme. This is the highest height of prayer. Brahmasmi: “I am the Brahman, I am the all-pervading Brahman, the Absolute Supreme.” This is the supreme height and depth of meditation.
Prayer tells me, “O seeker, claim the Supreme Beloved as your own and say, ‘O Beloved Supreme, You are mine. I claim You as my own, very own. Do grant me Your divine qualities in boundless measure so that I can be Your perfect instrument here on earth. You have infinite Peace, Light and Bliss. Do grant me infinite Peace, Light and Bliss so that I can be a most perfect instrument of Yours.’”
Meditation tells me, “O seeker, tell God, ‘I am Yours.’ Tell the Absolute Supreme, ‘I am at Your command. Use me in Your own Way. At every moment You can manifest Yourself in and through me. You can utilise me at Your sweet Will at every moment, throughout Eternity. To fulfil You in Your own Way is to achieve immortal life. Through me fulfil Yourself here on earth, there in Heaven.’”
With a soulful prayer each seeker begins his day’s journey; and with a soulful meditation the seeker ends his day’s journey.
SCS 265. University of Massachusetts, 29 September 1975.↩
Part IISCS 266-270 Questions and answers following the lecture Prayer and meditation.
Question: What is the most important thing in the spiritual life?Sri Chinmoy: There is one most important thing in the spiritual life, and that most important thing is: God first and God last. God should come first in my life and God should come last in my life. I will start my journey with God, I will end my journey with God and, in between, God will be there, too. I don’t need anybody save and except God. Whoever claims God as his own, I claim that person as my own. He who does not dare to claim God as his own is claiming ignorance as his own. I can’t claim ignorance as my own. So whoever is in God, with God and for God is mine.
In the spiritual life there is no such thing as neutrality. In the ordinary life we say, “I don’t want to be involved.” But in the spiritual life that is impossible. Either you take God’s side or the hostile forces will pull you, and you will be compelled to accept, consciously or unconsciously, world ignorance as your own. It will grab you and devour you. So please feel that those who are not aspiring have already taken the side of ignorance. And what is ignorance? Something that deliberately takes us away from the Real in us. Some people say that they are not practising spirituality, but they also say that they are not inside the prison of ignorance. But I will say, “You are already there, but you don’t know it.”
There are two magnets. If you allow the spiritual magnet to pull you, it will definitely pull you towards realisation. But if you don’t allow it, then ignorance will pull you to itself. You can’t stand in between; you can’t remain neutral. You have to take one side.
Question: How do we know that we are nearing our goal of liberation?Sri Chinmoy: When one is a student, one studies at the elementary school, high school, college and university. When one enters the university, one knows that he will soon be completing his course. In the spiritual life also, it is the same. When one starts the spiritual life, one knows how much peace he has. He grows into more peace, abundant peace, infinite peace. When one is a beginner in the spiritual life, one knows how much suffering he has, how difficult it is for him to meditate even for five minutes. Then gradually he gets the capacity to meditate for hours at a time. It happens in the same way that a student goes from first grade to a higher class and to the highest class. He knows when he goes to the highest class that his course is complete.
Question: When people are gossiping about a negative quality in another person, can this gossip increase the strength of that quality?Sri Chinmoy: Certainly it does. Each time we open our mouth, we are bringing to the fore or we are using a power. It can be a good power or it can be a bad power. Even if we do not speak anything aloud, if we cherish an undivine thought about somebody else, then this undivine thought will enter into that person like an arrow. He will not be able to know who is the culprit, but the arrow will definitely enter into the person.
Gossip is very bad. It does not help anyone. Here we are all trying to be wise people. Anything that does not help us, we try to reject from our nature. We are all seekers. By becoming gossip-mongers, we will not be able to go to God. We need Peace, Light, Bliss and divine Love. If we care for these qualities, then we shall not speak ill of others. We are trying to love God. If we love God, then how can we hate God’s children? To speak ill of someone is indirectly to hate him. If we really love the root, which is God, then we cannot speak ill of the branch or the leaf. If we really love the root, then the leaves, fruits and branches we also have to love.
Question: What can we do about pride?Sri Chinmoy: Suppose I think that I am a good singer. Pride has entered into me. Then immediately I will compare myself with some great, well-known singers and my pride will be smashed. Or suppose I think that I am a good lecturer. Then immediately I will try to compare myself with some great orator. Then my pride will pale into insignificance. Each time pride enters, this is what we can do. This is the human way of dealing with pride. But the difficulty with this way is that it helps us conquer our pride only for the time being. Today pride has entered into me because I feel that I am a great singer. The moment I think of a really great singer, my pride goes away. But tomorrow it may come again. Tomorrow I will be proud of something else. But if I can bring down Peace and Light into my system, then what happens? I don’t have the occasion to be proud of anything because I feel that every person who has really achieved something or accomplished something is my brother or sister. The right hand does not become jealous of the left hand. Both belong to the same body. So when there is oneness, pride goes away.
Question: How can I fight comfort in the lower consciousness?Sri Chinmoy: What you call comfort, I wish to call pleasure. Comfort and pleasure go together. Pleasure is a form of passion, a form of destruction. Until the vital is completely purified, the human consciousness feels that pleasure is something very sweet.
Unconsciously a child takes poison. Just because unconsciously he is drinking poison, do you think that he will not be killed? Unconsciously a child places his finger in fire and he is burned. Just because he is not conscious of doing something, does it mean that he will not suffer the consequences? Since you have accepted the spiritual life, you do not consciously enter into the lower vital world. But unconsciously, in your mind, you do enter. On the physical plane you can remain thousands of miles away from the vital world. But mentally, if you cherish lower vital, emotional thoughts, destructive thoughts, naturally the mind will be destroyed.
If your aspiration is constant, then the burning flame inside you is climbing up, up, up. But if the flame is not burning, the pull of the vital becomes very strong, very strong. Again, if the flame is burning upward all the time, how can it go downward? When the flame is burning very brightly, the vital feels, “I have no place here.” The lower vital has no chance to remain in that particular person. Then the lower vital gives the death blow, a most fatal blow. At that time the aspirant has to be very careful; he has to brave that blow. If he does brave that blow, then the lower vital feels, “Oh, he does not need me.”
You want to have perfection in your nature and you want to have illumination. If you constantly feel that you want to become perfection and nothing else, then you are bound to remain at your own height. Gradually, from this height you will climb up to the highest height, which is your goal. Your own height right now is your upward aspiration and nothing else. Your ultimate goal is bound to come if you constantly strive to stay where you are right now, in your climbing aspiration.
Whoever wants to give up the spiritual life just because he is not making considerable progress or because he is falling down from time to time, is making a terrible mistake. And then something more I wish to say. After accepting the spiritual life, if you consciously leave it, then hostile forces torture you most ruthlessly and the divine forces show considerable indifference. If you don’t accept the spiritual life, wonderful. Sleep, sleep; the time has not yet come for you to wake up. But if you already have started to run, and then you go again to sleep, at that time ignorance comes and covers you totally.
So, please run towards the sun. Then darkness has to leave you. Do not be afraid of your faults. Only be conscious of your height, conscious of your goal. If you are conscious of your height and you are conscious of your goal, then there can be no fall. But if there is no conscious awareness, then every moment is dismal darkness.
PurityIf I have to say what is most important in the spiritual life next to God-realisation, then immediately I will say “purity”. Purity and God-realisation cannot be separated. Purity has to be in the physical, the vital, the mental and the psychic. In the ordinary life we use the term “cleanliness”: he is clean, he is dirty. But purity is something which is infinitely higher and more fulfilling than mere outer cleanliness. A man may take a shower, and right after taking the shower he may cherish undivine thoughts and ugly evil forces. Now, what kind of purity has he got? He has cleansed his body, but his vital, his mind, his inner existence is all impurity. So outer cleanliness has very little to do with the heart’s inner purity, the heart’s reality. But again, outer cleanliness can be of great help and assistance to inner purity. If we take a shower and put on clean, fresh clothes, the things we are allowing to surround us are already pure and divine. Then it will be easier for us to prevent the undivine, hostile, lower vital forces from entering into us and keep our mind and vital pure and divine.
In the spiritual world, purity is the breath of our real inner existence. If we don’t have purity, we can achieve only a little bit of reality by hook or by crook, by pulling and pushing. But that reality is very limited, and even that very limited achievement quickly goes away. Without purity we won’t be able to achieve anything substantial in the spiritual life, and we won’t be able to maintain the little that we do achieve. But if we have purity, then we can have all the divine qualities in boundless measure. If we have boundless purity, then our inner achievements can last forever. But unless and until we have established solid purity in boundless measure, God-realisation will remain a far cry.
How do we become pure? One way we acquire purity is by mixing with spiritual people, with pure people. From them we will get inspiration and guidance. The other way is to consciously think of ourselves as children, divine children. If we feel that we are divine children, we know that there is Somebody to take care of us. And who is that? It is our divine Parent. A child has no sense of impurity. He is always pure. Our outer mind may say that the child is very dirty, but that is only the physical. Inwardly, he is pure. If he has been playing outside, his body may be covered with dirt, mud, everything. An adult will say, “Look, he is so dirty!” But the child has no sense of guilt or wrongdoing. He just runs to his mother to be cleaned again. If we can always feel that we are divine children, then our sense of impurity will go away and our soul will spontaneously tell us what is the best thing for us. And inside that message purity will loom large.
In the spiritual life, each seeker must feel that he is a child. If we can feel that we are only four years old, we will be able to live in the heart. A child lives in the heart. When he is thirteen or fourteen his mind starts functioning. When the mind starts functioning, the heart is veiled; and when the heart is veiled, everything goes wrong and purity is nowhere to be found.
TemptationThere are various kinds of temptation. One kind of temptation everybody knows, and that is physical temptation, the temptation to lead an ordinary life, a lower life. This temptation tempts us to enter into the pleasure world, the vital world, sex life and all kinds of undivine activities. If we listen to this temptation, it is the death of our spiritual life. If we give in to this temptation, it takes years and years and years to come out of this life.
Another temptation is aggressive vital temptation. This comes in the form of ego. Like Julius Caesar we want to say, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” We are tempted to have everybody come and touch our feet. We want to be powerful and strong so that we can lord it over others. We feel that will give us real satisfaction. When ego comes forward and tempts us, we feel that we are the supreme lord and everybody else is useless.
In the mental world there is still another kind of temptation. We feel that we know everything, whereas the rest of the world is composed of fools. Everybody, everybody else, is an ignorant fool, and we are the only ones who know everything. In the mental world we are tempted to believe that we possess the sea of wisdom and everybody else possesses the sea of ignorance. We are tempted to believe that we are the only knowers, whereas the rest of the world is a mass of ignorance.
There is one other form of temptation. This is the temptation to feel that we alone are purity’s flood, and that the rest of the world is all impurity. We are the only pure and divine persons around. This is a form of ego, but it is different from normal ego. It is very subtle and, at the same time, very damaging,
Now, how can we conquer these forms of temptation? We can conquer them only by surrendering — not to them, but to the divine Light, to the divine Will. How can we do this? We can do it by consciously trying during our meditation to feel that we are the instrument and somebody else is the player. And who is that somebody? It is the Inner Pilot. If we feel that we are the doer, the undivine forces will mock us. They will come and make us proud, haughty, undivine, impure and insecure. So we have to pray to the Supreme during our meditation: “O Lord, I am Your instrument. I am so grateful that You have accepted me as Your instrument, and I am so grateful that You have made me a conscious instrument. Please use me in Your own Way.”
There are millions and millions of people on earth who are not conscious of the fact that they are the instruments of God. Just because we have accepted the spiritual life, we are fully conscious of the fact that we are the instruments and God is the Player. If we can maintain that kind of feeling, there will be no temptation. As long as we want to be the doers, wrong forces will come to attack us and devour us. But if we become absolutely helpless and feel, “I am the instrument, O God. You play, You utilise me,” then all the temptation will come and attack our Inner Pilot, God, and He will not be affected at all.
When we become the lord, when we feel there is no other lord, then the temptation forces will come and attack us. But if we become clever and wise and say, “No, no, no, I am not the doer; I am the instrument. The doer is somebody else,” then those forces will come and attack the Doer, the Omnipotent, the Supreme. And then we will be safe.
The inner studyYoga is the only way to realise God and to get liberation. There is no other way. Yoga means union with God. If one wants to get a Master’s degree, one goes to the university to study. If one says, “I will not study, but I will get my Master’s degree anyway,” it is impossible. Similarly, if one does not practise yoga, if one does not have discipline, if one does not meditate, if one does not aspire, then it is impossible to get liberation. Liberation is like the higher course. If I don’t first go through high school and then go to college and university, how am I going to get my Master’s degree? Similarly, in yoga also, step by step we go up, up, up, up. Then, at the end of our inner study, we get liberation.
If we offer our existence to God, to Truth, to Light, then we can expect Peace, Light and Bliss in boundless measure. If we study hard in school, naturally we will expect a high mark. As we sow, so we reap. If we sow divine seeds, seeds of aspiration, then sooner or later we are bound to see the bumper crop of God-realisation. If we can offer our inner cry, if we can cry for Peace, Light and Bliss, then God is bound to come. Our cry will be fulfilled by God, who is the possessor of infinite Peace, Light and Bliss.
Some spiritual Masters tell their disciples, even after they have meditated for ten years or twenty years, not to use the words “salvation”, “liberation”, “illumination”. These are very big words. We start with the ABC’s of spiritual life. Even while we are asleep if we think of reaching the goal, then we are just fooling ourselves. We will reach the goal, but at God’s choice Hour. Salvation, liberation, realisation: these things come at the end of the road. Right now, all the seekers must think of the basic things in their spiritual life. Meditate for five minutes or ten minutes or half an hour: that is right now your study. A child does not think of his Master’s degree when he has not yet learned the alphabet; it is impossible. So let him learn the preliminary things, the elementary things; then, when he is in the university, he can think of liberation and realisation.
Please don’t think that I am discouraging you. Far from it. A child’s ultimate goal is definitely to get his Master’s degree. But just by all the time thinking of the highest course, he will never get his Master’s degree. A seeker has to go step by step. If he always thinks of the goal, he will feel that the goal is very far. Here he has not yet started the journey, and the goal is millions of miles away. Then he will start thinking, “I am so weak, I am so insincere, I am so ignorant. How can I reach my goal?” These thoughts will come, and he will be disappointed and disheartened and he will give up spiritual life.
Seeing and feelingOne thing is feeling; another thing is seeing. You don’t have to see me twenty-four hours a day. If you can feel my inner presence, that is enough. When the mother is working in the kitchen and the child is playing in the living room, the child does not have to see the mother all the time. He knows that his mother is there. He is getting the vibration of his mother. The atmosphere in the room is surcharged with the mother’s consciousness and the father’s pride. So here also, when you meditate in the evening before you go to bed, if you can see me in your dreams, that is wonderful. But if you don’t see me, you have to feel, “If he wants to come and be in my dream, well and good. But if he wants me only to feel his presence within me, that is more than enough.”
Some of you want to see me. Yes, if you can see me, well and good. But more important than seeing is feeling. If the mother does not see the son, still she feels the presence of the son in her heart. When you use your vision, then you will see one thing in me and somebody else may see something different. Seeing is good, but it can be treacherous. But when you feel something in me, at that time you have already identified with it. Before you go to bed, if your heart identifies with my consciousness, then the following morning when you get up you are bound to feel my presence within you, without you, around you, everywhere. When you meditate in the evening, try to feel deep inside you my existence, or try to feel that there is a most beautiful child within you. This child is the soul that is coming forward.
So always try to pay more attention to feeling than seeing. When you are feeling, the mind should not be there at all. Act like a child, who knows only how to love. And do not expect anything in your own way. If you feel, “Oh, if the Master comes and stands in front of me, I will be so happy,” then you are only indulging in fanciful dreams. Live only in Reality, divine Reality. This Reality will tell you, “Let God deal with my life. If He wants to come, let Him come. Mine is to dig the soil; mine is not to produce the bumper crop. He will do it. He will grow the bumper crop of realisation for me; I will only allow Him.”
Then afterwards you can go one step forward and say, “I am not cultivating the soil. It is He who is cultivating in me.”
Gradually, gradually give all responsibility to the Supreme in me. If you feel sincerely that I am responsible for your actions, then you won’t be able to do anything wrong. Also, try to feel that whatever you cannot do right in front of me, that thing you won’t do at all; whatever you cannot say in front of me, that thing you won’t say. If you have that kind of inner feeling, then you will feel my presence at every moment of your life.
Realising the Master's statusWhen you leave the body, say, after forty or fifty years and become the soul, when you are totally in the soul-consciousness, then you will be able to know my real status. I am not asking you to leave the body, far from it, for at that time you will not be able to help me in my manifestation. But if you realise my inner status when you are in the body, in the physical, then your realisation is really something. Then you can participate and share in my game. Now you are participating with me while I am playing football and together we are playing against ignorance. This is the opportunity that you get on earth. But from the soul’s world you will simply be an observer: I am playing football well and you are observing me. Sometimes you would like to participate, but in the soul’s world you cannot participate directly in the game. You don’t get the real satisfaction there, because the manifestation is taking place here on earth.There the joy that you get will come only from observing.
In rare cases, very close disciples, closest disciples, are very strong both on the physical plane and on the spiritual plane. On both the planes they are very powerful, dedicated, devoted and surrendered. When the Master plays his role on earth, even if the disciples are in the higher planes, their joy is solid and concrete; they get the same joy. But if one really wants to see me and manifest me here on earth, then one has to be with me here.
We get the greatest opportunity when a real spiritual Master comes into the world. At that time we make the fastest progress. Even those who would otherwise be absolutely useless in the spiritual life also make the fastest progress, according to their capacity. I have disciples who have had only one or two human incarnations. You can imagine how much of their existence is still in the animal world. But through the spiritual Master’s direct intervention these people can still make fast progress in human life, although their progress may not be as great as that of a more advanced seeker. Although they may be in the animal consciousness, since they have accepted the Master, he will help them. At that time the Master’s unconditional Compassion plays its role.
Expediting God's HourIf you feel that I am at least God’s conscious representative, and if for twenty-four hours a day you can feel that I care for you, then you can easily expedite God’s choice Hour. Most of you here have one common disease. We have to open up a hospital for all the patients suffering from this one disease. In our hospital, everybody is suffering from one disease: they feel that I don’t care for them. But if you can feel that I do care for you as an individual, as a seeker and as a child of my soul, then immediately you can expedite God’s Hour.
How I care for you, you will never know. Right now if I smile at you, then you feel that I care for you. But if you can feel my presence inside your heart, then always you will feel that I care for you. If you can consciously feel my presence, then gradually your joy will increase. When you cherish depression, doubt and all that, at that time you will give me a zero. Try to go deep within. If you can give me even one out of one hundred for my care for you, then I will be very grateful. When you can give me seventy, I tell you, at that time you are bound to feel that you are expediting God’s Hour. When you can give me higher marks, then you are making the fastest progress. The easiest way to expedite God’s Hour is to feel constantly that I care for you in my inner life and my outer life.
In the human way, you think that perhaps I need something from you, some favour, and that is why I care for you. But repeatedly I have told you that nobody is indispensable. Only feel that whoever is in a position to serve our mission in a divine way is getting the greatest opportunity. I am responsible to you, to your soul, to the Supreme. It is not your eagerness that will expedite God’s Hour and make you run the fastest: It is my eagerness, my necessity. It is my constant inner necessity to take each individual the fastest towards the Goal. If you feel that it is your necessity and not my necessity, then you are mistaken. I have realised God; it is true. But until I make you realise God, I have not manifested Divinity in the earth-consciousness and my game is incomplete.
An April 13th message to disciples1
Our choice is to become one with God’s Life.
Our decision is to be the ever-dedicated breath in the fulfilment of God’s universe. — Sri Chinmoy"
O Supreme, to Thee I offer what I am: my life’s soulful gratitude. O children of the Supreme, to you I give what I have: my life of selfless dedication and oneness. My love is my weight. My love is my height. My love is at once my weight and my height. My love for the devoted disciples, on the strength of my oneness with them, is my weight. My love for the Supreme, on the strength of my oneness with Him, is my height.
For the past few years, the disciples have been entering into my life and I have been entering into their lives. I am serving the Supreme in them; they are serving the Supreme in me. Together we are growing. Together we shall eternally grow. Gradually we give and take. I expect from you absolute dedication and you expect from me absolute realisation of the One Absolute.
According to grammar, “best” is the superlative degree. Everybody cannot be best in the ordinary life. Only one person can be best; others can be good, better and so forth. But here we are dealing with Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. Infinity has no bounds. We are all spiritual seekers, seekers of the infinite Truth. So each individual can have the aspiration to become one with the Dearest, the Supreme. Each individual can be a unique instrument of the Supreme on the strength of his absolute dedication and unconditional surrender to the Will of the Supreme. Grammar is written by mortals, by ordinary human beings. But our life is written by the Supreme, who can make each of us a unique instrument of His Will.
Each disciple can be like a petal of a divine lotus, a unique petal of the lotus. The whole lotus will be bloated with divine pride when it sees that each individual petal is helping and serving the whole to grow into the Supreme’s perfect Perfection here on earth.
We know that slow and steady wins the race. The hare lost the race to the turtle. But again, I wish to say that when we live in the Divine, when we live in the Supreme, in the Supreme Consciousness, at that time we do not have to follow this principle. In our case, quick and dynamic can win the race. The Supreme is our Pilot, our Eternal Pilot. According to His Will, at His choice Hour we have started our journey. It is He who is inspiring us to run towards the Golden Shore of the Beyond. It is His race He is running in and through us, so we are bound to reach the destined Goal.
Some of you have the wrong impression that the Supreme is unknowable. But it is not true. Right now He is unknown to all human beings. But, at the same time, those who have realised Him are fully aware of the fact that He can be seen, He can be talked to, He can be felt. When I speak to Him, I see Him more clearly than I see you here with my eyes wide open. So you can say that God is unknown right now, because you have not realised Him. But if you say, “God is forever unknowable,” then you are mistaken. God is our Father. How can our Father remain all the time unknowable? He can at most remain unknown for a short period of time, because now we are wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance. We are in a dark room that is wanting in light. But when our consciousness, our inner being, is flooded with the divine Light, then we are bound to see Him face to face.
So from now on, please change your opinion as regards God. God is unknown for the time being, but He can never be unknowable. He is our Father. He is our dearest, He is our closest. At His choice Hour He will open our third eye, the eye that actually sees the Truth. These two human eyes do not see the ultimate Truth. Only the third eye, which is the eye of our divine oneness with the Highest, with the Supreme, can make us see, feel and become one with the Supreme. The Supreme has inspired us to commence our journey. Our journey’s Goal is destined. We shall never fail because the Supreme is our Pilot, the Supreme is our Way, He is our Guide, He is our eternal Goal.
SCS 277. Sri Chinmoy delivered this message on 13 April 1969, the fifth anniversary of his arrival in the West.↩
Part VSCS 278-283. Questions asked by seekers attending a lecture that Sri Chinmoy gave at Oxford University on 19 June 1976.
Question: If I pray for my father, will this benefit his soul's evolution despite the fact that he does not lead a spiritual life?Sri Chinmoy: If one does not lead a spiritual life and another member of his family prays and meditates for him, naturally it will help. But if the person consciously rejects the love and the spiritual help that he is getting, then he won’t get any benefit. Suppose a member of your family does not accept the spiritual life, but you have accepted it soulfully and you are praying for that person just because he is a member of your family. Your prayer will definitely work provided he does not reject it. He may say, “I am too lethargic. I don’t want to do it, but if you do it for me, I will be grateful. I am hungry, true, but I don’t want to go to the kitchen. Will you bring me some food?” Then you can go to your kitchen and open up your refrigerator and bring food. Just because he is lazy you are bringing him food. But if you bring him food and he just throws it aside and becomes annoyed, then what are you going to do? So it is up to him. When you bring him food, he should at least eat it. If he eats, then he will be nourished. At that time it doesn’t matter whether he went to the kitchen himself. But if he rejects your food, then no matter how sincere you are, how well-meaning you are in bringing the food to him, you are wasting your time. It entirely depends on his acceptance or rejection. If he accepts, then naturally you will feel that the power of your prayer, the fruit of your prayer, will go to him. But if he rejects it, then it is impossible.
Question: What happens to geniuses like Bach or Shakespeare after they die?Sri Chinmoy: It depends on God’s Will and also the eagerness of the soul. If Bach played his role as a great, supreme musician, and if he does not want to manifest any more music, and if it is the Will of the Supreme, then he will give up that life totally. In his next incarnation he may enter into the field of literary activity. If Shakespeare has finished his role as a great writer and if he wants to enter into music, he can do it. Again, if Shakespeare and Bach feel that they have not played their roles satisfactorily, that they could give more to the literary world or to the musical world, then they will continue in the same field in their next incarnation.
We feel that Bach composed such great music. Who could be a better musician than he or who could be a greater writer than Shakespeare? But only the souls of these two great figures know whether they contributed to the fullest extent what they embodied and what they came here to give us. If they have given everything, then they don’t have to go through literary life or music life any more. But if they have not given everything and if they want to continue, and if the Will of the Supreme is for them to continue and give more of their soul-stirring music or soul-elevating literature, then they will give. Again, they may not want to continue this particular game. On the sports field, a game lasts for forty-five minutes or an hour. If one plays for forty-five minutes and then becomes tired, he may say, “I do not want to play this game anymore; I am ready to play some other game. I was playing football and it was very exhausting; now I want to play something else, some indoor game.” And then God may say, “All right, you don’t have to play that game. You can play some other game. I am offering you My Compassion.”
Usually great geniuses like Shakespeare and Bach have completed their roles. Then, God may take them into science or spirituality. In the case of Bach, he had already accepted spirituality, whereas Shakespeare had not consciously accepted spirituality. So Bach’s music is full of spirituality. But Shakespeare’s higher ideals are not spiritual; they are something else. Spirituality is everywhere, true, but you have to know what spirituality you are aiming at. The one has already touched spirituality; the other has not properly touched the real spirituality. It is entirely up to God’s Will what they will do next.
Question: Is there any question you cannot answer?Sri Chinmoy: If I use my mind, there will be millions of questions that I cannot answer. But if I use my oneness-heart with the Absolute Supreme, there will be no question that I will not be able to answer, if it has to do with spirituality. Thousands of times I have answered questions, believe me, and when I heard it on the tape or read it in the book, I could not believe that it was I who had said it. Or after I have answered a question, when everything is all done and my physical mind gets the message of the answer that I have given, I cannot believe that I have answered that question. When I try to understand the question afterwards, I cannot understand it. It has happened to me once or twice that I have answered a question one hundred per cent correctly; but if I use my mind in order to know what the question is, I do not even understand the question. So how many times I have answered questions most correctly on the strength of my heart’s oneness with God’s Will. My heart immediately becomes one with God’s Will. Many times it has happened that before the question is even formulated, just when the person opens his mouth, the question has already come to me. You are standing with the question and you have completed two or three words, but your question has already come to me and the answer has already come to me. Then you go on, go on, using so many words; but it is all unnecessary. When you open your mouth, the question and the answer both have come together, and I am just waiting for you to complete your question.
Question: Why is it that some religions do not mention reincarnation?Sri Chinmoy: Some religions say, “Our Father is in Heaven. He is there and we are here, in hell.” So naturally they try to go to Heaven, where He is. And then, once they are there, they say, “Oh, He is our Beloved. Are we such fools that we will come back to earth? Who needs reincarnation?”
But if we know that He is in Heaven and also here on earth, then naturally we will come back. Wherever we are, God, poor fellow, is also there; He is bound to be with us. If we are on the ground floor, in the basement, He is also there. And also when we are on the top floor, in the attic, He is with us. So if you accept God’s Universality, then you know that reincarnation is absolutely real. But if you accept only God the Transcendental Height, then you will only stay with Him upstairs. You shall not come back. When people say that God is only in Heaven, it creates a problem. But if we say He is both in Heaven and on earth, then this problem doesn’t arise.
Question: Does the vibration of the city reflect the aspiration of its inhabitants?Sri Chinmoy: At times the vibration of a city is like the aspiration of its inhabitants. And also, the inhabitants may have a vibration of their own. It is like a house. A house has a vibration of its own and the inhabitants also have a vibration of their own. The inhabitants have a vibration and they are giving it to the house; and the house has some vibration, which it is giving to the inhabitants.
Question: Are there delicate and beautiful worlds of the psychic imagination that the artist should try to seek access to for inspiration?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, there are many, many beautiful, delicate psychic worlds. You are using the term “imagination”, but this is absolutely wrong. These are not imagination; they are psychic realities. What you call imagination is not imagination as such; it is a reality in another world. Here on earth we call it imagination. But when we go to a higher plane, where we get the message of creativity, the light of creativity, it is not imagination at all. It is real. Only we don’t see its reality in the physical form here. We are on the first floor and a flower is on the second floor. We don’t see the flower because we are on the first floor. But when the fragrance comes down, we know there is a flower, a source, and the source is on the second floor.
So imagination is a world of its own, a reality-world. But here we don’t see it because it is stationed a little higher. The good artist must always seek access to the higher worlds for inspiration, for if one wants to create something, one has to get something from a higher plane. Then only will the world be illumined and fulfilled. Anything that comes from above has more beauty in it, more purity in it, more reality in it. Our goal is to bring down from above divinity, reality, beauty — everything that is divine.
The imagination-world is not a mental hallucination; it is reality-world far above this physical world. Let us try to have an access to this world so we can get inspiration and create something new, something unprecedented.
Question: When I do my daily activities, I do not feel concerned about them. Is this the right attitude?Sri Chinmoy: While you are doing your daily activities you should pray to the Supreme, to the Inner Pilot, who is operating in and through you. God has infinite Concern for human beings in each of their activities. If you are not concerned, that is a mistake. You will have concern, but you will not feel that this concern is coming from you. Feel that it is coming from somewhere else and that an Inner Hand is guiding you. This is the right approach.
Question: When you perform meditation and concentration, if you can't break through the electromagnetic field around you, it will cause a certain amount of frustration, since you are not able to express what is inside you.Sri Chinmoy: When you concentrate or meditate, you have to surrender to God’s Will. The will that is inside your concentration, the will that is in your meditation, you have to surrender to God’s Will. If you really love God, then you have to surrender the capacity that you have and also the results that you get from your capacity. When you concentrate dynamically and powerfully, then you have to feel that your capacity has come from God. When you soulfully meditate, you have to feel that this capacity has also come from God. Now, if the result that you want you are not getting, then you should not be disturbed. A child knows how to crawl, but he wants to walk. He will definitely be able to walk one day, but today he can only crawl. Just because he can’t reach his goal today, he will not give up his desire to walk. He will crawl today and one day he will be able to walk. While you are concentrating, you meet with some obstruction, some frustration-barrier. If you are not achieving the thing that you want, naturally you will meet with frustration. But you have to take this frustration as a barrier that can be easily overcome. It is only a matter of time.
It is like walking through a tunnel. You know that on the other side there will be light. Right now it is night, but light is bound to come. If you can take frustration as night, then you will know that a few hours later there will be day. But if you feel that only night exists, that there is a barrier and there is nothing beyond that barrier, then you are making a mistake.
When we concentrate, we pierce like a bullet through the thing that is standing in our way. But when we meditate, we don’t reject the thing. Because of our oneness with God, we try to accept the obstruction and illumine it. Anything that is discouraging or destructive in us, we don’t discard. If we leave aside frustration or other negative things, then they remain on earth and bother somebody else. So when it is a matter of concentration, we will cast aside all obstructions; but when it is a matter of meditation, when our mind has achieved vastness, we will accept obstructions and transform them. In the beginning, when we want to run towards our goal, we don’t keep anything negative. But when we reach our goal, then we have to feel that the things we have left aside may create problems for our brothers and sisters. So after reaching our goal, we will come back to illumine them so that they won’t stand in the way of others.
Question: How do we know who is our real teacher?Sri Chinmoy: When you see four or five persons in front of you, automatically one person attracts most of your attention, or gives you much more joy. Four persons are walking along the street, but when you look at one of them, you will get tremendous joy. That means that you have already become aware in the inner world of your affinity with that particular person. Your mind cannot account for it, but your soul has already recognised its oneness.
A teacher is supposed to be your most intimate, eternal friend. If I give you more joy than other teachers, then I am your teacher. If somebody else gives you much more joy, then that person is your teacher. It is like choosing a school. There are quite a few schools; so you go to a school that you like. You are under no compulsion to go to a particular school. Just because you like a particular school, just because you like the teachers of that school, you will go there. In the spiritual life also, when a seeker sincerely wants help from a spiritual Master, he makes a choice. The one that gives him utmost joy, the one for whom he feels utmost love, is the right one for him.
Question: Is there such a thing as false light?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, there is false light. There are many destructive forces which attack light and use it to deceive seekers. We can tell whether it is true or false light by seeing if it is all purity. If it is false light, there will be a certain amount of impurity.
These false, destructive forces often take the form of the cosmic gods. Once a hostile force came to me in the form of Vishnu. I was meditating at about half-past two or three o’clock in the morning and this force came and stood in front of me. I was about fifteen or sixteen years of age and I had seen Vishnu three or four times before. He is a most beautiful god. When I concentrated on this being, I noticed impurity within him, so I did not bow down to him. Then a tremendous fight took place and after three or four minutes the figure of Vishnu exploded. There was a tremendous noise and my brother came running to my room. They even heard it in the house right down the street. They all wondered what had happened at that time of the morning. They thought the stove had exploded. But my brother was the only one I told. On another occasion I was attacked by a hostile force during my meditation; then, afterwards, I discovered that my mosquito net had been torn to shreds.
Very often a hostile force takes the form of a seeker’s own Guru. The seeker has to be absolutely certain it is his Guru. Otherwise, if he bows down to it, it can cause real harm on the physical plane. It can harm our limbs, even give us a heart attack or stroke. Once a hostile force appeared before the dearest disciple of a spiritual Master. When she saw her Master in front of her she was overjoyed, and she immediately bowed down. Then she was at the mercy of this hostile force and immediately suffered a heart attack. Afterwards, it went upstairs to see who else it could find. But it found only one of the ordinary disciples. When this disciple bowed down to it, the demon could not be bothered with him. It felt it was beneath its dignity in that particular case, and it went away.
So you have to be very careful that the light you see is real light. Never bow to any form which appears before you unless you feel peace and purity in it.
Question: Is God wholly good, or is He both good and evil?Sri Chinmoy: God is both good and evil and, again, He is above them both. It is like a tree. Let us say the roots are evil and the branches are good. But they are one; they are part of the same tree. Evil is a lower manifestation of Truth and good is a higher manifestation of Truth. There is no night without light; even in the blackest night there is always at least an iota of light. But God is in both of these and above them both, as the sky is above the tree. If you say God is not in evil, then you are saying that God is not omnipresent. And that is like saying that God is not God. God is in both, but He is not bound by them. He is like a boat which is in the water and also above the water.
From the strictly spiritual point of view, there is no such thing as good or evil. Evil only exists in the mental world. What we think of as being evil is actually lesser truth or imperfection growing into greater truth or more perfect reality.
Question: Can you please explain what shakti is and its role in Creation?Sri Chinmoy: Shakti is the source of infinite Energy. This infinite Energy can be transmitted as infinite Light, infinite Peace, infinite Bliss. With this Power, we can climb up the tree, we can climb back down, we can walk, we can run, we can fly, we can dive, we can do anything that we want to do. Power is necessary capacity. Naturally we need the necessary capacity for flying, for running, for each activity we do. So this capacity is power here.
On the spiritual plane, God is infinite Light. This infinite Light is also infinite Energy and infinite Peace. Peace is Power and Power is Peace. Light is Power and Power is Light. It is the movement that is Shakti. God has two aspects: one is His static aspect and the other is His dynamic aspect. When He wants to manifest, He employs His dynamic capacity, while His other aspect remains silent. Here Shakti becomes the universal manifesting Force.
How is it that we say that the Power aspect of the Supreme created the Universe? If we say that the Power aspect can only create something vast, then we are mistaken. If God has infinite Power, then with His infinite Power He can create something vast and also something very tiny. Infinite Power does not mean that He can create only something big. If the infinite Power can create the vast, then it can also create a grain of sand.
Infinite Power is experienced in various forms inside the heart of each seeker. One seeker will experience Power as Bliss, another will experience it as Peace, a third as Light; and a fourth will experience it as Consciousness.
The seeker feels and experiences Shakti, the Power, inside him, according to his own evolution. Shakti is the manifestation of God’s Vision. When this manifestation takes form, each individual has the right to issue a name to it. The Form remains the same, but the seeker recognises the Form, accepts the Form, in various ways. Then, when this Power operates inside the seeker, if the seeker needs Peace, he will call it Peace. If the seeker needs Light, then he will call that Power Light. If somebody needs Delight, then he will take that Power as Delight.
Question: Does each soul have a task and, if so, how is it known?Sri Chinmoy: Each soul has a task and you can know it only through your sincere aspiration. Let us take each soul as a limb of God’s own Existence. With His Hand He does one thing, with His Nose He does something else, with His Eye and Ear something else. It is like a football game. Somebody has to play at the goalpost, somebody has to play on the left and somebody has to be on the right. If all the players stay at the goal, there will be no game. No, the players have to be well distributed. So like that, each soul has its respective job to do. And you will know which position you are going to play only when you deal with the captain. God will tell you where your post is.
Question: What is the difference between intelligence and consciousness?Sri Chinmoy: Intelligence is limited. Someone may have a bigger thumb than someone else, but at most it is only half an inch or so bigger, and this is not very important. Intelligence also can be a little bigger or smaller, but it is finite and will always remain so.
With consciousness it is quite different. Consciousness is vast, very vast. The finite consciousness is itself finite, but it is capable of expanding into infinite consciousness, into the Infinite itself.
Question: When you come into the dream of somebody who is not yet your disciple, what does it mean?Sri Chinmoy: If a Master comes to someone in a dream, it means that the soul of that particular person has already recognised the Master. Like a magnet, the soul is pulling the Master’s love, concern, blessings and affection. The soul is pulling the presence of that Master. Then, a few days or a few months later, the physical mind, the earthly, physical eyes will be able to see the Master. The soul has recognised the Master on the soul’s plane, the inner plane; then it has transmitted this truth, this reality, to the dream-plane, to the dream-consciousness. From the dream-consciousness, in the course of time, the reality will come to the physical consciousness, to the physical plane. It is a very good sign, a very good indication, that sooner or later the student will be able to meet with his Master.