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Part I — Introduction


Today you have received a great honour from your Master. The deeper within you go, the clearer will be the significance of this honour.

You are divine soldiers, supremely divine warriors, both in the inner world and in the outer world. If you discharge your divine duties soulfully, divinely and unconditionally, your Master will consider you his real divine instruments.

Unlike other soldiers, you will show your strength in an unprecedented way. You will show your capacity through politeness, softness, courtesy, humility and patience. Haughtiness, arrogance, restlessness, autocracy and the feeling of supremacy will never be allowed.

Your Master protects you from the inner intruders — fear, doubt, jealousy and other undivine forces, and in the outer world you will try to protect your Master from the outer intruders.

Here you have the golden opportunity to be of service to me. The significance, the value, the honour of today's achievement you will realise as the years pass by.

— Sri Chinmoy

Master's instruments-choice

We are our Master's instruments-choice.
His silver smile our oneness-voice.
Humility-role our journey's start.
Perfection-goal our nectar-mart.
We love our Pilot, we serve his Dream,
With him we shine to found 'Supreme'.

Part II — Questions and answers

Question: How may spiritual qualities such as patience and identification with Eternity be manifested in a dynamic fashion?

Sri Chinmoy: Spiritual qualities such as patience and identification with Eternity can be manifested in a dynamic fashion provided we can see in them at least an iota of dynamism. Usually we don't think of patience as a great virtue. We take it as an unavoidable weakness. But no, patience is Eternity's strength in disguise. And usually we think of identification as a feminine aspect of reality, which cares for identification in order to make up for its limitation. But if we can think of identification as the revelation of the fulfilled aspiration for oneness, then we are bound to see in it tremendous dynamism.

Usually dynamism is closely connected with the masculine aspect of reality; at least that is what the human mind tells us. Therefore, be clever and think of patience and identification as something strong, powerful and challenging. Then you are bound to see and feel the dynamic aspect of reality in both patience and identification.

Question: Is the joy of oneness the highest joy in the spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, the joy of oneness is always the highest joy in the spiritual life. Needless to say, this is the joy of inseparable oneness based on the divine lover's unconditional surrender and the Supreme Beloved's blessingful Smile on each and every plane of His Existence-Reality.

Question: How can I create and then intensify a greater desire to meditate?

Sri Chinmoy: You do not have to create and then intensify your desire to meditate. Just try to recollect one of the sweet experiences that you have had over the years during your meditation. Bring the experience to the fore and then try to live inside the sweetness, soulfulness and fruitfulness of that experience. If you can do this, automatically you will be in a higher state of consciousness. Reaching a higher state of consciousness is undoubtedly a more fulfilling way of meditation.

Question: When God sits on His Throne, what do His attendants look like?

Sri Chinmoy: God has only one throne and that throne is our heart. When God sits on our heart-throne, His attendants-simplicity, sincerity, humility and purity-look infinitely more illumining and possess capacities infinitely more fulfilling than at other times.

Question: You have said that the hostile forces can never take your form. If that is the case, what actually happens when you tell us things in dreams that are either contrary to what you say outwardly or are very unlike your usual compassionate nature?

Sri Chinmoy: It is absolutely true. The hostile forces cannot take my form. In your dreams, if you see me telling you things that are contrary to what you usually hear from me in the outer world, it indicates that there is another way to deal with human beings besides compassion. Justice-light does not necessarily mean the negation of Compassion-light. There are two ways to reach the goal. When the easier way badly fails, we usually adopt the more difficult way. If the dedication and aspiration of the seeker is constant, then he can take the easy way to the goal. Otherwise, the seeker must undergo so-called difficult experiences. But in either cast the goal is the same.

Question: When do we receive the blessing from prasad: when we take it, when we eat it, when we digest it, or continuously?

Sri Chinmoy: When you receive it devotedly, it becomes blessingful prasad. At that time you allow me to sow the seed of love, joy, light and delight. Then, when you eat it, the seed grows into a sapling. It becomes our mutual satisfaction — you as the seeker and I as the Master. When you digest and assimilate it, it becomes the sapling, becomes a tree and bears fruit in your consciousness. Then it becomes the perfect satisfaction of both the Master and the disciple.

The moment you receive the prasad, feel that you are at the beginning of the blessingful road. The moment you eat, try to feel that you have started walking along the road. First you were blessed with the road, then you were blessed with the inspiration and aspiration to walk along the road. Once you have digested and assimilated the prasad, try to feel that the goal is won, that you have arrived at the shore of your own illumined and fulfilled reality. So you can put it into three categories: first, the blessingful road is placed before you, then you are walking along the road and finally you have reached your destination. So in three different stages you get the complete message of the prasad.

Question: What kind of exercise do the souls do in Heaven?

Sri Chinmoy: The souls offer good will to the aspiring earth. The souls renew their promises before their earth-bound journey. The souls that are highly developed show their compassion-oneness with the ones that are not highly developed. The souls that are not highly developed show their devotion-oneness with the ones that are highly developed.

Question: How can I become anchored in my purity-heart?

Sri Chinmoy: Dear Amal, you are asking everybody's question. You voice forth everybody's inner message. Now, in order to become anchored in your purity-heart, you can do two things. First try to keep a flower all the time with you and imagine that this flower is your heart's best friend. While looking at the flower. say to yourself, "How I wish my heart were as pure as this flower." That is one way.

The other way is to utter the word 'purity' most soulfully, even spelling it letter by letter. Then try to imagine that there is a hole right on top of your head and that purity, in a column of light from above, is descending into your system through your spine. When this purity-light reaches the base of your spine try to see and appreciate its descent. If you sincerely appreciate or admire something, it means that in the heart of your heart you want to possess or achieve that thing. So if you really want purity, then your sincere and soulful appreciation is bound to create new purity inside your heart, and there you can forever live.

Question: What psychic technique do plants and flowers use to communicate with mankind?

Sri Chinmoy: As human beings have more than one language, so also do plants and flowers have more than one language. We speak in different languages to communicate with the rest of the world. Plants and flowers also use different languages to communicate among themselves. They have also a special way to communicate with mankind. Plants usually communicate with man's longing for height. Flowers usually communicate with man's longing for beauty. Mankind, too, communicates with the plants and flowers. Mankind usually communicates with their aspiration-capacity and dedication-divinity.

Question: Guru, when you ask us if we are all right, do you expect us to tell you how we are, or does your asking only mean that you have fixed our problem or are working on it?

Sri Chinmoy: In the ordinary human world, as soon as you see someone you say, "How are you? Are you all right?" There is no feeling in it. It is only a habit which you have learned from your great-great-grandfathers. History has handed down to us this unrealistic if not heartless form of expression, which shows no soulful oneness with the rest of the world. But when I ask you people, "How are you?" it is not that kind of superficial greeting. Most of the time it means that I see you have some serious problems. Sometimes after I am totally successful, I ask, "How are you?" in order to get a kind of confirmation from you. Sometimes, even if I have not yet achieved success, while I am in the process of fighting against the wrong forces I try to hear from you if you are aware of them.

Sometimes I ask you, "How are you?" when I see a wave of undivine forces attacking you people. Here I don't expect you to be aware of those forces, but while I am asking, I am strengthening your physical, vital, mind and heart. Then, with that added strength in every part of your being, you can fight against the forces that may be attacking you in the form of fear, doubt, anxiety, worry, frustration and a sense of unworthiness. At that time, if your soul is strong enough to convince the mind, vital and body of the necessity of receiving more light, abundant light, infinite light from me, then I achieve greater success and the seeker in you achieves unimaginable progress.

Question: When I am doing selfless service or trying to manifest your light to the world at large, should I try to keep the awareness that I am one of your attendants?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. You should always feel that you are one of my attendants not only while you are doing selfless service but also while you are doing something that is not directly related to selfless service. A disciple must always feel that he is an attendant of the Master no matter where he is or where the Master is.

There are two ways-the inner attendant's way and the outer attendant's way. The outer attendant's way is practically "out of sight, out of mind." The inner attendant's way is constant, unconditional self-giving, which is the only way to see the growing fulness and glowing fruitfulness of God the Creator and God the Creation.

Question: By what name does God call me in the morning, noon, afternoon, evening and night?

Sri Chinmoy: God calls you always with the name that you have: Sanatan. But He has different messages for you at different times of the day. In the morning He asks you to wake up. At noon He asks you to look up. In the afternoon He asks you to look around. In the evening He asks you to dive deep within. And at night He asks you to watch your obedience-life grow and glow inside your self-expanding gratitude-heart.

Question: Is love the purest form of gratitude and, if so, can love and gratitude be the fastest way to perfection?

Sri Chinmoy: No, love is not the purest form of gratitude. Devoted surrender and unconditional oneness are the purest forms of gratitude. Love is very complicated: there is human love, divine love, animal love. Again, even divine love sometimes is mixed up with vital demands. But when there is a constant, inseparable and unconditional surrender and oneness, this is undoubtedly the purest form of gratitude. And this gratitude is undoubtedly the fastest way not only to perfection, but to perfect Perfection.

Question: Will some of us qualify to guard you and the Supreme in the inner world and the outer world simultaneously?

Sri Chinmoy: Dear Pravin, some of you have already qualified to guard me and the Supreme in me both in the inner world and in the outer world. Out of forty-five or fifty attendants, four have qualified and are guarding me both in the inner and the outer world, and one has half-qualified. The rest are guarding me only in the outer world. Among those who are doing it in the outer world, some are doing it successfully and some are not. The majority, unfortunately, are doing it unsuccessfully. But if today we are not successful, then tomorrow we will be successful and the day after tomorrow we will be more than successful; we shall be eternally fruitful in the Supreme and for the Supreme.

So right now four and a half disciples have proved themselves qualified both in the inner world and in the outer world to be guards. Others also have the same opportunity, for the capacity is already given. If you avail yourself of the opportunity, then your capacity will come to the fore. I will be extremely proud if all of you are qualified both inwardly and outwardly to be my divine assistants.

Since I have said four and a half are qualified, you as an individual can easily think that you are one of them. Even if it is not true, you will not create problems for yourself or problems for me. But if you think you are not qualified, your anxieties, your worries and your frustration will bring: your consciousness down. You may feel that today you are not my divine assistant in both the inner and outer world, but tomorrow you most assuredly will be. This is a good attitude also. And even if you feel that today you are one of those who are qualified both in the inner world and the outer world, still there is no end to your progress. You can say, "All right, I am there; I am an assistant both on the inner and outer planes. But let me become a better instrument, a more perfect instrument." That you can do.

But never enter into the world of inferiority, frustration, dissatisfaction and self-destruction. No! Be happy! If you are happy, then you will be able to bring forward your inner capacities and get enormous strength, the strength of a lion. Then it will be easier for you to do devoted service cheerfully; your happiness itself will enable you to do more selfless service in a spiritual way. Otherwise, you will work forty hours, fifty hours or sixty hours, but if it is not done in a cheerful, self-giving way you will get zero. It is your attitude that is of paramount importance, not how many hours you work. At the same time, I wish all my assistants to work at least seven hours a week, minimum. If one hour of selfless service you cannot give a day, that is really deplorable. Out of twenty-four hours if you cannot give one hour a day, then it is really unfortunate.

Question: What is the main quality of the Supreme at different times of the day?

Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme has many, many qualities, which He will adopt according to the individual seeker's needs at different times of the day. In a general way you can say that the Supreme starts His journey with Compassion. Inside His Compassion is his Concern, and inside His Concern is His Sympathy, inside His Sympathy is His Justice-Light, inside His Justice-Light is His sense of Perfection and inside His Perfection is His Satisfaction. But there is no hard and fast rule. The Supreme can change everything if He wants to. The most important thing is for the seeker to be receptive so that he can receive whatever quality of the Supreme is best for his progress.

Question: Guru, when I feel an undivine thought lowering my consciousness and I offer it to you, sometimes I feel a shivering sensation at the top of my spine and back of my head and then the thought is gone. Is this the thought actually leaving my consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: Offering these thoughts to me is a very successful way of conquering them. Always throw them into me, me alone. When you throw your undivine thoughts into me, sometimes they may not actually leave your consciousness. But even if they do not actually leave, they are unnerved. They are frightened to death. If you continue throwing these undivine forces into me, then definitely there shall come a time when they all will either leave you or become totally transformed while they are inside you. It is like the transformation of night into day.

The most important thing right now is to be alert, conscious, sincere, devoted and self-giving to the supreme Cause. Then the Supreme in me, the Supreme in you, will do the needful. He will either cast aside the wrong forces or transform them into good, illumining and fulfilling forces.

Question: What qualities must I develop to attain spiritual freedom?

Sri Chinmoy: There are quite a few qualities which you have to develop in order to attain spiritual freedom, but three particular qualities are most important: dynamism in your outer life, a sincere and devoted oneness with the inner messages that you receive from the Supreme in me, and the transformation of your restless mind into a mind flooded with poise. If you can have these three things, then you are bound to attain spiritual freedom.

Question: How can one develop constant, confident inner poise?

Sri Chinmoy: One can develop constant, confident inner poise if one cares only to listen to the soulful voice inside the heart. In order to listen to the soulful voice inside the heart, one must constantly feel that both the seeker-passenger and the Saviour-Pilot need each other for their realisation and manifestation. The seeker needs realisation, the Master needs manifestation. Again, the seeker has to realise that if the Master wants to change his instruments, he can easily get new instruments, illumining instruments and fulfilling instruments. But if the seeker wants to change Masters, he may not be blessed with a new Master all at once, for there are very few Masters in comparison to the number of seekers.

Question: Guru, how can the things that I print carry more of your vibration?

Sri Chinmoy: The things you print can carry more of my vibration, dear Vishma, if you can convince yourself that you are working only to please the Supreme in me. Before you take up any job, meditate on the Supreme in me; while you are working meditate on the Supreme in me, and once you have finished your work also meditate on me. At your journey's start, during your journey's course and at your journey's end, if you can think of me even for a few fleeting seconds, then definitely the things that you print will be able to carry my vibration to a considerable extent.

Question: Which is more important in our life of aspiration: cheerfulness or gratitude?

Sri Chinmoy: If you have cheerfulness, you will make progress. And when you make progress, then your gratitude-heart expands. This is absolutely true. But when you want to see the capacity of gratitude and the capacity of cheerfulness, it is gratitude that is all-powerful. Gratitude has the power of all the oceans put together, whereas cheerfulness has the power of ten or twelve drops. Gratitude is unparalleled in God's creation, both in Heaven and on earth.

Again, there are many ways to develop gratitude-power, and cheerfulness is one of the ways. It is one of the strong ways to conquer frustration, depression, anxiety, worries and other negative qualities. It is a great help, and from this help we can develop gratitude-power.

Aspiration and gratitude are inseparable. They are like the obverse and reverse of the same coin. Aspiration takes us high, higher than the highest; and gratitude takes us to the vast, to the vaster than the vastest. The aspiration-bird and the gratitude-bird are the same. When it spreads its Wings, it is gratitude, and when it flies up it is aspiration. But it is the same bird, the same inseparable reality.

Question: What is the best way to manifest your light when talking to seekers?

Sri Chinmoy: When you are talking to a seeker, just imagine his heart. You don't have to look at his chest or his body in order to see or feel his heart. Just imagine the seeker's heart and then try to feel that what you have is only a heart. Make yourself feel that you do not have a body, you do not have a vital, you do not have a mind what you have is only a heart. Then feel that you, the heart, are becoming one with the heart that is beside you. Two hearts are conversing, and while conversing they are deriving much delight from each other. This delight is the most important thing, not only in God-realisation but also in God-manifestation.

Question: Would you say that the Invocation is to our aspiration as the Attendants' Song is to our dedication?

Sri Chinmoy: The Attendants' Song inspires and expedites the seeker-attendant's Godward march. To some extent it is true that the Invocation is all aspiration and the Attendants' Song is all dedication. Again, you have to know that dedication is nothing short of aspiration, for true aspiration is the glorious awakening of the seeker in the attendant and the glorious blossoming of the attendant's own divinity-reality based on his oneness with the Master, whose other names are attendant-lover, attendant-inspirer, attendant-fulfiller.

But you have to know that the Invocation was composed on an infinitely higher plane than the Attendants' Song. The Invocation not only knows what the Supreme has and is but also embodies Supreme the Eternal Road, Supreme the Infinite Divinity and Supreme the Immortal Reality.

Question: Many people who have close calls with death often report a similar experience — coming face to face with a luminous being or a light which gives them a message. What are these beings?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes they are not beings at all, but only the souls of deceased relatives. Sometimes they are old and friendly acquaintances from the previous incarnations. Sometimes they are fate-making angels or deities. Sometimes they are fruitful imaginations of the seeker's soulful aspiration.

Question: Guru in meditation I seem to reach a certain height or plateau, which I can't go beyond. There are no thoughts and I don't have an awareness of my body, yet at the same time I feel I'm not making any progress. What technique can I apply to expand beyond this point?

Sri Chinmoy: You have made considerable progress in your life of inner search, but unfortunately you have a preconceived notion of inner progress. Do not have any preconceived ideas with regard to progress. You do not have to see, you do not have to feel. Just try to be always one with the soulfulness of your meditation-capacity and your dedication-sincerity. If you can do this, then automatically you will be able to trace, see and feel your progress.

Question: What is my role?

Sri Chinmoy: Your role and everybody's role is to become a divine instrument of the Supreme. In order to become a divine instrument of the Supreme, each individual needs something more than he needs something else. In each individual case, one particular divine quality is of paramount importance. In your case, purity is of paramount importance. Your lack of purity can destroy your aspiration, your dedication, everything. But if you can have purity, you can run fast, faster, fastest. Purity is the fastest road, whereas impurity is not only the slowest road, but it is actually the backward march. And the backward march leads not only to frustration, darkness but to destruction-night. So develop purity and try to run the fastest.

Question: At what point does God's Compassion overrule the law of Karma?

Sri Chinmoy: God's Compassion always and always overrules the law of Karma. Had it been otherwise, no human being on earth could have lasted even for a single day. Again, from the highest spiritual point of view, you have to know that the law of Karma does not mean severe punishment. It is a necessary experience for the seeker; it is the only way to accelerate his progress. Therefore, the law of Karma itself is another form of God's Compassion. You may call it blessingful love in disguise.

Question: What is the surest way of doing selfless service selflessly?

Sri Chinmoy: The surest way of doing selfless service selflessly is to cry not for success, not even for progress, but only for a continuous expansion of receptivity and for a continuous unfoldment of your soul's beauty-manifesting, selfless duty.

Question: How can I constantly feel I am a warrior fighting on your side against ignorance?

Sri Chinmoy: You can constantly feel that you are a warrior fighting on my side against ignorance provided you remember the inner assurance that I have repeatedly made to you. I have repeatedly offered you the inner assurance that your victory and my victory is not our victory, but the Victory of our Beloved Supreme. Him to please in His own way, we who are in this boat have come into the world. At every moment, if you can think that He is not only your journey's Goal, but also your journey's Start and Course, then you will easily feel that you are a warrior fighting on my side against ignorance-night.

Question: Does the so-called Garden of Eden still exist?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, in the soul's world, in Heaven, there is a place we call the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden started long, long ago — far beyond our imagination's beginning. It started as one place, but then it became many. Now it is like a bank which has many branches bearing the same name. I can see that there are at least eleven places that we can call the Garden of Eden. Usually the branches of a bank are not as large or as effective as the main bank. But in this case, the branches — which means the ones that came into being later on — have the same qualities, same capacities, same beauty, same spontaneity, same reality and same divinity as the original Garden of Eden.

Similarly, there are some spiritual Masters who have their own, let us say ashrams or communities in Heaven. We call them Lokas. Traditionally there are a few Lokas associated with the cosmic gods of the highest order. Again, Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Sri Ramakrishna and other Masters of the highest order have their own worlds. Each Master of the highest order has his own Garden of Eden.

This Garden of Eden gives satisfaction-delight in the will-world, in the compassion-world and in the oneness-world. Very good question.

Question: In our roles as your assistants, is patience more important than tolerance, or are they one and the same?

Sri Chinmoy: Tolerance and patience are not the same thing; they are entirely different. Patience is a divine quality. It is the strengthening and lengthening of our capacity. Patience knows that there is a past, a present and a future, but it keeps the future reality, which is eternal love, right in front of its vision.

But tolerance is entirely different. We tolerate something because we are under compulsion. If we don't tolerate something, then the anger or frustration we will get will be more destructive than the thing itself. We tolerate something on the physical or vital plane, feeling that if we don't tolerate it, then the consequences will be most devastating. So tolerance is a good quality only in the sense that something is better than nothing. In tolerance there is always a sense of cleverness, or you might even call it wisdom. You are trying to avert some future calamity, so you tolerate something. But patience is a positive, conscious illumination of our self-giving and world-embracing capacity. Patience infinitely more important than tolerance.

Question: What quality does the Supreme most want your attendants to cultivate in their service-light?

Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme wants not one but two supreme qualities in order to be satisfied at every moment. These two qualities are an obedience-life and a gratitude-heart: cheerful obedience and soulful gratitude. If you are obedient, then you will realise that there is something momentous that you have to perform on earth for the Supreme; and if you are grateful, then you will feel not only that you have the capacity to please the Supreme in His own way but also that you are doing it.

Question: When sweetness is lacking, what can be done?

Sri Chinmoy: When sweetness is lacking, politeness should be encouraged. When politeness is lacking, sincere self-expression is to be encouraged. In order to acquire sweetness, one can mix with children for a few minutes a day. No matter how restless a child is, his spontaneous sweetness is bound to come to the fore. The seeker doesn't have to talk to the child. Just by observing the spontaneous quality of the child, which is sweetness, one can acquire sweetness.

Sweetness is of great importance in the spiritual life. So try to mix with children. When you mix with children, automatically your own childlike heart comes forward. A childlike heart embodies many divine qualities, and the quality of sweetness is foremost.

Question: Does the aspiration of the disciples affect the quality of your painting?

Sri Chinmoy: Fortunately it does not. To be very frank with you, nothing — nothing at all — can affect the quality of my paintings. But if a disciple is aspiring sincerely and devotedly, then the aspiration-flood that I bring down can intensify, purify, elevate and illumine his aspiration.

Sometimes the disciples sit around me and in front of me with the lowest possible aspiration. If that lowest possible aspiration could affect the quality of my paintings, then my paintings would be worse than the worst. But my paintings are far above the disciples' aspiration-capacity.

But if the disciples aspire while I am painting and dive deep within, then they get more joy from my creation. Their high aspiration helps them to identify themselves with the essence and substance of my own aspiration or realisation which the painting embodies.

Question: Which of your songs does the Supreme like best?

Sri Chinmoy: Very good! Each second the Supreme fulfils Himself in a specific way. At one particular second He may like His Compassion-aspect infinitely more than His Power-aspect or His other aspects. At that moment, if my disciples sing most soulfully the songs that deal with compassion, then definitely these songs will please Him most. Similarly, if He wants to manifest the Power-aspect on earth more than any other aspect at a particular second, then if the disciples sing most powerfully the songs that I have written on power, these will please Him most. So it entirely depends on the Supreme's own Consciousness as it deals with the Supreme's own earth-bound and Heaven-free Time.

Question: How should wearing our Attendant's uniform affect our consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: If you become proud when you wear your Attendant's uniform, then your consciousness is bound to descend. But while wearing your uniform, if you feel that you are getting an added opportunity to remind yourself of your unreserved devotedness to the Will of the Supreme, then your consciousness is bound to ascend and receive ever-increasing and ever-illumining light.

Question: Guru, what is the difference between using imagination to help your inspiration and just fooling yourself?

Sri Chinmoy: When you use imagination to help your inspiration, you are bound to feel a kind of joy inside your heart. This joy is like the vast sky or the vast sea; it is like the joy of silence. But when you are fooling yourself, at that time you get a vital joy, a vital pleasure, which is a restlessness that percolates through your entire body.

So it is very easy to know whether it is inspiration assisted by imagination or whether you are fooling yourself in the name of inspiration, assisted by mental hallucination. When you are fooling yourself, you feel tremendous restlessness and a continuous flow of thoughts. These thoughts may not at all help you; they are often contradictory and destructive thoughts. A particular thought will lift you up one moment and the next moment that very thought will bring you down. But when it is pure inspiration assisted by pure imagination, then you will feel a continuous flow of your life-river-an inspiration-river or aspiration-river flowing in and through you. Then afterwards, you will feel that that flow is your true reality. And if you go deeper, then you are bound to feel a vast sky or a vast sea inside you. When you embody a vast sea or a vast sky, naturally you will feel tremendous joy.

Question: What is the most magical word?

Sri Chinmoy: The most magical word is gratitude. The most magical thing is to offer one's gratitude to the Supreme for what He has granted to you and not granted to you, out of His infinite Bounty, in order to fulfil His own Dream-Reality in and through you.

Question: Should a guard expect a smile from you for his devoted service?

Sri Chinmoy: Expectation is not a bad thing, but if expectation does not meet with satisfaction, then the seeker may experience inner frustration. This frustration is most damaging. But if the seeker goes beyond expectation, then he is bound to see or feel an inner smile each time he offers me his soulful, devoted and unreserved, if not unconditional, service.

As soon as you do something for me, you are bound to see and feel an inner smile. This inner smile is not only the recognition of what you have done but also my assurance that I shall grant you more opportunities and provide you with more capacity so that you can please the Supreme in me more and thus become closer to me. The human in us expects, but the divine in us already has that very thing on the strength of its oneness-will with God's ever-blossoming and ever-transcending Reality.

Question: Why does it seem so difficult to make substantial progress?

Sri Chinmoy: Everything in life is difficult before it is achieved. But once you have achieved it, you feel that it was the easiest thing to achieve. In your case, you have already made substantial progress. But in order to continuously make substantial progress, you have to have more faith in your soulful, self-giving oneness with the Supreme in your Master.

Question: Guru, how can I serve you at all times soulfully?

Sri Chinmoy: You do serve me soulfully quite often. But in order to serve me soulfully all the time, two things you have to do. On the inner plane you have to develop a conscious awareness of what pleases me most. What pleases me most on the inner plane is a gratitude-heart. You do have gratitude, but this gratitude has to be increased at every moment. The expansion of gratitude is of paramount importance in every seeker's life. That is the first thing you have to do. Then, on the outer plane, every day, every hour, every minute you have to consciously feel that you exist on earth only to please your Guru in his own way. This line has to be repeated time and again: "I exist only to please my Guru in his own way." If you can do this, then at every moment you will be able to serve the Supreme in me, not only soulfully, but most soulfully; not only devotedly, but most devotedly; not only unreservedly, but most unreservedly and, finally, unconditionally.

Question: How can I meditate with soulful intensity without pulling the divine forces?

Sri Chinmoy: You can meditate with soulful intensity without pulling the divine forces provided you can make your meditation spontaneous. The runner runs the fastest not when he is intense but when his whole body is coordinated and he is relaxed. Intensity here means tension. When it is a matter of pulling and pushing, he cannot run fast.

When intensity is used to push or pull the divine force, then it creates tremendous problems and progress comes to a halt. But while you are meditating, if your meditation becomes intense, that is a good thing. While meditating, if you can have a spontaneous feeling of self-giving to the Inner Pilot, the Supreme Pilot, then your meditation will automatically become intense. And this intensity is not harmful; on the contrary, it is the beginning and blossoming of a new inner dawn in your spiritual life.

Question: Is the one who does the most selfless service the best disciple?

Sri Chinmoy: As I said before, one may do twenty, forty or fifty hours of selfless service a week, but the consciousness may be very, very low. If the consciousness is in the gutter during selfless service, then that selfless service is of no avail. The best disciple is the one who does not only selfless service, but unconditional service. Unconditional service does not mean only to work on the physical plane. Service can be on the physical plane, the vital plane, the mental plane and the psychic plane. The person who does unconditional service on all the planes is the best disciple.

Unfortunately, many of you do not know what the vital plane is, what the mental plane is, what the psychic plane is. You pay attention only to selfless service on the physical plane. But I wish to say that selfless service can be on all the planes. If you are washing dishes or guarding me, then you are executing the Will of the Supreme on the physical plane. And if you offer your good will or if you have a very high, sublime meditation, then on the inner plane you are executing the Will of the Supreme. Undoubtedly, that is also selfless service. Anything that you do to become soulfully one, devotedly one, unreservedly one, unconditionally one with the Will of the Supreme is selfless service.

If you can do the highest form of meditation on the psychic plane, mental plane and vital plane, then you are doing the best form of selfless service. Again, if you do unconditional selfless service on the physical plane, then you are getting the result of the highest meditation. There is no difference between the highest form of selfless service and the highest form of meditation. If you can soulfully, spontaneously and unconditionally do either meditation or selfless service, you will gain the same.

You have to know your own capacity, your highest in selfless service and your highest in meditation. If you do selfless service most soulfully and devotedly according to your capacity, then that is your highest. You have to compare your meditation and your selfless service with your own standard, not with somebody else's. Then you will make the best progress. But if you all the time look around to see who is doing the best service or who is doing the best meditation, then you are depriving yourself of the benefit of the selfless service or meditation. Comparison has to be with your own capacity, with your own inner hunger.

Question: Why does the Supreme like uniforms?

Sri Chinmoy: Each uniform is an inspiration not only to the one who wears it but also to the one who sees it. Again, each uniform helps the rest of the world know where to look for a particular person or a particular thing. If you see someone wearing a policeman's uniform, you will run to him if you are being threatened. You will not go to him if you have physical ailments. If a professional man wears his uniform, he expedites his fulfilment of others' needs.

Question: Can someone who is in your consciousness do something wrong?

Sri Chinmoy No. If somebody is really in my divine consciousness, then he cannot do anything wrong. Sometimes the clever and tricky mind will make you feel that you are one with my consciousness. This feeling of yours, needless to say, is one hundred percent wrong. But if it is your loving and aspiring heart that makes you feel that you are one with my will, then rest assured that your heart's oneness will always receive abundant light from my own heart's satisfaction-delight. Hence, you cannot do anything wrong. In this case my satisfaction is the expansion of my oneness-will with your deep inner longing.

Question: Are there any guards in the soul's world?

Sri Chinmoy: There are some souls that have tremendous admiration, devotion and adoration for other souls. The souls that care for more light, more beauty, more divinity and more divine fulfilment look for the souls that are already endowed with measureless divine qualities. With their appreciation, admiration, adoration and selflessness they long to remain around these divinely and infinitely superior souls. So you can say that the souls that badly need something from these other souls serve the purpose or play the role of loving guards. They are not actually appointed by the superior ones, but they get abundant delight in giving their divine existence-reality to the superior ones. And their conscious alertness and awareness does prevent the wrong forces from attacking the divine territories of their beloved superiors.

Question: When we feel inner waves, should we silence them or intensify them?

Sri Chinmoy: If it is a positive inner wave, then intensify it, for intensification has the inner urge for manifestation. If it is a negative inner wave and you are not strong enough to transform it, then just silence it. But if you are exceptionally strong in the mental world and vital world, then transform the negative wave into a positive one. If you have great capacity, then transformation is the answer, for transformation increases satisfaction. But if you do not have great capacity, then destruction offers the second-best satisfaction.

Question: Can suffering be expressed in a higher form?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, your suffering can take a higher form. But when it is in a higher form it is not suffering as such; it is an illumining and fulfilling experience. We can take two attitudes toward our suffering. One attitude is to feel that the suffering is retribution for something we have done wrong. The other attitude is to feel that something is being done in and through us for a higher purpose. If we can feel that our so-called suffering is for a higher purpose, then we see it as an experience that can and should be expressed in a higher form. At that time it does not remain suffering at all; it does not even remain a mere experience. It becomes instead an expression of self-illumining and self-fulfilling delight.

Question: What is the best way to unite prayer and meditation with the study and use of homeopathic medicine?

Sri Chinmoy: Homeopathic medicine is more subtle than ordinary medicine. The subtler the reality, the stronger its capacity. Pure spirituality is subtler than the subtlest, and its power is beyond measure.

Homeopathic medicine should try to become one with the inner medicine, which is oneness with the Will of the Supreme. When the homeopath gives medicine to a patient, he should first pray and meditate. Then he should feel that he is offering the result of his prayer and meditation in the form of homeopathic medicine. He has prayed and has meditated, and he has got some spiritual essence and substance from his prayer and meditation. Then, on the human level he is giving this in the form of homeopathic medicine.

Some of the Indian homeopaths have done this and have been successful to a great extent. A friend of mine was of that type. He used to pray and meditate and then the reality that he received from his meditation he used to give in the form of homeopathic medicine.

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