Sri Chinmoy speaks, part 5
SpiritualityDearest seekers, we are all spiritual people precisely because we are seeking. For this reason, I wish to give a short talk on spirituality, and then I shall welcome spiritual questions as a form of my dedicated service to each of you.
Is the spiritual life an act of giving? Yes, it is. What precisely do we give? We give our bondage-night and ignorance-day. To whom do we give them? We give them to God. What else do we give to God? We give God, or rather, we reconfirm to God our soul’s promise that we made millions of years ago. What was that promise? Him we shall realise unreservedly and Him we shall fulfil unconditionally.
Is the spiritual life an act of receiving? Yes, it is. What precisely do we receive? We receive God’s Grace and we receive God the Grace. What is the difference between God’s Grace and God the Grace? The difference is this: God’s Grace shows us God’s Face with form and without form; and God the Grace tells us that we are not only eternal, infinite and immortal like Him, but also equal and perfect. We have made friends with ignorance; therefore, we are not conscious of what we truly are. But God and we are inseparably one: this is what we learn from God the boundless Grace.
We should know something about God with form and God without form. God with form is often questioned by the dark human mind. God without form remains always a far cry for the proud and unaspiring human mind. The dark, unaspiring human mind does not want to see God in God’s own Way, whereas the loving and aspiring heart tries to see God in God’s own Way. God with form is accessible to those who love God with their heart’s inmost feelings. God without form is also accessible to those who love God in the inmost recesses of their hearts.
Is the spiritual life an act of becoming? Yes, it is. What precisely do we become? In the process of evolution each individual becomes another God. When? At God’s blessingful, choice Hour.
How do we know that a certain individual is spiritual? If we say that he is spiritual because he often talks about God, we may be making a deplorable mistake. People can talk about God day in and day out but never follow the true spiritual life. If someone feels that there is a world of Peace and Bliss unlike this world of ours, and that he belongs to that world, does it mean that he is spiritual? No. He may be building castles in the air, or he may be enjoying some mental hallucinations. If we say that someone is spiritual because he gives up his friends, his relatives and the members of his family and enters into a Himalayan cave to become a recluse, then we will be mistaken again. Spirituality does not demand that we live the life of an ascetic; it does not ask us to give up our near and dear ones. Far from it.
So how do we know whether or not an individual is spiritual? We know that an individual is spiritual only when we notice a certain amount of purity in his body and surety in his soul. What do we mean by the body’s purity? The body’s purity is the divine capacity for endless God-receptivity. And what do we mean by the soul’s surety? The soul’s surety is the soul’s conscious and constant oneness-perfection with the Absolute Supreme. The soul’s surety is the soul’s conscious and constant oneness-satisfaction in the Absolute Supreme.
Some people are of the opinion that spirituality and divinity are very close to each other, that they are adjacent to one another — two loving, faithful, soulful and fruitful neighbours. They are absolutely correct. But I wish to add one thing. The nature of spirituality and the nature of divinity are similar. What both of them embody is God’s boundless creation and what both of them reveal is God’s infinite Compassion. But if we observe spirituality and divinity very minutely, then we do observe a subtle difference. Spirituality is God’s Self-expansion and divinity is God’s Self-perfection. While expanding Himself, God perfects Himself; and while perfecting Himself, God transcends Himself. Therefore we can safely say that spirituality and divinity are complementary.
The question is often asked whether each and every person on earth can be spiritual and divine, or whether spirituality and divinity are the monopoly of only a few selected individuals. Spirituality and divinity can be claimed by each and every individual, providing each and every individual has a sincere need for spirituality and divinity. Spirituality is not the sole monopoly of any individual. Each and every individual can practise spirituality, provided he wants to cry — cry for the ultimate Truth, the transcendental Height, the immortal Delight.
How does one become spiritual and divine? One becomes spiritual and divine by studying the inner life. One has to spend time on inner studies. When we study other subjects, we go to school and learn from our teacher. To learn spirituality and divinity, we go to the inner school. In the inner school, God is the only Teacher.
God the Teacher always asks us to be simple, sincere, humble and pure. Only then will He be able to teach us. If we are wanting in simplicity, sincerity, humility and purity, then God will not be able to teach us. What does God teach us? He teaches us how to become His perfect instruments on earth. He teaches us how to take part in His cosmic lila, the Game eternal. He also teaches us how to fly and how to march, how to fly with His ever-transcending, infinite Vision and how to march with His ever-progressing, boundless manifestation. God grants us His Vision-Reality and His Reality-Vision at the end of our journey’s close. God’s Vision-Reality is God’s eternal Greatness-Height and God’s Reality-Vision is God’s eternal Goodness-Depth.
Our Teacher, God, tells us that we cannot enjoy double-dealing. In secret we make friends with desire-night and in public we make friends with aspiration-day, aspiration-light. God says He cannot accept this double-dealing precisely because He has an aversion to this double-dealing. With our desire-night we try to bind God and have God please us in our own way. With our aspiration-light we try to love God and serve God in God’s own Way.
Why do we love God? We love God because He is all Beauty. Why do we serve God? We serve God because He is the only Reality: the Reality that we long for, the Reality that we want to grow into, the Reality that is all satisfaction, Eternity’s satisfaction. What we all need here on earth and there in Heaven is satisfaction: satisfaction in God’s own Way.
God-RealityGod’s Reality operates on two different planes. One Reality operates in the desire-world; the other Reality operates in the aspiration-world. The ordinary human mind operates in the desire-world and it is here that it wants to see God. The mind feels that satisfaction can be achieved only when it is satisfied the way it wants to be satisfied. The mind wants the Reality to please it the way the mind wants to be pleased. The mind wants the Reality, but for its own purpose. “I want this and if I get it, then only will I be pleased.” This is the truth of the mind.
In the aspiration world, the heart is of paramount importance. The heart wants the Reality, not to fulfil itself, but so it can become part and parcel of the Reality. It wants the Reality so it can enjoy the Light and Delight of the Reality. It wants the Reality because it gets joy from the way Light and Delight operate in and through the Reality. The heart wants the Reality to satisfy the Reality the way the Reality wants to be satisfied. The heart wants to get satisfaction on the strength of its oneness with the Reality.
The mind wants to derive satisfaction by maintaining a sense of separativity. The mind does not want to unite. The mind says, “You stay where You are, and let me stay where I am. Only come to me whenever I want You or need You. But that doesn’t mean I have to surrender to You all the time. Stay wherever You want, but I wish You to be at my beck and call.” The heart, however, says to the Reality, “I am at Your Feet; only allow me to be where You are. I want to stay at Your Feet. If You want to kick me out, I am ready to be kicked if that gives You satisfaction. If You want to place me inside Your Heart, place me there; and if You want to keep me elsewhere, do that. Only please Yourself, please Yourself in Your own Way.” So naturally the heart, on the strength of its oneness with the Reality, is pleasing the Reality. This is what a seeker of the absolute transcendental Truth must try to see, feel and grow into.
The mind does not accept the Reality’s existence but it wants to fulfil itself by taking help from the Reality for its own purpose. But the heart wants to fulfil itself only by pleasing the Reality in its own way. Again, today’s doubting mind may tomorrow become a searching mind and the day after tomorrow it will become a self-giving mind. It is not a hopeless case for the mind. But right now, at the present stage of our evolution, the mind is doubting and suspecting the Reality, while, at the same time, it wants to derive utmost satisfaction from the Reality. The mind suspects the Reality and, at the same time, the mind is always like a beggar waiting for the Reality to satisfy it. But the heart is all oneness with the Reality.
The positive approach towards progressIt is unnecessary to go through the negative aspects of life: doubt, fear, anxiety, jealousy. If I have to go to light and if my aim is to arrive at light, why is it necessary for me to go through darkness? If my goal is situated to the north, why should I go to the south first and then come back towards the north? It is absurd. But the only thing is that in the spiritual life very often it is not always sunlit. If you follow the path of surrender, constant surrender, divine surrender to the Will of God, then it becomes a sunlit path. But since we cannot make constant and conscious surrender to the Will of God, very often we run into difficulties. Our mental sky is overcast with clouds, with fear, doubt, anxiety, worries and so forth. When these undivine forces threaten us or delay our progress, we fight them with our inner faith, our inner determination, our courage and mounting aspiration. If we feel that we have to go through the negative forces and feed them in order to go beyond them, we are mistaken. If we feed the snake within us and feel that one day the snake will leave us, we are making a deplorable mistake. The snake will bite us and kill us. Undivine forces are nothing but snakes or ferocious tigers within us. So if we feed the tiger within us, do you think the tiger will be pleased with us and say, “Since you have fed me for a long time, let me give you freedom. You go.”? No, it is not like that.
So always we have to run towards light, if light is our goal. If perfection is our goal, then we have to run towards perfection. By staying in imperfection and waiting for imperfection to release us from its prison, we will never reach our goal. For a sincere seeker, it is always advisable to accept the positive aspect of life, to feel, “I am God’s child. I shall aspire. I shall try to grow into the very image of God.” This is the positive approach.
God is in everything. God is in light; God is in darkness, too. But we are trying to transform darkness into light. God is in filthy water; God is also in pure water. So we have to use the power of discrimination. If we drink filthy water, poisonous water, we shall die. Then again, if we drink pure water, we shall quench our thirst.
In the spiritual life, always we are trying to discriminate good from bad and stay only with good. Then there comes a time when we don’t want to leave bad aside; we want to transform bad into good, darkness into light. But by staying with darkness, we won’t be able to change darkness into light. If we stay in light, we not only have the possibility, but the assurance, the guarantee, that eventually we will be able to transform darkness into light. If I stay for many years in an illumined room, then my whole being will be illumined and flooded with light. At that time, when I enter into the unlit room, that room will automatically be lit by my very presence.
So we try to go to light first and then from light we come into darkness. Otherwise, no matter how many years we stay in darkness, we will not be able to see the face of light. True, God is in everything; in darkness also there is a little light. But God’s living Presence is more vivid, more encouraging, more inspiring, more illumining in certain things. God is in animals. And once upon a time, if we believe in reincarnation, we must say that we were all animals. But right now consciously we are aspiring. In the animal life we were not aspiring consciously, so we will not go back into the animal kingdom, even though God is also there. No. We are now in the human world. Here we are trying to go one step ahead; that is to say, we would like to establish the divine world, the Kingdom of Heaven. If we can bring down light from above, then only is there every possibility and assurance that, in the long run, we will be able to transform our human life, which is half animal, into the divine life, and the negative aspects of life into higher and more fulfilling realities.
Human confidence and divine confidenceThere is a great difference between human confidence and divine confidence. When it is human confidence, like Julius Caesar we shall say, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” But when it is divine confidence, we will say, “I came, I saw and then I became inseparably one.” In human confidence there is always a feeling of superiority. I am one inch higher than you, so I can lord it over you or guide you or mould you the way I want. But divine confidence is not like that. Divine confidence is the recognition, acceptance and inner assurance of oneness. And this oneness is guided, moulded, shaped, fulfilled and immortalised by a higher reality, the highest Reality, which is the Supreme. When we have divine confidence, we feel that we are God’s instruments and that God is guiding us, moulding us, shaping us. But when it is human confidence, there is no God; there is only you and I, and I am one inch higher than you; therefore I can dominate you and fulfil myself in my own way.
God-realisation is my birthright. It is my birthright because God needs me to manifest Himself in and through me. Our work is shared. I need God to realise the Highest and God needs me to manifest His Reality. In divine confidence, we share our capacity, we share our necessity. I am doing my respective job, whatever is asked of me, and God is doing His job, whatever is asked of Him. So I have confidence because I know I am of Him and for Him, and He is of me and for me. And God has confidence in me because He knows that from His Silence He has created me. I am His creation. If the Creator and the creation do not become the obverse and reverse of the same reality, then the Creator will not feel satisfaction. For the creation is like God’s mirror. He looks into the mirror, His own reality, and if He does not see Himself in what He creates, then He can never be satisfied. I as an individual have to become an exact prototype of His Reality. That is what God wants.
So divine confidence is our acceptance of the divine reality which is within us, as our very own. I am of God and I am for God; I am of Light and I am for Truth. This realisation is founded upon my feeling of universal oneness. I am not one inch higher or lower. In human confidence there is always a competitive spirit. I compete with someone and if I win, then I dominate. With divine confidence I do not compete, I do not challenge. I have become one with the reality that he has or is or he represents, for I am also the same reality. Inside us there is only one Reality and that is God Himself singing the song of universal oneness and the song of constant self-transcendence.
A sincere seeker always has confidence. He has confidence that in and through him God is going to manifest Himself. This is not his pride that is speaking. It is the necessity, the God-Necessity that he embodies. God has made him the fulfilment of God’s own Necessity.
Responsibility human and responsibility divineMost human beings enjoy self-imposed responsibility, and when they see that responsibility, they say it has been thrust upon them. But, as spiritual people, our responsibility is to listen to the dictates of the Supreme twenty-four hours a day. He may say, “This moment you don’t have to pray and meditate. Just go and give away all the dollars that you have in your pocket or do some selfless service: clean the street.” In that case, we do it. If He asks, definitely we will go and give spiritual comfort to patients in the hospital who are dying. Many things are very good, but we have to know whether a particular good thing is meant for us to do. The Supreme perhaps wants to utilise somebody else to do that very thing. Perhaps He wants to fulfil Himself in and through that other person. Our idea may be very good, very spiritual, but we are standing in God’s way.
If we are not spiritual in the purest sense of the term, whatever we know from the mental point of view, we do. We live up to morality. But far above morality is real spirituality, which means listening to the dictates of the Supreme twenty-four hours a day, all the time. We have to play the role that we are intended to play. Suppose the Supreme wants us to play the role of a slave and we want to play the role of a king. If we take the part of the king because we feel that this part is most meaningful, most fruitful, then the Game will not be successful; it will be wrong, a fiasco.
It is the same thing in the Centre. The Master knows who deserves each post, so the Master gives out each post according to his inner knowledge. Some who do not hold the highest posts are, unfortunately, very sad. If an aspirant feels, that by holding a particular post, he will become very close to the Master or he will realise God sooner than the rest, then he is mistaken. In order to realise the Highest, one does not need posts; it is the aspiration of the seeker that counts most. When the Master gives the best or highest post to someone, it is because the Master has been commissioned by the Inner Pilot, the Supreme, to give it to that person. At that time, the Master knows that he is giving the post to this individual with God’s sanction, so that both God and the Master can work in and through the seeker. If everybody wants to hold the highest post, if everybody wants to become the king, it is impossible. In the cosmic Game, one has to become the king and others have to become the ministers and subjects. Otherwise, we cannot have a cosmic Drama; there is no play. Only if the roles of the play are divided well is the drama perfect.
If the Supreme wants you to meditate at a particular time and at that moment your wife is doing selfless service, you can’t say your meditation or her selfless service is by far the best. She is playing her part and you are playing your part. If you do her job, selfless service, when God wants you to do meditation, who is getting a good result? We shall help mankind because this is what God wants us to do. But our selfless service has to entirely depend on God’s Will. If God at this moment wants us to meditate, we shall meditate. But if God wants us to do something else, we shall do that. This should be our attitude. But if we feel that we can just look at the world according to our capacity, see what is needed and then do the needful, we have to know that this will be just a self-imposed responsibility. Only one thing is needed: aspiration. If we aspire and do only what God wants us to do, we shall be serving mankind in God’s own Way. Otherwise, if we do it in our own way, we only create problems.
Maintaining a connection with one's parentsSome parents are very nice, very sincere, very kind to their children. They themselves won’t practise Yoga; either they are afraid of the path or they feel that it is too late for them. I don’t blame them, although in the spiritual life, there is no such thing as too late. When you start soulfully, that is the hour for you. God’s Hour for you is the day you wholeheartedly accept the spiritual life. But if the parents are good, if they are not accepting our path or any path but they are allowing their children to come, then certainly the children should maintain a connection with them. In Indian villages, the parents may be farmers who have no education, but they want their children to go to school and be cultured. These parents are so nice. They work very hard in the fields and make a little money so they can send their children to school. They could not study when they were children and now they feel they are too old, but they want their children to go to school. Here also, if the parents have never practised spirituality or Yoga and now they are forty or sixty years old and feel that it is too late for them, then I wish to say that you have to be very, very nice to them. They do appreciate the value of the spiritual life, inner life, inner joy and so forth, but they feel it is not for them.
But if the parents are totally against your spiritual path, no matter which one you follow, then you have to be brave. At that time you have to feel the necessity of your own spiritual life; that is to say, your spiritual life must come first and foremost in your life. But I am using the word “totally”. If your parents want to make a compromise — that you follow the spiritual path and also keep a connection with them — then you should agree. You will say, “All right, you follow your own ideas, although I can’t wholeheartedly appreciate your ideas. Now you also have to give me some freedom to follow my ideas.” If you have some function at home or if somebody in the family is getting married or is sick, then naturally it is your bounden duty at that time to go and help. You should feel that there was a special reason why God brought you into that family. But if your parents are all the time against your spiritual life, if they do not understand anything or they do not want to understand, if they feel that you are wasting your time and that one day you will come to realise that you are making a Himalayan blunder, if they are preventing you in every possible way from pursuing this path, then you do not have to keep any connection with them. If they do not understand you and if they stand against you, they are in no way better than an enemy. But you should still offer your inner gratitude to them. For twenty-three or twenty-four years they have fed you, they have nourished you, they have brought you up. So you have to offer your gratitude to your parents, although they have not been totally divine. They have made mistakes and now they are making more mistakes in not allowing you to follow your own path, but still you have to show your inner gratitude. But to offer your inner gratitude is one thing and to mix with them, in spite of knowing that they are standing in your way, is something else.
So each one has to know how much opposition he is getting from his parents. There was a time, four or five years ago, when a few parents were dead against us. They felt that I had taken their children away from them. But the parents do not realise that I have not gone to anybody’s house and pleaded with them to give me their children. The children came to me on their own. And then I tried my best to give them good ideas. I have not told any son or daughter, “Leave your parents.” Oh, no, no! On the contrary, I always say, “Try to compromise.” But if the parents are totally against us, then I feel miserable. I have come here to take the side of God and not the side of ignorance. If I see that somebody is getting tremendous opposition from his parents, and if he is very sincere, very dedicated, very devoted, how can I tell him to swim in the sea of ignorance along with the parents? That I cannot do. But my request to all of you is to try to keep as much as possible a good connection with your parents, a normal connection. But if you feel that it is your duty to mix with your parents, although they are very unspiritual and undivine, then I wish to say that you can do it, but your progress will be very, very limited. You have to make the proper balance.
Children and spiritualityChildren have no sense of judgement. They feel that whatever their parents do is always best. Children are often exact prototypes of their parents. It is true, to a certain extent, that if the parents don’t tell lies, the children don’t tell lies. The parents don’t have to say, “Don’t tell a lie,” because the children don’t know anything else but truthfulness. If the parents like something, immediately the children like it. If the parents have some good friends, saintly friends, the children immediately become friends with them. Children always, in the beginning, try to imitate their parents. Imitation is really good, and the parents should always behave extremely well in front of their children. If the parents misbehave, the children will be totally ruined. If the parents tell a lie or do anything wrong, then the children will follow their parents’ radiant example in their own life.
Early in the morning, if you get up and pray with folded hands, for a few days your child will remain fast asleep while you are meditating. But on the third day, a sweet sense of competition will come into him. If his father can meditate, what is wrong with his doing it? And then the child will sit beside you and meditate. The best example is the parents’ own life. The parents’ life is the child’s ideal. When the child grows up, then he may have different goals. But in the beginning, the parents should always encourage their children to pray and meditate if they have accepted a spiritual path. They should always encourage their children to be like them.
Anything you feel is nourishing, you give to the child. If the child does not want milk, you will say, “You must drink.” But when it is a matter of spirituality, many parents think, “Who knows, one day the children may not like our path, so it is best not to make them pray and meditate. When they are fifteen, let them make their own choice and become Guru’s disciple or someone else’s disciple.” This is no good. When the children are growing up, if you don’t give them milk, they will die before they become old enough to make the selection themselves. In the spiritual life also, children will die spiritually if you don’t give them inner nourishment. You are not injecting anything into them, only you are giving them food. They may not like that particular food, but they have to eat or they will die. In spirituality also, what you feel best for your child you should give him in the beginning. Then, when he grows up, that very thing he can continue if he likes. Otherwise, he may give it up and follow some other path or he may not follow spirituality at all.
Imagination and creativityWe get inspiration to create art or to offer art to the world at large only when we are in a position to become one with our imagination. Imagination is something totally different from reality, but imagination is not bad. Right now it is imagination, but when we consciously side with imagination, we feel we give birth to reality. Before something comes into existence in the outer world, it is already there in our inner life, in the form of imagination. If we feel this imagination with our love or enthusiasm or hope, immediately we see the dawn of inspiration. And inside inspiration is creation. Without imagination we cannot inspire others and we cannot be inspired ourselves. When I want to inspire you, it means that inside me there is someone who has already imagined the fact that you can be inspired and that I am the one who can inspire.
When imagination has played its role consciously or unconsciously, inspiration comes forward. Then, when imagination becomes completely and unreservedly one with inspiration, we see that inspiration has something to offer and that something is creativity. So imagination brings into existence inspiration and inspiration offers us its own wealth, which is creativity.
There is divine imagination and undivine imagination. War — this is also imagination. Here human imagination is being used in a different way. One kind of human imagination is used for a divine purpose, to build the Palace of Love, Light and Truth. The other kind of imagination wants to destroy the whole world. From imagination we are inspired to do something, either divine or undivine.
How do we get divine imagination? We get divine imagination by leading a divine life, a spiritual life; we get divine imagination by purifying our breath. Every second we are breathing in and out. While we are breathing, if we consciously repeat the word “purity” or think that purity is the only thing that we need in our life, automatically our breath becomes pure. Even by imagining that we need purity more than anything else, our breath becomes pure. And when our breath is pure, we have to feel that it is nothing but divine. So if we want to become a divine artist, then we have to feed the divine imagination within us. When the divine imagination offers its reality, it becomes inspiration. And when we consciously feel the divine inspiration, then we get divine art.
Thoughts and physical illnessVery often physical illness will start in the mind. If you can stop it there, then it will not attack the physical. Now, how do you know if it has entered the mind? Easily you will know. Take the mind as a room in your house. If somebody has entered your room, naturally you will know. Before illness touches the physical, at least five or six times you will get some inkling in your mind. You are driving your car or talking or resting and all of a sudden you feel some uneasiness. It is not something serious at that time. It comes in a thought-form that is not wholesome or progressive. One thought that is not progressive can easily bring disease into the mind, into the vital, into the physical. If the thought is stagnant, like a stagnant pool, then problems arise; from there disease starts. Any thought that is not progressive is dangerous.
A seeker can easily trace a negative thought before it touches the physical. Take the mind as the third floor in your house. If there is water leaking up there, easily you can stop it before it flows down to the second and first floors. If you do the needful on the third floor, then you don’t have to suffer on the other floors. When you notice something wrong in the mind, the best thing is to immediately invoke the Light and Peace of the Supreme. If you have Light and Peace, illumination and peace of mind, then the wrong force will be illumined. Either it will be frightened to death and leave you or it will be transformed by the Light and Peace that have entered the mind.
So all the time, while you are thinking or talking to friends, you have to know whether the thoughts you are using, or allowing to stay in your mind, are progressive or not. If you see a thought moving forward, then you should keep it. But if it is moving instead just like an insect, then it has to be thrown out. We have to be very careful of our thoughts, because we live in a mental world, a thought-world. One thought can take us to Heaven or to hell. Each thought is either nectar-like or poisonous. Each thought can be our saviour or it can be our destroyer.
Question: What is the difference between human opinion and divine opinion?Sri Chinmoy: Human opinion is the play of imagination. Divine opinion is the expression of realisation. Opinion is power. Human opinion can harm you in your outer life. Divine opinion can fulfil your inner life. Human opinion is meaningless obeisance to what others have spoken. Divine opinion is energising and fulfilling surrender to the Inner Voice.
Opinion very often we get from the mind; conviction we get from the heart and realisation we get from the soul. The value of mental opinion is very small. The conviction of the heart, psychic conviction, is meaningful, but at times it is based on pure imagination. But when conviction is flooded with divine realisation, there is abundant reality in it. Realisation, which comes from the soul, is one’s conscious oneness with the Ultimate, with the Supreme. In realisation, opinion and conviction are transformed into divine reality.
Question: How can I become more aware?Sri Chinmoy: All the time you have to think of yourself in a positive way. You have to say, “What is wrong with me that I am sleeping all the time? I can run, I can write. Again, I can sleep. But I know that by sleeping for twenty hours, I won’t get any joy.” So you have to think of the result. If you think of the result, of awareness, then immediately you will be so happy. “That is the thing that I am going to get. If I become aware of God, the result I am getting is a peaceful life. I will have some joy, some sense of satisfaction.” So think of the satisfaction you will get and that satisfaction will immediately compel you to be aware. Naturally everyone is running after satisfaction. God Himself is our satisfaction. Human satisfaction is to make more money, to become more prosperous, this and that. But spiritual satisfaction is to have an iota of Peace, an iota of Light, an iota of Bliss. Everybody needs satisfaction. So if you think of the satisfaction which you need most, automatically you will become aware. Give utmost importance to the satisfaction within you and then you are bound to become aware.
Question: How can I increase my surrender and purity?Sri Chinmoy: How can you increase your surrender and purity? If you can surrender your body, vital, mind, heart and soul, then you will feel purity. Again, if you can increase your purity, immediately your capacity to surrender increases. One depends on the other. If you are pure, your surrender increases; if you are surrendered, then your purity increases. How do you get purity and surrender from the spiritual life? You look at a flower and you know a flower is all purity. So you try to identify yourself with the consciousness of the flower or with the purity of the flower. Or you look at a little child, who is all surrender to his parents. Whatever his parents are doing for him, he is satisfied. So you can try to become like a child. If you can feel that you are a child in the Lap of God, then you can easily make surrender. Again, if you can feel that you are a flower, or that another flower is inside your heart and that this flower is blossoming petal by petal, then you will automatically become pure. So if you can imagine or feel a flower inside your heart, your purity will automatically increase. And if you can feel a divine child inside your heart, your surrender will automatically increase.
Question: What is the relationship between aspiration and surrender?Sri Chinmoy: Aspiration houses everything in it, including surrender. Again, inside surrender we see our aspiration. Inside devotion and surrender exists everything: Peace, Light and Bliss. In the beginning, when we start our journey, we call it aspiration; when we complete our journey, we call it surrender. We start our journey with aspiration and when we reach our Goal, we have surrender. But this surrender embodies aspiration. Aspiration was necessary to climb up to the Highest and surrender is necessary to climb down to feed the hungry aspiring mankind.
Question: How can one recognise a true living Master?Sri Chinmoy: One can recognise a true living Master if, when he approaches the Master, his inner being is inundated with delight and ecstasy. If you stand in front of a real spiritual Master who is meant to be your own Master, then even your outer being will be filled with immense joy and ecstasy. Now, he may be a real Master, but if he is not meant to be your Master, then you will not experience intense joy immediately. And, if he is not a true Master, and you are sincere, then you will not experience any joy at all. Of course, if you do not get anything from a Master, you cannot always say that he is not real; you may be in a very low consciousness and then you will not be able to feel that Master’s Light. But if your heart is crying for a real spiritual Master, then you are bound to feel something in a true Master. And if he is your own Master, then you will find in him everything that you need in this life.
Question: How can we proceed and make inner progress in the spiritual life if we get light and joy from more than one Master?Sri Chinmoy: Here you have to know that each Master is like a doctor. If you have a headache, you will go to a doctor, who will give you some medicine and cure you. Again, if you have some other ailment — say, foot pain — you will go to a foot specialist and he will cure you. But if you see that there is someone who has the power to cure you no matter what ailment you have, if there is someone who can enter into the root of all diseases, then naturally you will go to that person. If there is a doctor who will be able to give you so much Light that you will never suffer from any disease again, then you will go to him. So if you see a Master in whom you have implicit faith, and if you feel that he will be able to guide you until you have reached your destination, you will go to this Master and not go to any other Master.
It is like going to school. Some Masters will be able to teach only kindergarten, or only primary school, or only high school courses. Again, there are some Masters who will be able to teach you right from the beginning to the end — from the kindergarten level right up to the Ph.D. If you see a Master who can guide you right from the journey’s start to the journey’s destination, then you will go to that one. Otherwise, you will go to one who has the capacity to teach you at your level of spiritual development. Then, after a couple of years, perhaps you yourself will surpass him, and you will have to look for someone else to guide you for another couple of years. Then once again you will see that your inner progress has far surpassed your Master’s realisation. This has happened in many, many cases. So again you have to look for a new Master.
Each time you go to a new Master, you waste time. Each one has a special way of teaching and you have to adapt yourself to the new way. One has taught you a particular truth and given you a specific way to reach it. The next one is giving you a higher truth, but he may not ask you to walk along the road where you have already made some progress. He may take you along a totally different road. He may take you to a farther destination, but he may also take you along a different road. So when you start along a different road, you may be bewildered or puzzled and it may create problems for you.
So if you get someone in whom you have implicit faith and confidence, and if you feel that he will be able to guide you, not only at your present level of consciousness but until you have reached your highest destination, then you should go to that person. He will show you how to walk along Eternity’s road and also help you walk along the road. It is not his road but the road that he has discovered, that he is well acquainted with. In that case, it is advisable to walk along with that Master who, from the beginning to the end, can show you, teach you and guide you along one road to your highest Goal. Otherwise, you will just waste time going from one Master to another.
Question: I have read in the Bible that if one does not accept the teachings of Jesus Christ, his soul is damned forever to hell. Is this true?Sri Chinmoy: My simple answer to this question is that it is up to you whether you believe or do not believe. If you believe that you must have faith only in the Christ’s teachings, then you must pray to the Christ-Consciousness to illumine you. However, if you do not believe this, then you have a perfect right to do what you feel is best. It is your inner being that will tell you whether to believe or not to believe. But if you accept the theory that you are damned to hell if you do not have absolute faith in Christ, then naturally you have to pray to the Christ-Consciousness to illumine and perfect you. I personally say that the Consciousness of the Christ, the Buddha, Sri Krishna, Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo and other great Masters is all the same Consciousness known under different names. But it is up to you to decide what to believe.
Heaven and hell are inside our mind. They are a state of consciousness, not a country to which one goes. If you cherish a good thought, then inside that good thought is Heaven. If you treasure a bad thought, you live in hell. Heaven and hell are inside us; at every moment we experience either Heaven or hell. Heaven gives joy; hell gives a painful experience. We are responsible for every thought. If we cry to God for Light, that is a good thought, and we get illumining experiences from good thoughts. If we do not cry for Light, then we experience a painful reality, which we call hell.
Question: Was the battle of Kurukshetra a real battle, or was it the symbol of the battle of life on earth?Sri Chinmoy: The battle of Kurukshetra was a real battle. It did take place over four thousand years ago. Krishna was there in human form; Arjuna was there. It is absolutely true; Krishna did come into existence and it was a real battle.
But now we use it according to our own purpose. When we are in a position to use the message of the Gita in a practical way, we say, “Yes, Krishna did come.” But the message of disinterested work — that we work for the sake of work, but offer the result at the Feet of the Lord — is very difficult for human beings. So we say it is all symbolic; it is all theory. It is not reality. But for spiritual people, everything is reality. For ordinary people, unaspiring people, everything will be imaginary or theoretical or just symbolic, with no reality in it. But for spiritual people, everything that the Gita says is reality.
The battle of Kurukshetra was real, and this battle is taking place every day deep within us between the divine forces and the undivine forces in us. Since we are seekers, ultimately the divine forces within us will gain victory. Also in the case of the Gita, the Pandavas did win the battle. If we are not seekers, the undivine forces will go on winning and keeping us under their control. But since we are seekers, we are bound to conquer our undivine, hostile, unaspiring forces. In the battlefield of life, we are bound to win because we are aspiring.
Question: If I devote myself to my family, is that contrary to the Will of God?Sri Chinmoy: If it is done devotedly and soulfully, then it is directly reaching the Heart of the Supreme. But it has to be soulful, and not something done out of compulsion; not outer compulsion, but inner necessity. Your family is part and parcel of your life, and to please them devotedly and soulfully is to please the divinity within them. But it has to be done with the feeling that they are your very own.
Question: When a realised soul leaves the physical body, can the soul still evolve?Sri Chinmoy: This planet Earth is the world of evolution. Whether we are realised or not, it is here that we evolve; it is here that we make progress. The other place, Heaven, is the resting place. Here we earn, as when we go to the office to make our salary. Then, when we go home, we do what we want. Heaven is rest, but not in the human sense. Far from it. Heaven is rest in the divine sense.
Question: What is the difference between heart, soul and spirit?Sri Chinmoy: There are two types of heart: the human heart and the universal heart. The human heart is a muscle. It functions while we are living, and when we die it stops functioning. The divine heart houses God the Universal Consciousness. The soul is the divine spark inside us. The soul is the link between God and us. There are two kinds of spirit. One spirit is part of the earthly existence; it is an unsatisfied soul. In the other sense, Spirit is transcendental Existence. The first kind of spirit wants to stay or remain on earth and bring messages from the vital world. This is all done in the vital world. The other Spirit is the transcendental Existence.
Question: If I want to find within my soul what the Supreme wants me to do, what should I do?Sri Chinmoy: Every day you have to pray most soulfully and try to go deep within and hear the message. The deeper you go, the more Light, the more sense of oneness and the more self-confidence you will achieve. Eventually you will feel that God needs you for manifestation as much as you need Him for realisation. So try to go deep within. The message is not something you get from the outside. Sow the seed of love within your heart and it will grow into a love-tree. Each time you meditate, dig deep within, as though you are sowing seeds. The seeds will germinate and then you will know and please the Supreme in His own Way. The answer is always within. There is only one question: “Who am I?” On the strength of my oneness with God, I am everything. Otherwise, I am nothing.
Question: What is the present role of humanity in the manifestation of God's Light?Sri Chinmoy: Humanity is composed of human beings. Here each individual has to feel the supreme necessity of the manifestation of divine Light. Once we become sincere seekers, we try consciously, devotedly and soulfully to become divine instruments of God. We become divine instruments through our constant inner cry. A child cries. He may be on the first floor while his mother is on the third floor, but she will come running to feed him. If I want to become a divine instrument, I must cry soulfully, devotedly and consciously. We cry to go up and then, when the Light descends, we smile. In order to ascend we cry soulfully; when the Light descends and divinity dawns on us, we smile soulfully.
A sincere seeker is he who has made friends with eternal time in the soul’s world. If he refuses or wastes one second of God’s time, manifestation is delayed. It is God’s Will to manifest in and through him, and if the seeker is sincere, he will try to manifest God’s Perfection. Again, we have to know there is something known as God’s Hour. Before that Hour we shall do our best; we shall pray and meditate. Everything that is to be done we shall do. We shall make friends with wisdom-light, show our concern for mankind, make our life a sacrifice-flood. Everything we shall do to make ourselves ready. If we haven’t yet reached the goal, we don’t feel sad; we aspire. Then, when the Hour comes, we can run the fastest.
Question: What colour means "transcendence"?Sri Chinmoy: Usually blue has transcendence. Any colour can have transcendence, but not brown or black. Black has the inner tendency to fight, but by fighting, what is going to be transcended? Only things which want to expand have transcendence. Blue always wants to expand. From dark blue it goes to pale blue, sky blue. From a dark colour it gradually transcends, transcends until we get the feeling there is only Infinity.
Question: Sometimes when I write something or take a film, I get a certain sense of creative satisfaction. But I am not always sure whether it comes from the mental or the vital.Sri Chinmoy: You will be the best judge. But if you get satisfaction, that is more than enough. If you get real satisfaction, you don’t have to worry about whether it is coming from the mind or the vital. Let us take the planes of consciousness as the floors of a building. Right now you do not have free access to the building. There are quite a few floors. But when you make considerable progress in the spiritual life, a day will come when you will be able to know which floor, which plane, these experiences are coming from. Whether it is the vital plane, the psychic plane, the mental plane, the over-mind, the higher mind, the intuitive mind — easily you will be able to know. But as long as you get joy, try to claim this joy. You don’t have to know from which floor the experiences are coming. Continue creating. That is the right thing. As long as you claim divine satisfaction from the creation, that is sufficient. You don’t have to know everything in minor detail. Just see the reality. If you want to become an expert, you have to realise God. When you are aiming at God-realisation, don’t worry about the minor things that come along the way. As long as you are satisfied, it is more than enough.
Question: Master, how may we increase our dedication?Sri Chinmoy: We can increase our own dedication by constant practice. If we dedicate ourselves to God, say, five minutes a day, then let us increase it to ten minutes, half an hour, two or three hours. But we have to do it soulfully. It is not enough just to increase the time; we have to know that soulful prayer should be our aim. Every day, when we dedicate our lives to the higher Goal, the higher cause or the divinity within us, we have to be extremely soulful. And if we are really soulful, then we increase the power of our receptivity and capacity in our life of dedication.
Question: How can we increase our will-power?Sri Chinmoy: There are two types of will-power. One type of will-power we get from the third eye. Tremendous will-power we get if we concentrate here. The other type of will-power is from the heart. From here also we get intense will-power. Again, if we concentrate around our navel, there is a kind of will-power that we get, but that will-power is destructive; we cannot use it for a good purpose. This will-power comes from the vital world, and if we are not totally purified in our vital, especially in the lower vital, we may misuse this will-power. But if the navel centre is purified, then the will-power we get from there will be used for a divine purpose.
The will-power we have inside the heart is the soul’s power. That power we can never use for a wrong purpose. The safest of the three is the will-power that comes from the heart. When you pray and meditate, try to feel that there is already some power inside, deep inside your heart, which has to be brought to the fore. Will-power from the navel centre we can use for good purposes and bad purposes, for constructive and destructive ends; but will-power from the heart can only be utilised for good. It is very fast, like a bullet. When we use the will-power from the navel centre, it will be very deep and electrifying, but in the heart’s will-power there is motherly affection, concern. Tremendous will is there, but the mother’s will is also full of love and compassion. Will-power from the third eye will be like the father’s will-power. There will be concern, but wisdom will also be there.
The easiest way to use will-power is to take the positive approach. Use will-power to do something positive, not to keep yourself from doing something negative. If we say, “I shall not tell a lie,” that is important. But if we say, “I shall tell the truth,” that will-power is more effective. When we say, “I won’t do it,” already the negative thing has half its power just because we are thinking about it. If we repeat in our mind, “I won’t be jealous,” the word “jealous”, the negative quality that it embodies, ruins our mind and then we do become jealous. If we say, “I won’t be doubtful,” the word “doubt” enters into our mind and automatically doubt comes. But if we say, “From now on, I shall be totally devoted to God. I shall be faithful. I shall be fully surrendered,” these words are very good. Surrender and faith and devotion are very good. If we all the time have positive feeling, and make positive assertions, then automatically our will-power increases.
Question: I should like an elaboration on the link between music and spirituality as you see it.Sri Chinmoy: Music and spirituality go together. God Himself is the Supreme Musician and each human being is a note in His cosmic Game. God is playing His cosmic Role in mankind through music. Through His music, God is offering to His children the message of unity in multiplicity and also the message of multiplicity in unity. When we play soulful music, we elevate our consciousness most rapidly. Soulful music is a form of aspiration, a form of meditation. But if we play undivine music, then it destroys our aspiring consciousness. All those who are seekers of the infinite Truth will naturally play soulful music; and when they play soulful music, they have to know that they are consciously running towards their destined goal.
Question: What is meditation?Sri Chinmoy: Meditation is the invocation of some higher force or higher reality into the lower part of our existence. The higher and lower parts are both ours, but the higher realities which we try to bring down during meditation are conscious of their oneness with God, whereas the lower realities in us are not aware of it. When we meditate, we invoke the higher realities to enter into the lower realities and make them feel that they also belong to God. So meditation is the invocation of our higher part into our lower part in order to illumine and convince the lower that it can also eventually be as good, as divine, as perfect as the higher in us, provided it receives the light that is descending from above. Then, when the lower realities are illumined properly, they will be able to claim God the same way the higher realities claim God.
Question: You said we can increase our purity by repeating AUM five hundred times a day. But for me to repeat AUM five hundred times a day is very difficult. Can you advise me what to do?Sri Chinmoy: If it is difficult for you to do it at one stretch, then you can do it in pieces. You can do it ten times; each time you will repeat it only fifty times. You know that during the day you want to drink ten glasses of water. But if you drink all ten glasses of water at once, you are afraid it will upset your stomach; so you won’t drink them all at once. But if you drink one glass now and then after an interval of an hour or two, another glass, easily you can drink ten glasses of water. So here also, instead of chanting AUM five hundred times all at once, early in the morning you can repeat it fifty times. Then, in an hour’s time, you try another fifty. So each hour if you repeat AUM fifty times, each time it won’t take you more than a minute or two. Since you can easily spend two minutes in an hour, you can do it. If you have a mantra or incantation of your own, you can easily do it fifty times an hour. It cannot take more than two or three minutes, and everyone can offer three minutes to God. It is not how many hours you can do it at a time that is important, but how soulfully you can do it.
When you chant AUM, please feel that life-energy, divine energy, is entering into you through your crown centre. The breath that you breathe in through the nose is very limited; but if you can imagine that there is a big hole in the top of your head and that life-energy, cosmic energy, is entering into your body through that big hole, then naturally you will be able to accelerate your purification and increase your aspiration and hunger for God, Truth, Light and Bliss.
Editor's preface to the first editionThis volume consists of a series of essays by Sri Chinmoy dealing with a spiritual seeker’s inner life, plus a selection of questions and answers.