Self-discovery and world-mastery

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Part I — Consciousness and Immortality

Consciousness and Immortality1

In the spiritual life, in the life of aspiration, in the life of dedication, there are two indispensable realities, and these realities are Consciousness and Immortality. Consciousness and Immortality are inseparable. They are like the obverse and reverse of the same coin. At this moment Consciousness plays the role of a seed and Immortality plays the role of the fruit; the next moment Immortality turns into the seed while the same Consciousness becomes the fruit. Then the fruit again becomes the seed in a self-perpetuating cycle. In this way Consciousness and Immortality remain always inseparable. The seed-form we call Consciousness. The fruit-form we call Immortality. But they can and they do change their respective roles.

Consciousness is birthless and deathless Eternity within and without. Immortality is self-giving. We offer our body, vital, mind and heart in order to grow into something divine. When we grow into something divine, the divine existence that we have developed or have unveiled is the immortal Reality in us. Today we give what we have to the Lord Supreme; tomorrow He gives what He has and what He is to us. We give Him our inner cry, we give Him our ignorance, our darkness, anything that we feel belongs to us or that we have been cherishing. In His case, everything belongs to Him; and when He feels that we are ready, He gives us everything out of His infinite Bounty.

Consciousness-sea loves reality and eventually becomes reality. Immortality is our silence-life which envisions the Truth and our sound-life which manifests the Goal, the transcendental Reality, here on earth.

Immortality loves life, embraces life and finally fulfils life here on earth and there in Heaven. The soulful cry of earth is Immortality in the seeker's life. The soulful smile of Heaven, too, is Immortality in the seeker's life. The soulful inner cry is immortal and the all-illumining, all-fulfilling smile within is also immortal.

How is it that earth-consciousness at times does not accept Heaven's bounty of Compassion, Love and Light? It is precisely because Heaven's divine qualities, which have developed in various forms, are unfamiliar; therefore, the unlit earth-consciousness resists the divine qualities, divine capacities and divine blessings of Heaven. Again, at times Heaven will not help when earth sincerely tries to do something correctly. Earth wants to grow into the divine reality and it needs Heaven's assistance, but there are times when Heaven remains indifferent. Earth does not remain always receptive and Heaven does not remain always concerned. But there comes a time when the seeker unifies both earth's cry and Heaven's smile. Just as earth cannot remain always unlit, so Heaven cannot remain always indifferent. Then earth gives soulfully, devotedly and unreservedly its peerless world-cry and Heaven gives smilingly, unreservedly and unconditionally its peerless Heaven-smile and inner Consciousness, divine Consciousness, supreme Consciousness.

The expansion of Consciousness controls and conquers doubt. This doubt is a hungry tiger in us. It wants to devour the real in us, the divine in us, the beautiful in us. But when Consciousness expands, the doubt-tiger is brought under control; it is conquered and illumined. Faith is the roaring lion; doubt is the devouring tiger. The lion has to grow, so it has to be fed. The Delight of Immortality feeds the divine lion, the golden faith-lion within us.

When we conquer fear, doubt, jealousy and impurity, at that time Immortality dawns in our vital existence. When we claim the vastness of reality as our very own and grow into that vastness within, Immortality dawns in our mind. And when we hear the oneness-song and see the oneness-dance in everything that we say, do or think, Immortality dawns in our oneness-heart. Finally, when perfect Perfection looms large in our earth-life and in our Heaven-life, when Perfection inundates our earthly existence and our heavenly existence, then we grow into the supreme Immortality.

Ego-consciousness, human consciousness, divine Consciousness, supreme Consciousness. Ego-consciousness is nothing but destruction here, there, everywhere. Human consciousness is man's preparation for the higher life, for the divine life, the life which will satisfy human beings totally and unmistakably. Divine Consciousness is aspiration, the road of absolute Perfection, the road of transcendental Height. The aim of supreme Consciousness is to constantly transcend the already achieved goal. The supreme Consciousness always transcends its own achievement. There is no fixed goal. Today's goal is tomorrow's starting point; therefore, the supreme Consciousness inspires us, energises us and carries us to a Goal which is an ever-transcending Reality. That Goal is Immortality in earth-life, Immortality in Heaven-life, Immortality in each individual consciousness, Immortality in the collective consciousness, Immortality in the Universal Consciousness and in the Transcendental Consciousness.

Human consciousness and divine consciousness, earth-bound consciousness and Heaven-free consciousness. Human consciousness is nothing short of the self-forgetfulness of the Infinite in the finite. Divine consciousness is the self-awareness, self-illumination and self-perfection of the Infinite in and for the finite. Earth-bound consciousness sees reality the way reality functions here on earth, but reality functions on earth in a very limited way. Here we see reality in infinitesimal measure. Often it opens to countless wrong forces. Earth-bound consciousness constantly tells us that there is no goal, and even if there is a goal, it will always remain a far cry. It tells man that even when desire is fulfilled, man becomes frustrated because the fulfilment of desire can never give abiding satisfaction. Today a man desires to have a car, so he buys a car. Tomorrow he wants to have two cars. If he is wealthy enough to buy them, then the next day he will want to have three cars. Each time he gets something, he wants to get something more. But there comes a time eventually when he does not or cannot get what he truly wants. Then he looks around and sees that somebody else has that very thing in boundless measure. So again frustration comes into the picture.

Earth-bound consciousness always gives us the feeling of frustration with the things that we do not have and the things that we do have. But Heaven-free consciousness constantly gives us the message of satisfaction. We want boundless Delight; we want everything in boundless measure. But right now if we get even an iota of Delight, we feel a sense of satisfaction. Then, from a tiny drop we grow into the vast ocean. Today a tiny drop of the ocean of Delight we have received or have achieved; therefore, we are exceedingly happy. And when we are happy, our receptivity grows. There are few other ways to increase our receptivity than by remaining happy all the time. When we are happy, our receptivity grows; and when receptivity grows, Heaven-free consciousness can grow in us.

Consciousness and Immortality. Consciousness is at once the flower and the beauty. Immortality is also both the flower and the beauty. But when we look at the flower with our human eyes, we see what is in front of us, not what is within us. We see the beauty as long as it lasts-for a few hours or a few days. But the beauty that we see also enters into us, into the inmost recesses of our heart. The essence of the flower which remains inside us is Immortality. So we can say that Consciousness is the beauty of the flower before us, which enters into us, and Immortality is the beauty of the flower within us, that previously was before us. Each seeker sees the outer beauty of the flower and each seeker sees the inner flower, which is beauty unparalleled.

SDW 1. 4 February 1976, 7:30 p.m.

Question: How can you tell the difference between dynamic and impatient consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: If it is impatient, then you will see inside you a wild elephant. A wild elephant is impatient. But if it is dynamic, then you are like a deer, running towards the goal. If you see inside you a wild elephant, then you have to know that your impatience is going to destroy everything. But if you feel you are a deer, the deer is not going to look around, backwards, sideways. Only it will strive to reach the destination. So just think of a deer's speed inside you, not a destructive elephant. An elephant does have solid strength, but if you see the way an elephant moves around, you notice that it destroys. A deer signifies speed, dynamic movement.

Question: What should you do to keep your consciousness up if someone else is in a bad mood or angry?

Sri Chinmoy: If somebody is not in a good consciousness, just try to keep your own mood high. If that person is pulling you down, try to pull that person up with your own aspiration. You make the effort. Your own aspiration is there, or you have some peace. This peace will try to enter into that person. If you have a limited amount of peace, you will keep for yourself the amount that you need. But if you have more than you need, and that other person is angry, it means he is lacking in peace; peace-money he needs badly. If you are generous, you can easily give him some of your inner wealth. But if you have only the amount you badly need, then how can you give? You can't. So first you have to increase the power of peace in your own life and then only can you give to the other person. Otherwise, you will be totally lost, because with greatest difficulty you are preserving a certain amount of peace that you yourself need.

So, increase your own aspiration and peace; then you can easily share with a person who is extremely angry. But when you give to him, you have to do it secretly. Outwardly if you tell him that he needs peace, he will be furious. Only secretly, like a divine thief, enter inside his heart and mind and offer him peace. Go and enter into the mind-room or the vital-room of the person and put peace there. Then the problem will be solved.

Question: What is your path?

Sri Chinmoy: My path is very simple. At least it seems so to me. Here we have a spiritual ladder and this ladder has only three rungs: love, devotion and surrender. And then, when we are very advanced, we have three more rungs in our ladder: realisation, revelation and manifestation. First love, devotion and surrender; and then, when realisation takes place, one step upward we go to revelation and then one step to manifestation.

Human love we all know. After five or ten years, it is all frustration. Why? Because with human love we try to bind others and then, to our sorrow, we see that others have already bound us. We want to possess and be possessed, and the result is frustration. This is human love. But in divine love there is constant expansion. We expand on the strength of our identification with somebody else or with the whole world. Divine love does not bind anybody; it just helps us to expand our consciousness. At the same time, we see others expanding their consciousness through divine love. In divine love we don't bind; we only expand and enlarge our consciousness together.

Question: What relationship does one have with the inner world when practising Zen?

Sri Chinmoy: If you want to get illumination, you have to know that illumination is already there inside you. By practising Zen, you can bring this illumination to the fore. What is within will eventually come without; it is true. God is there within us but we do not see Him, we do not feel Him. By practising spirituality, Yoga, we bring Him forward and try to see Him and feel His presence in all our multifarious activities. In the inner world we have everything, but in our outer life we have not yet been able to bring it forward. In the inner world we have Peace, Light and Bliss in abundant measure. In the inner world we have illumination; in our outer life we do not have it. So when you practise Zen or follow any other path, you have to know that it is the inner awakening, the inner reality, that you are trying to bring to the fore.

Question: Sometimes while I'm meditating I get this feeling that I am not existing. I fear this and I want to know if this is my ego fear or is this transcendence?

Sri Chinmoy: It is your earth-bound reality that is afraid of this experience. If it is conscious self-transcendence, then you are bound to be happy. You are practising spirituality just because you feel the need of self-transcendence. But when one makes considerable progress and enters into a higher reality, one consciously does not want to give up one's old reality. That is why he is scared to death. But if one embraces the new reality as something enlarging his realisation and vision, if one feels this new thing is adding to his life of aspiration, then he is not afraid of the new, fulfilling and illumining reality.

So it is your earth-bound consciousness, your limited awareness of your own self, that is afraid of this transcendence. You have to take the experience you are having in meditation as real transcendence of your limitation and feel that you are making progress in your life of aspiration. Then you will not be afraid of this experience. So please try to identify yourself with the experience itself and feel that in your spiritual life it is gradual self-transcendence that will give you real satisfaction, divine satisfaction.

In the ordinary life, when we love someone, we are attached to that person. In divine love we use the term "devotion". At every second we devote our life, we devote our existence to some cause, some higher reality. Since we start our journey in divine love, we want to expand our consciousness. This can be achieved most successfully and quickly if we devote ourselves consciously to the Inner Pilot.

Then, we have to surrender to the Inner Pilot consciously, unreservedly and unconditionally. This is not the surrender of a slave to the master; it is not done under compulsion. Spiritual surrender is cheerful and spontaneous; it comes directly from the soul. The seeker is trying to please the Inner Pilot sincerely, devotedly and unconditionally. And each moment we make a conscious surrender to the Inner Pilot, we are getting something vast, something fulfilling, something really meaningful.

When we make this kind of total surrender, we do not lose anything. We do not lose our individuality, we do not lose our personality. On the contrary, we achieve, we receive, we become the Highest, the Infinite. It is like a tiny drop that merges into the infinite ocean and becomes the ocean itself. There the individuality and personality are expanded. At this time, the Will of the Supreme also becomes our will. "Let Thy Will be done." This is our attitude. But this has to be done consciously. There are many people who are lethargic, who do nothing in the spiritual life. This is not spiritual surrender. Real surrender is dynamic. Through our conscious prayer and meditation, we try to become one with the divine Will.

This is our path. There are other paths, but I am not qualified to speak about them. My fee is aspiration and regularity in your meditation. My fee is inner cry. I don't accept disciples who are under the guidance of other spiritual Masters. Before I accept a disciple, I see if that person is really meant for me. I do not accept all seekers who come to me; I accept only those who are meant for my path. I am not the only boatman. There are quite a few sincere boatmen to take the seekers to the Golden Shore.

Question: Do those who follow your path have to give up their religion?

Sri Chinmoy: Never! My disciples do not have to give up their religion. Religion is no obstacle to the spiritual life. Yoga or spiritual discipline will never find fault with any religion. Yoga means union with God, conscious union with God. I can pray to God in my own way; you pray to God in your own way. God is pleased with both of us. This is religion. Then, when we realise God, we become one with His creation, with His universe. At that time we feel that we are inside the Heart of God. When I realise God, I feel myself inside the Heart of God. You will also do the same.

Religion is like a house. Everybody has to live in a house; we can't live in the street. Again, we have to enlarge our outlook about religion. If we feel that our religion is by far the best and that somebody else's religion is the worst, then we are making a mistake. We have to feel that our religion is good and other religions are also good. Your house is good for you; my house is good for me. Your religion will certainly help you to reach the Highest and my religion will help me to reach the Highest. All the religions are one. God is the tree and the religions are the branches of the tree.

So we must not criticise any religion. But when it is a matter of Yoga, we have to know that Yoga transcends all religions. Here we don't want to be satisfied only with my house or your house. We want to claim all the houses of the world as our very own because God is inside all of them. In Yoga, all religions become ours, because Yoga means union with God. When we have this union, we transcend our limited feeling of "my" and "mine", my religion, your religion. At that time, we go beyond the boundaries of religion.

All religions are true. But when we enter into the spiritual life, we go one step beyond religion. At that time, only God is our aim, our goal. If we enter into Him, we enter into the infinite Consciousness. If we pray and we meditate, we accept all religions as our very own and place them in the very Heart of God.

Part II — Self-discovery and world-mastery

Self-discovery and world-mastery2

Self-discovery is an inner movement. World-mastery is an outer movement.

Self-discovery is an inner journey. World-mastery is an outer journey.

Self-discovery is an inner adventure. World-mastery is an outer adventure.

Self-discovery is an inner experience. World-mastery is an outer experience.

Self-discovery is an inner perfection. World-mastery is an outer perfection.

Movement, journey, adventure, experience and perfection.

The inner movement is the vision of the silence-life. The outer movement is the vision of the sound-life.

The inner journey knows the goal even long before it has arrived at the goal. The outer journey knows the goal only when it has reached the goal.

The inner adventure is inspired by aspiration and sustained by dedication. The outer adventure is inspired by imagination and supported by determination.

The inner experience is: God and I are one; we are eternally one. The outer experience is: God need not and cannot remain always a far cry; He is within our easy reach and if we look for Him we are bound to see Him, feel Him and grow into Him.

The inner perfection is "I am." The outer perfection is "I have."

The inner journey of self-discovery encounters on the way an adversary by the name of doubt. Doubt delays our self-discovery indefinitely. The outer journey of world-mastery encounters on the way an adversary named fear. Fear delays our world-mastery indefinitely. Doubt tries to destroy the cosmic seed within us. Fear does not allow us to see either the cosmic seed or the cosmic tree.

We need meditation and we need concentration. For self-discovery what we need is meditation, a life of meditation. For world-mastery what we need is concentration, the power of concentration. Our meditation longs for Infinity's reality. Our concentration longs for reality's immediacy. Concentration wants something here and now, in the twinkling of an eye. Meditation wants everything slowly, steadily and unerringly. Concentration gives utmost importance to speed, while meditation gives utmost importance to silence.

Self-discovery shows us a road. This road is between our spirit's involution and life's evolution. Spirit is involved in matter and now it is trying to evolve itself. There is a road between the involution of spirit and the evolution of life. This is what we learn from self-discovery. Now, there is another significant road, the road between our revelation and our manifestation here on earth. This road is the road of world-mastery. We reveal what we have within and then we manifest our revelation. How do we do it? We do it on the strength of our world-mastery. We walk along the road between our revelation and our manifestation when we have world-mastery.

He who has discovered his highest Self is an instrument of God, conscious and illumined. He who has acquired world-mastery is also an instrument of God, conscious and fulfilling. He who has realised God in the inner world is undoubtedly a better instrument in the inner world than he who has only acquired mastery in the outer world. But he who has acquired mastery in the outer world is a better instrument in the outer world of dedication than he who has only acquired self-discovery in the inner world.

There are some spiritual figures who give more importance to self-discovery than to world-mastery, while there are others who give more importance to world-mastery than to self-discovery. Both are right in their own way. They feel that self-discovery is aspiration and world-mastery is dedication. But aspiration and dedication should go together. Again, when we dive deep within, we feel that in aspiration also looms large the life-breath of dedication; similarly, in dedication the life-breath of aspiration also looms large. They are one. They should be inseparable, like the obverse and reverse of the same coin. He who has discovered the highest in himself, he who has discovered his Source and at the same time has acquired world-mastery, is undoubtedly an unparalleled instrument both here on earth and there in Heaven.

In order to become a perfect instrument in the inner world and in the outer world, one has to practise both aspiration and dedication. Aspiration is the inner wealth, inner achievement and inner secret. Dedication is the outer wealth, outer achievement and outer secret. Both are of paramount importance. But at the time of the seeker's very start in the spiritual life he has to practise aspiration first, then dedication. When the seeker has been in the spiritual life for some time, then he can practise both simultaneously. At that time he sees they are like complementary souls. But at the very beginning, at the journey's start, it is always better for the seeker to pay utmost attention to his aspiration, and then to dedicate himself later. Once he is safe in his aspiration, then it is of paramount importance for him to practise self-dedication, too.

When we aspire, when we dedicate ourselves, we eventually discover what we eternally are: our eternal Self. And when we dedicate ourselves, we attain world-mastery. It is through our world-mastery that we can inspire our fellow citizens, our brothers and sisters of the world, to enter into the life of aspiration and self-discovery.

SDW 8. 11 February 1976, 3:30 p.m.

Question: How can we find inner peace of mind when so many of our brothers and sisters are suffering all over the world?

Sri Chinmoy: Millions of our brothers and sisters are suffering. Now, if we are really inseparable in our oneness with them, then we are also suffering by sharing consciously their difficulties. So we have to try to free ourselves from these excruciating pangs. If we feel the world at large as our very own and let it become part and parcel of our own existence, then naturally we will feel its pangs as our very own. This outer world will be an extension of our own reality. Now, if we suffer from the pangs of the world, naturally we shall try to free ourselves from this suffering.

If there is night, then we shall cry for light. But just because there is night around us, if we say there is no sun, we are making a mistake. There is light as well. Just because there is suffering, if we do not pay attention to the light within us, the light of the soul, then we are making a most deplorable mistake. If we can enter into the world of light, then only will it be possible for us to carry the light into the world of night and suffering. The question is not how to do the right thing; the question is why we do not do the right thing. When there is something wrong, it is of paramount importance that we immediately do the right thing. We don't deny the existence of suffering, but we shall dive deep within to discover something that can eventually eliminate all our suffering and that is the light of the soul. So we shall dive deep within and from the depth of our heart we shall bring forward the light of the soul. Once the light of the soul enters into the world of suffering, then only can this world of suffering be transformed into a world of joy and delight. This is the only way we can end earthly suffering.

Question: How do we unlearn the teachings of the mind?

Sri Chinmoy: The first and foremost way is to bring the soul's light into the mind and also into the teachings of the mind. Then the soul's light will either illumine or obliterate everything that the mind, the physical mind, the doubting and suspicious mind has taught us. The ordinary human mind has taught us many things. The mind is constantly suspecting, the mind is constantly doubting, the mind is constantly bringing the truth to us in its own way. But with the soul's light, the things that we have learned can easily be cast aside or illumined.

Again, if we constantly try to bring the heart to the fore and do not pay any attention to the physical mind, then we automatically unlearn what the mind has taught us. This is the second best way. It is like "out of sight, out of mind". If we do not review the teachings of the mind, naturally we will forget them. At the same time, in order to unlearn old things, the teachings of the mind, we have to pay attention to the new things, the teachings of the heart. The more we learn things in the heart and from the heart, the sooner we forget the old things we have learned from the doubting and suspicious mind.

Question: Is there any difference between God and the soul?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, there is a difference in the sense that God is the Source and the soul is the flow. The soul is the direct representative of God and God manifests Himself in and through the soul. God is here, God is there, God is everywhere. He is omnipresent. But, at the same time, He is one. Unity wants to satisfy itself through multiplicity. The One wants to go and play the role of the many. When the One wants to play the role of the many, the One creates the soul. So we can safely say that the soul is the direct representative of God which assumes a human form for God-manifestation and world-perfection.

The soul is the tiny drop and God is the vast, infinite ocean. It is countless tiny drops that form the ocean. If we want to separate a drop from the ocean, we can. But again, when the drop enters into the ocean and loses its individuality, it becomes the ocean itself. So the individual soul eventually enters into the Universal Soul and becomes the omniscient, omnipresent and all-loving and all-fulfilling God.

Question: Isn't it true that everyone has a Guru, even though he may not be manifested in the flesh?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, everyone has a Guru, the real Guru, and that is the Inner Pilot, the Pilot Supreme. There is only one Guru and that Guru is God. A spiritual Master is only a representative of God. He is like an elder brother in the family trying to help his younger brothers and sisters know their father better. Or the elder one shows the younger ones where the Father is, and then his role is over. Everybody has the same Guru, the only Guru, the Lord Supreme. But when one is a beginner, one cannot or may not know where the real Guru, the eternal Guru, is, just because he does not have a conscious and free access to Him. At this point, if somebody helps the seeker enter into his own world of Divinity and Reality, then the seeker learns or discovers his own Divinity. This is the role of the spiritual Master, the human Guru. But the real Guru is inside the inmost recesses of each aspiring heart.

Question: What is your view on fasting?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are not under the guidance of a spiritual Master or following a specific path, and if you are studying a few books and trying to discipline your life on your own, then in that case fasting is advisable. If you fast once or twice a month, it will purify your subtle nerves. Purity is of great importance in the spiritual life. But this purity does not come from fasting only. We also have to meditate properly. We have to offer our inner life to God. Then only will our outer life be properly purified and transformed. In addition to our inner prayer and meditation, if we fast twice a month or three times a month, it will aid us in purifying the body's outer existence. It will also aid us in our concentration and meditation. But if somebody fasts three times a week or four times a week, then that person is making a serious mistake. Fasting two or three times a week will only weaken our system.

It is through aspiration, not fasting, that we reach our goal. In order to increase our inner cry we have to meditate regularly and devotedly. If we meditate, then purification is bound to come. Fasting is not indispensable in the spiritual life. Only aspiration, our inner cry is indispensable. If we know how to aspire, then our nature will be purified. Then, in our meditation and contemplation we get the results of fasting.

Question: Is there any value in associating with spiritual people?

Sri Chinmoy: When you are with spiritual people, you get inspiration. You are a swimmer. You want to swim, so you go to the swimming pool. But you see that the water is cold and nobody is there. Then it is very difficult for you to jump into the water. But when you see other people are swimming in the swimming pool, it is easier for you to jump into the water.

In the spiritual life also, if you see that your determination, your sincerity, is not strong enough, you should try to meditate with others collectively. Today you are inspired to meditate, but tomorrow you are not at all inspired. What can you do? If you are not inspired, immediately you go to others who are following the spiritual path and meditate with them beside them. They are already inspired. Then you will see that your meditation becomes most valuable, most soulful. You will have a most powerful meditation. Today your willpower is weak and they will inspire you; tomorrow their will-power is weak and you will inspire them. So it is always better to have spiritual company. Birds of a feather flock together. Spiritual seekers, sincere seekers, should remain together.

Also, you have to know about regularity. When you take exercise regularly, your muscles become strong. It is in group meditation, collective meditation, that you can easily strengthen your will-power. Then, when you become an expert in meditation, you can meditate alone. When one becomes a good swimmer, an expert swimmer, one does not need other swimmers. When you are advanced, you will not need others to inspire you. But until then, it is advisable to meditate regularly with other sincere seekers.

Part III — The world within and the world without

The world within and the world without3

Silence is the world within. Sound is the world without. Silence is the seed-message of the world within. Sound is the fruit-message of the world without. Silence eternally is. Sound eternally becomes.

Progress is the world within. Success is the world without. Progress consciously liberates the finite. Success unconsciously dominates the finite. Progress devotedly and soulfully embraces the world at large precisely because it is an inner awakening, inner revelation and inner manifestation. Success unconsciously and sometimes deliberately tries to lord it over the world at large. Success quite often sees a yawning gulf between its own achievement and the world's lack of achievement; therefore, success quite often assumes the authority of superiority.

Perfection is the world within. Manifestation is the world without. Perfection is cherished and treasured by both the finite and the Infinite, by man and by God. Manifestation is measured by both man's expansion and God's transcendence. Perfection is the voice of the inner world. Manifestation is the voice of the outer world. The inner voice tells us that what we see and feel today is the reality that we are going to possess and grow into tomorrow. It tells us that everything is at our disposal, that there cannot be anything in God's creation which we cannot claim as our own, very own. The outer voice quite often tells us that what we see, we may achieve; but there is no surety, there is no guarantee. Still, the outer voice says, "Try, it is good to try. There is no harm in trying, but I can't assure you of success."

The world within inspires us first to dive deep and then to look around. This is what we hear from the world within. When we dive deep within and look around, to our wide surprise we see Immortality's life awaiting us with boundless love, boundless concern and boundless pride. The world without inspires us to go forward and look around. When we go forward and look around, to our wide surprise we see Infinity's beauty awaiting our arrival.

The world within tells us that to love God is our supreme responsibility, our sole responsibility and our bounden duty. The world without tells us that to serve God, the Supreme Authority, is our bounden duty.

If we live in the outer world and do not aspire at all, then we shall be plagued by many questions. The first and foremost question will be, "Who is God?" The answer will be given by the inner world, but we will not hear it. The inner world's answer is, "Who is not God?" This is the unmistakable answer we will get from the inner world. Although it is also a question, inside the question looms large the answer: everybody is God, God in the process of self-preparation, self-revelation and self-manifestation.

There are mature seekers and there are immature seekers. There are aspiring people on earth and there are unaspiring people on earth. The unaspiring people will tell us that the inner life is worthless. They will say that spiritual seekers are running after a goalless shore. There is no goal; it is all mental fantasy, mental hallucination and self-deception. Aspiring people who are not mature from time to time try to make others feel that they are mature. They offer their own wisdom and judgement. They say that the outer world is nothing short of a mad elephant, that aggression reigns supreme, destruction reigns supreme. They feel there is no soul, no goal, no reality, but only a mad elephant or a devouring tiger that is destroying the outer world.

But seekers of the supreme Truth who have some light know unmistakably that the inner world and the outer world are both God's creation. When we think of the inner world, we are at once reminded of God the Creator. When we think of the outer world, we are at once reminded of God the creation. The Creator and the creation must go together. God feels that He is complete and perfect precisely because He has creation within Him, with Him, around Him and for Him. Creation feels that it is perfect because God, who is all Perfection, is the Source. Without the assistance and capacity of the inner world, one cannot make progress; he is blind. He needs inner light in order to walk along the road of perfection or he cannot reach his destination, which is far, very far. Again, if one does not offer due value to the capacities of the outer world, to the achievements of the outer world, then he will not be able to make progress, for he will have no legs. Both eyes and legs are needed, both the inner world and the outer world are necessary in order to become perfect. The inner world embodies vision, which is the real reality. The outer world embodies power, the dynamic power, which is also indispensable. Light is necessary and indispensable for realisation in the inner silence-world and dynamism is necessary and indispensable for manifestation in the outer sound-world.

The world within and the world without. He who wants to grow into Infinity's Life, Eternity's Reality and Immortality's Beauty must offer due attention to both worlds. Both worlds are of paramount importance: the inner seed-world and the outer fruit-world. It is from the seed that we get the fruit and from the fruit that we get the seed. In the inner world God claims us and eternally keeps us as His very own. In the outer world we try and cry to claim God eternally as our very own and reciprocate God's Love for us.

When we pray and meditate, when we dive deep into the inmost recesses of our being, we not only feel that we are in the inner world, but we also feel that we are the inner world itself. When we make our outer existence into a helping hand, a serving heart and a loving life here, there, everywhere, when we become an all-loving existence — not only do we live in the world without, but we become one with the world without in all its reality's height.

In the world within there is an immortal, invaluable treasure, and that treasure is constant inner cry to know the Highest and to grow into the Absolute. In the world without there is also an invaluable, immortal treasure, and that treasure is smile, illumining smile. The seeker smiles at God's vast creation. His smile is the identification-oneness of his own existence-reality with God's entire creation. Both in his inner world and in his outer world the seeker cries and smiles devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally. He cries to reach the absolute Height in God's own Way, at God's choice Hour. He smiles in order to see, feel and manifest God. He sees God, feels God and manifests God, the Supreme Reality, in the way God wants him to see, feel and manifest Him.

SDW 15. 11 February 1976, 5:30 p.m.

Question: How can I tell the difference between true intuition or spiritual awakening and possible hallucination when attempting to meditate?

Sri Chinmoy: If it is real meditation, if it is sublime and soulful and intuitive meditation, then you are bound to feel peace within and without. Peace is always within us, but in our outer life there is no peace. When you meditate, the first thing you come to discover is inner peace. If it is true, soulful, intuitive meditation, you are bound to feel on the outer plane an exact replica of what you feel within. If it is just a mental hallucination, you will see that peace is within and restlessness is without. There will be a yawning gulf between the inner and the outer, and you will be standing between two realities.

If it is true, soulful, intuitive meditation you are also bound to feel inner joy. This joy will make you feel that you are part and parcel of the Eternal Existence. You will feel that your existence is not limited to the fifty or seventy years that you are on earth. You will feel that you are of Eternity and for Eternity. But if you are having mental hallucinations, you will feel that the thing you are experiencing has only a temporary reality. The eternal conception of your own reality you cannot get from mental hallucination. No matter what you see, if your meditation is not genuine, you are bound to feel this great thing will only last for a limited amount of time. But if it is sublime meditation, you are bound to feel you have achieved something permanent. If it is real, soulful intuition, you establish your oneness with something eternal. If it is mental hallucination, it does not have an eternal reality.

Question: Is my yearning for the Absolute sufficient to attain to a high level of meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are yearning for the Absolute, that does not mean you are having sublime, soulful meditations. If you want the Supreme, then let the Supreme be your only reality in life. You have to feel that you can exist without everything except the Supreme Reality, that you cannot live for a fleeting second without the Supreme's Compassion, Light and Reality. Once you achieve that state, then all your sincere efforts will eventually be crowned with success. So, if somebody says that he is crying for the absolute Reality, but that he does not have soulful and fruitful meditations, I will ask if he is sincere in his desire to climb the Reality-Tree. It is your sincerity, in the end, that will determine your success and your oneness with the Highest.

If you want soulful meditation, then you have to feel that that is the only thing necessary in life. Just because we want a Master's degree does not mean that we will attain it. It is our sincere approach to Reality that determines whether we attain our goal. We are all seekers aiming at the Highest Truth, but how can we all reach the Highest Truth? We can do it only on the strength of our sincere striving for the thing that we are yearning for.

Question: What is the distinction you make between the mind and the heart?

Sri Chinmoy: The mind is all the time dissatisfied with its position, with its capacity, whereas the heart is satisfied with its capacity, its capacity of identification. The mind doesn't identify itself with any reality; it constantly separates itself from the reality and feels it must judge the reality. Very often it takes the help of doubt, its best friend, or suspicion, to help in its assessment of reality. But the heart doesn't do that. The heart feels reality lies only in identification. Identification is eventually transformed into inseparable oneness; and it is only in real oneness, universal oneness, that we get true peace, light and satisfaction.

Question: In meditating on the heart, should we try to feel the heart, or concentrate the mind on the particular spot where the heart is?

Sri Chinmoy: No, we don't take the help of the mind at all. We focus the attention of our entire being on the heart, but this attention is not coming from the mind. The body is a being with an existence which we claim as our very own. Let this existence focus its attention on the heart. Our concentration is coming from our inner awareness of the light inside our heart, not from our mind.

Question: Do you feel that feelings and the mind are connected?

Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately the heart's feeling and the mind's way of operation are two different things right now. The heart feels on the strength of its identification, whereas the mind will first try to measure or scrutinise everything. The feeling of the heart and the mind's capacity to scrutinise are not the same thing. The mind scrutinises and the heart feels. When the mind surrenders to the light of the soul, heart and mind become one and the mind accepts the feeling of the heart as a reality. But now the mind mocks and laughs at the feeling of the heart; it says it is all unreal, hallucination.

Question: What is the difference between a vital desire and a mental desire?

Sri Chinmoy: A vital desire can be in the lower vital, which is all emotional. The lower vital is all sex and impurity. This is the low, lower, lowest vital. But if it is only a vital desire, not actually from the lower vital, then it will be only for dominion. You will desire to lord it over others like Julius Caesar and Napoleon. The whole world they wanted to place at their feet. Mental desire wants to devour everything: "I will devour you and the whole world. I want to know whether there is suffering or happiness inside you. Let me enter into you and share your experience." Mental desire wants to grasp and devour. But the spiritual longing is something else again: "I want to be one with you in your suffering. I want to be identified with you in your joy. I want to establish my inseparable oneness with you, no matter in which consciousness you are." This is called psychic longing.

Question: How can we best experience peace?

Sri Chinmoy: All the inner gifts we can get only by crying within, by aspiring. We go to our jobs and work for eight hours a day. Just because we work, we get a salary, we get money-power, and with that money-power we buy the necessities of life. When we live in the desire-world, we feel that we need quite a few things and we use our salary to buy the things we want. In the inner world, in the world of aspiration, we also have to earn a salary; but here our work is our meditation. If we pray and meditate for an hour or two every day, we get our salary in the form of spiritual light, inner peace and inner satisfaction. In our desire-life we always have to make some effort in order to achieve what we want. In our spiritual life also if we do the right thing, if we cry for light, if we pray and meditate to please God, then definitely we shall get what we want in the inner world.

When I knock at the door, the person who is inside the room opens the door for me. If I go to another room and knock, another person opens the door. I will always get the person or the thing that each room contains. If I knock at a door where there are other realities, then I will eventually get them. It is only a matter of knocking at the right door.

Part IV — Transcendence and perfection

Transcendence and perfection4

Transcendence and perfection are two supreme realities. At this moment transcendence plays the role of the seeker and perfection plays the role of the goal. The next moment perfection plays the role of the seeker and transcendence plays the role of the goal, the ever-transcending goal.

Perfection and transcendence at times play hide-and-seek. Transcendence searches for perfection. When perfection is caught, perfection surrenders and offers to transcendence its infinite wealth, which is the delight of Light. Perfection searches for transcendence. When transcendence is caught, transcendence offers to perfection its infinite wealth, which is the light of Delight. In this way both perfection and transcendence enjoy continual satisfaction.

What is perfection? Perfection is not and cannot be a finished product; it cannot be an ultimate height that defies transcendence. Perfection is something that continuously transcends its own reality, its own height, its own goal. Perfection is like a river that flows constantly to the ever-expanding, ever-transcending sea. It is not like a stagnant pool or lake; it is a dynamic river that flows towards the ever-transcending Beyond.

Here on earth we observe perfection in two sublime realities: cry and smile. When a child cries soulfully, in his soulful cry we observe perfection. When a child smiles soulfully, in his soulful smile we observe perfection. Perfection is bound to be there where the existence of the soul looms large. The soul is the direct representative of God, the conscious messenger of God. The soul is the harbinger of new life, new light, new dawn, new realisation, new perfection on earth.

There is an inner perfection and there is an outer perfection. The beauty of a flower is the outer perfection; the fragrance of the flower is the inner perfection. Anything that has to be transcended inwardly is bringing us the message of perfection in the inner world. Anything that has to be increased, illumined and fulfilled outwardly is bringing us the message of perfection in the outer world.

When we can feel and really see each individual being as another God, at that time we observe perfection in the inner world. To see each and every individual on earth as another God is to see nothing but inner perfection. Again, to see and feel God's presence in each human being is to see outer perfection. In inner perfection we see each individual as another God. In outer perfection we see God and nobody else inside each individual.

What is transcendence? Transcendence is a never-ending climbing process, a dynamic reality. The Goal also is a transcending reality. Why do we want to transcend? We want to transcend precisely because we need satisfaction within and satisfaction without. How do we achieve satisfaction? We achieve satisfaction by becoming a mounting flame of aspiration. And when we become a mounting flame of aspiration, satisfaction is achieved by the God-lover in us, the truth-server in us.

Our world has two realities which we use in order to transcend ourselves. Ignorance-night is a reality and wisdom-light is a reality. Ignorance-night we conquer. By conquering it we transcend the reality that we have been forced to embody for millennia.

Wisdom-light we inwardly are. When we become aware, fully aware, of the wisdom-light within us, we transcend the reality which we already are and we grow into a higher reality. Ignorance we conquer, and by conquering ignorance we derive satisfaction. Knowledge we increase, and by increasing knowledge we derive satisfaction.

Transcendence and perfection give us one most significant thing: satisfaction. This satisfaction is in God, it is of God, it is for God and, finally, it is God Himself. In our world of reality, there are quite a few rungs of the satisfaction-ladder. It starts with imagination, then inspiration, then aspiration, then realisation, then revelation and then manifestation.

Imagination is a world of its own, which embodies reality. A scientist enters into this world of imagination and discovers something unknown. Then the scientist offers satisfaction to the members of the world-family.

Inspiration is a world of its own. It is a world of movement. Either this world enters into us or we enter into this world. Forward, upward, constantly it wants to move, and it invites us to move along with it. It tells us, "Movement is satisfaction. Movement is the harbinger of perfection."

Aspiration is a world. In the world of aspiration, God, who was at the very beginning one, wanted to become many. When He wanted to become many, He sang the song of self-transcendence. By fulfilling Himself in the world of multiplicity, He offers us the dance of perfection. It is in the aspiration-world that we see God the One and God the Many, God the eternal Silence and God the infinite Sound.

Realisation is a world. In the world of realisation, perfect realisation, we see that the finite and the Infinite are inseparable. Here on earth the finite unconsciously and consciously wants to maintain its sense of separativity. It is afraid of the Vast, of the Infinite; it feels that only by remaining alone is it safe. The infinite says to the finite, "Brother, by remaining alone you will never see the face of supreme satisfaction. I am within you and I wish to serve you. Allow me to do the needful. The supreme satisfaction is also within you. Only surrender your ignorance-vision, your ignorant way of seeing the truth. Feel that the Lord Supreme has a special message to fulfil in and through you. He is inside the tiny ant and He is also inside the universal creation. But there is a specific message which He wants to fulfil in and through the finite. Be conscious of His message and thus become perfect. The world of realisation is the world of perfection in God's tiniest possible creation and also in God's largest possible creation."

The world of revelation is the hyphen between the realisation-world and the manifestation-world. It unites both realisation and manifestation. It is aspiration that feeds revelation. It is on the strength of aspiration that revelation can grow into manifestation. If aspiration is taken away from the inmost recesses of the revelation-reality, realisation will become soulless and manifestation will become hopeless.

At our journey's start what we need is aspiration; at the end of our journey's close what we need is aspiration. Aspiration is the mounting flame which has neither beginning nor end. It is a birthless, deathless reality. There comes a time in the march of world-evolution when we grow into this ever-mounting flame of aspiration which is always transcending its already achieved goals. It is aspiration which is the real satisfaction in transcendence, and it is aspiration which is the real satisfaction in perfection. With aspiration God commenced His journey and with aspiration He will eternally continue His journey, for aspiration is constant transcendence, constant perfection and the ever-increasing satisfaction of His infinite Vision and eternal Manifestation.

SDW 23. 11 February 1976, 7:30 p.m.

Question: If you're always aiming for perfection, which you never can get, then when is there a rest? When is there a satisfaction?

Sri Chinmoy: Perfection is our goal. Unless and until we have achieved perfection, satisfaction cannot dawn; this is absolutely true. But we also have to know that perfection can be achieved only through gradual progress. We cannot achieve perfection all at once. No, it comes by degrees. Today's perfection will be, in your case, to have an iota of peace. If you can have an iota of peace in your mind, if you can have peace of mind just for a fleeting second, that is your perfection. Then, tomorrow, if you can have peace for five minutes, that is your perfection. Then the day after, if it lasts for an hour, that is your perfection. For a child, perfection is to learn the alphabet. He cannot learn the alphabet all at once. But eventually he does learn the alphabet. But then, he has a new goal, a new standard of perfection. Eventually this child will get his Master's degree and read thousands of books. And each time he reaches his goal, each time he achieves perfection according to his standard, he will strive for a greater perfection. But that does not mean that he doesn't get satisfaction each time he reaches his goal. When the child finally learns the alphabet, he has such joy. But then, he sees that there is a new goal, a higher goal. In the spiritual life also, today's perfection, in your case, will be to have an iota of peace. If you can have an iota of peace in your mind, if you can have peace of mind for just a fleeting second, that is your perfection. Then, tomorrow, your sense of perfection is to have peace for five minutes. The day after tomorrow it will be one hour. We are God's children, and since God is infinite we are constantly on the march; we are aiming at an ever-transcending reality. We are marching, we are running, we are flying. But the reality we are aiming at is constantly transcending its own bounds. Infinity is constantly transcending its own reality. In the spiritual life, constant progress is our sense of perfection.

Question: How can we transform daily anxiety and destructive self-criticism?

Sri Chinmoy: Take these things as a thorn that has entered into you. You feel that you are very bad, undivine, ugly, stupid; all the bad qualities of the world are inside you. Take this self-criticism as a thorn. One thorn has entered you, but it has many names: insecurity, doubt and so on. When these thorns enter into you, take help of another thorn. That thorn is, "I am God's daughter, chosen daughter, and I am going to be a perfect instrument. There is nothing on earth which can prevent me from becoming His chosen instrument." So use this thorn to take out the other thorn that is causing you trouble. Self-criticism can be conquered only through proper self-appreciation. So just claim Him as your own. God is your Source. If you can feel that you are God's daughter, then you won't be bothered by these things.

Question: Is the world progressing spiritually?

Sri Chinmoy: The world to some extent is progressing spiritually; but at the same time, the world is still full of ignorance. I cannot categorically say that right now ninety percent are meditating and ten percent only are not meditating or nor spiritual. Only I can say that spirituality, as such, has awakened mankind to a greater extent than it had done, say, fifteen or twenty or forty years ago — especially in the West. People are meditating now in the West. Real spirituality has come.

Question: Is it painful for you to meet people who systematically try to disturb your inner peace?

Sri Chinmoy: Fortunately or unfortunately, nobody can disturb my inner peace, because I come from a state where I am dealing with infinite peace. My inner being is inundated with inner peace, so I cannot be disturbed.

Question: What happens after one realises God?

Sri Chinmoy: After one has realised God, one can reveal and manifest Him. Again, one may take rest, providing it is God's Will. There is no hard and fast rule as to what will happen to that individual. It is like playing a game of football. If you have played extremely well, God may tell you that you don't have to play any more; you can take rest. Again, after you have taken rest, if He wants you to play again, you can participate. It entirely depends on God's Volition, God's Wish, God's Choice.

Question: Is it possible for an atheist or agnostic to realise self-perfection?

Sri Chinmoy: The whole thing is contradictory. Perfection is God in manifestation. If you use the term perfection, then you have to know you are speaking of God-manifestation in and through humanity. We are imperfect, but there is someone who is perfect and that is God. Just because God is eternally perfect, you and I are crying for God-realisation. We are crying to see perfection in our life by invoking God's Presence or by bringing to the fore God's Presence. If someone doesn't believe in the Goal, why would he try to realise it?

Question: Isn't spirituality a way of escaping from our problems or difficulties?

Sri Chinmoy: We do not give up because the world is full of difficulties; we do not commit suicide because the world is full of difficulties. What we have to do is pay more attention to the spiritual life. Our path is the path of acceptance. We shall accept the outer life in a normal way, but we shall also do something which most people do not do, and that is pay full attention to the inner life as well. Real spirituality will demand acceptance of life as it is. Obstacles we don't deny, but the obstacles have to be surmounted. We are not saying to ignore them or run away from them. Far from it. But the advice I am giving is that if we can achieve light from above, then only can we conquer these outer obstacles. We are not avoiding them; we are not afraid of them. We are not trying to escape from the hard reality. But if we know that there is a medicine which can cure the maladies of centuries, then if we are wise we will take that medicine. That medicine is inner light.

Question: Is it possible to realise God in one existence?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly, it is quite possible to realise the Highest in this lifetime. But you have to know how sincere you are, how much you love God, how much you need God. If God comes first and foremost, if you feel that you can live without everything or everybody but not without God, if God is constantly in your mind, in your heart, in your living existence, and if you are under the guidance of a fully realised spiritual Master, then realisation is possible in one lifetime. If the Master takes full responsibility for the disciple and if the disciple is absolutely sincere, then God-realisation can easily be achieved in one lifetime. God-realisation is your birthright; it is not the sole monopoly of any individual. If I can realise God, you can realise God too, but you have to be extremely sincere and devoted. Once you realise the Goal, that Goal becomes yours; at that time you don't have to share the Goal with anybody. It is all for you. Once you realise the Highest under the guidance of someone, at that time the Highest becomes yours. You don't have to share it with your Master. Once you get your Ph.D., then you don't need the help of the university. In the spiritual life also, once you get inner illumination, once you realise the Highest, you do not need the guidance of anyone and you don't have to share your realisation. But again, when you realise the Truth, you will try to share your Goal with everyone. At that time, your heart becomes one with the universe and you try to share your realisation with everyone.

Question: Some Masters say the spiritual heart is in the centre of the chest; others say it is off to one side. How can this be?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, the seeker has to know that spirituality is not mere observation; it is something much deeper. Even if two spiritual Masters or four spiritual Masters have differences, you have to know that it is not the Master's opinion about the location of the heart that has given him realisation. It is his own inner cry; it is his own sincere need for God.

When seekers meditate on the highest Truth, each one realises the Truth from a different angle. Let us say the Truth is here. When you look at it from above, you will see the Truth in one way. And if I see the Truth from the left side, the same Truth I will see in another way. Truth itself is always the same, but when you see the Truth from a particular angle, there is a difference in vision. But when it is a matter of realising the highest Truth, this difference does not exist. If you look at the heart from that side, you will say one thing; and if you look from this side, you will say something else. But if you remain all the time in the soul, then you will see that it is not actually the location of the heart but the quality of the heart that is important.

The goal is not the heart; the goal is inside the heart, where the soul is. If you go to the goal this way, then it appears to be on the right; if you come this way, then it appears to be on the left. When you see the Highest and try to interpret it, immediately your mind enters into the picture and the truth becomes relative.

One spiritual Master went to the extreme of saying that the heart is here, in between the eyebrows. You will only laugh. How can the heart be here? Yet he is absolutely right. He means that the heart is where the Light is. Inside the heart is the soul, which is all Light. Here is the Third Eye, which means the eye of Vision and Delight. When this Master is meditating and contemplating, he gets Light, boundless Light in the Third Eye. So he says, "Where I see Light, there is my real self; there is my heart."

When you meditate and contemplate, you get Light from a distinct place. So you have a perfect right to say that this is the place where you got the Light. To me it is the wrong place, but to you it is the right place. So each Master is right. But we have to know that saying left side, right side or forehead is not important at all. What you really want is the soul's Light. The location is not the important thing. Where one gets Light, there is his home. The heart means home.

We have to know that if we are really thirsty, we shall go where the water is. We don't fight over whether it is here or there. We shall only care whether it exists or not. When we meditate we come to realise that the heart exists, and inside the heart is the soul.

Question: But in this case, how can we meditate on the heart? We don't even know where it is.

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on whose path you follow. If one Master says the heart is here, and you want to follow his path, then this is where you meditate. If you do not have anyone as your teacher, then go deep inside and do not even concentrate on the heart. Only concentrate and meditate on Light. Then, one day, during your meditation, you will receive Light here, or here, or here, or here. So just meditate on the Source and eventually the location will come to you. If you follow a specific path, then you have to have implicit faith in what your Master says. But if you are not sure, if you say, "I do not follow any path I am just curious to know where the heart is," then I wish to tell you not to bother about the location. Only think of the things that the heart can give: Peace, Joy, Love, Bliss, Light. Think of the quality and not of the location. When you meditate on the quality, the quality itself will come to the fore, and this is the important thing. Concentrate on the Source and the Source will bless you so that illumination can take place. Then you can observe the location from which the flow comes. I tell my disciples not to fight about right or left, but only to think of love, devotion and surrender. Love God with your entire existence, devote yourself to God with your entire existence, surrender yourself to God. Love, devotion and surrender will show you everything.

Question: How can we love God more with our mind?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to know where love usually lives. Love usually lives inside the heart, not inside the mind. When you have a house, you know that there is a particular room, whether it is the living room or the kitchen or the bedroom, where you stay most of the time. You go to all the rooms, but most of the time you are in one particular room. In the spiritual life also, you have to know that love most of the time stays inside the heart. If I know that here there is water, I shall dig deep and find water. But if water is not here and I all the time dig, dig, dig, it is just a waste of time. In our spiritual life we see that love exists, not most of the time but all the time, inside the heart.

If we want to have more love for God, we have to approach Him with our heart. We have to feel that we have only the heart for God. If we start our journey with the mind, we are bound to be frustrated. But if we start our journey with the heart, we are bound to be fulfilled. The child runs towards his mother, towards his father, towards a flower, because of his continuous love. The child has no mind; he only feels with his heart. When we identify ourselves with something, then only do we feel real love. But when the child grows up and starts living in the mind, he starts doubting everything and finding fault with everything.

In the spiritual life we have to be like a child. Only then does love come to us. When we use the mind, already we think that we know much about spirituality. But what do we know? We know how to doubt, we know how to suspect. If we want spirituality to offer its message to us, we do not need mental interpretation. Spirituality has its own light, its own love, to offer. We do not have to be in the spiritual life for two years or three years in order to love God. No, we can love God right from this moment, provided we use the heart to love Him and not the mind to think of Him. Love comes from the heart and not from the mind. The heart is identification-oneness, whereas the mind means constant judgement and separateness.

Question: Do we have to live in the material world to practise spirituality?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly, we have to live in the material world. But we have to know that the "material world" can mean two things. To some, the material world means eating, sleeping, enjoying, wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance. To others, the material world means God's creation — the world that we are living in, this planet. If we take "material world" in this second sense, then we can easily practise spirituality in the material world.

To live in the material world means to accept our duty. I tell all my disciples that they have to work. Work means physical discipline, dedicated service to God. You are working not to manifest me on earth; far from it. You are working to discipline your life so that at every moment, every second, you can divinise your life and be part and parcel of something spiritual, something divine.

God the Creator is inside the creation also. The creation cannot be separated from the Creator. So the creation, which we see in the form of the material world, must be accepted. If we don't accept it, how are we going to change it? If I don't touch something, if I don't enter into my disciples with their imperfections, then how can I transform them? We must not negate the world; we must accept the world. Whenever we see something wrong, we have to enter into that particular thing with our soul's Light in order to transform it.

You have a boat. The boat is in the water, but it is not affected by the water. You use the boat to take you to the other shore. We have to stay on earth in order to realise the Highest. But we have to know what we need from the material world. If we want the material world to devour us with its riches, then we are caught. But if we see the world as God's creation, then we feel that it is here that we have to realise the Highest. We don't have to go to the Himalayan caves; we don't have to torture our body and fast or starve to realise God. If my Father is standing there, in order to reach Him I don't have to cut off my arms and legs to prove how much love I have for Him. I come to Him running. We just have to be natural. We have to have a sound body and lead a normal life. God is absolutely normal. Our conception of God is wrong if we think that He is really something unusual.

We also have a wrong conception of God-realised people. When we think of a God-realised man, we think that he has to be completely different from us. He has to have two horns, or two very long arms or two different eyes. But this is not the case. God is inside you and God is inside me. If we go to a spiritual man, automatically we are bound to feel Peace, Light, Bliss and other divine qualities. But he won't be the tallest person; he won't have a peculiar form. Each spiritual Master has a normal physical body, but inside the physical he has God's Consciousness.

Editor's preface to the first edition

Sri Chinmoy delivered a series of seven lectures in early 1976 at Marvin Center, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. The last four of these talks, together with selected questions and answers, have been collected in this volume. The first three talks were published in Spiritual power, occult power and will power, Washington lecture series — part 1.

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