Sri Chinmoy speaks, part 9

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Part I

Sleep and aspiration

To maintain your aspiration during sleep, first of all you have to meditate quite a few hours during the day. Now, that meditation need not be in a secluded area or in front of a shrine. While working, if your mood is very high, if what you are doing is pure, devoted service, then it is a real form of meditation. When you go to sleep, you must feel that it is an extension of your conscious meditation. Do not think that you are jumping or entering from one room into another — that is to say, during the day you were in one room and at night you are going into another room. No. Only feel that right now is the time for you to stretch your legs and arms, but that what you are doing is only another type of work.

If you take sleep as a brother to death, then you cannot make any progress. But if you take sleep as an extension of your meditative consciousness, then automatically the power of meditation, like a river, flows into your sleep. During the day, when you pray and meditate, you have aspiration. During sleep, you don’t have aspiration because there is a conscious break. You feel that the day has ended and now you are entering into a totally different enterprise. But if you feel that in sleep you are extending the power of your meditation, the wealth of your meditation, then it is a continuous movement. Like a train it goes on. So when you meditate during the day, please feel that it is not the real end. There is no end. While you are sleeping, feel that the train is still going on. You are the passenger. If you feel that you are inside the train, you may sleep, but the pilot is still there. He is continuing to pilot the train. The boatman is still piloting the boat. If you fall asleep, no harm, for you have faith in the boatman. If you have conscious communication with the boatman, an exchange of sweet thoughts, ideals, ideas, then it becomes very easy, for you have already established your friendship with the boatman during the day, while you were meditating. Now, do you think that while you are sleeping, the boatman will deceive you? No. The boatman will go on, go on sailing the boat. As you make inner progress, even during your sleep, you will be able to meditate. You may be fast asleep, snoring, but conscious meditation, absolutely conscious meditation, is going on.

And then, if you can gradually minimise the number of hours you sleep each night, that will be very good. If you are sleeping eight hours, you can try seven and a half hours and then seven hours, six hours, five hours, four hours, three hours, two hours, and then become a Guru like me. It is quite possible. If I did it from the age of thirteen or fourteen, why is it not possible for you? More than two or two and a half hours of sleep a night is not necessary. If you can get up at four o’clock instead of seven o’clock, three hours are at your disposal. If you take time as money or wealth, then naturally the time from four to seven is like additional money you are getting. During the day, when you are doing something, you are sharing it with others. But if you get up in the small hours of the morning, you are getting the full wealth. You don’t have to share anything that you are getting. If you want to pray, you can pray. If you want to meditate, you can meditate. If you want to write something, you can write.

Let me give you an example. By God’s Grace I can do many things at a time in the inner world. Just because I get up early in the morning I can meditate on the consciousness, on the souls of my disciples. Then, during the day, I can devote myself to the disciples’ outer problems. But if I had to start concentrating on the disciples at, say, six o’clock or seven o’clock, then I wouldn’t have time to solve any problems. Then, you know, by God’s Grace, I am a prolific writer. God knows how many things I have written by now. Here is an example. Yesterday [16 November 1973] I wrote 150 poems in one day. I am not boasting; it is all recorded. At 3:30 a.m. I started. From 2:00 to 3:30 I was doing my spiritual work, meditating on the disciples. So at 3:30 I started. Now 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, 6:30, 7:30; it goes on, goes on, goes on. Then I had to go to the U.N. for one hour. Then there were a few problems. By two minutes to eleven at night, I had completed 150 poems, and in between there were quite a few obstacles, oppositions, telephone calls and some serious problems that arose. And sometimes the physical revolts. My elbow was failing because I was not dictating these poems to anybody; I was writing myself. So you see — 3:30 to 11:00. In this way I achieved it. But if I had not begun at 3:30, I would have been nowhere. Perhaps one poem I could have written.

If you can minimise the hours of sleep, it is very good. Too much sleep means you are making friendship with death, nothing else. If you cannot make conscious progress, it is as good as death. I have a disciple who sleeps eleven and a half hours every day. I will bless her. She says that if she does not sleep eleven and a half hours, she gets an immediate headache. She is not here, so I can say it: if any disciple sleeps for twelve or thirteen hours a day, then it is my headache. It is my headache because it will be so difficult for me to take that person to God. If one has to sleep for thirteen hours, then what is one going to accomplish in life?

The inspiration-bird

In our Indian philosophy, we have a particular goddess named Saraswati. Saraswati is the goddess of learning, the goddess of art and the goddess of inspiration. In the West you use the term “muse”. As we have a human world, where we get all earthly things, even so there is a world of inspiration. If we go deep within, we can enter into that world and find that the poems are already written. If you want to write an article, you can enter into the world of inspiration and actually see the article written. Then all you have to do is copy it down in your notebook. When I was sixteen or seventeen years old, I wrote quite a few poems this way. Of course, it was with my third eye that I looked. The lines are written there on the wall, you can say — on the inspiration-wall — and you just copy them down and they become your possession. Our greatest poet, Tagore, did it. He entered into the world of inspiration and from there he got many poems. There is a world of poetry, a world of prose, a world for all literature that exists.

What do we do? We go deep within and jump, as though we were on a springboard. But often we are not aware of what plane we have reached. We get only a vague inner feeling of the reality of that world. So when that reality enters into us, it is like a thief entering into us. And then we become the channel of expression for that reality, according to the power of our receptivity, according to how we have reached the inspiration that has dawned in us.

Right now you are at the mercy of inspiration. If you don’t have any inspiration you cannot write anything. It is like this. The inspiration-bird is flying in the sky and all of a sudden it passes by you. You see the bird of inspiration and you get a few opening lines, but before you complete these lines, the bird flies away. But when you have become a very great spiritual seeker, you have the capacity to encage the bird. The bird is flying past, but with your will-power, with your own aspiration-power or spiritual power or occult power, you can stop the bird’s flight. What happens? You compel the bird to stay inside you until you have completed your poem or your article. Before we have this capacity, we are at the bird’s mercy. It can come right in front of us and stand for a few minutes or a few seconds, and then it will fly away. But if we have become very highly developed seekers, then we acquire the capacity to compel the bird of inspiration to stay with us for as long as we want. Anyone can develop that capacity, provided he prays to God, meditates on God and devotes himself to the inner life.

I started writing poems at the age of twelve. At that time I was at the mercy of the inspiration-bird. If I had no inspiration, I could not write. If I had forced myself to write, it would have been all useless words. But gradually, gradually, on the strength of my aspiration, I developed the capacity to grab the bird of inspiration at will.

Cleanliness and purity

When I see sincere, devoted disciples in front of me during meditation, it gives me tremendous inspiration. It is like this. Before we invoke the Supreme or a cosmic god, the power that they have remains dormant; it does not increase or expand. But when it gets inspiration, it can roar like a lion. Sri Ramachandra, our first Indian Avatar, inspired Mother Durga to bring forward her own qualities and then she conquered all the undivine forces. Similarly, the members of an orchestra can come and inspire their conductor. It is like a father with his children. When the children play, the father can come and inspire them and, similarly, when the children are playing, they can give tremendous joy and inspiration to their father and mother. So it is absolutely true that when you people come with aspiration, it helps me a lot and makes it easier for me to give. Otherwise, it is like trying to give to a solid wall.

But when I see that disciples have not taken a proper shower, I forget all about their inspiration and aspiration. A few days ago I blessed the mothers in one of our Centres for Mother’s Day, and how they cursed me! I had to ask the Centre leader to bring me hot water and a towel to wash my hands. I said to these disciples, “I bless you and you simply give me all your impurity and physical dirt.” If they had come to me with purity, they would definitely have inspired me.

Some of my spiritual children are very bad in this respect. The Centre leader can scold them, but even then they will come back the next week, like naughty children, without having taken a shower. On the one hand, these disciples are really devoted and dedicated. How they give when it is a matter of selfless service or love-offering! But on the other hand they do something that creates a most deplorable problem for me. And this has been going on for a long time. It is a real shame.

God-realisation will not come from taking a shower ten times a day. No! There are fishermen who spend all day in the water, but will their God-realisation come before ours? I don’t think so. But again, if we keep our body very clean, the soul gets more of an opportunity to come forward. A shower cannot take more than ten minutes. It is simply a matter of wanting to please me.

On rare occasions, when I bless people on their birthdays, for example, as I gaze at them their impurity enters into me like an arrow. If a person is impure, I feel as though somebody is attacking me with an arrow. I don’t even have to look at the person. I may be looking this side or that side, but I keep myself absolutely open on all levels so that everyone and everything can come to me, to attack me or receive from me.

Now, on weekdays if you cannot take a shower before coming to the Centre because of your office work or your other activities, I won’t blame you. But please at least wash your face and hands and sprinkle water on your arms; you can easily do this. It would be good if the young men would buy one extra white outfit which they will keep only for meditation. Then it will keep a purer vibration. It will be like a costume. You should not wear to meditation the same old clothes that you wear every day. This place is like a temple. When you come here, your body and your clothing should be fresh and clean.

In our consciousness, our spiritual consciousness, there is always purity, but when we are dealing with the physical it is a different matter. It can happen that somebody may be inwardly spiritual but physically dirty. Tradition says that Ganges water is the purest, but now you cannot even go near it, although higher — near Rishikesh — it is a little cleaner. When the physical is dirty, it is like offering poison to the Master. Instead of that poison, people can offer something really divine. Again, sometimes a disciple’s consciousness may be bad but physically he is clean. Perhaps in the inner world he is cherishing jealousy or other undivine thoughts.

When my disciples give me food or water, I don’t use my occult power to protect myself as I do when I eat in a restaurant, because I expect that my disciples will give me the purest food and water. But one or two times when I was giving lectures at universities, you can’t imagine the kind of water my disciples gave me! My expectation is my mistake. Many times I have suffered in this way. Sometimes at the Centre, when people give me the food that they have prepared, it is beyond my capacity to eat it. I may take one spoonful, but many times it happens that I can’t even touch the food I am given, although I may be really hungry. If they were cherishing undivine thoughts when they were cooking, all these forces will be in the food and their food will be like poison to me. If they haven’t cooked with love, devotion and surrender, their whole day of cooking is wasted.

When I go to disciples’ houses, forgive me, there are a few places where I really suffer. I have two disciples — a husband and wife — of whom I am most fond, but once when I visited their home, how difficult it was for me! It was not the poverty of the place, but the uncleanness. If I hadn’t accepted their food, they would have been really sad, so I said, “All right, although it is unclean, I will eat it to give them joy!” I ate it; then I suffered like anything. In India also I used to suffer. It is not always true that birds of a feather flock together. Very unspiritual boys used to eat beside me in the dining hall and give me their impurity. It would all enter into me; then I would smile at them and throw it into my Universal Consciousness. And if I didn’t sit beside them, they would feel I was indifferent. You can’t imagine how spiritual Masters can suffer in this way.

Usually when I travel or go to new places, I have several close disciples with me. One of them always goes to see if the place is clean. While I was travelling by car to Canada recently, there were two or three places on the way where I literally could not enter because of the uncleanliness. Believe me, disciples have to protect me; I need protection. And since I need protection on the physical plane, disciples should be more pure when they give me anything.

Mental receptivity

Spiritual answers cannot satisfy a purely intellectual person, unless this person also uses the heart. When he opens his heart to a spiritual Master, immediately he is fulfilled, he is satisfied. Although intellectually he is trying to grasp what the Master is saying, his heart is functioning at the same time.

The heart is like a door wide open. The mind is like a tiny window which is not fully open. In your house, you have kept the door wide open, and the window you have kept just a little open. So when your divine friend, the spiritual teacher, has to enter into you, he can easily enter into you through your heart-door. If your divine friend wants to come in, you will let him in through the door if you really care for him. Then when you feel his presence within you, inside your heart, you are bound to get satisfaction. But if you say, “No, he has to come only through this window, the mind, which I am keeping half open; otherwise I will not accept him,” it will be a mistake on your part, because he will not be able to enter properly with his divine blessings and light.

You have both the heart and the mind. It is up to you to open your heart and get total satisfaction. Then gradually, gradually, you can open up and expand the capacity of your mind. The mind has great capacity, but this capacity has to be released by the light of the soul. On the one hand the mind feels that it knows everything; on the other hand it feels that it knows nothing. When it is a matter of inseparable oneness with the infinite Vast, the mind does not dare even to think of it. The mind thinks that it will lose its very existence. But the heart is not afraid of oneness. The heart is like a child who is two years old. His father is very tall and stout, but the child is not afraid. He has established his oneness with his father, so he will go and play with his father. But somebody who is not a friend or relative will be afraid to approach the father. Like this, the heart immediately identifies itself with the infinite Vast, whereas the mind does not.

If one utilises only the mind while receiving the answers of a spiritual Master, one gains very little. But if the same person has even unconsciously opened up his heart, naturally the message, the light that the spiritual Master is offering, enters into the seeker’s heart. He may not immediately get the full wealth of the Master’s message-light, but it will grow inside him because he has kept his heart’s door wide open. And as the light grows inside the heart, it will go up and illumine the mind.

When the mind is illumined by the soul’s light, there will be no difference between the mind and the heart. They will both become most devoted instruments of God. Right now the most devoted instrument of God is the soul, and the heart sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously is trying to be equally good. When we pray and meditate most soulfully, the heart becomes one with the soul. Then, like the soul, it becomes the most effective instrument of God. Similarly, the mind also can be as effective as the heart and the soul, provided the mind consciously wants to become one with the heart and soul.

Mind, heart and soul are like three brothers in a family. The soul is the eldest brother, the heart is the middle brother and the mind is the youngest. It will be more accurate to say that the body is the youngest, then the vital, then the mind, then the heart and then the soul. Right now the body is absolutely the baby in the family. It is out of the question right now for the body to think of God. But if the mind can consciously offer the responsibility for its illumination to the heart, as the heart has offered the same responsibility to the soul, then the problems of receptivity can easily be solved.

Fear

Why are you afraid of someone? Because you feel that that person is different from yourself. You do not claim him as your very own and he does not claim you. He is not yours and you are not his. But fear is not the right reaction. Through your inner light, through your prayer, through your meditation, you have to try to grow love and oneness inside you. Again, that does not mean that you will go and embrace all and sundry on the street. It does not mean that you have to go and mix with the whole world. Not at all. If you don’t like a person or a thing, just offer your goodwill from a distance. You do not have to like everyone and everything. But you will have nothing to say against them and you will not hate them. You will offer your goodwill, but you will not try to become intimate with those persons or things.

Right now you are afraid of a snake. But if you can conquer your fear, still you will keep your distance. If you go and stand in front of a snake, the snake will play its role and bite you. You may say, “Inside the snake there is God,” but inside you there should be some wisdom. God in the form of a snake is not to be approached. When there is a tiger in front of you, you are afraid that the tiger will devour you. In the inner world you should try to conquer your fear. But, at the same time, if you act like a fool and say, “God is everywhere, so let me go and embrace the tiger!” then you will be devoured. Some human beings also have a very ferocious consciousness. When you think of those human beings, you don’t have to have fear; but at the same time you are under no obligation to embrace them.

There are many, many people on earth. They may be your friends, they may be your neighbours, they may be your relatives or your associates. Many times they may throw their personal grievances on you, or you may feel that you are under obligation to please them. There are a million reasons why you may feel an obligation to them. If you don’t fulfil this obligation, you feel that they will be displeased with you; therefore, you are afraid of them. But if you are a spiritual person, you will realise that the only one you have to please is God. If you can please God inside yourself, inside your friends and neighbours, then how can you have any fear?

There is no limit to our fear. From any place it can enter into our existence. The important thing is to conquer the inner fear. Inner fear is fear of the vast, fear of the unknown. In the spiritual life we want God, but as soon as we see a little of His infinite Light, we are scared to death. We feel that all our imperfections will be exposed. Instead, always we have to feel that God’s Light is there only to illumine us. There is no limit to our achievement, no limit to our realisation, no limit to our God-manifestation, because the Light within us will constantly be guiding us. So we do not have to be afraid of anything. A child is not afraid of anything when his mother or father is holding him. He moves around and knows that if anything happens, his mother will protect him, his father will take care of him. In the spiritual life also, we must feel that we are all children and that God is there to look after us. But if we don’t claim the Supreme as our Father, Mother and eternal Beloved, then we are helpless. As the child claims his mother or his father, we also have to claim Light, infinite Light, as our mother and father. Then there cannot be any fear. Only if we don’t claim the right thing as our very own will we always have fear.

Fate and free will

Fate is the result of the past. Free will is the result of the present. Fate is sour; free will is sweet. Fate is the starving mouse in the church; free will is the blue bird flying in the vast sky. When we look backward, we feel the blow of fate. When we look forward, we see the dance of golden and energising free will.

The physical consciousness or the body consciousness is limited. When we live in the body, it is fate. The soul is ever free. When we live in the soul, it is all free will. It is up to us whether we live in the body consciousness or in the soul consciousness.

When the soul enters into the body and we see the light of day, at that moment ignorance tries to envelop us and fate starts its play. But light is not bound by fate. Light is the embodiment of free will. For our deplorable fate, we curse our forefathers, our friends, our neighbours, ourselves and finally God. But by cursing others, by cursing ourselves, we cannot solve our problems. We can solve our problems only if we know how to live the life of aspiration.

We are given ample opportunity to use our free will. It is we who have to utilise the opportunity in order to be fully, totally, unreservedly free. Most of you have read the Mahabharata, India’s greatest epic. It tells of a great hero named Karna. His mother was Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas. Before she got married she brought this child into the world; and out of shame and embarrassment, she placed the child in a basket on the river. Finally somebody came to his rescue and he was saved. This child became a matchless hero. He said, “I am not responsible for my birth, but I am responsible for my life, for my life’s activities.” Each aspirant can also say this. Very often seekers tell me, “Oh, I have a very unsatisfactory background.” I tell them, “Why do you care for the past? The past is dust. But if you aspire, nobody can steal away your present; nobody can steal away your future. Your future can easily be golden.”

There are three kinds of karma: sanchita karma, prarabdha karma and agami karma. Sanchita karma is the accumulation of acts from a past life and this life whose results have not yet borne fruit. In prarabdha karma, the fruit of some of the accumulated karma we are starting to reap. If it is bad karma, then we suffer. If it is good karma, then we enjoy it. Finally comes agami karma. When one is totally free from all ignorance, suffering and imperfection, when one has realised God and is living only for the sake of God, at that time one is enjoying the Free Will of the Supreme. This is agami karma.

Most of us face sanchita karma, accumulated karma which starts functioning as prarabdha karma. There is no freedom, no free will, but only fate all around us. It is like a devouring lion, striking from the past. But when we have agami karma, this devouring lion becomes a roaring lion, roaring for the divine Victory, the divine fulfilment here on earth.

Fate can and must be changed. For that, what is required is God’s Grace plus personal effort, self-effort. There are some seekers who feel, “If I care for God’s Grace, what necessity is there to make personal effort?” But they are mistaken. Personal effort will never stand in the way of God’s descending Grace. Personal effort expedites the descent of God’s Grace. God’s Grace does not negate personal effort. True, God can give us all that He wants without even an iota of personal effort on our part. But God says, “It is for your pride that I ask you to make this little personal effort.”

If somebody asks us, “What have you done for God?” what will our answer be? We can be filled with pride when we say, “God has done this for me, God has done that for me, God has done everything for me.” We can be spontaneously proud that God has accepted us as His very own. But if somebody asks us, “What have you done for God?” what will be our answer? Silence! So the little personal effort that we make is for our own good. When we make this personal effort, our whole life is surcharged with a divine pride. It is not our ego, but our conscious oneness with God that prompts us to do something for our Dearest. If we sincerely make personal effort, God is bound to be thrilled with us. Why? Because He can tell the world, “My child, My chosen instrument, has done this for Me and that for Me.” Through personal effort we can make our existence on earth worthy and, at the same time, we can make God proud of us.

Ultimately, personal effort has to grow into a dynamic self-surrender. When we do something, we offer at the Feet of God the result of our action along with the aspiration that we have used to do that particular thing. When the results and the aspiration, the inner urge, we can offer to God, this is called true surrender. But just to lie at God’s Feet like a corpse and let God work in us, through us and for us is wrong. God does not want to work in and through a dead body. He wants someone who is aspiring, someone who wants to be energised and who wants to do something for Him. He wants someone who is active and dynamic and who wants to manifest all the divine qualities here on earth.

At last I know my name.
My name is God’s eternal Game.
At last I know my name.

At last I know my age.
My age is Infinity’s page.
At last I know my age.

At last I know my home.
My home is where my flame-worlds roam.
At last I know my home.

When the play of fate is over, the play of free will begins. Right now we do not know our true name, we do not know our true age, we do not know our true home. But when we go beyond the play of fate, we come to realise that we are God’s eternal Game and that we belong to Infinity. We come to realise that our home is where our flame-worlds roam. “Flame-worlds” means the world of aspiration, the world of our mounting inner cry where salvation, illumination and realisation grow.

Our free will is a child of God’s infinite Will and at the same time it is part and parcel of God’s infinite Will. This free will can let us know our true name, our true age, our true home. Free will is knocking at our heart’s door. We have only to allow it to break through the wall of ignorance and make us one with the Cosmic Will. Fate is the gate which leads us to the failure of the past. Free will is our acceptance of the future that wants to transform us, mould us, guide us and liberate us from fear, doubt, ignorance and death.

Prison and prisoners

People in prison are our brothers who have made mistakes. But before they can make inner progress, first they have to recognise that they have made mistakes and then they have to feel that there is another way of life which will prevent them from making further mistakes. This way of life is the way of aspiration, not the way of binding desire. When one wants to expand oneself inwardly, the light that is there is bound to guide and illumine him. Again, when one wants to bind himself, unconsciously or consciously, there are forces to misguide him.

Nobody wants to remain in prison. An individual feels that the judge was unjust or he feels that the judge was just, but the punishment he got was more than his due. So everybody who is in prison wants to get out. But we have to know whether a particular individual is coming out to lead a better life or to do something destructive. He has killed one person. Is he coming out with the idea that this time he will kill ten persons or is he coming out with the idea that he has done something wrong and now he wants to turn over a new leaf and only do the right thing? If he is determined to do the right thing, the divine thing, when he comes out of jail, then who is there to prevent him?

It was desire that prompted him to do something undivine, destructive. If he leaves the prison and aspiration does not come into his life, then again and again he will do the same thing. Temptation-world will again capture him. He has his own temptation; then there is the temptation of the world, which will try to capture his mind. He will again do something horrible and then he will be caught. What can save him? Obedience. Something inside him is bound to say, “Do this, don’t do that,” and this voice has to be obeyed.

A child’s mother can say, “This is fire. Don’t touch it; it will burn you,” but if a child does not believe her, he will still touch it. Just because of his innocence, do you think the fire will not burn his finger? No, it will burn him. He did not listen to his mother’s warning. For a child there is his mother to warn him. For a grown-up there is something which is more powerful, and that is called conscience. You may say that someone’s consciousness can be totally eclipsed by foul desire, but I will say no. Everybody’s conscience is very powerful, but some people listen to it while others do not.

If somebody wants to come out of jail and lead a better life, he can pray to God, “O God, I did something wrong. Now inner illumination has dawned. Please forgive me. Now let me be Your real instrument and make You happy.” If he prays like this, do you think that God will not listen to his prayer? God is bound to listen to everybody’s prayer provided it is sincere.

A prisoner is he who has made a mistake, consciously or unconsciously. His mistake can be rectified provided there is an adamantine will. There is no mistake that cannot be rectified. But how many of the prisoners are trying to rectify their mistakes? When people do something wrong, very often a kind of inner arrogance comes forward against the authorities and against their own life of discipline. They become mad that they have done something wrong and then they try to destroy their own inner possibility. They say, “If I have done this, who asked me to do it, who allowed me?” There is no real answer. The vital may say, “If God was really compassionate, how did He allow me to become a thief, a hooligan?” This is how we blame God at every moment. First we become victim to our undivine desires and then, when we get the punishment, we blame God: “How is it that God allowed us to do this?” Poor God! What will He do? Right before us He kept two rooms. One room was full of light, illumination. The other was full of darkness. We didn’t choose the illumined room, we chose the dark room. So naturally we shall have to meet with the consequences.

There is every hope for a prisoner. His case is not lost. As long as creation exists, God will supply him with hope and aspiration. It is up to him to accept inspiration from his inner life. A prisoner can start his spiritual journey, inner journey, right in the prison. If he is really sincere and wants to become spiritual and divine and work for mankind, then let him study a few spiritual books. There he may not have the guidance of a spiritual person, a spiritual Master, but I believe most prisons allow books. Let him start at the beginning and then, when he comes out of prison, let him go one step forward. First let him be satisfied with a few drops of water and when he comes out he can really try to quench his spiritual thirst. If he comes to a spiritual Master who has Light and Bliss, this spiritual Master will give him a glass full of water. He will say, “Drink as much as you want to. I have an inexhaustible source of Light.” But the prisoner has to start like everyone else right from the beginning, with perhaps only one minute a day of spiritual life, of dedicated life. In prison he may not get the opportunity to lead a dedicated life, but he can study spiritual books, religious books, which will give him inspiration. The light from the spiritual books will enter into him and create a new field in his life.

Imagination, inspiration, aspiration and realisation1

Imagination is the creation’s invisible beginning. Inspiration is the creation’s visible beginning. Aspiration is the creation’s illumining beginning. Realisation is the creation’s fulfilling beginning.

The poet imagines. The singer inspires. The seeker aspires. The lover realises. The poet here is the seer-poet who envisions the realities of the world beyond. The singer here is the divine singer who has a free access to the world of celestial music. He is in tune with the music that elevates the consciousness of humanity. The seeker here is he who has freed himself from the desire-world, from the meshes of ignorance. He wants only the truth and nothing else. The lover here is a God-lover. Here on earth and there in Heaven he loves only God. Each creation of God he takes as the living manifestation of God. In each creation he sees and feels God’s Silence-Vision and God’s Sound-Reality.

Imagination says to inspiration, “I have discovered something great: God is great.”

Inspiration says to imagination, “I fully agree with you. Your discovery and my discovery are the same. And you are speaking, I am sure, on the strength of your own personal experience, for I have had the same experience: God is great.”

At this point, aspiration says to imagination and inspiration, “Friends, you two are right. I wish to add only one thing: God acts ceaselessly and compassionately.”

Then realisation comes into the picture and says, “Friends, you three are perfectly right. Only allow me to add something more: God gives us everything unreservedly and unconditionally, but we receive according to our receptivity.”

Imagination is not mental hallucination. Inspiration is not self-deception. Aspiration is not earth-negation. Realisation is not Heaven-glorification.

Imagination is not mental hallucination; it is the reality that grows and glows in our physical mind at God’s choice Hour. Imagination has a world of its own. From there, the reality descends into our physical mind, our earth-bound mind.

Inspiration is not self-deception. Inside inspiration abides and looms large the reality of our own existence. Inspiration carries us to the farthest Beyond, to the highest Heights, to the universal Depths. It has the capacity to embody the transcendental Height and also to measure the universal Depth.

Aspiration is not earth-negation; aspiration is earth-acceptance. Earth is God’s creation. If we accept God as our very own, we cannot separate earth from His Existence. God is everywhere in a greater or lesser degree. A true seeker is he who sees God not only in the highest plane of consciousness but also in the lowest, unlit plane of consciousness. The seeker enters into the lowest in order to bring down the Reality-light of the Highest so that he can transform the lowest into the Highest. The seeker accepts earth as a reality and in this reality, through this reality, the seeker knows that God-Vision manifests itself.

Realisation is not Heaven-glorification. Some people think that if someone realises God, he will all the time talk about Heaven-realities, for he alone knows what is happening in Heaven. Since he is an authority on Heaven, he will try to glorify the realities that exist in Heaven. But, on the contrary, a realised soul is he who feels that it is his bounden duty to spend most of his time starving with humanity’s hunger, crying with humanity’s pangs and smiling with humanity’s joy. To serve God in humanity, to bring to the fore the divine Light that humanity embodies, is his soul’s primary task. Here on earth he has to fulfil God’s Dream. For him, not Heaven but earth is the reality supreme.

Imagination knows no obstruction. Inspiration knows no hesitation. Aspiration knows no test. Realisation knows no rest.

Imagination knows no obstruction. It runs, it flies, it dives. There is nothing here on earth that can remain a distant impossibility to imagination. Imagination has a free access to all of God’s Reality.

Inspiration knows no hesitation. Once the divine in us is inspired, there is no delay, no hesitation whatsoever. It runs the fastest towards the destination.

Aspiration knows no test. Some people are of the opinion that God examines our aspiration, but this is absurd. God knows what we have and what we are. He never examines us. It is we who examine ourselves, for we are not sure of our own capacity, of our own reality or achievement. Also, we examine ourselves because we want to prove to God and to humanity our worth and value, and see whether we are fit to stand against teeming ignorance-night.

Realisation knows no rest. It would be a deplorable mistake to come to the conclusion that once we have achieved realisation, then for us it is the journey’s close. No, realisation is preparatory to revelation, and revelation is preparatory to manifestation. Manifestation is preparatory to perfection, and perfection is the song of eternal transcendence. Perfection is not and cannot be a finished product. Perfection is continuously in the process of transcending its own height. Again, today’s realisation has to be the beginning of tomorrow’s new aspiration. As a matter of fact, inside realisation, revelation, manifestation and perfection there is always aspiration.

Imagination, inspiration, aspiration and realisation are all divine qualities, but aspiration preponderates. It has the strongest capacity to lift everything that it sees around or within, to lift it up to the ever-transcending Beyond. This is what our aspiration can do and always does.

The divine child in us is imagination. His very being is surcharged with imagination. The divine deer in us is inspiration. The deer symbolises speed, which inspiration has in abundant measure. The divine bird in us is aspiration. This bird flies and flies to the farthest Beyond. It embodies the inner flaming cry that has to reach the Highest, the Absolute, the farthest Beyond.

Imagination, inspiration and aspiration eventually grant us realisation. Realisation is the perfection of our inner nature and our conscious surrender to God’s cosmic Will. At every moment a realised soul feels his conscious and constant oneness with the Will of the Absolute Supreme. Inside himself he sees a swan. This swan symbolises realisation. It is the swan of wisdom-light, the swan of victory-height and the swan of nectar-delight.

Usually, imagination is in the mind, inspiration is in the dynamic vital, aspiration is in the crying, loving heart and realisation is in the entire being. When we have imagination, we feel that we can do everything; it is only a matter of time. At God’s choice Hour we shall be able to accomplish everything that we want to accomplish. When we have inspiration, we feel that everything can be done, for that is what our adamantine will wants to do for us. When we have aspiration, we feel that God is going to do everything for us, for we are helpless, we are hopeless, we are useless; yet we are still His loving children. Therefore, out of His infinite Bounty He will do everything for us. Finally, when we have realisation, we clearly see in unmistakable terms that God has already done everything for us. There is nothing that we have to accomplish; everything has been done for us by God Himself. Now we only have to share in His infinite Wisdom-Light.


SCS 258. Sir George Williams University, Montreal, 20 February 1976.

Part II

SCS 259-264. Questions asked after //Imagination, inspiration, aspiration and realisation.//

Question: I had an experience last year. I don't know where I was, but I felt quite within myself and I turned into currents of water. The source of the water was coming from behind me, and I realised that if the source of the water had stopped, I wouldn't have existed. I wanted to look in back of me because it was all light but I was frightened to turn around, partly because I thought I would break the connection and then I wouldn't exist any more, and partly because I thought it was a bit too bright. Was this all just imagination or did it have any spiritual significance?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, it had a tremendous spiritual significance. Water signifies consciousness. In the spiritual life, we are dealing with only one thing: consciousness. When consciousness is low, we are like animals; when consciousness is high, I tell you we are no longer inferior to the cosmic gods. And when our consciousness becomes part and parcel of the Supreme, at that time we become one, inseparably one, with the Universal Consciousness.

The current that you mentioned is the flow from the Supreme. Current means life. The life-movement will flow towards the ever-transcending Beyond. When you are aware of the Source and, at the same time, you feel that you belong to the Source, then you will not be afraid. But if you separate yourself and feel that you are not with the Source, then fear comes. If you are one with the finite consciousness, with the physical, you are frightened to death when you see the Source. You look behind you at the Source and you are frightened to death, because the Source is like the infinite ocean whereas you are like a tiny drop. Naturally, you will be frightened, because you are seeing something that can devour you at any moment. But if you can feel your oneness with the Source, you will have no fear. Your little finger is not afraid of the rest of your body, because it is part and parcel of the body. When you separate your little finger from your body-consciousness, you feel it is insignificant, it can do nothing. But when you bring your finger-consciousness into the whole body, then the finger feels that it is significant. Let somebody pinch your little finger and immediately your whole body starts screaming, because the body has established its oneness with the little finger.

The Infinite has already established its oneness with you. But the finite gets a kind of malicious pleasure in separating itself from the Source. It is like a mischievous, naughty child who gets satisfaction by staying out late so his parents will think of him and worry. He knows that he has a house, that his parents are waiting. He has a most comfortable bed and everything to eat, but he does not want that. If he can stay outside in the street or loiter somewhere, that is what gives him joy. The finite always wants to maintain its separativity; then, afterwards, the finite feels miserable because it has lost its connection with the Source. It feels helpless, hopeless, useless. When we accept the spiritual life, we have already discovered the limitations of the finite; we know the limitations of our body-consciousness, of our earth life. What do we do? We consciously try to enter into the Source and become the Infinite. When the finite is one with the Source, only then does the finite get a constant opportunity to manifest the Infinite.

So, in your case, in the beginning you came out of your Infinite Consciousness and became the finite consciousness. You were aware of the Infinite but unfortunately you did not establish your oneness with it. The connecting link was not strong enough. If you had had the connecting link well-established, then you would have heard the song of the Infinite in the finite and felt the total fulfilment of the finite in the Infinite. Water is consciousness and the current is the flow of life. This is how the finite and the Infinite can live together when the finite realises its incapacity and enters into the Infinite. The Source always knows that it has to manifest itself through the finite; only then will it get supreme satisfaction. And the finite gets its fulfilment by entering into the Infinite.

If the Vast plays its role in the tiniest drop, then this is a real miracle. Again, if the tiniest drop can become one with the Vast, this is also a miracle. The finite does not try; the finite feels it is impossible. In the case of the Infinite, the Infinite feels that nothing is impossible; only it is a matter of time.

Question: What is the meaning of maya?

Sri Chinmoy: Maya is measurement. The outer meaning of maya is illusion. The inner meaning of maya is measurement. We try to measure the reality with our human eye. If we use the ordinary human eye, then our vision is very limited. But with our inner eye, our inner vision, if we try to measure the reality, then we see the reality in its totality. At that time we see that it has no separate existence from us. With the inner eye, we see that vision and reality are one. One moment you are the reality and I am the vision and the next moment I am the reality and you are the vision. Maya tells us that you as an individual are sitting in one place and that I as an individual am sitting at a different place. But when we use the inner vision, or third eye, then we see that both of us are one; we see that God’s Vision and God’s Reality are inseparable.

Question: What is sahaja samadhi?

Sri Chinmoy: The highest type of spiritual Masters first go to savikalpa samadhi. Thought-waves are there, but the Masters are not affected. Then they go to nirvikalpa samadhi, beyond the Cosmic Dance. Finally they go to sahaja samadhi: immutable silence within and the Cosmic Dance without. Sahaja, this rascal has been granted by the Supreme. I am fooling around, but inside me is the immutable Silence. Sahaja is the perfect synthesis. Sahaja embodies silence-power and sound-power together. In sahaja samadhi, silence will not stand in the way of sound or vice versa. On the contrary, they have free access to one another. Sound comes inside for perfection and silence goes outside for manifestation. Sound-life immediately enters into silence-life for greater and greater realisation and silence-life comes into sound-life for greater and greater manifestation.

Question: What is the best way to bury the dead from the spiritual point of view?

Sri Chinmoy: Once the soul has left the body, once the bird has flown away, it is up to you what to do with the cage. It is up to the individual. If you are a follower of Zoroaster, you will have to keep the dead body on top of the roof. Then the vultures and wild birds will come and the smell you will have to put up with. That is what they feel is the best way. Some say the body should be burned for purification. Others will say, “Why do you have to burn it? It is something Mother Earth gave to this individual. Let it remain with Mother Earth and then you won’t see it.” So they will bury the body. Somebody else will say, “Consciousness is the most important thing. Water is consciousness. Let water carry it to the unknown.” Each one has his own explanation.

You have heard about the Indian custom of the past. When the husbands died, silly Indian tradition said the wives had to join the husbands. Always they had to enter into the burning pyre. Sometimes willingly they did it; most of the time it was unwillingly. They were forced. The wife was crying that she didn’t want to die with her husband, but the relatives, even the parents of the husband, forced the wife into the burning fire because that was the tradition. “To show your oneness, you have to die with your husband,” they said. That started right from the Mahabharata.

Question: How can we increase our receptivity in our inner life?

Sri Chinmoy: You can increase your receptivity to your inner life just by becoming more grateful to the Inner Pilot. The Inner Pilot will give you the inspiration and aspiration to become spiritual and He will be able to give you more receptivity if He sees that every day you are increasing your gratitude-capacity. The more you can offer your gratitude to the Supreme Pilot within you, the more and the sooner you will increase your receptivity. Gratitude means self-offering to one’s highest self. This gratitude is not going to somebody else; it is going to your own highest self. Gratitude helps us identify and feel our oneness with our own highest reality.

Many of your near and dear ones are not following the spiritual life, but you have accepted the spiritual life. How is it possible? It is possible because the Supreme inside you has given you the aspiration, whereas there are many, many people who are still not aspiring. You should feel that He has selected you, accepted you to be spiritual; therefore, you should always be grateful to the Inner Pilot, the Supreme. And when you are grateful, your receptivity automatically increases.

Question: I am a student of a Chinese Master, and my Master suggests that when we sleep we should recline on our right side, with one leg straight, and the other one tucked up, with the hand like this. I suppose it is like the images of Buddha. Do you feel that this is appropriate for sleep?

Sri Chinmoy: I do not want to pronounce my judgement when it is a question of something your Master has said. If you follow a path, you have to have implicit faith in what your Master says. I am a Master, and I expect the same kind of implicit faith from my students. When a Master says something, it is absolutely correct according to his understanding for his own followers and disciples, just as what I say is absolutely correct for my followers and disciples. So I cannot pronounce any judgement. If you have a question which concerns your own aspiration, I will say what is best and what is not. But if you follow another Master’s path, you should have implicit faith in what he says. I have no right to encourage you to doubt him. If you do not follow his path, naturally you have every right to suspect or doubt a Master. There are some teachers who indulge in judging other Master’s teachings, but I am not one of those. If he is a Master, he has every right to offer his views, because God is expressing Himself through this particular Master in a unique way. God is expressing Himself not only through this Master, but through each of us in a unique way.

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