Sri Chinmoy speaks, part 6
Part ISCS 137-144. On the New Year's Message for 1976 — commentaries, questions and answers.
New Year's Message1
The animal in us will unimaginably be destroyed. The human in us will unreservedly be frustrated. The divine in us will supremely be satisfied.
The animal in us is self-doubt. The human in us is self-indulgence. The divine in us is self-offering."
SCS 137. At his annual public meditation for the New Year in December 1975, Sri Chinmoy offered the following message about the upcoming year of 1976.↩
"Self-offering"1You all know what self-offering is. It is my fervent prayer to your souls that you increase your self-offering in the new year. Please try to increase the capacity of your self-offering to the Supreme. Self-offering is our constant remembrance of the Supreme. The best self-offering is to remember the Supreme all the time. Every day, early in the morning, please try to empty your inner vessel. Then I shall fill it with Light, Love and Concern.
Now I wish each of you to stand up for a second and tell what you would like to achieve next year individually or collectively for the Centre, the mission or yourself. Please tell one most significant thing that you will try to do next year — either individually or collectively. You can say that you are going to conquer a particular weakness. This is individual achievement, but your individual progress becomes the progress of the mission. If you become a better seeker, that becomes an achievement of the Centre. Or you can say you are going to do something significant for the mission. Again, if you do something for the mission, automatically it becomes your individual progress. This year you have suffered, everybody has suffered. Next year, if you can conquer your weaknesses or achieve something, then you are not going to suffer.
SCS 138. After reading out the New Year's Message at a meeting of his New York Centre on 18 December 1975, Sri Chinmoy made these remarks.↩
Question: Does this New Year's Message apply to the world at large, or primarily to your disciples?Sri Chinmoy: The message I gave applies to the world at large, but my disciples are affected more, whether divinely or undivinely, because they have more faith in me than the rest of the world has. Because you have faith in me, your progress can be rapid and boundless, whereas mankind’s progress will be slow. Last year, I said, was the year of success and progress. Look at our achievements: more than 100,000 paintings, 16,000 paintings in one day, 843 poems in one day. These are your achievements, too — all the result of our joint aspiration. But in some of the disciples, all the success and progress was made by the undivine forces in them. These disciples are also part and parcel of my inner life. Good and bad forces all the time assail us. The bad forces we have to transform into good ones, and the good ones into better ones. This year, also, either the divine forces will win most powerfully — and they should win, must win one hundred per cent — or the undivine forces will destroy our life of aspiration.
Unfortunately, we do not pay enough attention to the new year which takes place every second in our lives. The new year is not just twelve months or 365 days. It is something that begins at every second in our life of aspiration. The new year means new hope, new promise to God and to mankind. This applies to all of mankind, but my disciples will be more inspired to do their best. If they are not inspired, then the wrong forces will plague them more and they will fall victim to doubt and self-indulgence, which are nothing short of self-destruction.
Question: Usually I think of self-doubt as the human quality and self-indulgence as the animal quality in us.Sri Chinmoy: You think of indulgence as an animal quality because it has to do with the physical, whereas doubt has to do with the mind. But I give more importance to the destructive capacity of the quality. If you are self-indulgent, eventually you will get tremendous pressure from your mind and body to alter your behaviour. Self-indulgence brings its own punishment, for it will tell upon your health. But when you doubt yourself, it is a slow poison. Gradually it destroys you totally. When an animal destroys, it destroys totally. It won’t get satisfaction otherwise.
The animal in us is doubt because it is ready to devour us, the reality in us, at every moment. It is hiding inside the mind like a hungry wolf, and as soon as it sees something good, it tries to devour it. Anything that is good in us can be devoured by doubt. The human in us is indulgent because it has not received abundant light. The divine Light has not yet illumined the human in us fully. When it is indulgent, the after-effect of this pleasure-indulgence is immediate retribution. When the human in us goes to the wrong extreme, it suffers immediately. There is something called divine nectar, which is ecstatic Delight or Bliss, and when the human in us goes in the right direction, which means with the divine, then it will have all ecstasy and Delight.
So doubt is the animal in us because it is total destruction. If we doubt ourselves, doubt devours our divine possibility, potentiality and inevitability. It does nothing short of devour the reality in us. As long as we don’t doubt the wisdom of our spiritual aspiration, no matter how many bad things we do, we will be able to leave them aside before long. But if we doubt, we will never be able to cast aside our undivine life. Once we start doubting, there is no end to it. No matter what we achieve and no matter what God gives us, we will say, “Perhaps somebody else has been given something sweeter.” Then we will be disgusted and dissatisfied and we will totally give up our life of dedication.
Question: When I see myself cherishing indulgence and I start doubting my sincerity, what should I do?Sri Chinmoy: If you have real sincerity, sincerity will protect you. Sincerity itself has abundant power, but we underestimate the power of sincerity. If you think you are sincere to your goal when you make mistakes, at that time you are not being sincere. When sincerity is firm, you cannot make any mistake. Sincerity-power will negate temptation-power, and the result is that you will become more sincere. But when you do make a mistake, you should always try again. If you really have sincerity, your sincerity will appear a few minutes later to make you feel that the case is not totally lost. You have fallen; try to get up, walk, march, run again.
Question: What are the forms of self-indulgence that we must transform?Sri Chinmoy: Every form in your vital life, emotional life, mental life — everything that prevents you from going deeper and higher. Anything wrong that you do on the physical, vital or mental plane, anything that you cherish that lowers your consciousness and does not permit you to concentrate most powerfully on the Supreme is self-indulgence and must be transformed.
"Fulfilling a New Year's resolution"1In some cases, fulfilling a New Year’s resolution is a matter of an hour or three hours. If someone spends three hours doing it, then he feels that the rest of the year he can enjoy himself.
In some cases it is a matter of a second for me to grant their boon. If I say yes, then their resolution is all over; it is accomplished. It depends on the receptivity. If the person is receptive, immediately I can fulfil his wish. If he is not receptive, then I can’t. The mother will run and catch the child and put food inside his mouth, but he will throw it out. Then the child will come again and say he is hungry, he is hungry. But when the mother comes with the food, he won’t eat. If you have received everything that I brought down today, then I tell you, for six months you don’t have to meditate.
During the New Year’s meditation I really bring down. People used to meditate for years to get a little light. But my physical body brings down divine Peace, Light and Bliss. When I look at the seekers who are seated, I see literally that it is raining Light, Bliss. When the seekers feel gratitude, at that time they receive.
If we have any weakness in our life, if we feel that we have to conquer it, then we have started our journey. But if we don’t take our weaknesses as something to be conquered, we will never conquer them. If we have self-doubt, we are one step ahead if we know that we have it. It is self-doubt that is not allowing my disciples to make very fast progress. Who doubts? People who remain in the mental world. Is there anybody who does not live in the mental world? If there is self-doubt, then there is self-indulgence, because self-doubt makes one feel, “I am not great, I cannot be good.” And in that case, what else is there left for him but self-indulgence? If we can feel that we are good, if we can feel that we can be great, then let us feel this.
This year has been a year of achievement. At the same time, we have seen the so-called victory of the hostile forces in a few fields. But next year let us be wise; let us not make the same mistakes. Now that you know the New Year’s Message, you can start right from today. You don’t have to wait for the first of January.
SCS 143. After holding his Public Meditation for the New Year on 19 December 1975, Sri Chinmoy offered these remarks during an informal gathering with some of his disciples.↩
"Each year has a special message"1Let us try to satisfy the Supreme in us in His own Way cheerfully, soulfully and unconditionally. If we please Him in our own way even one time out of one hundred, we shall feel miserable because that one time we will be separated from our Source. For a sincere seeker, to remain separated from his Source even for a fleeting second is to suffer excruciating pangs. Therefore, let us try to satisfy the Supreme at every moment in His own Way.
It is a mistake to feel that each year has the same potentiality or opportunity. No, each year has a special message; although each day need not be God’s choice Hour for realisation, perfection and satisfaction. If we don’t do that, then this year will undoubtedly prove to be the year of destruction.
Last year was the year of success and progress. We made considerable progress in our inner and outer life. At the same time, the undivine forces also made considerable progress. If we properly cherish our sincere inner cry, this will be the year of inevitable satisfaction. If not, it will be the year of real destruction, disaster. If the divine forces within us win, then our self-doubt and self-indulgence will be destroyed, which means transformed. Self-indulgence and self-doubt will not be there; alertness and self-offering will replace them. But the divine forces will win only if we consciously and constantly side with the divine forces. Otherwise, there is every possibility that the undivine forces will destroy us. This does not mean that we will die this year, but our inner life may die. Then we will feel that we are dead souls.
So let us be very divine and careful. We have not yet been assailed by the destructive forces. If we can continue with purest aspiration in the months that are ahead of us, we shall really and truly please our Inner Pilot.
SCS 144. After holding a New Year's Eve Meditation in Puerto Rico, Sri Chinmoy commented further on his previously offered New Year's Message.↩
Receptivity and assimilationWhen you meditate, receptivity is of paramount importance. Spiritual wealth is like the sun. The sunlight is for everyone, but if you close all the windows and doors to your house, then how can the sunlight enter? When the Master meditates, he brings down from above Peace, Light and Bliss. But if you keep your heart’s door closed, then what he brings down won’t be able to enter.
I always tell my disciples to keep their eyes open when they meditate. Otherwise, I will be in my highest and you will be in your own world. Sometimes I am bringing down infinite Peace, Light and Bliss, but you are in the world of sleep. If your eyes are open you will see the source, where it is all coming from, in my eyes. My eyes are just pulling down Peace, Light and Bliss from above.
Also, it is good if you can fold your hands when you are in a very high state of consciousness. When you pray and meditate with folded hands, at that time your attention, concentration and everything in you become one-pointed. Your physical mind, your physical being become more devoted. Some of you are folding your hands very devotedly and soulfully all the time while you meditate. Some of you are folding your hands only some of the time, for a few minutes. I don’t blame you, because your hands become tired after a while. If it is physically tiring and you are in pain, you have to know that this pain is not going to bring you satisfaction. You can pray and meditate and still go into a very high state of consciousness without folding your hands. But there are some who fold their hands soulfully almost from the beginning to the end and it does help their aspiration.
Again, many times when you fold your hands, there is no sincerity or depth in it. If you can keep your hands folded with utmost sincerity, I will be very pleased.
If you are sincere, others will be inspired when they see you with folded hands; they will see or feel something in you. But sincerity has to be the safeguard. Just because so-and-so folds his hands, or because you are worried about what he or she thinks of you, that is no reason to fold your hands. If you don’t feel the necessity from within, there is no obligation. Just because you feel the Master will know if you don’t fold your hands, there is no need to do so. Only if you feel your aspiration is increasing, that you are receiving more devotedly, should you fold your hands. But if you feel you are not getting anything more by folding your hands, then don’t do it. But again, not out of insincerity or because others are doing it, but if you feel Guru will be very pleased if you do it, then you should fold your hands. So there is no hard and fast rule. Again, towards the end, when I am looking at each of you individually, please keep your hands folded. When you keep your hands folded with utmost sincerity, at that time, like a magnet you pull from me. Also, when you sing the Invocation, all of you without fail should fold your hands.
When I tell you to fold your hands, I am not the one who gets your devotion. Never, never! If you fold your hands, I don’t get a cent of devotion. But your physical mind is convinced. The reluctant, unwilling, stubborn physical mind becomes devoted. At that time, the whole being, the entire physical being becomes devoted. Devotion is like a magnet; it pulls Light from me. If you want to increase your devotion, then always you should try to do something on the physical plane. Indians are wise. When they see a Master, they immediately touch his feet. If you touch the feet, the entire being surrenders — at least for a second. But even if you can offer surrender for a second, you can achieve something which otherwise might have taken months.
The best way to receive during meditation is through gratitude. You are offering gratitude to the Supreme because He has chosen you to be in His Boat. Because your consciousness is elevated, you are seeking what I am bringing down. Some don’t even see it. Others see it, but they feel they don’t need it. But you see it and you are hungry for it. Others are not hungry in spite of seeing the food; or they are hungry, but they don’t want to eat the food which the Master wants to supply. In your case, you are hungry and you have recognised the fact that there is someone with food. And who created your hunger? It is not you who created it. The person with the food has created it in you. So you are grateful to the person once more. And your gratitude goes directly to the Supreme. It doesn’t go to me, I am just the messenger-boy. It goes to the Source, the Supreme.
Gratitude is always more intense if it goes to the personal God, rather than to the impersonal God. When it is the impersonal form, for a fleeting second you get joy. You feel your oneness with the Vast, but the sweetness is not there. Vastness, immensity, is indispensable; but if the seeker wants to grow into sweetness and feel a sense of delight in his being, then the personal aspect is indispensable.
If you have a high meditation, you should not talk immediately afterwards. You should first try to assimilate what you have received. Once assimilation takes place, it becomes your property. Before that it may disappear. If someone says, “How are you?” he may take it away. But once you assimilate it into your system, it has become yours. Again, it may happen in meditation that while you are receiving, you are also assimilating. So when it is time to stop meditating, it is all assimilated.
In the past, when we used to hold meditations in Manhattan, right after meditation the disciples would go to a restaurant and eat. Everything they had received they gave to the restaurant. Here, at least, the disciples cook and the disciples serve, so we are able to maintain some of the spiritual light and power that we have received. We feel that the soul has received spiritual food during the meditation and now after meditation, we want to offer something to the vital and physical. That is why we have food and mix together. If you leave the Centre and immediately go to a cafeteria, it will be a different consciousness. You have to feel that here at the Centre you have real spiritual brothers and sisters with whom you can mix and exchange sweet words. You speak about innocent things concerning your daily lives or spiritual life. Just looking at one another’s faces, you get joy. This very joy perhaps you may not get from your physical brothers and sisters if they don’t follow the same spiritual path. So when you mix together, you get a little vital joy. This vital joy has nothing to do with the lower vital. Far from it! This joy strengthens and energises your dynamic vital quality. And in mixing together you can all feel true oneness.
Meditation experiencesWhen you meditate, it is good to keep your eyes open. I know that when I bring down Light, it radiates in my face, and if your eyes are open, then you are bound to see something. You don’t have to look at me. If you keep your eyes open, that is more than enough. What I bring down you can see not only in my face, but all around me. It is like a glow that radiates around my body. So you don’t have to look at my eyes or nose to appreciate the Light. It spreads as soon as I bring it down. And that is the time for you to receive. But if you keep your eyes closed, it is very difficult for you to receive because your consciousness, instead of going up — God knows where it goes. When your eyes are open, you don’t feel you are having any hallucinations. When your eyes are closed, you may feel a certain experience was a hallucination and naturally you will reject it.
When your eyes spontaneously roll up, you are flowing in the experience itself. Once you know it is an experience, once you feel and touch the fragrance of the experience, the flower of the experience, you can continue. But in order to enter into a garden, you need some preparation. You have to know it is a garden and not a forest. Otherwise you will become afraid and reject the experience.
In the U.N. Church Centre, most of the time the meditation is most sublime, but the disciples don’t receive. The people who are supposed to receive everything are fast asleep. I am concentrating on everybody in the whole world. I may look at you, but by looking at you as an individual, I see you as a representative of the Universal. So if I look at an individual, from the individual I go to the Universal, which includes everybody. Again, from the Universal, I come to an individual. When somebody is holding the Universal Consciousness, he is also holding each individual. So, from the individual we go to the Universal and vice versa. Both these things we do most of the time together.
If a particular person doesn’t receive, the highest consciousness that has been brought down goes to the Universal Consciousness and it stays there if it is not utilised. The Universal Consciousness is the storehouse, but usually the customer does not want to go to the warehouse, the storehouse. Usually there is a store where many things are available. On rare occasions you go to the storehouse if what you want is not in the store. It is always advisable to get the thing in the store itself. The individual is the store. The storehouse, unfortunately, is not like an ordinary storehouse. It has all kinds of things. When you come there you get puzzled, confused. Everything is extremely beautiful to such an extent that you want to buy everything, but you don’t have enough money to buy everything. Whereas when you receive something during meditation, you receive a specific thing that you like; so you take your money, which is aspiration, and you buy it. But your aspiration is right now limited. When you go to the storehouse, you see millions of things that are beautiful and you are sad. You have a very limited amount of money. You can’t buy this and that because you don’t have enough aspiration. When you go to the store, when you like something, immediately you buy it. You don’t think about what is available at another store. Once you are satisfied, you don’t go to another place. But in the storehouse of the Universal Consciousness, millions and billions of things are so beautiful that you feel sad since you have not been able to buy everything with your aspiration-power.
Question: How do you meditate?Sri Chinmoy: Each Master has his own way of teaching his students how to meditate. But no matter which path you follow, the first and foremost thing is to make the mind calm and quiet. If the mind is constantly roaming, if it is a victim of merciless thoughts, then the seeker will make no progress whatsoever. The mind has to be calm and quiet so that when the light descends from above, the seeker can be fully conscious of it. In his conscious observation and conscious acceptance of light, the seeker enters into profound meditation. And in his profound meditation he sees the purification, transformation and illumination of his life.
So I tell my disciples outwardly that they should offer their thoughts and ideas and the incidents of the day to the Supreme, the Inner Pilot. Then inwardly I try to bring to the fore their soul’s light. When I accept a disciple, I have a free access to that individual’s soul. I try to bring the soul to the fore and then the soul convinces the heart and mind to do the right thing. So it is the soul’s light that actually meditates in and through the seeker. But each spiritual Master has his own way of teaching meditation.
Question: Can we feel the experience that you have offered our souls?Sri Chinmoy: When you enjoy experiences, it is like seeing my paintings. Four thousand I have done and they are all in my house, let us say. If you can go to my house, it is a question of whether I am willing to show you all the paintings. Then you can take your own time, a few hours, to see them. The paintings are there in my house and you can see them. But you have to know that I as an individual am the possessor. It is up to me whether I shall show you. So also in the soul’s world, the soul is the possessor of all your inner experiences. It has everything recorded. If you can enter into the soul, the soul’s reality, the soul can show you these experiences as I can show you the paintings in my house.
Question: If I want to do japa, should I chant your name, or AUM or Supreme?Sri Chinmoy: The best way to do japa is to chant the Supreme’s name. But if you do not get joy from chanting Supreme, then chant AUM: God the Creator, God the Preserver, God the Transformer. Either use this term or Supreme. The seers of the holy past chanted AUM. When you chant Supreme, it embodies everything. Sometimes the mind operates when you chant Supreme, but with AUM it is a different approach. Because Supreme is an English word, you may not get joy from it, whereas AUM is new to you. When we do something new, we get joy.
Question: You said the Invocation is our mantra and our realisation. If I want to do japa by singing the Invocation, how many repetitions should I do?Sri Chinmoy: If you want to do it seven times, that is more than enough. But it need not be seven. If you can do it soulfully, once is more than enough. When it comes to, “I am Thy glowing Grace,” if you can feel this, then all your problems will be solved. That particular line is your salvation: “I am Thy glowing Grace.” If you can sing that line soulfully and feel actually that you are the Supreme’s glowing Grace, then all your problems can be solved.
Question: Guru, I sometimes say the Gayatri Mantra even though I am your disciple. Am I doing the right thing?Sri Chinmoy: If you are doing the Gayatri Mantra, it will be most effective. But if you use another mantra, which another spiritual Master gave you, and if you are following my path, then it will be a problem. The Gayatri Mantra is above all gurus. The Gayatri Mantra will not be able to create any problem, because just by repeating this mantra people have realised God. In India there are people who have realised God only by repeating the Gayatri Mantra most soulfully by the Ganges. If you repeat the Gayatri Mantra most soulfully in front of my picture, it will add to your aspiration. But if it is some other mantra, you have no idea what it will do. It may be a spiritual word, true, but your nature may not correspond to that particular aspect of God.
Each mantra represents an aspect of God. If right now you need God’s Love-power more than any other power, and if you are not paying any attention to Love-power, then your progress will be very slow. But once you realise God, all the aspects of God enter into you. Very often I tell disciples who have accepted our path not to practise their old mantras, which they have gotten from other Masters or from books. It becomes a hindrance on the path. They want to be totally devoted to our path; but the forces and the energy they create by repeating those particular divine words may interfere with their spiritual progress. It is like walking along two roads at the same time; it is very dangerous. But the Gayatri Mantra is above all this. The Gayatri is the mother of all mantras. So if you practise the Gayatri, it will really add to your progress on our path; and when you follow our path, it will intensify for you the meditative power of the Gayatri Mantra.
I would be very happy if you could learn the tune that I have set to the Gayatri Mantra. If you can sing it most soulfully, it will be as good as repeating the mantra one hundred times. This is the difference between reciting and singing. While we are singing, our entire being is elevated and transported into the highest plane of consciousness. When we recite something soulfully, sometimes we may get dynamic power; sometimes we may get vital power, uncontrolled vital power. But if we sing a song soulfully, immediately psychic power comes. Psychic power comes to the fore and makes us swim in the sea of Light and Delight. If we are singing soulfully, this is more important than to be technically correct. When I sing, many times I make mistakes. But God does not care about my technique. He cares for my soulful qualities. So when you learn the Gayatri Mantra, please do not worry that you cannot sing it like a professional singer. As long as it comes from your heart, God will be really pleased.
Question: When I am trying to offer gratitude while I am meditating and I am not feeling sincere, should I keep trying or should I stop?Sri Chinmoy: If you feel insincere, the best thing is to continue, not to give up. It is like hunger. Every day you don’t feel hungry, but you do eat. If you are not properly hungry, the food may not taste good. You may not feel great joy in eating, but you do eat because it is the necessity of the body. Similarly, even if you are not feeling sincere gratitude, it is better to continue because in this way you maintain the habit. If you stop eating today and you don’t feel like eating tomorrow, then you become weak. Here also, if you don’t continue your offering you become weak. If you don’t try to offer the little gratitude you feel today, tomorrow it will be worse, and the day after it will all go away. So the best thing is to continue. It need not be your best meditation, but continue; do not stop.
Question: To attain joy, should we always meditate the same way as we do in the Centre?Sri Chinmoy: The highest type of meditation is done in silence, with one objective in mind: to please God in His own Way. When you meditate, if you can feel that you are pleasing God in God’s own Way, then that is the best type of meditation. Otherwise, if you start meditating in order to get joy, you will get joy; you are bound to get joy if that is your intention. But you may not get boundless joy, precisely because you have not pleased your Eternal Beloved, your Father and Friend, God, in His own Way. During your meditation, if God finds it is necessary to give you an experience of suffering, world-suffering, if He wants to enlarge your heart for a few seconds and offer you the world of suffering, if that is His intention but you want to have only joy from your meditation, He will grant you joy. But just because you have separated your existence from the experience He wanted to give you, you will not get the highest joy. “Let Thy Will be done.” What the Saviour Christ said is absolutely the highest truth. This is the supreme message humanity can receive from the absolute Highest. Before you meditate, if you can offer the result of your meditation to the Source and say, “I wish to become Your perfect instrument so You can fulfil Yourself in and through me in Your own Way,” this is the highest, absolutely the highest, type of meditation.
Question: How can I become your disciple?Sri Chinmoy: Please come to this Centre regularly. Please feel this is your spiritual home. You have an earthly home and this is your spiritual home. Here you will get love, concern and the feeling of divine oneness. Only my request to you is to come here regularly and throw your heart and soul into our path. The Supreme in me will do the needful. I accept you wholeheartedly. You kindly come and pay your fee, which is aspiration and regularity. If you come regularly and devotedly and offer your aspiration to the Supreme, you are giving me my salary and fee.
Question: If someone wants to become your disciple, is it necessary for you to see the person's picture or actually see the person in the physical?Sri Chinmoy: No, it is not at all necessary. When a person wants to become my disciple, it means a portion of his soul is hovering around me. When it is time for me to decide on the physical plane about this particular person, immediately his soul will appear before me. That is why when I go through the seekers’ pictures, sometimes I flip through very quickly without even pausing. It is because the soul appears before me and it is not necessary for me to concentrate on the picture. Sometimes, though, it is not the soul but the mind or the vital or the heart that wants to become my disciple. Then I have to concentrate for a second or two to bring the soul forward so I can see if the person is meant to follow my path or not.
The reason I ask seekers to send in a picture is for the human aspect. If they think that I want to see their picture, then they feel that I care about them. It helps to convince their mind and makes them feel more familiar with me. But to be frank, it is not at all necessary.
Question: If somebody were to be awakened in the middle of the night and hear a clear voice say, "Come to me. I am your Teacher," how would he interpret it? Is this a kind of initiation?Sri Chinmoy: You have to know that initiation can be accomplished in various ways. Sometimes you get a Teacher on the physical plane. Sometimes after you study books written by a spiritual figure, the inspiration you get leads you to a kind of inner initiation by a particular spiritual Teacher.
Again, God may come to you Himself to initiate you. At that time, this inner voice is the Voice of God telling you something. God may show you Light. This Light can take the form of a particular Teacher. Or through this Light God will take you to a particular Teacher.
But when someone says, “Come to me; I am your Teacher,” the word “I” is very complicated at that point. If you have a spiritual Teacher who has left the body and if the Teacher feels that you need more spiritual help and guidance, he may appear to you in a vision and say, “I have come back.” This “I” doesn’t mean that he has physically returned to earth. It means that he sees that somebody else is capable of helping you; and he will say that he, in some other form, is ready to guide you more.
I have three or four disciples whose Guru passed away three or four years ago. Their Guru came to them during a dream or meditation and said, “I have come in another form.” By “I” he meant myself. He used the term “I”, but it did not mean that he had entered into me. No! The other Master realised his oneness with me and used the term “I”. So we have to know what that particular “I” is and what it stands for.
Question: What is the essential quality which a seeker needs in order to enter into your path?Sri Chinmoy: The essential quality that a seeker needs, not only to enter into my path, but to enter into any path, is sincerity. The seeker has to ask himself whether he really needs someone to fill his life. Right now he does need someone, because he has not yet established a free access to his inner life, where he is absolutely and inseparably one with God. A day will come when the seeker will realise that his own highest, transcendental height is God Himself. But he cannot claim the Highest as his very own right now because most of the time he is swimming and drowning in a sea of ignorance. Therefore, he has to feel that there is someone who is trying to illumine him. How can he search for that someone? First of all, he has to look inside his own heart, and he has to look with sincerity. If he can feel that his whole life — body, mind, vital, heart and soul — is composed of sincerity, then he is not only meant for this path, but for all paths, and he will make the fastest progress.
There are many paths and many Masters, but each path has a special quality of its own. All paths and all Masters lead the seeker to the destined Goal, but each path has something different and original to offer. In our path, we have divine love, devotion and surrender. To acquire these divine qualities of love, devotion and surrender, we must give of ourselves; and while giving, we shall feel our oneness with the Supreme. So, if someone wants to try our path, he has to feel the necessity of realising the highest truth through divine love, devotion and surrender. If he has divine love, devotion and surrender along with the true sincerity, then he is more than qualified to follow our path.
Question: I find it very difficult to be a student and your disciple at the same time. Sometimes I become very tense over my studies.Sri Chinmoy: Kindly feel that you are only studying to please the Supreme in you. Whatever the result, don’t take it as success or failure; take it as progress. Otherwise there will always be a competitive spirit and you will be tense. But if you feel that you are studying to please God, then you won’t separate your outer life from your inner life and there will be no tension. Keep in mind that you are not doing these things for name and fame. If you are doing something just to please God, then you are not responsible for the result. At that time you live in the soul; and when you are in the soul, there is no tension.
Question: My friend is not a disciple. She has begun to meditate on your picture and she feels great fear.Sri Chinmoy: There is no fear. It is only a matter of whether she is ready to give up certain things. Fear is not of the Real, but of giving up something. Very often people say they are frightened to death of my picture. But it is not my picture; only inwardly they are unwilling to give up their old habits, their old life. They look at my picture and see an ocean of uncertainty. But it is not actually an ocean of uncertainty. They are only holding onto old habits that they are unwilling to give up. “What will happen if we give them up? Right now we know what we are and what we are doing.” Her experience has to be interpreted in this way.
If one can obliterate the past and be ready to enter into the new, the ever-new, consciously and soulfully, one will see that the new also has its reality, a more fulfilling reality than the past. Then there can be no fear, never. Fear comes only when either we are unwilling to give up our old life or we are not certain of the new life. But mostly people are unconscious of the fact that they don’t want to give up their old life. Because they want to become spiritual, they feel embarrassed that they are still cherishing mundane things and they don’t want to admit it. Some are sincere; they say they are not going to give up drinking or drugs. They want the spiritual life, but they don’t want to give up their old life. Let us only encourage them and say that the new life will definitely give them a sense of satisfaction. It may be my path or somebody else’s path, but so long as spirituality is practised, they will get some satisfaction. And if it is followed sincerely and devotedly, the satisfaction will be abiding.
Question: You use the word "seeker". When does the seeker cease seeking and become a disciple?Sri Chinmoy: We are all seekers. Even though I have reached the height, my highest height, I am also a seeker. There is no end to our inner discovery, there is no end to our realisation. Even if you have realised the Truth, I wish to say that today’s realisation is just the starting point for tomorrow’s discovery.
When we want to make a distinction between seeker and disciple, we feel that a disciple is under an inner obligation to follow a specific Master, to walk along a specific path, whereas a seeker is at liberty to go to all the Masters and get a little knowledge from each. Sometimes a seeker becomes unnecessarily greedy. He feels that if he goes to ten Masters, then he will be immediately satisfied. But it is not like that. The one Master that is meant for him has the most nourishing food. A seeker becomes a disciple when he comes to realise that Yoga is only one subject and that only one teacher is necessary.
Each teacher has a specific way of bringing the disciple’s soul to the fore. Each teacher has a specific way of offering meditation to the disciple’s outer being. If one keeps switching from one teacher to the next, he wastes a lot of time. Also, he finds that his aspiration may decrease. When a seeker becomes a disciple, at that time he claims to have a house of his own. “This is my father, this is my mother, this is my brother, this is my sister.” A disciple who follows a specific path, will say, “These are my spiritual brothers and sisters; this is our spiritual family.”
Question: I showed my grandmother your picture, but she is getting very old and senile, and I don't know if she received anything.Sri Chinmoy: Definitely she will get some benefit in the inner world if she is aware of us, of what we are doing on earth. And you can help her more by helping her remember sweet experiences that you had with her during her lifetime. If you can recollect some sweet experiences that she shared with you or that you shared with her, and while you are experiencing them again, if you can remember us and bring us into the experience itself, then her soul will receive additional joy, love and oneness that will help the soul fly into the higher worlds. It can be done in that way, by remembering a few experiences.
Question: I believe very much in the emancipation of religion, but I am Roman Catholic and I just wonder about serving two Masters. Can I also become your disciple?Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. There is nothing wrong in your realisation, but you have to know that Christianity is a religion, whereas what we are following is not a religion. We are following a path.
There is only one Master and that Master is God, the Absolute Supreme. A spiritual Master is only an elder brother in your family. The younger brothers do not know where the Father is or they do not know all about the Father’s capacities. The elder brother teaches them about the Father’s capacities or he takes them to the Father. Then his role is over. So there will be no conflict if you follow my path because I am not the destination. I am just a messenger; I take you or your message to the Supreme.
If I say my Hinduism is by far the best religion and if you say your Christianity is by far the best, then we shall only quarrel and fight. But we say, “No, you stay in your religion and let me stay in mine, and let us meet together to do something great for God and for humanity.” We will meet together and do the needful. Then we will go back to our respective homes, our religions, to take rest.
When we follow a path, we do not encourage any seeker to look down on religion. On the contrary, we feel that our love for religion is strengthened because we follow Yoga. Yoga means oneness with God. If we can establish our oneness with God, or if we can have a free access to God’s Heart, then we can add our strength, our light, to our own religion. Right now, like a divine beggar, we are trying to grab everything from our religion. But a day will come when we get light from within, when our being is surcharged with light. At that time we will be able to offer light to religion.
Question: Before I was a disciple I was studying Tarot and the Kabbalah. Does it conflict with our path if I continue to do so?Sri Chinmoy: The best thing is not to do these things. You are in a different boat, one that will only encourage you to love God and devote your existence to serving God. The best thing is to try our path wholeheartedly. I don’t want to say the others are wrong, but you will have more success on this path if you try it wholeheartedly.
Question: If someone is always away from the spiritual Centre, what is the best way to keep up with the other disciples?Sri Chinmoy: You will try to read my books and concentrate on my photograph and keep in close touch with someone in the Centre. If you can read my writings, they are like friends, like your brothers and sisters. Also, try to get some of our records and listen to our music. It is not always possible to meditate, but you can read and listen to music. In this way you will make progress. Distance cannot take away our inner connection.
Question: Since entering the spiritual life, I feel I don't want to spend time with my old friends. But I feel sad about not seeing them so often.Sri Chinmoy: If you have undivine friends, then right now do not mix with them. According to your standard they are undivine, but according to others’ standards they are not undivine. You have entered into the spiritual life, so you know that these people are undivine. Once upon a time you were also, let us say, undivine. That is why they were your friends; that is why you mixed together. Now you have become spiritual, but they are still in that other world.
Those people have many friends of their own standard, so do not feel sorry; do not feel that just because you are giving them up, they are totally lost. No, they are perfectly happy. Perhaps they are also equally sad because they think that you are totally lost. They feel some crazy ideas have entered into your mind and they have lost you. In this world it is like that. You will unnecessarily feel sorry for them. They will unnecessarily feel sorry for you. But the world is very vast. They have their own friends. You are not indispensable in their life and they are not indispensable in your life. Only God is indispensable. So when we know where we stand and where others stand, then we do not feel at all sorry. Sometimes you have false attachment, let us say. Attachment is very bad, but sometimes it is false. You say, “What about me? I have so much to offer them.” But you have nothing to offer to them. Only you have to offer whatever you have to God. During your prayer and meditation, if you can give your aspiration, love and devotion to God, then everything will be done for you. Every moment, every day, there will be many to give them joy. Do not feel you are the one person who can be of any use to them. With your own modesty and humility you will see that you will make the fastest progress; and they will also make the fastest progress if each of you follows his own path.
The Master's fragranceWhen a saint or a holy man meditates at the foot of a tree for a few minutes, if later you sit under the same tree and your consciousness is good, then you are bound to feel tremendous purity and joy. There is a funny Indian story. A slave wanted to sit on the king’s throne. He felt that the king was enjoying everything so much and everybody was listening to him. So he went and sat on the throne. Immediately all the world’s worries, anxieties, curses and other problems attacked him, because the king was a victim to all the undivine forces. But if you sit on the throne or chair of a spiritual Master, you are bound to feel something. Naturally you won’t sit on his chair without taking his permission.
The spiritual Masters all the time embody Peace, Light and Bliss. If your consciousness is high, you are bound to feel these qualities. There need not be any flower inside the meditation room: If the spiritual Master meditates well, then you don’t need flowers, you don’t need incense, you don’t need candles; but all the qualities of flowers, incense and candles you are bound to feel. When your consciousness is high, you even can smell a kind of fragrance around a spiritual Master. Consciously he may not offer this fragrance, but it is your own aspiration-power, that, like a magnet, has pulled it from him. But if your consciousness is not high, you won’t feel anything.
I am a spiritual Master. When I go to a bookstore, if the owner of the bookstore is in a high consciousness, I tell you he will look at me. Even if there are forty or fifty people in the store, he will look at me. It is not because he has my books or has heard something about me. It is because of my spiritual consciousness. When I go into bookstores, immediately there is something that I offer. And some of the owners feel it.
So when our consciousness is a little high, we receive when the spiritual Masters move around. Here I am speaking and some of the seekers are receiving more than others. Why? Everybody is hearing the same thing, but receptivity is not the same for all the seekers here. The expressions, thoughts, ideas and light are distributed equally here. But according to their receptivity, some are receiving more than the rest.
The power of thoughtSomeone has written me a note: “Sometimes I feel that you are my enemy. Sometimes I feel that you are my friend.” He speaks on behalf of all of you. When you think I don’t fulfil your desires, naturally I am your enemy. He told me that sometimes he feels like leaving the Centre. I scolded him like anything. That is a thought, a very powerful thought. When you think you are going to leave me, rest assured that one step you have already taken. You take a few more and you are gone. People who have left always started with one step. When you think you have already taken one, then it is easier to take a few more. Then it becomes a one-way street and you can’t come back.
So if you have the feeling, even in the mind, that you are going to leave, I wish to tell you that one thought is enough. You can create a thought-world that is so powerful that you are finished. Thought itself, I tell you, you have to take as poison. If you drink poison, you die; one part of your consciousness is affected. Spiritual Masters say one bad thought is like a whole world. One bad thought, a lower vital thought, is enough to destroy a whole day. You have to know whether you have allowed it to enter your mind or gone further and actually cherished it. And again, one divine thought is enough to keep the whole day cheerful.
All spiritual seekers and Masters have come to the conclusion that one impure thought is enough to destroy the consciousness and one pure thought is enough to illumine the consciousness. The impure thought can be doubt, suspicion, meanness, lower vital desire, insecurity. In my eyes, doubt and suspicion are worse than insecurity. Whatever defect you have, that is your worst enemy. If one has insecurity, then that is his worst enemy. Doubt is the worst enemy of all, that is true. But if somebody does not have doubt, but he does have jealousy or insecurity, then that is enough for him: that is the worst enemy for him. And when one keeps getting the same disease over and over, it becomes very powerful.
When someone’s enemies are already inside him, he has to fight very hard. If the thought is already inside, it is difficult. But it is not impossible. No, never! Throw it out. Once you throw it out, remain always alert so it doesn’t enter into you again. It usually strikes the forehead; the thought-world comes just here and strikes the forehead. Feel that you are a fort and somebody is coming and striking you. Just don’t allow the wrong thought to enter. But you not only allow it to enter, you usually go further: you cherish it.
Sincerity and obedienceSincerity is of paramount importance in the spiritual life. But sincerity has no value unless it is lasting. Suppose you have done something wrong and you tell me. Your sincerity I appreciate. But then you have to take the next step, and that is called obedience: You will not do it a second time. Otherwise, if you keep doing the same thing wrong over and over again, and each time you say, “I have done it,” then your sincerity becomes a mockery. You blow your own horn, “I am sincere,” but what kind of sincerity is it?
If you do something wrong, you should tell. But then you have to listen to me and not do it again. Insincere people I can do nothing with. I am helpless. Sincere people give me the opportunity to take them one step forward. But then obedience is necessary. If obedience is there, each second you can jump, jump. Hundreds and hundreds of things you will do to make the fastest progress.
If you are a little afraid of me, then tomorrow you will have a little obedience. Until you have established your total identification with me, a little fear is good — not destructive fear, but constructive fear: “I will see Guru’s sad face if I disobey him.” This kind of fear is good. If you feel you are all love and concern for my mission, then my sad face will be much more powerful than my angry face.
Cherishing something unconsciouslyMany times I see that the disciples are cherishing something unconsciously. If you are cherishing something unconsciously, your mind is not aware of it. But there comes a time when you get the results of what you are cherishing in the form of pleasure. At that time you are not disgusted; you like it. You are getting a kind of joy or pleasure or comfort, but you do not know why you are getting it. It is not that consciously you have done something. But still you are getting the after-effect. The consciousness of the action you are getting. The fruit is at your disposal, and you are eating the fruit voraciously, like a greedy person. When you get the result, you could say, “This very thing I did not want. Although it looks delicious, I know the after-effect is poisonous.” But what do you do? You become clever. You eat it consciously, and then you simply say you are not to blame. You say you didn’t do it; you didn’t want the fruit but somebody brought it. “It came to me. I am not responsible.” But you are eating it consciously.
The first time that you eat, immediately you say, “I am not the culprit. Somebody has stolen something and left it in my room.” Nobody says that you stole it, but the very fact that you are eating it or you are using it, is enough for you to be the culprit in the inner world. Consciously you have not gone to anybody’s house to steal. But when you enjoy it, you open up the door. And the next time somebody throws this thing in front of you, you are again ready to utilise it. It is something alluring, something tempting. Unconsciously you are cherishing the thing when it is placed before you.
Somebody places doubt inside your mind. You cherish it, and doubt itself becomes wisdom for you. When you have doubt, immediately you feel it is not doubt; it is a proud wisdom. Everywhere in the world, when people doubt, they feel they are very wise. They feel that other people are credulous. They say, “Look at their stupidity!” Just because they themselves don’t believe in something, they feel they are wise. This is their self-imposed wisdom, that they are cherishing. But if we live the spiritual life, we go deep within and we try to believe. God is for believers. When we believe in something twenty times, if we are deceived, God will forgive us. If I believe you, and again and again you deceive me, God will forgive me. But if I doubt and you doubt and the world doubts without rhyme or reason, then no progress will ever be made. If you doubt, you have to feel that you are not entering into the game. If you believe, you are entering into the game, although you may lose if somebody has deceived you. But if you doubt, you don’t even enter into the game. And then what can you do?
Enter into the game and see; maybe somebody will teach you how to play. Enter into the game and see your fate. If it is good, naturally you will win in the battlefield of life. If it is bad, then feel that you have Eternity at your disposal. But if you don’t play at all, if you stay off on the sidelines, thinking all the time that the game is too dangerous, then how are you going to win in the battlefield of life? At that time there is no game, no fun. “If I play football, something will happen to my foot. If I throw shotput once, my fingers may be ruined.” There is no end to fear. Life is always illumination. It comes only to those who are brave, who face life, not to those who are afraid of life.
Telling secrets to the MasterIt is the worst possible crime to keep secrets from the Master. If someone keeps a secret from me, he is digging his own grave. I am not happy to know about your secrets. Knowing your secrets means only knowing your weaknesses. If I become happy to know your weaknesses, then I am the worst possible fool. But if you tell me outwardly, I get the opportunity to work on you before the situation becomes too powerful, before the weakness becomes an incurable disease. When you tell me a secret, it means you are unburdening your life.
Especially if you are having vital or emotional problems, you should tell the Master. If you do, a big heavy load, a dead load, you throw off from your shoulders. And now you can breathe in properly. You should have implicit faith in the Master. If you feel the Master will expose you, tell twenty individuals, then the best thing is to keep it a secret and suffer to the end. But you have to know that a secret is weakness. Keep a secret and you are only cherishing a weakness of life. And if you try to hide your personal and emotional problems, you have to know that these things are absolutely weaknesses, nothing else.
Even if the Master tells others about your weaknesses, he is not doing it out of malicious pleasure. He is doing it because he feels that they can learn from your mistakes. Whatever weaknesses you have, they also have. You have entered into the spiritual life to transform your weaknesses into strength and perfect your life. So please don’t cherish these things. Just throw them into the Master. Then, what he does with them is his business. You have to have that kind of faith in the Master.
Editor's preface to the first editionIn this volume Sri Chinmoy discusses a number of subjects about a Master’s relationship with his disciples, including inner receptivity and the experience of meditation.