Sri Chinmoy speaks, part 7
Hope human and faith divineHuman hope has no strength in it. It is only wishful thinking. But faith, divine faith, is the result or fruit of the inner message that we are getting constantly from within. When we have faith in ourselves or faith in God, immediately we get a message and that message has life in it. With human hope, a messenger brings a message but there is no life in it. Or the messenger may bring all kinds of destructive news, disheartening news. But when faith becomes the messenger, at that time we see life in the message. Faith, inner faith, is always fruitful, for it carries the message of light, and light is the life of the inner world. So the best thing is to remain in the domain of faith, to make yourself feel that you are nothing but constant faith in God. In that way you are bound to have divine hope. In faith, divine hope looms large. Divine hope is like a dream which comes at the end of the night, bearing the promise that soon the day will dawn. From dream, reality comes into existence. But when it is human hope, ninety-nine times out of a hundred the dream will not materialise, because there is no life in it.
When we have human hope, the thing we are hoping for may or may not materialise. But if it is divine hope, then we feel that somebody is telling us to sow the seed and promising us that tomorrow the seed will germinate, the day after tomorrow it will grow into a plant, and a few months or a few years later it will give us a bumper crop. When we have divine hope, there is a kind of inner feeling that something will come out of something, and we are inspired to work for the result. If we do this today, tomorrow we will get something, and the day after tomorrow something else will happen, it is like climbing up a ladder a few rungs at a time. We are going step by step. We are creating something and because of our creation we will get a certain result. If we are not satisfied, we will create more and more and then finally we will be really satisfied. This is divine hope.
Let us say that today I have the hope that tomorrow I will become a very sincere seeker. If it is human hope, it is just wishful thinking. When tomorrow dawns, I will be fast asleep, and I will hope that the following day I will be a very sincere seeker. But if it is divine hope, then immediately there will be action. I will do something. I will feel that just thinking or hoping that I will become something is not enough. I will enter into the field of activity. So, in this case, hope is the mother of merit. If we enter into activity, then we get the fulfilment of our hope or the transformation of our hope into reality.
Human hope is like human desire. When today's hope is fulfilled, tomorrow there will be something else we are hoping for. There is no end to it. But when divine hope is fulfilled, we do not ask for something else, for a higher reality. Inside the hope itself, reality expands itself and becomes large, larger and largest.
Fatigue and meditationWhen it is time for meditation, you may say you went to bed at three o'clock, so you are not able to get up. But who asked you to go to bed at three o'clock? You will say it was unavoidable; you had to do something most important. While you are up late doing that important thing, you can make yourself feel that at five o'clock there will also be something unavoidable to do, that at five o'clock you will have to get up to meditate. If the ordinary thing that you did late at night was so important that you could not avoid it, then I wish to say your meditation is infinitely more important; nothing can be more important than meditation.
Sometimes our fatigue is real; sometimes it is all mental. Even if we sleep for ten hours, sometimes we feel extremely tired. There are many young boys and girls, as well as adults, who sleep much more than they actually need to. It is their mind that makes them feel they are very tired and exhausted, that they have not eaten or slept enough. The mind is so clever. It will make us feel that if we can sleep for only five minutes more, then we will have the whole world. If we are supposed to get up at five o'clock, the mind will tell us that if we can have one minute more, then we will be all right. Then, if we give that one minute to the body, immediately the body will say it is not enough.
So sometimes we are really fatigued, and sometimes it is only the mind that is making us feel that we are tired. We may not be tired at all, but the mind does not want us to meditate. Sometimes, even if we take only two or three hours' rest, the mind is kind enough to allow us to meditate, for the monkey in the mind is taking rest and is not going to bother us. Although our physical body has taken only two hours' rest, at that time we are very, very refreshed. So I wish to tell you that sometimes the body does not need six hours or seven hours of sleep; sometimes it needs only five hours, or less.
While you are driving to meditation, if you are tired and exhausted or you don't feel alert, then you should not drive. At that time your wife or husband or your friend has to drive. Or you can try to invoke divine Power. When you come to the Centre, if you feel you are not doing good meditation but are falling asleep, then try to invoke the Power aspect of the Supreme. At that time, do not invoke Peace or Light. Try to bring forward divine Power from within or bring down the Power from above. Immediately, in five minutes' time, you will feel energised. If you invoke dynamic power within yourself, you will see that your whole body will become energised with divine Power. This divine Power will make you feel that your body is burning with fever, although you are not actually running a temperature.
Also, please make your car more divine, more spiritual, with flowers and pictures and so forth. That is to say, make it like a shrine so that while you are driving, you feel that you are in my presence, in God's Presence. When you leave your home, start your meditation right inside your car. And if you can make your car spiritual, then the drive will be the continuation of your meditation. But you have to know what kind of meditation you should have. Please do not go into a high, deep meditation. No, the best thing is at that time to do japa or to sing spiritual songs. If you do japa, then automatically you will see a kind of energy inside yourself. But if you want to invoke sublime peace, then it will create problems.
Overcoming anger and hatredIf you are a victim of anger and hatred, try to feel sincerely that these forces are your enemies. This is not imagination; it is reality. They are your enemies. Think of anger as a thief. When you are angry with someone, feel that your anger is a human being who has come to steal your inner wealth, your peace and poise. If you are wise, you will never allow a thief to enter into you. Think of hatred, too, as a human being who has come to rob you of your love, which is also your inner wealth.
When you know that somebody is a thief, immediately you take precautions against him. So you have to feel that your anger is a veritable thief, your hatred is a veritable thief. If you regard your anger and hatred in this way, then naturally you will always stand at the door to your existence and keep your door properly guarded. If you see a thief there, you won't allow him to enter.
You have to feel and realise that there is no peace, no joy, no satisfaction in the anger or hatred that you are offering and becoming. When you offer anger, you have to feel that you have become anger. When you offer hatred, feel that you yourself have become hatred. The moment you want to give something to someone, feel that you yourself are that thing, and that is why you are in a position to give it. When you offer something to someone, you expect to get some inner satisfaction. But if you give anger to someone, he does not appreciate it and you also do not get any satisfaction from it. Now, when you give something to someone and he does not appreciate it, then you feel miserable. If your gift is not going to be well appreciated, then you don't give it. You try to give something else, which will please the person.
Do the same with hatred. Feel that it is something you are offering to someone which he does not care for. Since he does not care for it, you will have to offer him other wealth. What he will care for is your love and your peace of mind. If you offer these qualities or some other divine qualities, naturally they will be appreciated. Let us think of a customer and a shopkeeper. If the customer does not want to buy what we are offering him, then we offer him some other thing which will please him.
Question: What is your path all about?Sri Chinmoy: We aspire to become good, to do good and to serve mankind. Inside each individual there is the living presence of God. Our path is the path of love, devotion and surrender. We love God in a divine way, and we pray to God to guide us so that we can please Him in His own Way. We serve God so that we can become a good instrument, a perfect instrument of His. And we surrender to His Will, soulfully and devotedly, out of a genuine feeling of oneness with Him. So divine love, divine devotion, which is in the form of service, and divine surrender are the cornerstones of my philosophy.
Question: How can I tell if you are meant to be my Guru?Sri Chinmoy: When a seeker feels that he is ready to go to a spiritual Master, he wants to notice a few things inside the Master: Peace, Light and Bliss. When he sees these qualities inside the Master and feels joy when he is with the Master and confidence that the Master can take him to the Golden Shore, then he tells the Master that he is ready and anxious to be his disciple. The Master will either accept him or he will say that he is sorry, but he cannot accept the seeker as a disciple. If he cannot accept the seeker, it is because he feels the seeker will make better progress, faster progress, if he belongs to somebody else. When the Master does not accept someone, it doesn't mean that the seeker is useless. No, he has aspiration, but the Master feels that if he studies under the guidance of some other spiritual Master, he will make much better progress.
I accept most of the seekers who come to me and want to accept me as their Master. Only on rare occasions do I not accept someone. But again, some people come to me and do not see anything in me, so they go away. They are doing absolutely the right thing. But in your case, if you feel confidence in me, if you feel inner joy and peace when you look at me, if you feel that this is your spiritual home, if you feel that these are your spiritual brothers and sisters and you are a member of this family, then you should accept our path as your own.
Question: Sometimes you speak of the human and the divine or the Supreme in yourself and distinguish between these two aspects. Should a disciple try to distinguish the two or regard them as one and feel that everything is divine?Sri Chinmoy: The disciples will never be able to know whether I am acting like a human being or a more divine being. Even when I am angry, when I am shouting and screaming and insulting, it is only the human in me expressing my divine Authority on the strength of my oneness with the Supreme. When I am furious, you may think it is absolutely the animal consciousness that you are seeing. But, it is not the animal. Believe me, it is the divine Authority in me that is trying to perfect you in that particular way. If you do something wrong, sometimes it is useless for me to smile and ask you not to do it again. I see the destructive force dancing inside you. If I see something destructive inside you, I have to come with a hydrogen bomb. If you do not see superior power there, you will not try to surrender to that power.
Question: Is it possible for a disciple to learn from a more advanced seeker?Sri Chinmoy: It is not at all necessary for the seeker to go through all the mistakes in order to arrive at truth. If a disciple is a beginner and he happens to meet an advanced seeker — a really advanced seeker, and not just one who has been a disciple for many years — then the advanced seeker will be able to advise him from his own experience. It is like a mother and child. The mother tells the child not to touch fire because she knows from her own experience that touching fire causes pain. The mother had previously touched fire and burned her finger; so she is speaking from experience. If the child thinks that the mother is lying, then he doesn't profit from his mother's experiences and he will touch the fire with his own finger. So, just as the child comes to the mother and asks what happened when she touched fire, so a beginner in the spiritual life seeks advice from an advanced seeker. The beginner recognises the advanced seeker because he sees that the advanced seeker is leading a divine, disciplined life; the advanced seeker is an example for him.
If a beginner takes the advice of an advanced seeker, it will take him less time to reach the goal, just as the good advice a parent gives his children, to speak the truth and to meditate, will help them grow up to be better adults. An advanced seeker is like the father or elder brother of those who have just entered into the spiritual life. If the beginner has to do everything on his own and go through all the sad experiences, then he will waste a lot of time and reach the goal much later.
Question: In your life do you show negativity?Sri Chinmoy: I try to offer the positive side of life — no negativity. From Light we move to more Light, abundant Light, then infinite Light. We try to walk along the sunlit path. Reality is both positive and negative, but we do not take both sides of reality. We feel that from lesser Light we go to higher, more abundant Light, infinite Light. So we always approach the Truth with a positive inner conviction.
Question: When I am not meditating and when I have no work to do, there are vacant spaces which I can no longer fill with things I used to do before I became a disciple. I don't know what to do with this spare time.Sri Chinmoy: You feel that you don't want to kill time. So instead, in your spare time try to create. Try to be creative in any field. Each one has some capacity. You can draw or you can sing spiritual songs. You can write a poem or an article or compose a song. Or you can call a friend and speak of spiritual things. When you speak of spiritual things, it is also a form of creation. There are many ways to create. Creation does not necessarily mean to write a poem; it can also mean to talk to someone. If you talk to a spiritual friend, if that person needs inspiration, your talk itself is creating something deep inside that person and that person is creating something deep inside you.
Question: What is the best way to think of you and the Supreme during the day?Sri Chinmoy: The best way is through gratitude, soulful gratitude. Offer gratitude: that is the best way, the only way. The second you offer gratitude in your thoughts and in your feelings, your oneness will be perfect. If you offer gratitude, you will understand more; your mental vision, psychic vision, everything will become perfect. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude is the only answer. Try to grow the gratitude-flower inside your heart and watch it blossom petal by petal. As it blossoms it is spreading its beauty and fragrance.
Question: The love that we have for you, Master, is it the same love that we should have for Mother Kali?Sri Chinmoy: The love that you have for me will be the same love that you have for Mother Kali and also for the Supreme, because we are all one. In the highest world I am totally one with Mother Kali; I am totally one with the Supreme. Here also in the field of manifestation, the Supreme is consciously operating in me and through me. I am His conscious representative for my disciples, for those who have accepted me as their Guru — but not for others. For you I am certainly His conscious representative. I am your Master, so you will have the same deep love for me that you have for Mother Kali. The Divine Mother represents infinite Power and infinite Compassion together. I am most fond of Her and She is most fond of me. If you show Her the deepest love, I will feel it. If you show the Supreme the deepest love, I will feel it. Similarly, when you show your deepest love to me, the Supreme automatically gets it. So there is no difference between your Guru and Mother Kali and the Supreme in your life of aspiration and realisation. A dearest disciple should feel that in his Guru lies the real divinity, realisation and manifestation of the Supreme. You cannot separate the Guru from Mother Kali or from the Supreme. In the inner world, we three are one, absolutely one. This is the thing that each disciple has to feel and realise.
Question: Why is it that whenever you ask for questions my mind suddenly goes blank?Sri Chinmoy: When we meditate, we bring down Peace, Light and Bliss from above. At that time, the questioning mind is illumined. In illumination there are no questions. A question comes from darkness, when the mind is not illumined. This room has light. Everything is right in front of our noses. So, you don't have to ask me every ten minutes where this flower is. Similarly, when we pray and meditate, we receive Light and everything is clear to us.
Question: What is the significance of children in the fulfilment of your mission?Sri Chinmoy: Children have more love for me. They listen to me. If I ask a child to do something for me, he just runs. If I ask a grown-up person, he will take ten hours. A child means obedience. If obedience is there, then God-realisation is not a far cry. Children run the fastest, unless they are spoilt by their parents. Children don't have the doubting mind. They don't use the mind; they use the heart. If I ask them to do something, immediately they will do it and they will get tremendous joy from doing it. But if I ask a grown-up, sometimes he will listen with reluctance. After waiting to prove his independence, then he will do it. But children don't do that. They won't say, "Why has he asked me? I will not really get any benefit."
A child means God's Dream, God's Vision. That is why I ask everybody to act like a four-year-old child. If everybody can become a four-year-old child, then all problems will be solved. But we act like we are fifty or sixty years old. That is why we are suffering so much. It is the child-quality in us that will fulfil our mission. We have a mission that will be fulfilled only by the child in us, the divine child. The child is all eagerness; he always wants something new, new, new. The importance of the child in our life, in our mission, is incalculable.
Question: Sometimes we want to do something for the mission which requires money, but we have difficulty getting it. Is it the Will of the Supreme or the hostile forces?Sri Chinmoy: The Will of the Supreme already has been given us. Where there is a will, there is a way. When the Supreme has given us a good idea, a good thought, rest assured that He has also given us the capacity to discover money-power. The only thing is that we do not work hard. We work hard in some aspects, in some fields, and in others we don't work hard. In order to get money it is necessary to make an effort, to work soulfully and devotedly. We don't do it. When we have an idea that requires money, if money does not come automatically, then we are apt to feel it is not the Will of the Supreme. No! If we have the aspiration to do something for the Supreme, do you think He has not given us the capacity to get the money? We have to pay some attention to getting money-power. But for that we don't spend the time.
Question: How can we maintain our inner cry and intensity when we are not around you?Sri Chinmoy: It entirely depends on your inner connection. In your office, you may speak to your colleagues for hours, but your heart is not in them. And needless to say, their heart is not inside you. But your heart is inside your Guru, inside God. Your heart lies inside your Guru, but your outer being is with your colleagues, doing office work and other things. You have already established a very, very close, intimate connection with my soul and the Heart of the Supreme. All my good disciples have done it. You also have done it. The mistake that you make and that others make is that you have a fixed goal. During your meditation, if you come to a certain standard, you feel that you have reached your goal. Or in the inner life, if you get a little joy, immediately you get a complacent feeling. You always want to remain with yesterday's laurels. Yesterday you got a little joy and now you are crying to get that same little joy. But how do you know that the Supreme wants you to have that little joy? Perhaps He wants you to go farther, higher and deeper.
On the physical plane, our goals are very limited. When I started to lose weight, my goal was 165 pounds. Then came 160. And then it went on to 156 and 154 and 146. Now I can come back to 140 or say 130, maximum. But then I can go no further. The physical goal is always limited. But in the spiritual world, the goal is not fixed; there is no end in the inner world. Here we are dealing with Infinity, Eternity and Immortality.
Where is Infinity, where is Eternity, where is Immortality on the physical plane? Immortality is in consciousness. If you have developed an immortal consciousness, then you are serving the Supreme all over the world. Physically, all spiritual Masters leave the body. But the consciousness that they have brought down to the world is immortal. The Christ brought down the immortal Consciousness; Sri Krishna did it; all the spiritual Masters did it. It is the Consciousness that they offered that remains immortal.
Every day you have to feel that you have a higher goal. Do not think that yesterday's goal is the final goal in your life. In your case, you always try to reach a particular goal. If you can run fifty metres, you feel that your part is over. If you cannot run fifty metres one day because of a stomach upset, you feel miserable. But God does not want you to be satisfied with fifty metres. He wants you to make your goal fifty-one, fifty-two, fifty-three, fifty-four metres. When you have a higher goal, automatically your aspiration increases. Otherwise, if you are using the same capacity to aim at the same goal, you are not going very far. Then your inner life becomes monotonous. But if you feel that your goal is always transcending itself, then you have constant joy in your achievement and progress.
Do not think about success. Success ends your journey, but progress never ends. When you have a fixed goal and you reach it, this is your success. Then you are finished; after that you are not doing anything. But if you don't have a fixed goal, you are going on constantly. Then you are making progress, and in continuous progress your goal is constantly going beyond, beyond, beyond. At that time, you get the greatest satisfaction. So do not be satisfied with success; success ends the journey. Progress continues. And each time you make progress, it is a real form of success. Every day when you meditate, feel you will dive still deeper, fly still higher. Then you will be able to maintain a conscious feeling for the Supreme, for your Guru, because you are marching towards an eternal goal.
Question: When we feel joy in working for you, can we take this as pleasing you in your own way?Sri Chinmoy: If you get joy from doing something, that doesn't mean you are pleasing me in my own way. Suppose I have not asked you outwardly to bring me a flower, but you try to please me by bringing me one. If I have asked you inwardly to bring me a flower and you have brought me the flower and are now getting joy, then you have the right to say that you are pleasing me in my own way. But very often you do a thing in your own way and at the same time you do it soulfully. At that time you deserve joy and you do get joy from within. That joy is really quite good, but it cannot be as divine or as fulfilling as the joy you would get from pleasing me in my own way.
Very often you may not or cannot know what my wish is. Then what can you do? Remain silent? No. You try to do the right thing, whatever comes from your heart and soul. This may not be what I wanted, but as long as it comes from the heart and the soul, your devotion will come to me. From your good action you will definitely get joy. I cannot say it is not divine joy, but there are degrees of divine joy, let us say. When we speak of conditional and unconditional surrender, we say it is better to make conditional surrender than not to make surrender at all. In the beginning, let us try to do something conditionally. Then gradually, gradually we make progress and do the thing unconditionally.
Question: Could you talk about the meaning of the line in the Invocation, "My breath, Thy Vision's kite"?Sri Chinmoy: Breath is the eternal life. So "my breath" means eternal life. God's ultimate, ever-transcending Dream or Vision is the eternal life. Kite symbolises divine glory. The kite is flying, which represents the revelation or manifestation of the divine glory.
God existed as the Absolute unmanifested. He wanted to manifest Himself constantly on earth so He brought down the eternal life. We see only the earthly life, which lasts sixty, seventy or eighty years; but here on earth there is also the message of eternal life. That eternal life we can find inside the heart, for that is where the soul is. The Supreme's highest Wisdom can be seen and felt only here. The physical heart is one thing; the spiritual heart is something else. The physical heart is a tiny muscle, but the spiritual heart embodies God's entire universe. When we think of our spiritual heart, we feel it is something very tiny in comparison to the universe. But this is wrong. When we concentrate on the divine heart and feel the real divine heart, we will see that inside it the entire universe exists, that the heart is vaster than the universe itself. Although the spiritual heart is eternal, at times it does not feel that it is; so the Supreme first enters into the heart and makes the heart feel that it is eternal, that it has eternal life. Then the Supreme starts His journey. He is going to transcend at every moment His own transcendental Reality; and while He is transcending, He is proclaiming or revealing or manifesting His divine Glory in the form of a kite.
Question: Sometimes I am very happy and joyous, like at circus practice when I am having fun with my brothers and sisters, but I don't feel that I am soulfully happy because I am not consciously thinking of you.Sri Chinmoy: If you are happy but you are not thinking of me, that doesn't mean your happiness is not soulful. Not at all! You don't have to think of your Guru or of God for twenty-four hours a day. If you get spontaneous joy from within, feel that your soul has come to the fore and that the joy is coming from your soul. At that time you do not need to think of the Supreme in His personal aspect. If you don't think of me while you are getting joy, that does not mean that this joy is coming from the lower vital or emotional vital. No, your joy can be very sweet, very pure and very divine provided that your soul is giving you the joy. While you are walking along the street or while you are singing, at that time you may not even think of the Supreme. But if you are singing soulfully, where do you think this soulful song comes from? It comes from the soul. Wherever the soul is, rest assured that your divine existence is there also. So you don't have to bring forward the form in order to convince your mind that you are thinking of me or God. It is not necessary at all. If you feel a kind of joy in which there is no demand, a joy that is not going to grab or possess anything, a joy that gives you a sense of self-offering, then that is divine joy, which is very good.
Question: It seems in my office that the people most receptive to you are the people I have the most conflicts with.Sri Chinmoy: If they are receptive, you will have no conflict. Receptivity comes just because the vessel is empty inside and the door of the heart is wide open. If the heart-door is wide open, how can there be confusion? Only if the door is blocked from inside will there be a conflict. If the door is wide open and the vessel is empty and waiting for the divine light to fill it, then how can that person have confusion? It is self-contradictory.
Ten people from your office have come to our meditation. Some received most powerfully; I felt real spirituality was there. When you bring a new disciple, you should be so happy. If a new disciple comes, it means he will come and pull on your side. Against you is ignorance. If you are really clever, if you want to win against ignorance, then you will bring some strong people to fight on your side in the battlefield of life. On one side is light; on one side is ignorance. Still you have much weakness and imperfection; you can't conquer it. But if somebody who is very strong takes your side, then easily you can win. When you bring someone, you have to know that he also needs you. His strength is not enough. Your strength is not enough. But his strength and your strength combined then become so powerful. Each time you bring a solid disciple, feel that that person is going to help you in your own life and you are going to help him. You don't lose anything. When you bring a new seeker, don't feel that your glory will go away and that the new disciple will be better than you in every way. Far from it. When a new disciple comes, it is to your advantage.
Question: How can I know if I am executing God's Will or I am fulfilling my own ego?Sri Chinmoy: When you fulfil the demands of the ego, immediately you will feel that you are the lord of the world or that you are going to become the lord of the world. You are bloated with pride, and you feel that the rest of the world is at your feet. Once a desire of yours is fulfilled, immediately you feel, "Oh, my desire is fulfilled; I have become something, and the rest of the world will not achieve what I have." Always there will be a feeling of superiority when the ego is fulfilled.
But when you execute the Will of God, the question of superiority or inferiority does not arise. At that time you feel only your oneness. You feel that God has appointed you or that God has accepted you as His chosen instrument, and that He is acting in and through you. No matter what you achieve — even if it is something very grand, extraordinary, unusual — you will not have any sense of personal pride. On the contrary, you will feel extremely grateful to God that He has chosen you to fulfil Himself in and through you. There is no pride; there is only a feeling of expansion. To execute God's Will means to achieve something. When you achieve something, you feel an expansion of your consciousness. But when you fulfil the demands of your ego, at that time you feel totally separated from the rest of the world. You are the lord and the rest of creation is at your feet. So, in this way you can know the difference between the two.
Question: What is the difference between desire and aspiration?Sri Chinmoy: There are two significant polarities in our human life: one is desire, the other is aspiration. Desire is something that brings us the message of the unfulfilling and unfulfilled finite, and aspiration is something that brings us the message of the fulfilling and eternally fulfilled Infinite. Desire always binds. But unfortunately, before we can bind someone, we find that we ourselves are already bound. Before we can possess something, we are already possessed by that very thing. Before we succeed in possessing someone as our slave, we discover that we have become a perfect slave to that particular person. But the nature of aspiration is to expand and to offer oneness at every moment. When we use our aspiration, from a river we become a sea, and from a sea we become an ocean. We are constantly expanding our consciousness with aspiration, but with desire constantly we are binding ourselves.
When we aspire, we feel that there is something called Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. These are not mental hallucinations but something very real. The seekers who soulfully pray and meditate feel in the inmost recesses of their hearts the presence of Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. Of course, these must be highly developed seekers, seekers who have sincerely practised spiritual life and have meditated for a number of years.
What today we call desire, tomorrow that very thing we will call frustration. And the day after tomorrow we will call that thing destruction. From the divine point of view, anything that does not help us in our spiritual progress is nothing short of destruction.
We have to know that there is no end to our desires. Before we fulfil today's desire, we have ten new desires. It is endless. No matter how many desires we fulfil, we will never be able to put an end to our desires. We will feel that the one desire we have fulfilled has not given us enough satisfaction. Perhaps if we fulfil another desire, then we will get real satisfaction. So we try. But each time we fulfil a desire, we discover that we have become worse beggars. Before we fulfilled our desire, we were beggars because we wanted something which we did not have. Now, after we have fulfilled our desire, we feel that our sense of insufficiency has increased rather than decreased. But when we fulfil our aspiration even to a small extent, we feel a sense of completeness.
Question: What is the significance of marriage, and can a married couple follow spirituality together?Sri Chinmoy: If it is God's Will, then in this oneness of two souls you double your capacity. If you feel that God wants you to get married, then feel you can have four arms, four eyes, four legs, two hearts, double speed, double strength, everything double. If it is not the Will of God, but only your vital that is demanding marriage, then it will only be a burden for you on your spiritual journey. So I tell people that if it is not the Will of God, they should go alone. That is the best thing. But if it is the Will of God, then try marriage and continue on the spiritual path together. A good marriage sanctioned by God is God's veritable Smile; a bad marriage instigated by the vital is a veritable curse.
Two married people can work together in the spiritual life provided they have the same goal. If both of them have sincerely accepted the spiritual life, then their common Goal is God. But if the husband follows one spiritual Master and the wife follows the path of another spiritual Master, a problem is likely to arise. The husband will say that his Master is by far the best, and the wife will immediately say, "No, my Master is by far the best." But if both of them are wise enough, then each will say, "You follow your path and let me follow my path. After all, the Ultimate Goal is the same. Although there are two different inner roads for us, the destination will always remain the same." If the seekers are really sincere, if they are really dedicated to their Masters, both Masters can widen the husband's and wife's mental vista and heart's capacity so that each can follow his own path without any conflict.
But it becomes infinitely easier if both husband and wife follow the same path. Then there is no competition, there is no subtle rivalry. Then the two are really together. Both of them are climbing together, walking together, running together. But in case it is not possible, if the wife has a special preference for one spiritual Master and the husband has a special preference for another spiritual Master, then let them follow their respective spiritual paths, while they always bear in mind that each one is doing the right thing. In that way there cannot be any conflict between the two.
Question: Why has God made women so insecure that it is hard for them to become detached?Sri Chinmoy: First of all, God has not made women insecure. God has not made men impure. God has given men and women freedom. Let us call it limited freedom, since they have not realised the Ultimate Truth. When God gives us limited freedom, we have to try to use it for a divine purpose. We have to use this freedom so it will increase its own capacity and grow in us on a larger scale. Suppose somebody has given you a dollar and told you to use it in your own way. Now, you can use it to make two dollars, three dollars and so on, or you can just go and squander it. Our inner wealth is our inner freedom. We can either try to increase it, or we can misuse it.
Insecurity has grown in women because women have used their limited freedom to feel that there is no one to care for them. If women can use their freedom to nourish and cherish the feeling that there is Someone who calls them His own, and that is God, the Inner Pilot, then their insecurity will vanish. Even in the ordinary world when you know that a few friends or even one individual thinks of you and cares for you, you don't feel insecure. But now that you have entered into the spiritual life, you know that there is Someone who has infinite Power, who has infinite Patience, infinite Light, who cares for you and is more than eager to call you His very own. So where is insecurity?
How can we know that a particular thing or person cares for us? We can know only through our self-surrender. As long as the tiny drop retains its individuality and personality, it will remain insecure; the waves and surges of the mighty ocean will scare it to death. But when the tiny drop consciously enters into the ocean, it becomes the ocean. Then it is not afraid of anything.
You are the finite. If you want to become one with the Infinite, you have to surrender your existence to the Infinite. Offer your human life to the spiritual life, which is the Breath of the Divine. Always try to be aware of your Source, which is eternal Peace, Light and Bliss. If your Source is something divine, eternal and infinite, then how can you feel insecure? If you feel that your human parents are your only parents, you will feel helpless. If you feel that your source is darkness, ignorance, bondage, limitation and imperfection, then you will always feel insecure. But if you can become consciously and constantly aware that you are of the Source and from the Source, if you can convince your mind that you came from Light and Delight and your ultimate Goal is to go back to Light and Delight, then you will have no sense of insecurity.
A person is insecure when he feels that darkness is all around him, not when he sees that there is light. At night you are frightened because there is no light. If there is light all around you, you are not afraid. So in the spiritual life we must always be aware of the fact that the Being who is inside us and around us is all Light. And this Being is immortal. Whatever is real, divinely real, is immortal. My hand is real, but my hand is not divinely real. It will die when I die. But my soul is divinely real, so it will remain eternally. The Reality inside us is divine and eternal. If we have something eternal within us to think of us and care for us, how can we feel insecure?
So in the spiritual life we always have to be aware of the Reality. This Reality exists for you, for me, for everybody. If we want to utilise the Reality, first we have to be conscious of the Reality and then we have to grow into the Reality. Right now, millions and billions of people all over the world have only a vague idea of God. For them God is not a living reality; God is just an idea. They are not atheists; they feel that God exists. But they have nothing to do with Him. For them, God is like the Empire State Building. It is there, but they don't have anything to do with it, they don't need it. Every day the sun is there, but if you want to keep your window shades shut, or if you don't want to watch the sun, you have that much freedom.
Question: What is the best way to deal with dry periods in one's sadhana? That is, how does one maintain aspiration and good feelings while one experiences a dryness in his meditation?Sri Chinmoy: When you feel dryness in your meditation, you can easily mix with a friend who is not going through that experience. Take dryness as darkness. When you think of dryness, think of going through the Queens Midtown Tunnel. You know that there will be some light at the end because you have been through the Midtown Tunnel many, many times before. After you enter, for some time you know that there may be no light; but if you have patience you know that you will see light.
In the spiritual life no one is experiencing dryness for the first time. This dryness is fairly common. There are very few seekers who have not gone through it. Some spiritual Masters of the highest order went through dry periods for six or eight months, and sometimes for as long as two years. During a four-year period some of them went through dry periods five or six times.
This dryness can be avoided by doing only one thing: shedding tears of gratitude. You may say that you are not getting any joy, any satisfaction, anything, from your meditation, so why should you offer gratitude? But you have to offer gratitude just because you are trying to meditate. Who is asking or compelling you to try? Somebody deep within you. The Supreme is asking you to meditate despite the fact that you are going through a dry period. So if you can offer your gratitude, soulful gratitude, tearful gratitude, to the Supreme, the dry period will pass very quickly. Think of the Midtown Tunnel. You can easily cover the distance when the time comes. You know it is only a matter of time. For a short time you will remain in darkness, and then it is bound to end. But if you want to run the fastest, then gratitude is the only answer.
Question: What is the quickest way to silence the doubting mind?Sri Chinmoy: One of the quickest ways to silence the doubting mind is to feel that the mind itself is just a full wastepaper basket, something that you have to empty. Another way to silence the mind is to consciously say, "I have no mind, I have no mind, I have no mind. I have only the heart, I have only the heart." That way also you can silence the mind.
But in your case, it is not the mind that is the problem. Your vital does not aspire; that is where the problem starts. Your difficulty is that your vital is tamasic, lethargic, and so your brilliant mind is very restless, doubtful and destructive. In your case, your doubt comes from the unaspiring vital. The vital means determination, or will-power, let us say. You are lacking in will-power in your dynamic vital. If you or anybody else is wanting in will-power in the vital, automatically you will suffer from the doubting mind. If the vital is strong, dynamic, then the heart is able to give peace, love, light and bliss from the soul. Then the heart and the vital can and will go together, and with the soul's help, automatically they can silence the mind. In your case especially, make the vital very dynamic, progressive, and do not allow it to remain lethargic.
Question: Right now I am under psychoanalysis, but it seems that the more I become involved in spirituality, the harder it is for me to talk about it with my analyst. I feel that the things offered by analysis are not really what I want. And yet my analyst, who seems to be a very strong person, is reluctant to let me go free. And I don't know if there is any reconciliation between myself and him.Sri Chinmoy: If a friend of yours comes and gives you a most delicious mango, will you immediately eat the mango, or will you ask him a million questions: where he got it and how much it cost and whether it was imported from somewhere or grown in the States? In the spiritual life there are two types of seekers. One type will just see the reality and immediately try to become the reality. The other type will immediately begin to question the reality, examine the reality and doubt the reality. Suppose both of these seekers are hungry and you take them into a mango garden where there are many mangoes and many flowers. The first kind of seeker will say, "All right, since there are many mangoes, I will now be able to eat." But the second type of seeker will say, "I wonder how many mangoes are here," and he will start counting the mangoes. Then he will want to know which one is the best, so he will start examining all the mangoes to decide which one he should take. While he is wasting his time, the first seeker will take a mango and just eat it, and he will be satisfied. If we use the mind, we will always try to analyse everything and we will never experience the reality. But if we use the heart, we will immediately take the thing we want. And at that time, even if we eat only one mango, we will get the delight of eating all the mangoes, because the heart means oneness. From hundreds of mangoes we take out one individual mango, but when we eat it with our psychic consciousness, we get the delight, or the wealth, let us say, of all the mangoes. But if we start counting all the mangoes, perhaps we will never begin eating. Or after a while, we may get disgusted and say, "Who wants to know?" But during the time we spend in counting, we lose our spontaneous inner joy.
In the spiritual life we always have to go from the heart to the mind, not from the mind to the heart. If you really want to follow the spiritual life, if you use the heart as your instrument, then nothing can be more simple. But if you use the mind, you will feel that nothing is as difficult and complicated as spirituality. In the spiritual life there should be no hesitation, no calculation. In the spiritual life we only give and become, see and become, offer ourselves and become. It is so easy if we use the heart. But if we use the mind, there will always be calculation and hesitation.
So if you really want to follow the spiritual life, you have to remain in the heart. Then this mental psychoanalysis will be of no avail. Already you are feeling that it does not offer what you want. If you have a sincere question, there is only one place to get the best possible answer and that is from the soul. The soul will answer you through the heart. Otherwise, no matter what kind of answer you get, either from your own mind or from your psychoanalyst, your mind will doubt and contradict it. It will contradict all suggestions and all advice, and then a few seconds later, your mind will doubt its own discovery. But when the heart gives you an answer, it is a permanent reality.
Question: Does one use a mantra during meditation?Sri Chinmoy: If you have received a mantra from a spiritual Master, then that particular Master is in a position to tell you how to practise it. Usually the mantra is practised when the mind is calm, quiet, vacant, tranquil. If the mind is agitated or disturbed or restless, at that time it is not advisable to practise your mantra. And if you are in a position to dive deep within, or enter into the highest meditation, then there is no necessity for practising a mantra during the time of your meditation. But if you cannot enter into your deep meditation, then it is advisable to practise the mantra. Here the mantra is the path-finder. The mantra paves the way for a better and deeper meditation. But again, at times it is possible for someone to practise his own mantra to heighten and deepen his meditation, his meditative power.
Question: In the last couple of days, when I have been meditating I have been getting a desire not to breathe. Can you tell me what this is?Sri Chinmoy: It is not a desire in your case. It is a most soulful, most powerful, most devoted experience. Breathing in and out in the normal way is not necessary when you concentrate on your heart. It is most pure and divine. This is a very good experience.
Question: Sometimes when I am meditating I see different visual perceptions, shaking and concentric circles that seem to rise up. What are they?Sri Chinmoy: In these visions you are entering into different worlds. These worlds are real; they are not mental hallucinations. What you need most in your life is purification of the body, mind and vital. These visions will not go away. Out of His infinite Bounty, God has shown you these worlds. But if you want real access to these worlds, you have to become pure. Especially in your outer life you have to become purity incarnate if you want to receive these visions.
Question: How many incarnations do souls usually have to go through before they realise God?Sri Chinmoy: Each time the soul comes into the physical, into the earth-consciousness, it is an incarnation. Now, the soul has to go through the mineral life, plant life, animal life, human life. It takes many thousands of years to reach the human stage. Then, once the soul enters human incarnation, it takes many thousands of years before it realises God. But again, some are tired soldiers. They want to take rest for a long time between incarnations, so they make slow progress. Others come back again and again, but make no progress at all. Like bad students, they keep repeating the same course.
Question: Why is it that limited light has to expand into the unlimited Light?Sri Chinmoy: It is our human nature to expand, to have more and more. This is one reason. But there is another reason. The infinite Light which created the world is a real magnet. It gives us limited, very limited, freedom in the beginning and then it pulls and pulls our limited light. It pulls this light for its own divine satisfaction. The infinite Light is not satisfied unless and until this little streak of light enters into the infinite Light and becomes part and parcel of that Light. The Infinite will continue to pull the finite until finally the finite will be merged into the Infinite. Then the Infinite will experience itself through the finite and the finite will experience itself through the Infinite.
Question: What is the relationship between morality and the spiritual life?Sri Chinmoy: In order to realise the Highest, if the Highest demands that your moral attitudes change, that they be transformed, then naturally you have to surrender to the Highest. You have to know where you stand. If the Master tells you to do something that you think concerns your morality, you have to feel that he would never ask you to go back to your animal life just to please him. He is asking you to do something which has been commanded by the Highest Supreme and the Supreme knows His cosmic Play better than anybody else. If the Supreme wants you to do something, then if you are sincere you have to do it. Your life has to be totally dedicated and surrendered to only one person — and that is the Inner Pilot, the Supreme.
Morality is extremely necessary when we are transcending our animal life. But once we are trying to divinise our nature, we try to make our conscious surrender to God's Will. If we want to swim in the sea of God's Light, then morality and immorality have to be surrendered to God's higher Truth, which is beyond both morality and immorality.
Question: Why do so many Americans, especially young men and women, seem to be turning to Indian spiritual leaders when there are so many churches and religions in the West?Sri Chinmoy: The answer is very simple. Americans find in the Indian spiritual Masters what they actually want and need. What is it that they do not get from the churches that they do get from Indian spiritual Masters? They get joy, they get love and they get something else: inner purpose. They learn the importance they should give to inner divinity. The spiritual Masters make them feel that they also can be perfect channels of spiritual light and truth.
Spiritual Masters are offering Yoga to Americans, but Yoga is not a new religion. Yoga is only a path. If one follows the path of a spiritual Master, he does not have to leave his own religion. The young men and women of America are not making a mistake by following Indian spiritual Masters. It is just that they have discovered a path and they feel that by following this path they will get what they want sooner.
Question: Guru, what is the difference between a soul leaving the body when someone dies and our souls coming to you to give you a message?Sri Chinmoy: When your soul comes to me, it only takes a minute to communicate a message to me and receive a reply. In one second in soul's time one can accomplish what would take two or three hours in earth time. When your soul comes to me, there is no question but that it will go back. But in the case when someone has practically died, the soul is only watching; it is deciding. Like a bird it has left the cage, and it is thinking, "Shall I go back?" Sometimes the bird comes out of the cage and is reluctant to return. However, some birds are determined to come back. It is a matter of aspiration and manifestation.
Question: Can a soul transmit messages without leaving the body?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, certainly. Just as you send messages by telephone, the soul also is able to transmit messages without actually leaving your body.
Question: Is it better to go deep within or to go high during meditation?Sri Chinmoy: Both are effective. If you are going deep within, that is a good experience; and if you feel that something is going high, higher, highest and expanding at the same time, then I wish to say that this experience is also sublime. You do not have to give all importance to one and pay no attention to the other. Let your inner being take care of it. If it happens for five minutes that you feel you are going deep within and the next five minutes you feel that you are going up and expanding, let it be like that. It can even happen simultaneously, for, as a matter of fact, both experiences are the same thing. It is like a springboard. The higher you jump, the deeper you go. They happen simultaneously, only our conscious mind takes them separately.
Question: How does one best move the consciousness from the mind to the heart?Sri Chinmoy: The best way to move one's consciousness from the head to the heart is to think most of the time, all the time, of the heart. If you think of the living room, then your consciousness is in the living room and not in the kitchen. The consciousness that is in the heart has to be brought to the fore, where it illumines and expands. The consciousness that is in the mind we shall not negate. We shall only illumine it. The friend that we most need to help us is the heart. If we stay with the mind, we only hesitate; the mind stands in our way. The mind is unconsciousness. If we can bring our friend, the heart, always with us, it becomes easy to illumine the mind. The presence of the soul is living in the heart, so the consciousness that we need is in the heart. We must put all our attention on the heart and not on the mind in order to make the fastest progress.
Question: Is it difficult for intellectual people to have faith?Sri Chinmoy: Some people spontaneously have faith, even if their minds are not intellectually developed. When the mind is predominant, it becomes very difficult to have faith in God. That is because the mind has thousands of doors to enter into God's Palace, whereas the heart has only one door, and that door is faith; so it just goes right in. But the mind tries to find out which of its doors is best. It goes to one door and then it thinks that the next door might be better. In this way the mind is constantly hesitating and going from here to there. So it takes some time before it actually enters into God's Palace.
Again, if a person has tremendous aspiration, even if he is intellectually developed, his heart may also be developed and he may have faith. Sometimes the conviction or perception of the heart will enter into the mind and be reflected in the mind. Then the mind will have faith along with the heart.
Question: Why does our evolution go so slowly that it takes us many hundreds of incarnations to realise God? Why do we have to go through so much struggle?Sri Chinmoy: God can give you realisation overnight, but if you have worked for something consciously, you will be more satisfied when you get it. Then you will appreciate it. There is a poem about how the farmer ploughs the field, then sows the seed. Then he puts on manure as fertiliser and he waters the field. Everything he does. Afterwards the farmer asks, "Mother Earth, how is it that it takes so many months to get the bumper crop? How is it that everything did not germinate in one day from all that I did?" The poet answers for Mother Earth, "If I do everything for you, then your joy will be next to nothing."
Again, thousands of years is nothing when compared with God's eternal Time. When you live in the soul, a few incarnations is next to nothing and you will not feel that your evolution is going slowly. But if you live in the body, even one minute will torture you.
Question: I have been getting sensations in the middle of my forehead and I wanted to know if this indicates that my third eye is opening?Sri Chinmoy: Right now it does not indicate that the third eye is opening. It is an opening of the inner sight. In your case, it is an indication that you are simplifying your life. In the beginning there is a necessary rejection of things in life which are not necessary to make progress. There will come a time when your third eye will open, as it did in my case and in the case of other Masters. But right now what you are experiencing means that you are removing unnecessary things in your life.
Question: While I am working, is it possible to meditate?Sri Chinmoy: If you feel that your work is meditation itself, there is nothing wrong with this. Meditation does not mean that you have to be closeted away from the world. Meditation means conscious oneness with the Inner Pilot. If you can meditate while you are serving your customers, and if you can feel your own oneness with the Supreme inside your customers, that is true meditation. If you feel that your consciousness is high and you are able to maintain a kind of peace of mind while working, then I assure you that this is a true form of meditation. Meditation is not only sitting for half an hour before a shrine. But if you feel that it is not possible for you to enter into your highest and deepest consciousness while you are working with people, then it is necessary for you also to meditate in private.
Question: Should I meditate on my navel to purify the vital?Sri Chinmoy: The navel is the centre of the vital. Anything that is near the navel we can purify only through the soul's light. The soul's light is inside the heart. So when you meditate, do not meditate on the navel itself. Meditate on the heart first, the heart chakra, and bring the light forward. Light is everywhere, God is everywhere; but when we think of God inside the heart, we are more convinced. God is inside my thumb, inside my nose, everywhere. My body is full of God. But I know that there is a special place where I can feel His Presence most powerfully, and that is inside my heart. So first you have to meditate on the heart, on light. God means light. From here you can descend to the navel. And try always to meditate consciously. If you see that your consciousness has fallen while you are meditating and it is not on the heart chakra but on the navel chakra, then you have to bring it up. Always lift the consciousness up, lift it up.
Editor's preface to the first editionIn this volume Sri Chinmoy tells how to overcome some of the problems seekers encounter after they have entered the spiritual life. Also included is a series of significant questions that seekers and disciples have asked the Master about his path, as well as a group of general spiritual questions.