Sound and silence, part 2

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Part I — Discourses

SSC 20-25. These talks are part of a series that Sri Chinmoy delivered in the spring of 1981 at 14 universities in California and on the East Coast. The series covered all of the Ivy League universities, many of the Seven Sister colleges, the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University.

Music and religion2

I wish to dedicate my talk to the great soul Emily Dickinson. She was a true seeker who revealed her inner experiences through her soulful poems. I have deep appreciation and admiration not only for her poems, but also for the psychic life that she lived here on earth. It was from this august college that she graduated many, many years ago. Now I wish to invoke her blessingful soul and dedicate my prayerful talk to her.

Music and religion. What is music? Music is the purity of the seeker-musician’s life. Music is the beauty of the seeker-musician’s heart. Music is the divinity of the seeker-musician’s soul. Music is the Home of the seeker-musician’s Beloved Supreme.

Music is not and cannot be vital excitement. Music is psychic enlightenment. Music is the supreme fulfilment of the aspiring human soul.

Before he plays, the seeker-musician soulfully meditates so that he can fathom the ocean-depths. Before he plays, the seeker-musician intensely prays so that he can scale the mountain-peaks.

While playing, the seeker-musician in silence converses and communes with the Musician Supreme, his Inner Pilot. He learns from Him the music of the soundless sound. The music of the soundless sound is Eternity’s sheltering tree with Infinity’s inspiring flowers and Immortality’s nourishing fruits. What the music of the soundless sound has, is the involution of God the man, and what it is, is the slow, steady and unerring evolution of man the God.

As a seeker-musician, I pray to the Supreme Musician to grant me the music of the soundless sound. Before He sanctions my prayer, He tells me that I must give up my confusion-music, my volcano-music, my thunder-music, my tornado-music. Only then will I be able to learn from Him the music of the soundless sound, which will reverberate at every moment in the inmost recesses of my heart to illumine my entire being and fulfil Him, my Beloved Supreme, in His supreme Way.

Music and religion. What is religion? Religion is the code of life. From the code of life we come to learn that we are of the Compassion-God and for the Manifestation-God, that we are of God’s Transcendence-Vision and for God’s Omnipresence-Reality. We learn that we are of God the One, with God the One, in God the Many and for God the Many.

In religion there is soulful prayer and fruitful meditation. Soulful prayer purifies our human mind. Fruitful meditation illumines our human heart. Once we have achieved purification and illumination, we are far along the road to our self-discovery, which is God-realisation.

There are two kinds of religions: false religions and true religions. A false religion wants to change the face of the world by any means, even by foul means — by hook or by crook. A true religion wants only to love soulfully the heart of the world. A false religion will try to exercise its Himalayan Supremacy over other religions. A true religion will only sympathise with other religions. It wants to experience its oneness-ecstasy with all religions, founded upon its own soulful cry. It wants to become inseparably one with all religions by virtue of its tolerance, patience, kindness and forgiveness. Again, a true religion knows perfectly well that it is the Supreme Pilot Himself who is loving and piloting each religion, and at the same time forgiving the weaknesses and shortcomings that each religion unfortunately embodies.

So a true religion is one that, down the sweep of centuries, will love mankind with all its imperfections. And on the strength of its oneness-love it will try to bring about a new world. Not by force, not by lording it over others, but by becoming inseparably one with all the religions, it will try to bring about a new world. A true religion will blossom petal by petal at the Feet of the Creator, the Pilot Eternal.

A true religion has the capacity to show its followers the invisible truth. A true religion has the capacity to make its followers feel the incredible love divine. A true religion has the capacity to grant its followers the seemingly impossible reality: perfection — perfection within and perfection without.

You may be a Christian, but your life does not represent only Christianity. The moment I think of you, the moment I see you, I must realise that you are nothing but universality. Your heart, your mind, your vital, your body — everything that you have and everything that you are — are universality. You are an expression, a revelation of universality.

I am of the Hindu faith, but I know, in the very depth of my heart, that I am a song — a God-loving song, a God-fulfilling song. And if I become one with you, then I shall feel that I have become devotedly and unconditionally God’s universal Gong.

Music and religion are like the obverse and reverse of the same reality-coin. Music in its purest sense is religion and religion in its purest sense is music. Only music and religion can transform and perfect humanity. This music-religion, this code of life, this universal language of the soul, can only be offered; it cannot be purchased or sold. Music and religion are for the seekers, for the music-lovers, for the truth-servers. Money-power or earthly name and fame cannot lord it over these two immortal realities, these two earthly and heavenly treasures.

The Mogul Emperor Akbar employed the great musician Tansen in his court. One day when Akbar was deeply appreciating Tansen, Tansen said, “I am not a great musician.”

Akbar said, “You are not only a great musician; you are the best musician.”

But Tansen said, “No, my Guru, my teacher, Haridas, is by far the best.”

The Emperor said, “Then bring him to my palace!”

Tansen replied, “No, he will not come. He does not care for name and fame. He plays only for God. God’s Compassion is his sole reward.”

Akbar said, “Then I will have to go to him. Take me to him.”

Tansen agreed, but he told Akbar, “You cannot go as the Emperor. You have to go in the guise of my servant, my slave.”

So Akbar went to Tansen’s teacher as a servant, and Tansen begged his teacher to play for Akbar. Unfortunately, Haridas was not in the mood to play. Then a brilliant idea struck Tansen’s mind. He started playing, deliberately making many mistakes. Haridas could not believe his eyes and ears. How could his best student make such deplorable mistakes? Out of great surprise and shock, he started playing in order to correct his student. In this way the Emperor came to realise that Tansen’s teacher was indeed far superior to Tansen.

When they came back to the palace, Akbar asked Tansen, “How is it that you cannot play as soulfully as your teacher does?”

Tansen replied, “O Emperor, I play for name and fame. I play for you. He plays for God. Here is the difference. If I played for God — for God in you, for God in everyone — only then would my music be supernatural, heavenly, supremely soulful and perfect. But I play for money-power, for name and fame and so forth. How do you expect me to play the way my teacher does?”

The source of true music and the source of true religion will always remain the same, and that source is a cry, a birthless and deathless cry — an eternal hunger. It is a hunger not for one’s own satisfaction, but for God’s Satisfaction in God’s own Way. When music and religion come from this source, only then will the message and beauty of music and the message and beauty of religion be divinely illumining and fulfilling. He who is a seeker-musician has not only the potentiality and possibility, but also the inevitability of becoming a choice instrument of God the Supreme Musician and, at the same time, of God the Creator. To serve God in God’s own Way, each seeker-server sees the light of day. To please God in God’s own Way, each seeker-musician sees the light of day.

Here we are all seeker-servers; here we are all seeker-musicians. At God’s choice Hour our aspiration-heart and our dedication-life will be fulfilled. Again, this fulfilment is also God’s Fulfilment. Him to fulfil in His own Way, we serve mankind through our divine code of life, which we call religion, and through our music, which is our soul’s universal language.

SSC 19. Mount Holyoke College, 7 April 1981


Satyam eva jayate
“Truth alone triumphs.”

A simple man likes truth. A sincere man appreciates truth. A God-believer treasures truth. A God-lover grows into truth. A God-knower establishes his inseparable oneness with truth.

The desire-life wants to bind truth. The aspiration-life wants to discover truth. The realisation-life wants to reveal truth. The perfection-life wants to manifest truth. The satisfaction-life wants to fulfil truth.

The soulful sincerity-cry is earth’s supreme truth. The fruitful luminosity-smile is Heaven’s supreme truth.

When I ungrudgingly accept truth, God purifies my mind. When I unreservedly accept truth, God illumines my heart. When I unconditionally accept truth, God liberates my life. Do not resist truth, for truth is always eager and anxious to assist you. Do not fracture truth, for truth is always more than ready to grant you its rich rapture. Do not negate truth, for truth is sleeplessly and compassionately trying to perfect you — your inner life and your outer life.

Truth and God are one, but there is a subtle difference. Truth can be replaced, whereas God can never be replaced. Here I am reminded of a most significant incident that took place in the life of Thomas Jefferson, when he was appointed the Minister to France to replace Benjamin Franklin. Thomas Jefferson said: “Benjamin can never be replaced. I cannot replace him. I can only succeed him.” Similarly, truth cannot replace God. Truth can, at most, succeed God.

It is always advisable to speak the truth and to become the truth. But there are very rare occasions when truth cannot be applied on the practical plane of earth-consciousness. Let us say that on the spur of the moment I am assailed by wild anger and I tell someone that I am going to kill him. The next moment wisdom-sun dawns and I do not want to keep my promise, for then I will commit an unprecedented crime. In this case, if I fail to keep my promise, my soul and the other person’s soul will forgive me. But if I tell someone that I shall grant him realisation, or at least a soulful aspiration-cry, and if I fail to keep my promise, then my soul and the other person’s soul will not forgive me.

Truth is universal and truth is transcendental. My aspiration-life loves the transcendental Truth. My aspiration-cry climbs up high, higher, highest, and while it is climbing up, it increases its love for the transcendental Truth. When the universal Truth sees that my heart’s aspiration-cry is reaching the highest Reality, it grants its measureless love to me and sows in me the seeds of realisation.

My dedication-life loves the universal Truth. It wants to serve the supreme Reality in each individual and in all creation. When the transcendental Truth sees that I want to dedicate my life to the universal all-pervading divinity in humanity, at that time the transcendental Truth becomes extremely pleased with me and descends to feed me, my life of dedication. So the universal Truth and the transcendental Truth go together in a seeker’s life.

To reach the highest Reality, I need a burning flame of aspiration. Sleeplessly this aspiration-flame will climb up high, higher, highest and reach the supreme Heights. Again, sleeplessly my being has to dedicate itself to the supreme Cause, and that Cause is to serve the divinity in humanity. While serving the divinity in humanity, I will try to bring to the fore the divinity in humanity.

Truth grants us what it has and what it is. What it has is perfection-dawn. Cheerfully, steadily, unreservedly and unconditionally it is ready to offer its perfection-dawn to the sincere seekers of the Absolute Truth. What Truth is, is satisfaction-sun. Again, it is always ready to grant its satisfaction-sun to the sincere seekers who are crying to become choice instruments of the Absolute Supreme.

Truth is the flower of our prayer-heart. Truth is the fragrance of our meditation-soul. When we pray soulfully, we see in the inmost recesses of our heart a lotus blossoming petal by petal. We place this lotus at the Feet of our Beloved Supreme, and then, while we are meditating, we smell its fragrance. This fragrance purifies the earth-bound mind and illumines the Heaven-free heart. Again, it liberates the pilgrim-soul in us that wants to walk along Eternity’s Road to manifest the supreme Reality. While manifesting, the pilgrim-soul in us is increasing its inner cry, and while crying, it is manifesting. At every moment the pilgrim-soul in us is crying and ascending, and while ascending, it is manifesting a new light, a new truth, a new perfection and a new satisfaction here on earth.

Satyam eva jayate
“Truth alone triumphs.”

SSC 20. Harvard University, 20 April 1981

Sound and silence4

Sound and silence are two Vision-Realities of God. Silence is the cry of Eternity. Sound is the smile of Infinity. They are equally powerful and equally immortal.

God created His universe with His Silence-Light. God maintains His universe with His Sound-Delight.

The transcendental Silence and the universal Sound complement each other. The transcendental Silence offers its purity-breath to the universal Sound. The universal Sound offers its beauty-life to the transcendental Silence.

Silence we need to realise who God is. Sound we need to tell the world what God does and where He is. Silence we need to feel God’s Compassion-Light. Sound we need to feel God’s Justice-Light. Silence we need to feel the Power-Heart of God. Sound we need to feel the Power-Feet of God.

In sound-life we experiment. It is through experiment-life that we eventually reach perfection. In silence-life we experience. It is through experience-life that we eventually achieve complete satisfaction.

Silence reigns supreme when my aspiration-life feels that I am eternally of my Beloved Supreme. Sound reigns supreme when my dedication-life feels that I am eternally for my Beloved Supreme.

My sound-life expresses what I have: my sleepless love of God. My silence-life embodies what I am: my eternal hunger for God.

When I run along Eternity’s Road with the sound-life, God’s Compassion-Eye protects me, guides me and leads me. When I run along Eternity’s Road with the silence-life, God’s Satisfaction-Heart feeds me, energises me and helps me reach my destined Goal.

The transcendental God blesses me when I swim in the sea of silence. The universal God blesses me when I grow into the roaring waves of the sound-sea.

My searching mind has countless questions. I devotedly pray to my Lord Supreme and soulfully meditate on Him for all the answers. My Lord Supreme tells me that not only does my silence-heart have all the answers, but my silence-heart itself is the answer, the only answer.

O seeker, ask your mind to cry and cry for unthinking silence. God will definitely answer your prayer. And He will give your life something more: His unsinking Sound.

Sound is the unparalleled pride of newness in a seeker’s aspiration-life and dedication-life. Silence is the unparalleled pride of fulness in a seeker’s aspiration-life and dedication-life.

When silence and sound become inseparably one in a seeker’s life, God gives him a new life-perfection and shows him His own Heart-Satisfaction.

Earth has sound. Heaven has silence. My Lord Supreme has salvation, illumination and liberation. And what do I have? I have a gratitude-heart.

SSC 21. Radcliffe College, 21 April 1981

Contemplation in action5

Each individual is a seeker. He cannot be otherwise. He is either a seeker of the infinite and absolute Truth or a seeker of earthly riches.

Each individual seeker has three intimate friends in the spiritual life. These friends are concentration, meditation and contemplation. Again, each seeker has quite a few enemies. To his wide surprise, right now his own mind is his worst enemy. It is the mind which is impure, insecure, jealous, mean and earth-bound.

Concentration, the seeker’s dear friend, comes to his rescue. Concentration chases away the uncomely thoughts that assail his mind. Then the seeker is blessed with divine thoughts — pure, healthy, prosperous, illumining and fulfilling thoughts.

Next the seeker’s meditation-friend comes to help him. His meditation-friend grants him a calm and quiet mind so that he can have peace in abundant measure even in the beginning of his spiritual journey. And eventually meditation gives the seeker peace in infinite measure.

Finally the seeker’s contemplation-friend comes and offers him light and delight. First it makes the mind an absolutely fit and perfect instrument of his Inner Pilot. It perfects the mind to such an extent that the mind can feel, at every moment, the divine nectar flowing in and through it. Contemplation grants the seeker nectar-delight in infinite measure.

When a seeker starts concentrating, meditating and contemplating, he comes to realise that he needs a clear and perceptive mind, a receptive heart and an intuitive capacity. He needs a clear perception of reality within and without. He needs receptivity in boundless measure. He needs an intuitive faculty that can read the book of the past, present and future. On the strength of his powerful concentration, the seeker becomes divinely perceptive. On the strength of his soulful meditation, the seeker becomes supremely receptive. And on the strength of his fruitful contemplation, the seeker finally becomes perfectly intuitive. Then, sooner than at once, he can read the past, present and future.

When a seeker concentrates, meditates and contemplates, he is sincere, genuine and pure; he does not care for world acclaim. But since it does not want to remain indebted to him, the world plays its role. When the seeker concentrates, the world admires his powerful eyes. When the seeker meditates, the world adores his soulful heart. And when the seeker contemplates, the entire humanity loves his fruitful soul.

There are two realities. One is the earthbound reality. The other is the Heaven-free Reality. The earth-bound reality deals with the finite — with fleeting moments. The Heaven-free Reality deals with Eternity. In contemplation the seeker unites the earth-bound reality with the Heaven-free Reality. In contemplation the seeker becomes his own journey’s birth, his own journey’s everlasting march and his own journey’s ever-transcending goal.

Concentration, meditation and contemplation are of paramount importance in the seeker’s life of action. What is action? In the ordinary sense, action is possession. Again, action can be renunciation. Action can also be transformation.

When action is possession, we feel miserable. When we finally gain possession of something, we discover that that very thing has already gained possession of us. We see that we are now at the mercy of the very thing we wanted to possess.

Then there comes a time when possession no longer gives us joy, and we try to renounce everything. We feel that if we can renounce everything, only then will we be happy. But renunciation is not the proper answer either. If we renounce everything, then how are we going to manifest the divinity within us? If we renounce the body because the body is inactive, if we renounce the vital because it is aggressive, if we renounce the mind because it is impure, if we renounce the heart because it is useless and helpless — if we renounce everything that we have and everything that we are — then how are we going to bring to the fore our inner divinity?

Possession is not the answer, and renunciation is not the answer either. Acceptance does not satisfy us either, because the world is far from perfect.

Finally we come to realise that the only answer is transformation — the transformation of reality. We will accept the body, vital, mind and heart, but then we have to transform them. The inactive body we have to make active. The aggressive vital we have to make dynamic. The impure mind we have to purify. The insecure heart we have to make secure and confident. The transformation of our nature is of paramount importance. If we can transform our nature, our earthly existence, then only will we be perfect instruments, supremely chosen instruments, of our Beloved Supreme. Then only will we be able to please Him and satisfy Him in His own Way. It is in and through our powerful concentration, soulful meditation and fruitful contemplation that our nature’s perfection will come.

Possession will always bind us. Renunciation will impoverish us. If we are bound, how can we offer freedom to the world at large? If we are poverty-stricken, how can we offer our inner wealth to the rest of the world? But if we are transformed, our transformation, in silence, will be able to transform the entire world.

When the seeker acts foolishly and tries to possess the world, God feels sad. Again, He feels sad when the seeker does not act because he is afraid that each action will bind him more and more. The seeker does not realise that if he can offer the results of his action soulfully, cheerfully and unconditionally to his Inner Pilot, then he will become perfect. He should renounce not the action but the results of the action. This is true self-offering. When the seeker offers the results of his action, then he becomes inwardly and outwardly perfect.

We know how to act soulfully and devotedly. But how is it possible to contemplate in action — amidst the hustle and bustle of life — when we are engaged in multifarious activities? We can contemplate during our action provided we have implicit faith in the God-Vision, implicit faith that God is operating sleeplessly and compassionately in and through us. We can contemplate during action if we can convince our doubtful mind that the Heart of the Supreme is sleeplessly guiding us, shaping us and moulding us into the image of its own transcendental Reality. We can contemplate during action if we can imagine the Compassion-Eye of our Beloved Supreme, if we can imagine the Forgiveness-Heart of our Beloved Supreme and if we can imagine the Perfection-Vision of our Beloved Supreme — which are always operating in and through us for the Supreme’s Perfection-Manifestation here on earth.

SSC 22. Wellesley College, 21 April 1981


Music is Eternity’s aspiration. Music is Infinity’s perfection. Music is Immortality’s satisfaction. Aspiration is earth’s birthright. Perfection is Heaven’s birthright. Satisfaction is God’s Vision-Delight.

The animal music, the human music and the divine music. The animal music frightens the human music and deliberately ignores the divine music. The human music is unfortunately tempted by the animal music and has no access to the divine music. The divine music is always eager to purify the breath of the animal music and illumine the life of the human music.

The sound-music and the silence-music. The sound-music prepares the seeker-musician to be part and parcel of the vastness of the universal sky. The silence-music prepares the seeker-musician to drink deep the nectar-delight of the transcendental Sun.

As there are two kinds of music — silence-music and sound-music — even so there are two kinds of musicians: musicians with genius and musicians with talent. Once a young student went to the great composer Mozart and asked Mozart to teach him how to write a concerto. The great composer told him to wait for a few more years before attempting to write a concerto. The young student reminded the great musician that he had been only eight or nine when he started composing such marvellous pieces. Mozart replied that when he was a child, he didn’t have to go to anyone for advice. Since the young student needed to ask someone else how to write a concerto, Mozart’s advice was for him to wait a few years. So here we see the difference between a musician with boundless genius and a musician with ordinary talent.

The sound-music we can produce if we have great talent. But for the silence-music, this is not enough. The seeker has to be able to dive deep within if he wants to compose silence-music on the tablet of his heart. For this he has to be totally consecrated to the inner life, the life of aspiration, the life of boundless peace, light and bliss.

God is the Supreme Musician. He plays His Music sleeplessly, blessingfully and in a soul-stirring way. His Music awakens us and elevates us. Two kinds of music-lovers He has created. One kind will try to study and understand music, most of the time on a mental level. These music-lovers enjoy music in a mental way. Again, there are some seekers who have no musical training, but they seek the music that is deep within. They enjoy music in a psychic way. The music that they hear at times far surpasses the music that others study.

When a seeker-singer sings soulfully, he immediately feels that he is immortal, or at least that he is going to stay on earth for many, many years. Again, when the same seeker-singer starts thinking teeming thoughts, the world of multifarious activities and problems enters into his mind and weakens it. At that time he sees that his death is fast approaching. So when he sings soulfully, he feels that he has become one with Immortality. When he thinks, he feels he is doomed.

A seeker-singer feels that if he has no music, his heart is soulless. If he has no music, his life is useless. If he has no music, his goal is worthless. Why, why, why? Because music is the oneness-aspiration of humanity. Oneness without a soulful melody is blind, deaf and useless. Again, a melody without fruitful oneness is just a body without a soul. Without oneness-aspiration, humanity can never achieve perfection. Without perfection, satisfaction will always remain a far cry. If there is no satisfaction, then life can have no value whatsoever. It is for satisfaction that we aspire. It is for satisfaction that we try to perfect ourselves. Satisfaction is the only reality-existence that both God and man need. Soulful music not only has the answer, but is the answer to this need.

Our senses are restless. Therefore, our mind suffers. Our mind is doubtful. Therefore, our senses suffer. The mind has no capacity to bind or discipline the senses. Here music comes to the mind’s rescue. With the help of music, the mind binds and disciplines the senses and makes them into perfect instruments so they can be inundated with peace, light and bliss from above.

Again, when the mind is doubtful, when the mind drinks deep of doubt-poison, the senses have no capacity to inject faith into the mind. Here also music comes to the rescue. The senses take help from music to transform and illumine themselves. When the senses are calm and quiet, the doubtful mind is totally transformed and it becomes inseparably one with the heart, which is all receptivity. At that time our Inner Pilot — the Supreme Musician — can manifest Himself blessingfully, powerfully and measurelessly. As He is manifesting Himself in and through us, the divine music becomes part and parcel of our existence and we grow into perfect Perfection. In and through us the Supreme Musician creates a new world. We become the divine music, and a new vision of God’s transcendental Reality operates in and through us.

Each seeker is a singer and also a musician, for each seeker is a God-lover and Truth-server. He who loves God and serves Truth is undoubtedly a singer and a musician in God’s Heart. One who is a God-lover and a Truth-server has already established his oneness with his Inner Pilot. And this oneness, this inseparable oneness, is nothing other than the all-elevating, all-illumining and all-energising Music of our Beloved Supreme, who is eternally the Musician Supreme.

SSC 23. University of Pennsylvania, 25 April 1981


Both God and I are true dreamers. We have been dreaming from time immemorial. In my dream I feel God’s infinite Light and swim in His Sea of infinite Delight. But alas, harsh reality is totally otherwise. I get a most deplorable shock from the reality-world. Similarly, in His Dream my Lord Supreme sees me as a most perfect instrument of His. But alas, reality is otherwise. God gets a shocking experience from the reality-world.

Both God and I are true lovers. I love God precisely because His is the only Love that is genuine, pure, blessingful, illumining and fruitful. He loves me because I have a sleeplessly aspiring cry. Because my heart has grown into a sleeplessly aspiring cry, my Lord Supreme loves me.

Both God and I are true beggars. I beg Him for infinite Light and Delight. He begs me for an iota of cheerfulness in my outer life. A flame of cheerfulness He needs from me in order to grant and fulfil my desire. Someday I shall offer to my Beloved Supreme my invaluable gift: my life’s total transformation. Someday my Lord Supreme will grant me His invaluable Gift: His immortal Satisfaction.

Satisfaction is absolute fulfilment. Purity is the fulfilment of my body. Humility is the fulfilment of my vital. Peace is the fulfilment of my mind. Bliss is the fulfilment of my heart. God-Vision is the fulfilment of my soul. My unconditional surrender to God is the fulfilment of my Beloved Supreme.

Two existence-realities: frustration and satisfaction. My earth-bound desire-life and frustration-night are always inseparable. My Heaven-free aspiration-life and satisfaction-day are always inseparable.

My desire-life eventually grows into a ferocious tiger that devours me entirely. My aspiration-life also grows. It grows into a glowing sun that illumines my inner life of aspiration, fulfils my outer life of dedication and fills my life with true satisfaction.

I need satisfaction in my inner life. I need satisfaction in my outer life. This satisfaction I cannot get from humanity. Again, I shall not be able to give satisfaction to humanity unless and until God grants me His Satisfaction-Delight. It is God’s Presence alone, deep in the inmost recesses of my heart, that I must feel. It is only His Presence that can and will grant me Satisfaction in infinite measure.

Once somebody phoned a minister and asked, “Could you please tell me if the President will be coming to church this weekend?”

The minister replied, “I am not sure about the President, but I promise you that God will come. I am sure that will be enough incentive to attract a large congregation.”

The minister was so right. Not the earthly acclaim, but the heavenly presence is what matters. In his aspiration-life each seeker must feel that it is God’s Presence that is of paramount importance. When God’s Presence we consciously feel in the very depths of our heart, then our heart becomes all light and delight. At that time we see that God’s children are all beautiful, soulful and prayerful flowers growing in God’s Heart-Garden.

We have to satisfy God by invoking Him sleeplessly and unconditionally. When God is satisfied with us, only then can we be truly satisfied. Him to please in His own Way, each individual seeker sees the light of day. In the course of time, when God is satisfied and we are satisfied, then His creation becomes absolutely ours.

Satisfaction-God once upon a time I had. But, alas, I have lost Him. Why? I have lost Him because I now love myself infinitely more than I love God. There was a time when I loved God, my Beloved Supreme, infinitely more than I loved myself. Then there came a time when I loved Him only, sleeplessly, and nobody else.

Alas, those golden days are now buried in stark oblivion. Ignorance now covers my life within and my life without. Therefore, my oneness-reality with my Beloved Supreme is now buried in oblivion and I live a life of failure-night. Even though what I am now is a failure-night, still I have a determined hope-ray. With my adamantine determination, again I shall win in the battlefield of my life. The ignorance-night that has enveloped me will be removed by my soulful, sleepless and unconditional prayer and meditation.

But first I have to please my Lord Supreme in His own Way. The secret of pleasing my Lord Supreme is to realise that His Way is not only my way, but the only way. The moment I realise that His Way is the only way, at that time I will be able to please Him sooner than at once. His Way is the way of conscious, constant, sleepless and unconditional surrender. Once again there shall come a time when I shall enjoy consciously, in the very depth of my heart, the Presence of my Lord Supreme, and I shall then grow not only into my own satisfaction-life, but also into His Satisfaction-Sun.

SSC 24. Cornell University, 26 April 1981

Contemplation in the Hindu tradition8

Contemplation. I contemplate so that I can obliterate the animal past in me. I contemplate so that I can liberate the human ignorance in me. I contemplate so that I can perpetuate the divine vision in me. I contemplate so that I can closely and intimately associate with the Supreme in me.

Contemplation is my conscious awareness of God-Light. Contemplation is my conscious oneness with God-Delight. Contemplation is my conscious fulness in God-Satisfaction.

By virtue of his contemplation, the seeker achieves the purity of salvation. No more can teeming sins assail his entire being. No more sin, no more guilt-consciousness!

By virtue of his contemplation, the seeker achieves the silence of liberation. No more bondage-night, no more bondage-life!

By virtue of his contemplation, the seeker achieves the luminosity of enlightenment. No more darkness; only light within, light without!

By virtue of his contemplation, the seeker achieves the perfection-oneness of realisation. No more division-life; inseparable oneness reigns supreme.

The reality-existence of contemplation needs no explanation, no manifestation. It needs only satisfaction — oneness-satisfaction with the Absolute Supreme.

There are three private tutors for those who practise spirituality: concentration, meditation and contemplation. The concentration-tutor shows the seeker how to run the fastest, breathlessly, towards his destined goal — the goal of tomorrow’s dawn. The meditation-tutor teaches the seeker how to feel God soulfully and sleeplessly in the inmost recesses of his heart. The contemplation-tutor teaches the seeker how to live together with God consciously, unreservedly and unconditionally.

The Hindu tradition is in no way different from Vedic experience. The Vedic seers of the hoary past had a special way to awaken the slumbering human souls. Their soul-stirring message for those who were wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance was: Uttisthata jagrata — "Arise, awake!” When the seeker was advanced to a certain extent, the Vedic seers’ advice to him was: Tat twam asi — "That thou art.” Finally, when the seeker was far advanced, the Vedic seers had this special message for him: Aham Brahmasmi — "I am the Brahman.”

Concentration is for the absolute beginners, meditation is for the more advanced seekers and contemplation is for the highly advanced seekers. But concentration, meditation and contemplation all demand patience. We cannot acquire, let alone master, the art of concentration, meditation and contemplation overnight. We need patience. There are many seekers here and elsewhere who think that they can learn concentration, meditation and contemplation in a very short period of time. This is absurd. Anything that is momentous, anything that is enduring, cannot be achieved overnight. But the fact that something momentous requires patience is no reason to be discouraged. I am not in any way discouraging the seekers. Far from it! It is absolutely true that one cannot realise God overnight. But God-realisation is not the sole monopoly of one individual or a few individuals. God-realisation is the birthright of every soul.

“Impossible,” somebody once said to Napoleon. Napoleon replied, “That is not French.” Similarly, if a seeker says God-realisation cannot be achieved by him, then he is not a true seeker. He is wallowing in the mire of idleness. A seeker who has a burning inner cry will, without fail, master the art of contemplation and realise the absolute Truth at God’s choice Hour. Slowly, steadily and unerringly he has to walk along the path of spirituality with utmost humility.

Mahatma Gandhi said that humility is the best key to speedy success. If it is success that we want, then the breath of humility we must at every moment exude. The first and foremost thing in the spiritual life is humility. It is with humility that we accept the spiritual life. For no matter what we grow into or what we become, we know that Infinity, Eternity and Immortality are always transcending their own reality-existence. With humility we begin our spiritual journey, with humility we continue and reach our goal, and with humility we transcend our goal. For each goal is the starting point towards a better and more illumining reality.

SSC 25. Vassar College, 27 April 1981

Part II — Questions and answers

Question: I would like to know how one can control self-destructive behaviour which gets in the way of meditation and a healthy life.

Sri Chinmoy: We have to be aware that if we cherish self-destructive behaviour, we are committing a Himalayan blunder. What each individual really wants and needs is satisfaction. Satisfaction we all want from life, in life, through life.

Some people want satisfaction desperately. If we desperately want satisfaction, then we will do the needful in order to get it. We will not try to destroy ourselves; we will only try to build a new life — a better, more illumining, more fulfilling life — through prayer and meditation. Others also want satisfaction, but they are not willing to pay the price for it. If we need satisfaction desperately, then we are bound to discipline our life. If we are really pinched with hunger, then we will definitely go and look for something to eat. But if we are not very hungry, then we may not want to take the trouble to go to the kitchen and eat. In the spiritual life our soul needs nourishment. Our soul’s nourishment is peace, joy, love, the feeling of oneness and satisfaction.

Right now we are living the life of desire. But even when our desires are fulfilled, we are usually not satisfied at all. We want something desperately in the desire-life, but when we get that very thing, immediately we are dissatisfied. It has happened in our lives many, many times. While we are crying for some particular thing, we never care that somebody else already has it. But when we get what we wanted, we look around and see thousands of other people also have it, and perhaps they have more of it than we do. They have the same thing in abundant measure, whereas we have only a limited amount. So we are dissatisfied. No matter how much we have of something in the desire-life, it is never enough for us.

The fulfilment of desire is not the answer. What we have to do is try to minimise our desires and totally enter into the life of aspiration. If we can minimise our desires, then along with our desires, our destructive thoughts and tendencies also will decrease. Aspiration is a flame. This flame illumines and purifies everything that is uncomely and undivine within us, so that real satisfaction can be ours.

If we aspire regularly, soulfully and sincerely, then self-destructive thoughts will not assail our mind, and self-destructive actions will not embrace our life. We have to walk along the positive path of aspiration which will carry us high, higher, highest. The higher we go, the more aspiration-flames we will see in our obscure life, and our obscure, impure, destructive thoughts and ideas will be illumined. A room can remain dark for days, months and years, but as soon as we turn on the light switch, the room is all illumined. Then it is easy for us to clean and purify the room. Similarly, if we do not aspire, if we do not pray and meditate, then our heart-room remains dark and dusty. But the moment we aspire. the moment we turn on the light with our inner cry, it becomes easy for us to transform our life completely.

Question: How can one open the heart when it feels it is closed?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two simple ways. One way is to cry inwardly with utmost intensity, like a child crying for a doll. Inside your heart is your real Reality, your Beloved Supreme. If you can cry for your Beloved Supreme the way a child cries for a doll, then you are bound to open your heart’s door. This is one way.

The other way is to be cheerful in every aspect of your life. If you can be cheerful no matter what happens, no matter what circumstances you are in, then you will be able to open your heart’s door. A lack of cheerfulness immediately closes your heart’s door. If you are sincerely cheerful, then your heart’s door will remain wide open.

Question: How can we overcome the fear of death?

Sri Chinmoy: In the outer world when somebody dies, you observe that his life-energy has departed. You see him and you are frightened. But if you enter into the inner world and observe people who are not aspiring, you will see that they are already dead. There are millions of individuals on earth who are not praying and meditating, and who have no aspiration to do anything worthwhile on earth. Their spiritual energy has already expired, and in God’s Eye, they are all dead.

Right now you are afraid of death because you think of yourself as your body, your mind, your senses. But a day will come when, on the strength of your aspiration, prayer and meditation, you will think of yourself not as the body but as the soul. You will think of yourself as a conscious instrument of God. Since God is omnipresent, and He is utilising you to manifest Himself, how can He ever abandon you to death?

Conquering the fear of death depends on how much love you have for God and how sincerely you need Him. If you need someone, immediately you establish a kind of inner access to that person. If your need for God is soulful, devoted and constant, then in the inner world you establish a free access to God’s Love, God’s Compassion, God’s Concern. And if you can always feel God’s Love, Compassion and Concern, then how can you be afraid of death? The moment you feel that you need God and He needs you, the moment you feel God inside you, before you and around you, then death no longer exists for you. When God is away from your mind, when God is not to be found inside your heart, when you feel that God is nowhere near you, at that time death exists for you. Otherwise, where is death? This physical body may leave the earth, but the soul, which is a conscious portion of God, will remain consciously in God and for God throughout Eternity.

It is up to you to think of yourself as the body or as the soul. If you think of yourself as the body and do not aspire, then in the spiritual life you are already dead. But if you think of yourself as the soul, that means you have already developed an inner connection with God. If you know that the soul is your real Reality, you will not have any fear of death.

Question: It is difficult for me to work at my job because my colleagues are not spiritual. What do you recommend?

Sri Chinmoy: It is very, very difficult to work with people who are not aspiring if you are not strong enough to inject inspiration and aspiration into these people. They are in the majority. One person will be a seeker, but there will be ten or twelve others around him who are wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance. If you want to be spiritual, you should try to mix and live with spiritual people. Otherwise, it is like having to face a few extra hurdles or obstacles on your path.

Unfortunately, a spiritual seeker meets with obstacles every day. Even other seekers who are on the same path are not always in a perfect consciousness. They have insecurities, they have jealousies, they have fears and doubts. But at least they are consciously aware of their limitations, and they know that these shortcomings or weaknesses are things that they want to conquer and that they eventually will conquer. But if your colleagues are not even aware of their shortcomings, and they are not at all ready to perfect themselves, then it is very, very difficult for you to synthesise your outer life and your inner life. It is very difficult to have a bridge of harmony between your daily work and your inner life, between your social life and your spiritual life.

My advice is to find a new job where you can be with people who are aspiring. They don’t have to be on the same path, but if they have a higher goal in life, then it is really better to be around them than to be around unaspiring people. There are so many jobs in God’s creation. If a particular job is not giving you satisfaction, if it is standing in your way, then you have every right to look for a new job. If your heart’s cry is sincere, then God is more than willing to give you another opportunity. Your own knowledge-light will guide you to the right place to get a better job.

Question: I have meditated on the pictures of many Masters, but I did not get any strong feeling for any of them. I was wondering if that means I am not ready for a teacher.

Sri Chinmoy: It may be that your Master has not come, or perhaps your receptivity was not strong enough for you to feel anything at that time. There are many Masters; perhaps you have not yet seen your Master. Or while you were meditating, perhaps you were not in a very receptive consciousness. Perhaps you were meditating with only mental inquisitiveness or curiosity. If you have more sincerity or intensity, then you may get the answer from within.

Please have patience. It is only a matter of time until you discover the right Master. In the meantime, since you are not sure, please continue meditating on different Masters. Meditate one day on one Master and the next day on another Master. If you feel that one particular Master is giving you more joy than the rest, then meditate only on him. But even this may not be your Master. You can be certain of your Master only if you get intense joy and a spontaneous feeling of oneness with his will. So do not make the final choice until you are fully satisfied.

You want to buy something, so you have entered into a shop. But if what you see does not satisfy you fully, then you need not buy it. Just because one item in the shop is satisfying you more than the rest, you need not feel that you must buy that particular thing. You can wait and go into another shop. There also, if you do not get complete joy, then please wait. You may finally get this joy from one of the Masters on whom you have previously meditated or on whom you will meditate at some time in the near future. If you have patience, and if you meditate soulfully on different Masters, then one day your inner receptivity will come forward and you will get intense joy from one of them. But if the right one has not yet arrived, then you have to wait.

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