Sri Chinmoy speaks, part 8
Part I — Purity
Question: Where is the best place to meditate for purity?Sri Chinmoy: The best place is the heart. Meditate on the heart, and the moment you feel the presence of light there, bring it into your navel. Then try to imagine that the navel centre, the vital, is constantly circling or that there is a disk that is rotating all around it. It is going on, going on. And while it is turning, you just repeat, “Supreme, Purity, Supreme, Purity.” Or you can say, “Purity is the Supreme, the Supreme is Purity.” That is even easier.
Question: Is there a different technique for women and men when it comes to meditating on purity?Sri Chinmoy: When the girls meditate for purity, they should try for a few seconds to breathe through the left nostril. If you are breathing through the left nostril, it will be easier for you to bring purity into the system. And if the boys can try to breathe in through the right nostril, then it becomes easier for them to develop purity. The left nostril is for softness, for the soft and sweet inner flow; the right nostril is for power and dynamism. So, in this way the girls can establish purity and the boys can establish purity. But the exercise that I just mentioned applies both to men and women.
Question: How can we keep our mind pure?Sri Chinmoy: You can keep your mind pure by feeling constantly that you do not have a mind at all; you have only the flower-heart of a child. If somebody asks you, “What is in your mind?” you will say simply, “I don’t have the mind. I have only the heart of a child.” You don’t have to keep your mind pure if you don’t have a mind. In that way you can solve your problem immediately.
Question: How can we constantly be aware of the fact that we have no mind?Sri Chinmoy: Ask yourself what the mind has done to you. It has brought you only impurity, insecurity, limitation and so forth. If you feel that your mind has something nice to give you, then you will find it difficult to give up your identification with the mind. But if you feel that the mind has only given you suffering, suffering in every form, then it is easy not to care for the mind. This is the physical mind that I am referring to, the mind that is inside the physical and subjected to the physical. There is also something called the illumined mind. This you will get only when the heart is fully awakened and transformed by the light of the soul.
If somebody has given you a tremendous, sharp slap, then you will have nothing to do with that person. When you can consciously and continuously refuse to have anything to do with someone, that person does not exist for you. If somebody constantly bothers you, and if you can constantly say that you have nothing to do with him, nothing to do with him, nothing to do with him, then automatically that person drops out of your life. So when you say, “I have nothing to do with the mind, nothing to do with the mind,” then the mind will say, “All right, if you will have nothing to do with me, then I also won’t care for you.”
Question: If there is much impurity in your environment at work or school, how can you best keep it out of you?Sri Chinmoy: If you feel there is much impurity where you work, if your colleagues are full of impurity, then you have to be more careful, more conscious. You have to concentrate more on purity in your life. There is no other way.
If it is easy, then you don’t have to concentrate much on purity. But if you find your relatives, neighbours and colleagues are all full of impurity, then you have to pray more and meditate more. At every moment you have to feel that there is a battle going on between your aspiration and the pull of the material world. So you have to be more careful, more vigilant, more spiritual.
But you have to do it with utmost sincerity and humility. If you have the feeling that you are far more spiritual or more pure than others around you, then it will be all self-deception. You may think that you have more spirituality, more purity, but who knows? Someone else may have more spirituality and humility and other divine qualities. Just because you follow a spiritual path doesn’t mean that you are more pure. There are many people who are not conscious of spirituality, but they are more pure than you are. Unfortunately, many people who enter into the spiritual life look down on others, thinking, “They don’t go to any spiritual centre, they don’t go to church, they don’t pray, they don’t have purity.” That is a wrong idea that most of you cherish. It is a false aggrandisement of the ego. Undoubtedly there are many people who are far, far inferior to you in terms of purity; but again, I see all around many people who have more purity than most of you have. So just because you follow the spiritual life, it does not mean that you have more purity.
If we are really pure, then we don’t see impurity in others. If we are not pure, then we see mud in everybody. A child is pure, so he does not see mud in anybody. Only when he becomes fourteen or fifteen or so does he see mud everywhere, because at that time he has his own mind. If his mind is all impure, naturally he sees impurity everywhere. Real spiritual people are not at all disturbed by impurity, because they have tremendous inner light and that light saves them. So in your case, I wish to say, do not seek impurity in others; only think of your own inner light. The more you can bring to the fore your inner light, either the impurity you see will be illumined or you will not see impurity at all.
Question: When we are attacked by impure thoughts and feelings, or when they arise in us, how can we invoke purity?Sri Chinmoy: When you are assailed by impure, undivine thoughts, just think of somebody who is infinitely more powerful than these thoughts, and that is the Supreme. The Supreme is omniscient and omnipotent. It is His world. So you have to feel that He is infinitely more powerful than the invasion, than the attack you have just received from the hostile forces.
Unfortunately, when a seeker is attacked by an undivine force, immediately he feels that this undivine force is omnipotent. He does not think at that time that the Supreme is the only omnipotent Power on earth. You have to have more faith in God’s Reality, God’s Concern, God’s Compassion for you.
If you have real faith in God’s Concern and Compassion, then the attack of the hostile forces will lose all its strength. So think in a positive way that there is someone who is infinitely more powerful than the force of undivine thoughts, and that His infinite Power will immediately come to your rescue, provided you are sincere and soulful at the time of your desperate need.
Question: Guru, it seems that purity in the waking state is under our control, while purity in the sleeping or dreaming state is out of our control.Sri Chinmoy: It is absolutely true. In the waking state you have more control over purity, whereas when you are sleeping, you have practically no control. But here it is a matter of practice. When you want to become a good singer, you practise, practise, practise. Then you can carry all the tunes perfectly, right from the beginning to the end. But if you don’t practise, you are bound to make mistakes. If you want to become a good dancer, you have to practise all the steps day in and day out; otherwise, you can’t be perfect.
So here also, during the waking state if you can meditate on purity most soulfully and if you can be perfect in your inner life during the day, then I assure you that you will also be perfect even while you are fast asleep. Even in a dream, if you have purity you will be most satisfied, because dream represents reality and reality represents dream. What is dreamed is a reality in some other world, a higher world or a lower world. But since you are in the physical world, if you can have some mastery over the subject that you are dealing with, then I assure you that in the dream world also you will have mastery over your impurity.
Question: In the morning when we meditate and become established in purity, what is the best way to keep it for the rest of the day?Sri Chinmoy: If you can establish some purity on the strength of your very best meditation, then the best way to preserve it is to feel that you have a most fragrant rose inside your heart. From time to time, try to feel its presence and smell its fragrance and see its beauty. If you have a flower right in front of you, sometimes with your eye you appreciate the beauty, sometimes inwardly with your heart you feel your oneness with its beauty. So if you can see, smell and feel the flower, then you are bound to feel throughout the day the purity that you achieved during your best meditation early in the morning.
Question: How can you cultivate purity with your family and the people you love and make sure it is not attachment to something else?Sri Chinmoy: You have to know that one thing is detachment and another thing is devotedness. If you want to offer your devoted qualities to God, to the Supreme, inside your wife and children, then you can never, never be attached to anybody. You are loving your wife not because she is your wife, not because she is beautiful, not because she is full of love and affection for you or because she does everything for you. No, these are only the outer manifestations of somebody within her. God is inside her; that is why she has all these good qualities. From now on, if you show your devoted gratitude to God, then you will never be attached to your wife or to your children. If you are devoted to God within your wife and children, then automatically you will establish purity with them.
But if you only appreciate the good qualities that you are seeing in your wife and in your children, then you will be tempted. The good qualities will only make you forget your own reality and their reality. If you want to go to God through the good qualities of your family, it will not be possible. You have to know that it is from the root that you get the plant and the tree. The root is God. There will be no flower, no leaf, no plant, nothing if there is no root inside. The root comes first; then only will you have the plant and leaves and tree. So if you go to the root of the good qualities, then you will never be lost, because the root is absolutely divine. But when beautiful leaves and flowers appear, then the evil forces of the eyes may enter into the picture. When somebody looks at beauty, he can destroy it with his impurity. Nobody is able to look at the root, but with your eyes you will be able to see the flowers, the leaves, the branches. At that time it is up to you whether you will love them with joy and divine feelings or curse them with ego and jealousy and pride. But the best thing is to try always to go only to the root inside your nearest and dearest ones. Then there can be no attachment, because the root is all love. Impurity is attachment, but devotedness is all-love, and all-love is all-purity.
Question: How can we obtain purity?Sri Chinmoy: You can obtain purity by constantly feeling that you are a three-year-old child, or you can feel that you are a flower, a beautiful flower with fragrance, and nothing else. In this way you can obtain purity.
Question: Once we achieve purity, how may we maintain it?Sri Chinmoy: Once you achieve purity, you can maintain it only through constant remembrance of God’s Compassion and through constant offering of gratitude to the Supreme. Only then will your purity stay with you permanently.
Question: Is purity different for a married person?Sri Chinmoy: When it comes to purity, there is no difference between a married person, a spinster and a bachelor. The only thing is, one has to know what real purity is. Real purity is detachment from the things we consider undivine and devotedness to the things we call divine. It is attachment and detachment that determine purity. If you are totally attached to the gross physical, then you can have no purity whether you are married or unmarried. And again, a married man can be totally detached from the gross physical, the lower vital, just as a bachelor can be. So there is no hard and fast rule that purity will be greater or less for a married or an unmarried person. It is a matter of how soulfully each individual deals with his own life, whether he is devoted to God’s Will or attached to his own desires.
Question: Guru, at this time of our development, should purity be in our mind most of the time?Sri Chinmoy: Purity and impurity are not only in the physical; they can be in the mind, in the vital, anywhere. So purity has to be established in the heart, in the mind, in the vital, in the physical. When an undivine thought comes, first it comes to the mind and then it goes to the vital. If you can establish purity in the mind, then impurity will not come down to the vital through the mind. Similarly, if you start cherishing a good thought in the mind, then naturally the vital will have purity, because what the mind has it will bring to the vital. Again, what the vital has will come to the physical. If you have divine thoughts in the mind, automatically impurity diminishes in the vital and physical. One moment we think, the next moment we act. It is not that we act first and then think. First we think, then we act. So if the thinking process is divine, then naturally there cannot be undivine action.
Question: What is the role of purity?Sri Chinmoy: The role of purity is to make us feel that we are totally one, inseparably one, with God as Consciousness and God as Light. What is Consciousness? Consciousness is the expansion of Light. What is Light? Light is the solidity of the Breath of Consciousness. If we ever want to establish God-Consciousness and God-Light, then we need no other thing save and except purity. Purity is as important as breathing in our spiritual life. Without inhaling and exhaling we cannot live on earth. Purity is like that. It is as important as our living breath.
Question: Can a person who is pure spread his purity to someone who is less pure?Sri Chinmoy: Certainly he can. Even if he does not consciously spread it, his very presence will spread it. It is like this. The very nature of a flower is to spread fragrance. The flower may not talk to you or tell you, “Look, I have purity! I am now giving it to you; so take it, take it!” No. But the very fact that you are near a flower will immediately bring you purity. If you have something, if you have a dollar, you can give it to me. Again, if you don’t give it to me, then I don’t get it. It is up to you. But when it is a matter of purity, even if you don’t want to give it, already it is spreading, because purity is something divine. Anything that is undivine will bind you and try to bind others. But anything that is divine you cannot bind; you cannot hold it back. It is free, absolutely free; it is immortal, eternal. When you have purity, automatically it will flow. If you stand in front of a saint, your whole being becomes purified. His very presence makes you pure. A spiritual Master, by his very presence, spreads Peace, Light and Bliss. When he comes in front of you, he spreads it. He can’t hold it. Always it is going out.
Question: Can we purify our daily actions?Sri Chinmoy: Certainly, that is what we are aiming at. If we cannot purify our daily actions, then how are we going to make progress? Again, if we make progress, then only can we purify our life. These things go together. If I become good, only then will I become a good instrument of God. And if I become a chosen instrument of God, then only will I become really divine. They go together. It is like meditation in action. If I meditate well, then only can I think of loving God and serving God. Again, if I serve God devotedly and unconditionally, then only can I think of meditating at my highest. As action and meditation go together, so purity in our day-to-day life and spiritual progress must go together; they are complementary. If we don’t have purity, we cannot make very fast progress. And any progress that we do make does not remain permanently if we do not have purity. So, purity is of paramount importance in the spiritual life.
Question: A child has no idea of impurity or purity. How do you achieve that kind of purity?Sri Chinmoy: Two months ago you accepted our spiritual path. So feel that you are two months old. The day that you accepted the spiritual life was the real birth for you, and not twenty-four or twenty-five years ago when you came into the world. The moment you accept the spiritual life becomes your spiritual birth, a new birth for you, a new incarnation. So if you are only two months old, how can impurity enter into you? It is impossible. Always think how many years you have been with us and how many years you will be with us. Today you are two months old. Now you have to feel that you are an eternal child of God; but consciously you have to feel that you are an eternal child of God. As a child you will always remain pure. So if you say, “I will remain an eternal child of the Supreme,” then naturally you will maintain all purity.
Question: How can I purify my mind of its pride and its unwillingness to bow to my soul?Sri Chinmoy: Your mind has pride because you feel you have achieved something that others have not achieved. Suppose you think that you are more beautiful than your sister and your mind is giving you pride. Immediately be sincere to yourself. You will say, “True, I may be more beautiful than my sister, but there are thousands of other people on earth who are more beautiful than I.” So your mind will get a slap. Or suppose your mind tells you, “I have much more knowledge than my sister; my sister is an idiot and I know so much.” At that time just think of how many people there are on earth who have more wisdom than you. Just think of some of the professors at Yale or Harvard and make a comparison. Immediately your sincerity will make you feel that those professors are like intellectual giants. You can be proud only when you keep everyone under your feet. You can be proud just because you know a little more than your sister or you are a little more beautiful than your sister. But you must compare yourself with someone who is infinitely superior to you. Then pride will go. Pride will see that it is nowhere. Since it is comparison that is creating pride in you, you have to make comparisons with somebody that will make you humble. So when comparison makes you proud, haughty, at that time, make a comparison with somebody else who will immediately make you humble.
Question: Can the ego ever have purity?Sri Chinmoy: Human ego can never have purity. Human ego wants only to bind: “I, my, mine — my brother, my father, my friend.” I am limited as an individual and I think of my mother and my father as limited. So when I am limited, and the world that I am claiming as my own is limited, how can there be purity? Purity is something vast, infinite, whereas ego makes us think that we are meant only for one or two or three. First ego says that we are meant only for ourselves; there is no world around us. We are our only world. Then ego says, “My mother, my father, my brother.” This is our only world. But this is all impurity. When we are binding someone or bound by someone, it is all ignorance. It is ignorance that makes us feel that only our immediate family is ours and that the rest of the world has nothing to do with us and we have nothing to do with them. Ignorance and impurity go together, whereas wisdom and purity go together. So this ego can never be pure.
But there is also another type of ego. We call it ego, but it is not actually ego. It is our identification, our feeling of oneness, with God. “I am God’s chosen daughter, so how can I do this? How can I tell a lie! How can I deceive someone! How can I waste my time! It is beneath my dignity. God-realisation is my birthright.” That kind of feeling is called total identification with God, but the mind may tell us that it is a form of ego. If we had to make a choice between calling ourselves God’s son and Satan’s son, would we not say that we are God’s son? Here also we have to make a choice between our little ego that says we belong to mother, father, brother, sister, and the big ego that says we belong to the Infinite, the Eternal, the Immortal. So that type of ego, which is actually our sense of identification with the Absolute, is most welcome. When we talk about ego, it is the little one, the little “I”. But when we think of God, immediately “I” goes away and becomes “we”. I represent “I”, you represent “I”, he represents “I”, everybody represents himself or herself. But God does not represent Himself, because God has created everyone; so God has to become “we”.
We always have to feel that the human ego is all impure. But the divine feeling of oneness — “I am God’s child, God-realisation is my birthright, God-manifestation is my birthright” — is divine ego, and that is extremely good.
Question: I find it difficult to distinguish between the small "I" and the divine self. Are there any meditations or practices I can use?Sri Chinmoy: The small “I” will always make you feel that you are most important — not the Centre, not the Mission, not your spiritual brothers and sisters, but you. If something is to be done, the little “I” says, “I will do it and take all the credit.” But the big “I” will say, “No, let us do it together.” The little ego is thinking only of your own progress; it cares only for your realisation, for your illumination. But the big “I” will say, “If it is God’s Will, I will remain absolutely useless. But I want God to be fully manifested on earth.” If God-manifestation comes first, that is the big “I”, the big heart. “I will remain obscure, but God should be fully manifested. Our Mission should be fully manifested. Our Centres should be well-known so that we spread Light. Our brothers and sisters should be together so that we can have a very strong family.” These are all big “I”s. The little “I” will say, “Let me remain in a Himalayan cave and realise God. Why should I be bothered?” That is the little “I”. When you care only for your own self-perfection, your own liberation, and you ignore the rest of the world, then you are gone. You have to take the entire body as a whole. If you pay attention only to your eye or nose, then you are lost. If you make your nose totally perfect while your arms and ears are imperfect, then what will people think? Do you think people will appreciate you? No, they will see your arms are defective, your forehead is defective, everything is defective; only your nose is perfect. But if it is the big “I” that is operating, then you will care for full perfection: “We shall be perfect together. Eye, ear, nose, leg, knee — everything will be perfect.” The big “I” will tell you, “Go together,” and the small “I” will tell you, “Go alone.” So during your prayer, always first think of the Supreme, then think of the Mission, then think of the Centre, then think of the disciples, then think of yourself. If you do that, immediately you will be able to separate your little “I” from the big “I”.
Question: How can you embody purity?Sri Chinmoy: You can embody purity through your constant aspiration for purity. You achieve something when you feel the need for it. Just say, “I need purity, I need purity, I need purity!” Your eternal Father Supreme will give you purity. When the child cries for something, the mother gives. But sometimes she waits to see if the child really wants it, or whether he will stop crying and no longer care for the thing. Sometimes when a child cries for something, before the mother gives it the child goes away and plays somewhere else. You cry for two minutes, “Purity, purity,” and God is bringing down purity. But when you don’t feel purity in your whole being, immediately you become impatient. You think that God will not bring you purity so you change your mind and you do something else. But if you really want and need something, you will keep on crying for it. If a child really needs something, he continuously cries unless and until he has got the thing he needs. In the spiritual life also, if you cry for purity until you have achieved purity, God is bound to bring purity into your life.
Question: Since I think of you as my Master and the highest truth, what for me now is purity?Sri Chinmoy: For the disciple, the Master is the highest purity, and the highest purity is the Master. During the day when you breathe in and out, you have to feel my presence in your heart. When you breathe in you have to feel that you are breathing in the highest purity from me, and when you breathe out you have to feel that I am bringing out all the impurities you have inside your system and throwing them into the Universal Consciousness.
If you can constantly feel in your mind, in your heart, in your soul, in every incident in your day-to-day outer life that I am the highest, then you get the best purity. It cannot be a vague idea, but a constant living feeling that I am the highest. Otherwise, at this moment you will feel that I am very high, even the highest, but the next moment, when your desires are not fulfilled, you will feel that I am not only low, but the lowest. If I do not fulfil your inner desires, you will feel, “Either he turned a deaf ear or he has no ear, he has no capacity.” This kind of tribute I get from the disciples.
If I don’t fulfil your desires, if you can feel it is for your own good, absolutely for your good, and if you can consider me always the highest in spite of so-called defeat, failure and frustration, then the problem of impurity is solved. In everything if you can feel that I am the highest and the best, then you are bound to get the best and the highest from me. Then, if you have everything that is best, you will see that purity will come first and foremost. Everything that your soul needs, everything that your life of aspiration, your life of realisation, your life of manifestation needs, is bound to come if you are placing me first and foremost in your life. This is what a real disciple does.
Question: How far are we from purity?Sri Chinmoy: You cannot ask a collective question because you may have achieved one state of consciousness and somebody else may be one inch higher or one inch lower. Somebody may be ten miles ahead of you and someone may be ten miles behind. So I cannot make a general statement, because everyone has established purity according to his spiritual development.
If you want to know how far you yourself are from purity, then you have to ask the question, “How intimately do I feel God in my day-to-day life, in every moment of my life?” If you feel the living Presence of God every moment of your life, that means you are extremely pure. The moment you feel consciously the Presence of God, at that time you are one hundred per cent pure. If inside your heart you feel God’s living Presence, and not just a vague idea that God exists, at that time your whole body is pure. Again, when you don’t feel God’s Presence, no matter how many times you wash your hands or how many flowers you keep in front of your nose, you will not have purity. You are a perfect stranger to purity at that time.
Question: How can we purify the kind of love and devotion that we are trying to offer to you?Sri Chinmoy: The easiest way to do this is to say to yourself early in the morning, “Guru thinks of me infinitely more than I think of myself. Guru loves me infinitely more than I love myself.” Say it only once, most soulfully. In the beginning you will do this like a parrot, since I am requesting you to do it. But the day will come when you will see that there is no parrot there; you will see with your soul that this is absolutely true.
When you say that I think of you more than you think of yourself, you have to know that “thinking” is not the proper word. “Thinking” here is the soul’s feeling of oneness. In the outer life, in the ordinary life, we say, “I am thinking of you.” But it is only to convince the mind that we even mention the thinking process. In the soul’s world it is not thinking; it is all identification, or let us use the term “oneness”. Your mind may tell you, “Right now Guru is talking to my brother; he is doing this and that, so how can he say he is thinking of me?” But if you know the real meaning of the word “oneness”, then you will be able to convince your mind that I really think of you much more than you think of yourself. Otherwise, your mind will say, “He is always thinking of his success, his progress, his deeds. He does not use my name even once a day.” But you have to feel that my oneness with you is infinitely more secure and well-established than your oneness with me. You have to feel that I have done my part and I will all the time do my part. Now it is up to you to do your share. If you can feel that way, then anything you have to offer me will be divine.
Then again, you have to feel that the thing which you want to give me I have already given to you. If you feel that I gave you divine love and devotion first, that it is not your own and that you are just returning it to me, it is easy. But if you feel that you are giving me, whereas I am not giving you anything, then there will be some difficulty. Again, if you feel that you are giving me love and devotion for the first time, then naturally you will give me earth-bound love and devotion. But if you feel that you are giving me something that I have already given to you, then it comes to me as something divine, because what I gave you was divine.
Question: Is there a way to get purity through action?Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. You can get purity through action, but you have to know what kind of action it is. The action that demands constant satisfactory results will not be able to give you purity. You do something; you throw the shot. You have practised very hard and now you will wait for the result. You say, “I want to place first.” Your mind will say that you deserve it. From the mind’s point of view, you deserve it. From the vital’s point of view, you deserve it. From the physical’s point of view, you deserve it. But from the soul’s point of view, perhaps you don’t deserve it, because the soul will say, “It is not what you do, but how you do it.” Did you do it devotedly, did you do it soulfully? If there is a competitive spirit inside, if there is any jealousy inside, if there is a kind of pride or vanity inside, the soul will observe.
Then God will come and see; He will be the judge. He will see whether you are doing it with the idea or the feeling that you are just the instrument. If you have the feeling that you are the shot and God is the thrower, then automatically you become the instrument. If you are just the instrument, you are bound to get one hundred per cent in purity. You are doing nothing; God just picked you up from the ground and He is doing the throwing. So how can you not be pure, since God is all Purity? If you do it with the idea that you have become one with the soul, if it is immaterial to you whether you stand first or last, if the result you will offer to God, then you may get 75 out of 100. If you are throwing it most devotedly, without any jealousy, without any feeling of competition, but only with selfless detachment, you are bound to get 70 or 75 out of 100. Again, if you do it with an aggressive feeling, just to feed your pride and vanity, at that time you will get probably zero or five or ten. Five you may get because you have worked very hard, but when it is time for the real judgement, you may get zero. But if you do it devotedly and soulfully, 75 you will get. And if you can feel that you are not the doer, but that you are the shot itself and God has thrown you, if you can feel you are not responsible at all, then you will get 100 out of 100.
Again, when you do something, you have to use your heart and soul. Otherwise you will strike your younger sister and say, “No, it was not I. It was God who slapped my sister.” God is not there. But if you become absolutely one with your younger sister with your love, affection, concern and compassion, then if she has done something really wrong and your love-power does not work, then perhaps your threatening-power is needed. If you feel this from the very depth of your heart at the time you give her a slap, then you will feel that it is not you who have given her a slap, but God who has done it. You are just an instrument; God has utilised you. If you feel this, then you are getting again 100 out of 100.
But just because you are older than your sister, if you feel, “She is an idiot. I know so much about spiritual life and about earthly life, so I have every right to slap her,” you are wrong. You will do the action, but who is inspiring you, who is guiding you? It is your undivine vital that is instigating you. If your vital makes you feel that by striking her you are bringing her to some understanding or divine wisdom, then you are getting zero, absolutely zero.
So when you do something, you have to know whether you are being instigated by your vital or inspired by your soul, or illumined by the Supreme. If the Supreme is illumining you, if the Supreme is using you as an instrument to perfect your sister, then you are purity itself; your action is all purity. And if your soul, which sees the light, is inspiring you to do the right thing, then there is 50 per cent purity. But if you are being instigated, then there is 99 per cent impurity.
Question: How can we purify our feeling of gratitude towards God?Sri Chinmoy: You have to know if it is real gratitude. Gratitude itself is pure. If it is real gratitude, it is all purity; but if it is false gratitude, then it is impurity. How do you know if it is false gratitude or genuine gratitude? It is very easy. If God has given you a dollar, and you offer your gratitude to God with the idea that He will be so pleased that He will give you ten dollars, then your gratitude is impure. You will offer your gratitude, but inside your gratitude hope will loom large. You are offering gratitude, but you are consciously or unconsciously cherishing the hope that He will give you much more.
But divine gratitude is different. When you offer divine gratitude, you are offering it because God has done something for you. You know that there are millions of people on earth to whom God has not given a dollar, but to you He has given it, even though you don’t deserve it or you feel that you don’t deserve it. God is doing everything unconditionally. If you feel that He is doing everything unconditionally, then automatically you feel pure gratitude. If you feel that what you have is coming unconditionally from God whether or not you deserve it, then your gratitude is bound to become pure.
Part II — Compassion
Question: What does God's Compassion do when we resist God's Grace?Sri Chinmoy: Compassion and Grace are the same thing, but Compassion is much more intense. The same Grace, when it has tremendous intensity, is called Compassion. Water is everywhere, but when there is a torrential rain, you can say Compassion is descending. It is like a heavy downpour from above, with tremendous force. Grace is also water, but water is here, there, everywhere. This is the difference between Compassion and Grace.
When an individual resists God’s Compassion, God either waits indefinitely and uses His Patience-Power, or He uses more Compassion. In His case He deals with infinite Compassion. He does not accept any defeat. If we resist His Compassion, He may use more of His Compassion-Power to conquer us, or He may allow us to stay for ten, twenty, fifty, sixty or a hundred years more in ignorance. He is dealing with eternal Time. It is up to Him whether to force us to accept His Light in a different way. But this forcing does not occur in a human way. His forcing means that He will use more of the Compassion-Power which He has and which He is. From His infinite Compassion-Power He will use more Compassion-Power in order to conquer our ignorance. But if He meets with tremendous resistance, then He may change His mind. He may say “No, he wants to sleep; let him sleep for another hundred years. There is no hurry in it.” But God will never withdraw His Compassion for good, no matter how we resist His Compassion. Only we delay our progress, our onward, upward, inward progress, by resisting God’s Compassion-Power. For God’s Compassion-Power is His magnet-power, His magnetic power that draws us to His very Heart, which is all Light and Delight.
Question: How can we show the Supreme gratitude for His Compassion?Sri Chinmoy: We do not actually show gratitude; we become gratitude. Gratitude is not a matter of showing. Here I have a finger and I can show it. No, it is not like that. The moment we want to show gratitude, we take away the sweetness, the real wealth, the real secret or real power, the very raison d’être of gratitude. So gratitude we don’t show; we don’t even express it. Gratitude is something that we grow into, we become. It is not a matter of offering gratitude when God shows us infinite Compassion. We have to just become gratitude itself.
Suppose I do something for you. Let us say I give you a smile or I help you in your meditation. Immediately become a garland of gratitude, but not with the idea of expressing it. The moment you express, the reality goes away from its Divinity’s height. During your meditation, if you feel that the Supreme, our eternal Guru, has given you a good meditation, then without using the human tongue, you can say, “O Supreme, I am so grateful to You. You have granted me today a very high meditation. It is all due to Your Compassion.” Instead of uttering this, instead of using the human tongue, just feel inside that your heart is all gratitude. If your heart is all gratitude it means your real existence has become all gratitude.
Question: When you show someone compassion, can this other person see light or anything in your compassion?Sri Chinmoy: If you show sincere compassion to someone, then you are bound to receive Light from God. As a matter of fact, the moment you show compassion to someone, you have to feel that it is God’s Light in the form of compassion which is flowing through you. When you show compassion it means that Light has already descended into your inner being, into your system, and you are just a perfect channel. The Light is flowing in and through you to the person who is in need. So you have to know that you have already received Light; otherwise, you would not have cared to show compassion to anybody.
Question: Guru, how can I feel more compassion from the picture of the Divine Mother Kali?Sri Chinmoy: You are identifying yourself with the Mother Kali that you are seeing on the gross vital plane. Here she is killing the asuras, the undivine forces that are standing against the divine manifestation. Within and without it is all destruction. She is destroying the unlit, impure human, or let us say animal emotions and propensities.
But you have to know that this Mother Kali has her Source. Her Source is sat-chit-ananda: Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. There she is all golden. If we identify our inner or spiritual existence, our inner cry with her reality, then we shall see that she is all compassion. She is taking our side against those who are obstructing our progress. She is fighting for the divine soldiers who would like to become totally dedicated, totally surrendered to God’s Will.
When a human being conquers someone, he conquers only to show his supremacy. But when the divine forces conquer the undivine forces, they do so with the view of transforming the undivine qualities of those asuric forces. When Julius Caesar conquered, he immediately said, “Veni, vidi, vici,” “I came, I saw, I conquered.” But when a spiritual Master conquers someone, he says, “I love you. I have become what you are. Now let me use you the way I want to use you so that you can make the fastest progress.” This is the difference between Julius Caesar and a spiritual Master.
In your case you have to know that you are having difficulty finding Compassion in Mother Kali because you are seeing her outer face, outer arms, outer movement. There you see her destructive or, you may even go to the length of saying, ferocious capacity. But just go deep within and you will see that she is the Mother of Compassion. In a fleeting moment she can take us to the highest plane of consciousness. She is the Mother of Power and she is Mother of Compassion both. Mahakali is the Mother of height and speed, tremendous speed. If other cosmic gods grant you something, it may take ten years for you to get it. But if you can satisfy Mother Kali, you can get it in a day. She has that capacity. She is the fastest in giving. But in return, naturally she will demand from us more purity, a more consecrated life. If she is granting us a boon in such a fast way, she has every right to expect this from us.
So in order to see Mother Kali’s compassion-aspect, you have to identify yourself with her inner existence, not with her outer existence which is depicted by the imagination of some artist. When the soldier is on the battlefield, you see in him a kind of quality or capacity which is not noticeable when he is with the sweet members of his family. When he is in the battlefield, he is a totally different person. There he has to be very brave, very powerful; otherwise ignorance will devour him. So here the Mother Kali is fighting against the ignorance-forces in order to conquer them and transform them eventually. It is for their good, plus it is for the manifestation of God.
Question: Guru, how can I be more compassionate to others, especially those not on the spiritual path?Sri Chinmoy: Think of yourself as a member of a family. When you were seven or eight years old, you made many mistakes. You committed even Himalayan blunders, let us say. But your elder brother forgave you, your father or your mother forgave you, because you were a child. Your elder brother was older than you in terms of years and your parents were older than you, so they forgave you. Automatically compassion descends when you feel that somebody is a child and does not know better.
People who have not consciously launched into the spiritual life deserve your special compassion because they are like little brothers. An unconscious, unaspiring person — a little brother — is someone who does not know how to walk along the path. He just stumbles. So the elder brothers in the family just go and pick him up.
Unaspiring people deserve our compassion. But this compassion is not pity. There is a great difference between compassion and pity. When we show compassion, at that time our whole heart becomes one with the suffering of others. If somebody is poverty-stricken and we offer our compassion, we become one with his poverty itself. But when we show pity to someone, we feel he is inferior to us and we maintain our own height. We remain on the Himalayan height and the person to whom we are showing pity is at the bottom of a chasm. We stand millions of miles away or thousands of miles higher than the reality of the other person. But in compassion we just come to him and become one. When God shows us His Compassion, He just becomes one with our deplorable reality.
So you can show compassion to these people only by becoming one with them. Feel that they are your little brothers. Today they do not know, but tomorrow they are going to learn. Once upon a time you were a little child; now you are in a position to run, not to speak of walking or marching. Similarly, these children will also start walking, then marching, then running, running the fastest towards their goal.
Question: When we suffer unpleasant experiences and make mistakes, does that mean that the Supreme has withdrawn His Grace?Sri Chinmoy: No, no, that is not true. It is just that ignorance-forces are there. A child goes and puts his finger in the fire. That doesn’t mean that the mother has less concern for the child. The mother has tremendous concern. But the mother is upstairs and the child has gone into the kitchen and placed his finger in the fire. Does that mean that the mother has no concern for the child? No. But the child is still ignorant. He does not know the power of fire.
When we do something wrong, at times it is because we do not know, and at times it is because we are tempted to do the thing. Sometimes the child knows that the fire will burn his finger, but he gets a kind of malicious pleasure in touching fire. With us also, in spite of knowing better, sometimes we enter into ignorance. It is like eating food. We know there is something called a sufficient quantity, but we overeat. We eat voraciously, and then we pay the penalty. But when we become, consciously or unconsciously, a victim to temptation, we can’t say that God’s Grace has withdrawn from our lives. Far from it! The only thing is that we are deliberately entering into ignorance. The mother can prevent the child from touching fire. She can say, “Don’t do it, don’t do it.” But the difficulty is that if the determination does not come from within, no matter how many times the divine forces try to prevent us from doing the wrong thing, we will feel a sense of loss. We will feel that we have missed something.
From within we have to feel that we are not losing anything by not entering into ignorance; or we have to feel that it is only a temporary necessity for us to make mistakes, because of our ignorance. If we live in light, there is no necessity to make mistakes. It is not because the divine Grace has been withdrawn that we become victims to ignorance. Far from it. But what can the divine Grace do? Limited freedom God has given us. To everybody He has given it. This limited freedom is like a knife. Somebody will use the knife to cut a mango and share it with others, and somebody else will use the knife to stab another person. We are suffering not because God has withdrawn. God has given us the capacity; so now let us use it wisely with our discretion and wisdom.
Question: How can I bring down the Supreme's Compassion to make my spiritual life evolve faster?Sri Chinmoy: You can bring down the Compassion of the Supreme into your being so that you can make faster progress just by crying like a child. When a child cries helplessly, he feels that his mother is in a position to fulfil his need. He cries most helplessly just because he knows and feels that his mother is there to fulfil his need. As a seeker you will cry soulfully, not helplessly. If you cry helplessly, you may at times fall victim to despondency; whereas if you cry soulfully, from deep within, then your cry is bound to be heard by the Supreme Mother, the Supreme within you. And then you will make the fastest progress in your spiritual life. The moment your cry is heard, rest assured that your progress becomes infinitely faster.
Part III — Justice
Question: What does God's Justice do when jealousy and impurity are brought before the Supreme's Court?Sri Chinmoy: God’s Justice is not human justice; it is not punishment. God only says, “I have given you chances time and again, but you have not properly used the golden Hour. Again, I am ready to give chances endlessly.” God at that time deals with His infinite Patience. First He deals with Light, He tries to illumine our jealousy and impurity and transform them into a feeling of oneness and purity. But if the seeker does not want that, if he does not want his jealousy or impurity to be illumined, then God uses another weapon: His Patience-weapon. The first weapon he uses is His Wisdom-weapon. Patience also is a form of wisdom, and wisdom is patience, but we separate them.
Suppose you are a selfish person. God says, “The moment you forget about your personal, selfish, self-seeking life and care only for self-giving, then your jealousy will go away. The moment you pay attention only to purity, then impurity will leave you.” First this wisdom God will try to shower on you. But if you do not avail yourself of this opportunity to receive God’s Grace or Wisdom, then God will use another weapon which is called patience. He will wait until you feel the necessity of purification and transformation of your nature. Then, after ten years or twenty years or fifty years, again He will try to inspire you. At that time, if He succeeds, well and good. Otherwise, there will be another time. In this way continuously He will go on, go on, go on. In the course of time, the seeker will fulfil the demands of his inner being and God’s Promise to His own Reality.
Question: Is force excluded in Justice?Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme uses force, but it is not human force. Beating or striking someone, showing supremacy or authority: this is the human force. But the Supreme’s Force operates in a different way. His Force is the intensity of necessity. Suppose the seeker is not intense in his aspiration. The Supreme will make him intense. This intensity you can call a force, but it is not thrust upon him. Somebody is lethargic. He wants to go slowly, at the speed of an Indian bullock cart. But God says, “Now I have invented the jet plane. Why have you to use an Indian bullock cart?” So God will use His intensity-power. This intensity we may misunderstand. We may think that God is forcing us, that He is compelling us to go. No, He is just awakening us. He just says, “Look, open your eyes. Here is the fastest speed.” When He awakens our consciousness, we feel that it has been done by pressure. But if we are sincere and devoted and surrendered, we don’t feel any kind of pressure; only we feel that the time has come. God has selected a choice Hour and He has awakened us.
Human force is a vital force. In vital force there is a compulsion. The force is coming to frighten us, to threaten us. But when there is force in divine Justice, it does not frighten or threaten us. Only it increases the immensity or the intensity of our aspiration so that, like a bullet, we run towards the goal. When God uses force, God will ask us to run towards the goal at the pace that He has set, not at our pace. If we don’t identify ourselves with God’s Will, then it really becomes a kind of pressure, a force. But if we become one with Him, then it is not a pressure, it is not a force.
We are right now in the body, let us say. Our superior, most illumined part, the head, has discovered some truth, but the feet have not yet discovered the truth. The head is telling the feet, “Look, this is the reality.” If the feet do not identify themselves with the head, then they say, “Don’t bother us. We don’t need you. We don’t need your realisation.” But if the feet also feel the necessity of wisdom, then they will be so grateful that the head has helped them to know the reality.
I am now talking here, offering light. I am trying to convince you of something. To convince someone is a way of exercising one’s authoritative force. But when it is a divine way of operation, we don’t convince; we just illumine. The part that is still unillumined, we try to illumine. Then there is no force at all. The illumined part is just making the unillumined part aware of our own higher existence. If the lower existence feels that there is a higher existence which is part and parcel of its own reality, then naturally the lower will fly into the higher and become one with the higher.
Question: What is your view of the part of the Bible that says we should fear God's Justice?Sri Chinmoy: You have to forgive me, but I cannot subscribe to that view. We must not fear God’s Justice and we must not fear God. If we fear God, we will never be able to reach God, we will never be able to get anything from God. If a child is afraid of his father, he will not be able to receive anything from his father. He will not even go to his father. If he sees that his father is so tall and robust and powerful, then he will not go to him. But if the child loves the father, even though the father has power and strength, the child feels that the father is not going to use it to strike him. On the contrary, the child feels that the father will use that power to protect him if he is in danger. The child feels that his father’s power is all for him. And he will be able to brag that he is so great, so powerful, because of his father’s strength. A child does not have even a dollar, but if he knows that his father has thousands of dollars, he goes and tells his friends, “Look, I am so rich; my father has so much money.” How he identifies with his father’s wealth!
Only through love do we become one. The moment we are afraid of someone, his reality and our reality become separate. I am your spiritual leader, but how am I going to give anything to you if you are afraid that it will just burn you? Reverential awe is one thing; fear is something else. In reverential awe you feel that someone is a little higher than you, so you have to behave well. God is infinitely better than you in every way, so you feel that you must have that kind of reverence. But deeper than reverence is love, true love. A child does not need reverence; he does not have to show reverence because he knows he has love, which is infinitely more effective. A child does not have to go and touch his father’s feet every second. No. The moment he shows his father his love, his heart, that is enough.
To approach God with fear or through fear is very unhealthy. We only love God. We feel that what our Father has, we also have. Unfortunately, we are still children; that is why our Father is unable to give it to us. The father does not give his vast wealth to a child. But when the child grows up, he gets what his father has and what his father is. If we can love God soulfully, then God will give us everything.
When a child is playing in the mud and then all of a sudden he is called, he is not afraid that his mother will beat him because he is dirty. He will go running to his mother and his mother will immediately take his dirt, his filth, as her very own. She will wash him in order to show others that her son is also very clean. We have to take God like that. No matter how many undivine things we do, we run towards Him and feel that with His Compassion He will just clean us immediately.
Question: How do you forgive injustice?Sri Chinmoy: When we think of injustice in human terms, we have to go to the very depth of our realisation. When we came into the world we made a solemn promise to God that we would realise God, manifest God and fulfil God here on earth. This was our most sincere, most soulful promise to God. When we made that promise we were in the soul’s world. We didn’t have the physical body; our real existence was the soul. At that time the soul said, “I am descending into the world only to please You, to fulfil You, to manifest You unconditionally.” But now, the word “unconditionally” immediately frightens us. It is a poisonous word; we can’t use it. All is conditional, conditional.
These people whom you feel are very unjust have done something undivine, true. But look at your own promise. You expect from these people perfection; you feel they have to do everything in a perfect way. But perfection comes only when we fulfil our promise. Our first and foremost promise was to God, to please Him and fulfil Him on earth. We have not fulfilled our promise; yet we expect others to fulfil their promise. As spiritual people, we should always see what we have done wrong. Millions of things we have done wrong. If we do millions of things wrong, then naturally God is forgiving us. Otherwise, we would not be able to exist on earth. If He is ready to forgive us in spite of our countless defects and mistakes, how is it that we cannot forgive someone else?
A spiritual seeker immediately claims himself to be a chosen child of God. An unaspiring person, a person who is wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance, would never dare to claim this. He does not dare to claim God as his very own. But you do dare to claim that you are God’s chosen child, just because you have got an iota of God’s good qualities. God is good, God is divine, God is perfect, and all His divine qualities you have to some extent. So if one of God’s qualities is forgiveness, and if God forgives you twenty-four hours a day, can’t you forgive a person for one second? If your source has the capacity to do something in infinite measure, naturally you also should have the capacity to forgive or illumine others who have done something wrong, according to your standard.
Question: When somebody performs an act of injustice, does the soul of the victim always learn something from the experience?Sri Chinmoy: In this case you have to know that the real soul is not getting any kind of experience. If someone gives you a slap unnecessarily, your soul is not getting an experience. The outer being is getting an experience. The soul is dealing with your whole realisation, outer revelation and divine manifestation. The soul has all experiences that are encouraging, inspiring, illumining and fulfilling. But sometimes the outer being also needs experience. When your outer being gets an unpleasant experience, then it will be more cautious. “Why did somebody give me a slap? What have I done?” If you have done nothing then immediately you will feel, “I have to be more cautious. It was not because I did something that I am being struck. No, it is because of the ignorance of the world. Whether I have done something wrong is immaterial. Just because the world is full of ignorance, the world’s ignorance may enter into me. So I have to be more careful.”
Sometimes when we do something wrong, we are afraid that somebody will come and take us to task and we will have to pay the penalty. But there are many, many wrong forces around us that attack us even if we do nothing wrong. These hostile forces, undivine forces, are moving around. But the real experience belongs to our outer being, which is trying to perfect itself. The soul gets the experience to some extent, but the real experience belongs to the outer being. The soul is dealing with Infinity, Eternity and Immortality; it has a very big task to do. It is not that the soul is ignoring the outer being. The only thing is that the outer being also has to undergo some changes through these experiences.
Editor's preface to the first editionIn this volume Sri Chinmoy answers a series of questions on purity, compassion and justice.