Simplicity, sincerity, purity and divinity

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Part I — Discourses

Simplicity, sincerity, purity and divinity1

Simplicity. Simplicity is the soul, and the soul is the direct representative of God. For a few minutes, let us feel that we do not have a body, a vital, a mind or even a heart. What we have now and what we are is the soul alone, the direct representative of God. Please try to feel that you have become the soul. Do not give any form to this idea. Just repeat in silence, "soul, soul, soul," and feel that you have become a conscious and direct representative of God.

Sincerity. We all know what sincerity is. In the outer world, telling the truth is the highest form of sincerity. In the inner world, sincerity is seeing the Truth through God's Eye, feeling the Truth through God's Heart and growing into the Truth of God's transcendental Vision and universal Reality. This is inner sincerity. Now let us feel that we have grown into inner sincerity and that we are seeing everything through God's Vision, feeling everything through God's Heart and growing into God's transcendental Vision and universal Reality. Let us become inner sincerity.

Humility. There are many roads that lead to God-realisation, to the ultimate Truth; but the path of humility is the short-cut. We start on the road of our desire-life. That is the longest road. Then we become half spiritual - half desire and half aspiration. This road is not as long as the road of desire alone. The next road is the road of aspiration only. That road is a very short one, and humility will shorten it still more.

In the inner world, humility always reminds us of what we were previously, of what we are now and of what we are going to become. It was by virtue of our humility that we accepted the spiritual life. Humility is also eager to complete the game.

Each individual has two realities: the higher and the lower. The lower cherishes a sense of separateness from the higher, whereas the higher feels that without the lower it is incomplete. But it is the lower that has to grow into the higher. When we want to grow into the higher reality, we immediately see how far away we are. But if we are really humble in the inner world, then we make immediate progress. Then, when we dive deep within, we see how far we were six months ago and how much nearer we now are to divinity. We also see how different we are from our friends of the past. We are not criticising them; but we see that our friends have not cultivated the inner cry to grow into divinity, into a higher consciousness.

It is humility that cultivates within us the eagerness to know and to grow into our higher reality. Everything is within us. But just because we are humble, the higher reality gets the opportunity to fulfil itself through us. The moment we lose our humility, we feel that we have nothing worth showing, that we have nothing that can be of any use to God. Let us meditate on our sincere inner humility for a few minutes.

Purity. In a broad sense, physical purity is cleanliness, vital purity is an open heart and mental purity is the absence of undivine or unhealthy thoughts. But if we really want to know what purity is, our gratitude-heart can tell us what it is. In the inner world, gratitude is the only purity. It is through gratitude, constant gratitude to the Supreme in us, that we expand our consciousness and come to know our higher vision and reality. If we can sow the seed of gratitude, it will germinate and grow into a tiny plant and then into a giant banyan tree. Then, under this huge banyan tree, in our gratitude-heart thousands of seekers will be able to take shelter and grow into their own divinity.

Our gratitude-heart is the pioneer-seeker, the path-finder, the God-server. For a few minutes, let us feel that what we are and eternally will become is nothing but a gratitude-heart.

Divinity. As we all know, a flower signifies beauty. Beauty is simplicity. Beauty is sincerity. Beauty is humility. Beauty is purity. Beauty is divinity.

What is divinity? It is the supreme form of art. It is the Supreme Art within each individual, created for God's sake. Unless and until we have discovered this truth, we shall not be able to become inseparably one with God's Will. If we do not become one with God's Will constantly and incessantly, then the animal and the human in us may forgive us. They can forgive us because they are not constantly crying for divinity. They say, "You tried and you failed. It is a difficult task, so whatever you have done is enough. Whatever divinity you have attained is more than enough for us." God Himself will undoubtedly forgive us as well, because He is all Compassion. But the evolving divinity within us will not forgive us. Our own soul inside us will not forgive us. Our inner mounting flame, our utmost sincere cry, will not forgive us. It cannot forgive us, for to it, forgiveness is nothing short of siding with ignorance.

The animal in us and the human in us are very clever. They do not consciously, soulfully or constantly care for divinity. At times they become one with divinity, but at other times they want to preserve their sense of separativity. But the evolving divinity within us will never find any satisfaction unless and until we can become inseparably one with God's Will. For this reason, the evolving divinity is very, very strict with our spiritual life or inner life, which is our real existence.

The vital, the mind and the body are subordinate realities. The soul is the most important reality. The vital, mind and body are the younger members of the family. The soul is the eldest member, and God has asked it to take care of the younger members as its bounden duty. Unfortunately, the other members do not listen to it. When they do not listen to the soul, the soul cannot manifest its divinity, and it has to come into the world-arena again and again to manifest God's Will.

The soul cannot forgive the younger members of the family when they do not listen to it because the soul has a task to accomplish for God. If the soul allows its family to be careless, then the soul will not be able to fulfil God's Vision on earth. God, out of His infinite Bounty, will forgive the body, vital and mind because He deals with Eternity. But the soul knows that each human incarnation is the golden opportunity to manifest God in and through the physical, vital and mental consciousness. Each second that the body, vital and mind do not listen to it is a missed opportunity. When an opportunity is missed, the soul feels that God-manifestation is a far cry and the road, instead of becoming shorter, is lengthened. Again, each second that the younger members take the side of Truth and Light, a new world of higher Truth, brighter Divinity and more illumining Immortality dawns on earth.

The spiritual life is the life of the soul. We have to become consciously one with our soul. It is only when we feel our oneness with the soul that true satisfaction can dawn in our lives. We can never be truly satisfied with our own outer satisfaction. We can only be permanently happy when we satisfy God in God's own Way. God is our highest Reality. The more we listen to the soul within us, the more we grow into the highest Reality within us, and only then can we be eternally satisfied.

Now let us meditate on divinity, our own highest inner divinity.

SSD 1. On 21 August 1976 Sri Chinmoy conducted a seven-hour public meditation at All Angels Church in Manhattan. At the beginning of the second session, he asked those present to meditate on simplicity, sincerity, purity and divinity. These are his remarks that day.

A seeker2

A seeker is a divine hero. His is the life of conquest, outer and inner. In his outer life he conquers teeming temptations every single day. In his inner life he conquers devastating doubts every single day.

A seeker is he who fulfils his soulful promises both to Heaven and to earth. His self-giving role fulfils his promise to Heaven, His self-ascending role fulfils his promise to earth. To give is to become. To ascend is to become. He gives what he has and what he is, and eventually he sees and grows into the universal Reality. He ascends with his heart's devotedness-cry and his life's detachment-smile, and thus he eventually sees and grows into the transcendental Reality.

Unlike most human beings, a seeker knows and feels that every moment is God's choice Hour. He wants to manifest on earth at every moment good thoughts, illumining ideas and fulfilling love. He wants to manifest God-thought, God-will and God-love here on earth. At the same time, he wants to offer his heart's soulful gratitude unreservedly to Heaven, for he knows that all his achievements here on earth are due to direct inspiration and blessingful guidance from above.

A seeker-hero equally loves both God the Creator and God the creation. He loves God the Creator with his heart's ever-mounting cry. He loves God the creation with his life's ever-serving readiness. His heart is inseparably one with the Vision of God the Creator. His life is inseparably one with the manifestation of God the creation.

A seeker is a hero-warrior. He conquers himself in order to become man the blossoming God. He conquers God the infinite Compassion in order to become God the fulfilling man on earth.

SSD 2. Sri Chinmoy gave this talk at the Virginia Beach Convention Centre in Virginia Beach on 29 January 1978.

O Senior Citizens!3

O senior citizens! O esteemed brothers and sisters! Welcome! Congratulations!

Do you know what you divinely have? You have wisdom-light.

Do you know what you supremely are? You are patience-perfection.

Your wisdom-light tells us that each fleeting second is of paramount importance; nay, each second is invaluable. Your patience-perfection tells us that we are of Eternity's silence vision and for Eternity's sound-reality. Eternity is at our disposal. Eternity reminds us of the forgotten truth: "Slow and steady wins the race." Slowly, steadily and unerringly we shall walk along Eternity's Road. Eternity's ever-transcending Goal is our heart's only choice.

You are at Annam Brahma. Annam Brahma means "Food is God." The human in us eats to live, just for the sake of remaining alive. The divine in us eats to live, so that it can realise, reveal and manifest God-Beauty and God-Love in all that we say, do and become.

O senior citizens, you are our wise pioneers. You are our beckoning lights. To you we devotedly offer what we have: love and concern. To us you lovingly offer what you have: blessing and compassion. Our love and concern and your blessing and compassion, both Mother Earth and Father Heaven shall eternally treasure.

O senior citizens, you are the glorious heights of our world family. To you we offer our service-trees. To you we offer our oneness-fruits.

SSD 3. On 18 January 1976, Annam Brahma restaurant hosted a vegetarian banquet for senior citizens from the Jamaica area. Each guest received a copy of the following message and a red rose from Sri Chinmoy.

The inner wealth4

The inner wealth is faith. The divine wealth is love. The supreme wealth is oneness.

Faith: If the seeker has faith in himself, then he is safe. If the same seeker has faith in God, then the seeker is not only safe but also progressive. When the seeker has faith in himself, he does not permit undivine thoughts to grow in his life or in his being. If he notices some undivine thoughts, he just uproots the tree that has produced these undivine thought-fruits. When he has faith in himself, he allows only the good thoughts to enter into him, and he eventually grows a tree that produces only good thought-fruits, divine thought-fruits.

Love: Love is self-giving. When the seeker gives of himself, what he has and what he is, then God also gives that particular seeker what He has and what He is. What the seeker has is a cry, and what the seeker is is a promise. What God has is a smile, and what God is is an assurance. When the seeker cries, God immediately gives him a smile. When the seeker makes a promise, God assures the seeker that he will be able to fulfil that promise.

Oneness: Oneness is composed of oldness, sweetness and newness. Sweetness, when it is intensified, becomes fondness. Sweetness is the hyphen or connecting link between oldness and newness. Oldness is something meaningful and fruitful and, at the same time, lasting. It is a meaningful and fruitful thing which has a lasting breath. Oldness embodies meaningfulness. It is something that has meaning and is worth keeping, something that encourages us to go forward, rather than stay where we are. Newness is something inspiring and aspiring, illumining and fulfilling. Newness embodies inspiration, aspiration, illumination and fulfilment, continuous fulfilment.

The human or finite wealth is one thing, and the divine or infinite Wealth is something entirely different. The human or finite wealth wants to be appreciated, admired and adored, and nothing else. If we get appreciation from humanity, if we get admiration from humanity, if we get adoration from humanity, then we feel that we do not need anything else in our life. We feel that we have got all the world's wealth. This wealth that we feel we have is the human wealth or the finite wealth.

The divine or infinite Wealth starts with God's Compassion. It progresses until it has achieved, first, a free access to His inner Existence, then a most complete intimacy or oneness with His inner Will and finally, ecstasy or delight, which is the universal and transcendental Reality which God Himself is. Compassion, free access to God's inner Existence, intimacy with His Will and divine delight — these make up the true divine Wealth.

Inside this divine Wealth, three things abide: aspiration, perfection and satisfaction. Aspiration means the eagerness to grow in whichever way the Supreme wants the seeker to grow. Perfection means to please God in His own Way. Satisfaction means to see the inner beauty in aspiration and transcending perfection. Aspiration itself is beauty, and perfection itself is beauty. This beauty is not the physical beauty, which is skin deep, but the beauty of infinite Light and infinite Delight. This beauty is itself nothing but the divine Wealth.

Before one enters into the spiritual life, one wants only the mundane, finite and human wealth: appreciation, admiration and adoration. When one enters deeply into the spiritual life, one aspires only for the infinite, divine Wealth. But when one is a beginner in the spiritual life, one tries to have both, which is simply impossible. You cannot have both night and day. Either you have to be in day or you have to be in night. For one fleeting second, because of his sincerity and inner cry, the beginner tries to get the divine Wealth, and then for twenty-three hours and fifty-nine seconds the same seeker will cry for human wealth. As the seeker goes farther and makes more progress in his inner life through his intense prayer and soulful meditation, gradually he will cry more and more for the inner wealth.

When the seeker reaches the first-class level, the inner hurdles become higher and more difficult — almost insurmountable. But those few seekers who are going to make continuous progress in the inner life will see that the desire for human wealth will fade away. For they see that human wealth itself will not last; it is bound to fade away. But divine Wealth, even in infinitesimal measure, is bound to last forever.

The Supreme tells the inmost class of seekers, "If you want Me as the Infinite, if you want Me as the Eternal, if you want Me as the Immortal, if you want Me only in your soul, in your heart, in your mind, in your vital, in your body, in your earth-consciousness and in your Heaven-consciousness, then My infinite Wealth alone will be of value to you. Otherwise, the worldly appreciation, the worldly wealth, will satisfy you, but this satisfaction will last only for a fleeting second.

Always we have to make a choice between human wealth and divine Wealth. If we care for the inner wealth, then our life will be meaningful, soulful and fruitful. At every moment in our life we will see a bridge between Heaven and earth. Not Heaven and Hell, mind you! I am saying Heaven and earth. Earth's cry, which is so sweet, runs across a bridge and reaches Heaven's smile. And Heaven's smile, which is so beautiful, runs across a bridge and touches earth's cry. A continuous divine game goes on in the seeker's life when the seeker feels the conscious need for the inner wealth.

I have offered the world my creative wealth in many forms. I have written many books, painted many paintings, composed many songs, participated in many sports. I have become many in one form. But it is only my inner wealth, my love of God, that will forever remain in the earth-consciousness. Other things down the sweep of centuries will be washed away. Everybody will say, "Yes, he was a writer, he was a poet, he was a musician," and so on. But these things, all the outer things that I have given to the world, will not immortalise me. So many things I have done which people have appreciated and admired. But their appreciation and admiration will not last, as my outer creation will not last. But I as the eternal creator, in silence becoming and transcending, will last - not what I have given, but what I am. And what I am is Eternity's Love, Infinity's Love, Immortality's Love. When the seekers feel the need for Infinity's, Eternity's and Immortality's Love, that will be the time for them to cry and try to grow into the inner wealth which I am.

The outer wealth, the human wealth, will not last. Nothing will remain of the finite wealth. Death will level it. But death does not dare to touch the inner wealth, which is God's Compassion, free access to Him, intimacy with His Will, ecstasy or delight, aspiration, perfection and satisfaction: your satisfaction in Him and His Satisfaction in you. If you are satisfied with God and God is satisfied with you, then you are singing and playing with Infinity's Beauty and dancing in Eternity's Garden at the foot of Immortality's Tree.

SSD 4. Sri Chinmoy gave the following talk to a small gathering of disciples at his home on 2 March 1980.


A child grows. At first he cannot even crawl. Then there comes a time when he can crawl. At that time, he feels that he has achieved perfection. When he starts walking, he again feels that he has achieved perfection. Finally he runs fast, faster, fastest, and once more this is his perfection. Real perfection is not a static goal. No, real perfection is progress, continuous progress. In the spiritual life, the day that we start meditating, even if it is only for a fleeting second, that day is the beginning of our progress. Each time we come one step out of ignorance and a new vision dawns, it is perfection. Anything that lifts up our consciousness is our perfection. Perfection is continuous progress — inner and higher progress.

Right now we are earth-bound. But we don't want to remain bound; we want to become free. We want to be in the Infinite, with the Infinite and for the Infinite. Little by little, or all of a sudden, we shall enter into Infinity itself. When we enter into Infinity, we will see that Infinity has no end. In Infinity we will feel that the Supreme Himself is constantly transcending His own Reality; the Supreme Himself is continuously progressing. If we say that God is everything, that God is infinite, this is just a mental idea. We are confining ourselves to a limited conception of God. But if we say that He is always transcending Himself, then we don't bind Him. If He is going beyond, beyond, then how can we bind Him?

Perfection is continuous progress — progress in the inner life and in the outer life. When we compose music, we feel that our creation is perfection. But if we meditate, then we can add something to our creation or go far beyond it. The problem is that the human mind, the human life, always finds it difficult to continue. It doesn't have enough perseverance to go beyond, beyond, beyond. When it has achieved something that it knows the world will appreciate, it wants to stop. It looks around and sees that nobody is near it, and it feels that it has done enough. It gets a kind of outer satisfaction, and is satisfied.

But if we are looking for real, divine satisfaction, inner satisfaction, then we do not want to stop. There is always the inner urge to go beyond our achievement. On the day that I did 16,031 paintings, to be absolutely frank with you, I could have continued indefinitely, because the Supreme was acting in and through me. Only I didn't want to take up the challenge. When the Supreme is the Doer, there is no end to our perfection.

Part II — Questions and answers

Question: I would like to know the difference between material selfless service and spiritual selfless service.

Sri Chinmoy: Material selfless service is done in the physical world with the physical consciousness. When you work for someone, for your husband or your son or your relatives, you work with the physical body. You may cook for someone or fetch a glass of water or attend to someone who is sick, without any result or even with an adverse result. You are serving him, yet that very person may speak ill of you or find fault with you.

The Bhagavad Gita says, "You have the right to work, but not to the fruits thereof." So here in the physical world, with the physical body, you can practise this philosophy by doing nishkama karma, desireless action. Although you are serving someone most sincerely, with utmost devotion and dedication, he may not be satisfied with you. But just because you are receiving an inner inspiration and aspiration to serve that person in the physical world, you are doing it. You feel that your selfless action is for the sake of the Supreme within that person.

Spiritual selfless service takes place in your deep meditation. At that time you have no desires either for yourself or for anyone else. Your selfless service expresses itself like this: "O Supreme, let Thy Will be done." That is your spiritual selfless service. You know that God will do what is needed for you, for your family and for all humanity. That is your spiritual selfless service.

If you can constantly pray not even for the divine qualities which everybody normally prays for, but only to be one with the Will of God, this is true spiritual selfless service. Of course, it is better to pray for the divine qualities than to pray for the fulfilment of some foolish outer desires. But when you can make the sacrifice of your own will, that is to say, when you no longer feel the need to pray for peace, light, power and all the other divine attributes, at that time you are truly able to say, "I want what God wants." This is the highest prayer. This is your inner selfless service.

Otherwise, if your brother is suffering from fever, you will say, "O God, please cure him." Or if someone is suffering in some other way, you may try in your meditation to help him. But does he need your help? You may feel that he does, but in God's Eyes the person may not be in need. His illness may be an experience which God wants him to have. So in your highest meditation, when you are aspiring most intensely, you will have no desire either for yourself or for humanity. You will care only for the fulfilment of God's Will. When you sincerely want to fulfil God for God's sake, this is true spiritual selfless service.

Question: When will I be conscious of the guidance of the Supreme in all the acts of my life?

Sri Chinmoy: An aspirant will be constantly aware of the Supreme's guidance only when he is totally freed from ego. When he feels that he is not the doer, that he is not responsible for anything, but only God is responsible, at that time he will be constantly aware of the Supreme's guidance. That does not mean that he can go and steal or kill someone without being held responsible in the Eyes of the Supreme. It means that the Supreme is using him to fulfil His Will on earth.

When you feel that you yourself do not have any will, that God's Will is your will, when you merge your little ego or your human will into the infinite Will of the Supreme, you will see that you don't exist as a being separate from Him. You don't have individuality in the same way you did before. You don't have any sense of separativity. You are totally one with Him and His Will. When you think of something or do something, you automatically feel that a higher force, an inner force, is guiding you and speaking through you. You yourself will feel, when you are speaking to someone, that you are not talking. Somebody else, a divine force, or your own inner being, is speaking through you. When you are doing something, you will feel that your own divine personality is acting in and through your outer activities.

But first one has to efface the ego totally. There should be no ego. Also, there should be no attachment, even for what is spiritual. That is to say, if you get upset or frustrated because the infinite Light and infinite Truth are not coming to you all at once, this is a kind of attachment. You have to feel that at God's Hour, at the Hour of the Supreme, He will give you infinite Peace, Light and the highest realisation.

At every moment if you can surrender your entire personal will, you will feel the Supreme acting through you. If at times the human will, the human desire or the human ego comes forward, immediately throw them into the infinite Will of the Supreme. The very moment that you are aware of having thrown all that you have and all that you are into the infinite Light of the Supreme, you are bound to feel that you have become part and parcel of the Supreme's supreme Consciousness. At that time, each action of yours will be guided by the Supreme.

I wish to emphasise one thing. If you feel that the Supreme is to be achieved only for the sake of the Supreme, then it becomes very easy to conquer one's ego and one's attachment. Everything is easy for an aspirant when the aspirant can feel that the Supreme has to be won only for the sake of the Supreme. If you feel, "God for God's sake," then all problems will be solved. Then you will see, feel and be conscious of the Supreme's guidance at every moment in your life.

Question: What attitude should we take towards religions other than our own?

Sri Chinmoy: Just as God has given us a free choice to follow any path, so we must give freedom to others to follow their own way. There are dozens of roads that lead to God. Each individual has a right to choose the one that suits his temperament, his degree of evolution and his present needs. Tolerance and acceptance are needed. We can go even further, however, and feel that the other person's religion is as important, as necessary, to him as our own is to us.

True, it is very difficult to manage when members of the same family are going along different paths. And there is a great temptation to say, "You are a fool; you are wasting your time going along that path." But we must give each person the inner freedom to choose his own path. At the same time, we have the right to inspire our loved ones with our enthusiasm and devotion to our own path. But if they are not receptive, if they argue with us, it is better to offer them our light silently and inwardly. At night when they are sleeping and in a peaceful consciousness, we can place all our sweetest and purest aspiration into their sleeping consciousness. By acting silently, we may help to bring them towards our path, which we feel is the best one for them.

You should follow your own path steadfastly and not worry about shaking hands with someone on another path until you and the other person have come to your goal. If you yourself go to this temple and that temple, this church and that church, you will never make any progress. You must choose one path and follow it to the end. Then you can shake hands with the followers of other paths. If you try to shake hands in the middle of the path, you will be tempted to break each other's arms.

Question: In my day-to-day life I meet with people in different circumstances. With these people I have to use tolerance. And when I have to call on tolerance, I suffer afterwards, because I feel that I should see that person in the same light as I see you. But I do not have that capacity. Is this pride or ego?

Sri Chinmoy: This world of ours is full of imperfection. Each person's imperfection causes suffering in somebody else. People may tolerate each other's imperfections, be indifferent to them, or punish those who have them.

Let us first of all try to understand what tolerance is. There are two kinds of human tolerance. The first type is the tolerance of the weak person for someone who is stronger. I have to tolerate someone because he can strike me or hurt me; I am at his mercy. This kind of tolerance is really helplessness. This is what often happens in our day-to-day life. The superior lords it over the inferior and the inferior has no choice but to tolerate this.

The second kind of tolerance is the tolerance of the strong person for someone who is weaker - the mother's tolerance for the child. Constantly the child is doing something wrong or something foolish, but the mother tolerates it. Why? Because the mother knows that the child is limited and has not yet developed wisdom. But also, his limitations are part of her very existence and she tolerates them happily.

Beyond these two kinds of human tolerance, when we go deeper we see the divine tolerance. The divine tolerance cannot be explained in words. It is infinitely stronger and more fulfilling than the human mother's tolerance for her child, because the divine tolerance houses the whole world of imperfection. Divine tolerance is based on oneness. In the case of divine tolerance, when somebody does something wrong to me, I do not actually forgive that person. What happens is that my inner divinity becomes totally one with the person who has made a mistake and is creating a disturbance in my life. If my soul's oneness with the other person comes to the fore, then where is forgiveness? So divine tolerance is deeper even than forgiveness. It is all oneness. It is nothing but the conscious feeling or awareness of our oneness with others. I do not tolerate you because I feel that I am superior or because I feel that I have capacity while you have none. With a spiritual person, it is not ego that comes to the fore when he tolerates someone. It is his identification with the other person's limitations.

This does not mean that if you constantly do things wrong, I will continually identify myself with your wrong actions and imperfections. No! Then you will remain in ignorance constantly. When you do something wrong, I will identify myself and tolerate your ignorance, but I will not ignore it or inspire you to continue in this way. By doing that I would merely be embracing ignorance. In God's case, He may try to show you the right path by giving you an experience which the human vital may take as punishment, but which is not actually punishment but divine Compassion.

Now to come back to your question, is human tolerance an act of ego or pride? If you are tolerating someone with a feeling of your own superiority, it means you are not identifying yourself with that person's present achievement in the process of evolution. This is certainly an act of ego. Again, even if your tolerance is an act of real identification, you have to be careful. If your friend is in ignorance and you identify with him, then immediately you have to raise your consciousness from there. Otherwise, you will be caught by the ignorance of your friend. You normally bring down your consciousness somewhat in order to maintain harmony in your ordinary life. But every day without fail you have to go back to your higher consciousness. Otherwise, you will be caught by the low consciousness of the everyday world. So after you have identified with others, please go back to your own higher consciousness in order to maintain the inner peace, light and joy that you have received from your spiritual life. From that level you can inwardly inspire your friends to accept the higher life and enter into the deeper existence. This is what spiritual tolerance means.

Question: Why was a man like Judas permitted to play the role of traitor to the Master?

Sri Chinmoy: It is true that a man by the name of Judas Iscariot did exist and did betray the Christ. But if you think that this betrayal was something that took place all of a sudden, that Judas did it on the spur of the moment, then I wish to say that this is not correct. It was not a sudden temptation that compelled Judas to do this unthinkable thing. It was preordained in the inner world.

When a spiritual Master enters into the world, there is always a tremendous opposition to him from the world of ignorance. Sometimes spiritual Masters are able to overcome this opposition; at other times they fail. In the case of Jesus, we have to remember that the opposition of the inner world attacked him twice, not once. When Satan attacked him on the mountain, thrusting worldly temptations upon him, it was a tremendous attack. But Christ overcame it; otherwise, he would not have become the Christ, but would have consented to become the earthly king of the Jews. If he had become a victim of Satan by doing this, he would have become an ordinary man.

Who is Satan? He is the embodiment of ignorance, the embodiment of the lower forces, the vital forces. Lord Buddha was attacked by Mara, the evil hostile force in the form of the lower vital. Lord Buddha did conquer Mara; that is why he became the Buddha, the Enlightened One.

In the case of Jesus Christ, he won the battle the first time. But the second time that ignorance, embodied by Judas, attacked him, he did not defeat it. This was preordained in the inner world. There is a plane of consciousness where we see that this outcome was granted by the highest Supreme. Many circumstances in the inner world led up to this decision.

You have heard of our first Indian Avatar — King Rama or, as we call him, Ramachandra. Ramachandra was the Avatar before Lord Krishna. Rama had an arch-enemy called Ravana, who was the absolute embodiment of ignorance. Ravana abducted Ramachandra's wife, Sita, and stood totally against Rama. Ravana was the greatest hostile force incarnated in that era. You can say that Ravana came into the world specifically to harass Ramachandra. But this is an understatement. He came into the world with the purpose of destroying or, if that was impossible, of delaying the divine evolution on earth. So he stood most powerfully against Ramachandra, whose purpose was exactly the opposite. Rama did conquer Ravana, however, and rid the world of him.

In the case of the Christ you may say, "Judas was his disciple. How could his own disciple get the power to do this tremendous evil?" But we have to understand that ignorance was able to enter and occupy the consciousness of a human being who himself wanted to take that role. Judas wanted, consciously and deliberately, to take that role. In the inner world there exist some souls that have been totally enveloped by the destructive vital. They want to become famous or well-known by any means. In the outer world also, we see human beings who want to become famous by any means. They want to be known throughout the world for doing something destructive. They know that people will hate them, but they accept that hatred as long as their notoriety brings them into the limelight.

People who assassinate famous political leaders will often say that their own party or their doctrine is very good and the dead person's is very bad; this is why they have killed the leader. But in their hearts, those who have killed the Kennedy brothers, Dr. Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and other famous people simply wanted to become well-known all over the world overnight. In order to do this they had to kill a person who was well-known. This is how ignorance attacks the individual. It is for their own personal sake that they do it, and not for the sake of some belief or doctrine. If they really believed in some other philosophy, they would work for it in an acceptable way. When you see that people are being shot supposedly because of a difference of opinion, it is not really because of the difference of opinion. It is because an individual has surrendered to wild ignorance. He opens himself to this force because he feels that this is the way to make himself known. He realises that his victim will be known as a good man, and he himself will be known as a bad man. But he feels that as long as he is known, even as a murderer, that will be enough for him.

Judas deliberately chose to accept ignorance and fight against divine knowledge, which was embodied in Jesus Christ. He knew that if he became responsible for the death of the Christ, then he would be famous and notorious. Individual weakness is such that very often we hope to do something very great and good, but when it proves impossible, we say, "All right, then let me do something very bad." We know inwardly that we can conquer the world only with our love, joy, compassion and oneness. But when we are ambitious and we see that we do not have enough capacity, if we do not have the feeling of oneness, what happens? We become victims of frustration, hostility and destructive feelings. With these destructive feelings we try to attack the divine qualities which we secretly admire but do not have.

Jesus as a human being was killed, but the consciousness of the Christ can never be killed. When ignorance attacks, it kills only the human in us, not the divine. The divine always remains. But, unfortunately, what happens is that the divine in us does not get the chance to do its work at the proper time. The attack delays the divine progress. If the Christ had not been killed at that time, there would have been another great step forward in human evolution. This progress did come later as a result of the whole Christian spirit. But if the Christ had not been killed, it would have taken a purer form, a more direct and powerful form. Again, from the highest point of view, we can say that it was all preordained. We do not blame Judas, the person, but the forces of ignorance which he allowed to seize him most powerfully. These forces were responsible for delaying human evolution.

Question: Why has technology progressed so much in the past fifty years?

Sri Chinmoy: The human mind has an instinctive urge to manifest the reality that it embodies as fast as possible, and it has discovered that technology is the fastest means for manifesting this reality. The human mind finds it very easy to manifest itself powerfully and dramatically through technology. At its present stage of development, technology is the best means to carry its messages or to carry the reality and truth that it has already achieved.

But technological progress has nothing to do with spiritual progress. It is the mental, vital and physical consciousness that is responsible for technological and mechanical progress. Again, if you compare the soul's progress with the progress of technology, there is no comparison.

If technological improvements give us some material comfort, if they create good circumstances surrounding us, then they may help us in our inner quest. But sometimes when the circumstances around us are better, our aspiration is ruined. When all the world's comforts are there, then instead of meditating and praying, we sleep. If technology brings too much comfort and pleasure to our life, it can be destructive.

We need not lead an austere life; a moderate degree of technology can be of great help to us in our life of acceptance. We can take as much help as we need from technology. But when it is a matter of the soul's reality, the soul's achievement — when it is a matter of light, peace and all the spiritual things that we are crying for — then technology cannot do anything. No matter how fast or how far technology has evolved and developed, it will be of no avail in bringing forward the soul's light or gaining anything from above.

Question: When God is in His personal aspect, does His Consciousness go up and down? Does He ever get in a low consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: Even if God is in His lowest Consciousness, His lowest Consciousness will be at least one inch higher than your highest consciousness. But in God's case there is no such thing as lowest or highest, because His Consciousness encompasses all realms.

We say that this is height, this is length, this is depth. But in God's Cosmic Vision, that kind of term does not apply. If He is very deep within His own Consciousness, He does not have to say that He is in the inmost recesses of His Heart. What you may call depth, He can consider as height.

Everything, as seen in God's Eye, will puzzle us, no matter what it is. Depth, height, length: these are all only words — our words. We have created height, depth, length and all these measurements. But since God's Consciousness is everywhere, height, length and depth are all inside Him. In our case, we are limited; we cannot be everywhere. If we are here, we cannot be elsewhere. Our head comes only up to here; we cannot touch the ceiling with it. But in God's case, no matter where He is, even in His personal aspect, He is everywhere.

So God never loses His Height. He is not this moment at the foot of the mountain and the next moment at the top. You can only say that if he has to pay considerable attention to one particular place, if one particular place demands more of His infinite Power of Concentration, then He will pay more attention to that place.

Suppose one good, sincere seeker like you is crying for light, and your husband is not crying. At that time what will God do? Your husband is also God's child, but you will receive more of God's Concentration-Power, because you are crying more sincerely than somebody else. You have created receptivity, so you will get more of His loving, compassionate aspect.

If you want more Attention, more Concentration, more Concern, more Compassion from God, then you have to dig deep within and create receptivity. But God Himself will never be in a lower consciousness or a higher consciousness at a particular place or time. His Consciousness is omnipresent. It is only a question of how much you can receive.

In ordinary human life there are ups and downs. This moment we are at the foot of the tree; the next moment we climb to the topmost branch. Because God is universal and omnipresent, His Consciousness does not change. It does not have to change. The human mind will say that God is in a higher consciousness here, just because He is being manifested much more here than elsewhere, and that over there God is in a lower consciousness, because He is not getting the opportunity to manifest Himself there. But this is a different matter. Here we are speaking of manifestation, but when it is a matter of God's Consciousness rising and falling, this does not happen. The thing that changes is how much we can receive from Him. Only our receptivity changes. When we are aspiring, we receive much and we are in Heaven. When we are not aspiring, we do not receive anything and we are in Hell.

Question: Last night you said that we would realise God before your chair would. Does it really matter, since we are dealing with Eternity and Immortality anyway, whether we are first or the chair is?

Sri Chinmoy: God wants you to realise Him as soon as possible. Why? Because He needs you badly to manifest Him. God's Consciousness has evolved in and through you more than it has evolved through the chair, and He knows that you can manifest Him sooner than the chair can. This is no comparison between you and the chair. Your time to realise God, reveal God and manifest God will come first, so naturally you will try to do it.

Our so-called sympathetic heart may want to say, "Since the chair is also God's creation, why should I not act like a perfect gentleman and let everybody else go first? I shall go last to show my heart's magnanimity." But God will say, "You stay with your heart's magnanimity; but you are not remaining one with My Will. My Will is that you realise Me as soon as possible. I am tired; I am exhausted. I want you to do a little work for Me." God wants us to shoulder a little bit of His burden, to take some of His responsibilities away from Him. At that time, if we become divinely stupid and say, "No, let the chair go first; let everybody else go first. I will go last," that will be a mistake. We have to identify ourselves with God's Will first. Otherwise, it will take us hundreds and thousands of incarnations to realise God, and that will be an act of stupidity.

What God wants, not what we feel is best or most spiritual, is the right thing to do. If it is God's Will, then we will go last. But we already know that God wants us to go very fast, because He needs more sincere instruments. The more He can get sincere instruments, the sooner He can manifest Himself totally here on earth. So if we do not run the fastest, that means that we are delaying His manifestation.

Question: What should we do if we are meditating and we know we are not receptive, just sort of sitting there, and we don't have the capacity to be receptive at that moment?

Sri Chinmoy: There are many ways to develop receptivity or to get immediate receptivity. Two ways I can tell you. One way is to repeat the word “Supreme” over and over again, as fast as possible — just as fast as the Indian musicians say “Sa, re, ga, ma, pa, da, ni, sa.” But it must be done in silence. First select one place in your body, let us say your crown centre, and concentrate there while repeating “Supreme” as fast as possible. Then select another spot and concentrate there, and repeat “Supreme” again. It is better to go from the top down than from the bottom up. It does not have to be a psychic centre. It can be any place that you like. Suppose you like your right eye. Then concentrate there and chant "Supreme, Supreme, Supreme," in silence. Or if I have given you a spiritual name, you can chant your own name, or "Guru, Guru, Guru," or any other thing in which you have all faith. Since you always have faith in the Supreme, that is usually the best.

If you can do this in seven different places in your body, at one particular place you are bound to find yourself receptive. You can concentrate anywhere — the head, the forehead, the heart, the navel, the foot — anywhere. In at least one particular place, if you have concentrated seriously, you are bound to receive. Receptivity does not always have to be in the heart. Even in the foot you can receive something.

Receptivity is the flow of cosmic energy and cosmic light. When you concentrate on any place, try to bring light into yourself. After you have brought it inside, the next thing is to bring it to the absolutely right place, the heart. The best reservoir to store what you have received is the heart. If you cannot bring light inside yourself at all, then you will have no confidence, no satisfaction. It is like this. You need water in your apartment, but you do not have water there. So you have to bring it in from outside. Once you have brought it in, if you want to drink it, you bring it into the kitchen. If you want to take a shower, you can take it into the bathroom. The important thing is that you have brought it into your apartment. As long as you have brought it into your apartment, you know that you have water for your needs. You have tremendous confidence and satisfaction now that you have water at your disposal, which you previously did not have at all.

Another way to create receptivity, when you do not have it, is to make yourself feel that you are only three years old, a mere babe in the woods. You have no mother, no father, no brother, no sister, nobody at all to protect you, and you are alone in a forest on a very, very dark night. All around you is darkness. Nobody is there to help you; death is dancing right in front of you, and you are totally lost. Then what do you do? You cry within for help: "Save me! Save me! I have nobody here! Save me!" When that kind of inner cry comes, the Supreme is bound to open your heart, or I will be there to open your heart. Usually I say, "Do not feel helpless; you are God's child. Why should you have to be insecure?" But at times you are not receptive just because you have become too secure; you have become complacent. There is no other reason. Why do you not feel the inner cry? The immediate answer is because you are satisfied with your material possessions or with the things that you have in your mind, in your vital and in your body. Once you are satisfied with the things that you have, why should you cry for something more? When you have this kind of complacent feeling, at that time your inner cry ceases.

But if you feel that you are absolutely helpless, and that you are desperately in need of something, namely, God's Compassion, God's Light, God's Love, Peace or Bliss, then naturally your inner cry will be strong. You need not feel that you are helpless and lost every day and every hour — far from it. But if you are complacent, if you feel that what you have is sufficient, then why should God take care of you? You do not need His Help. As long as you are complacent, you can have no receptivity. You have to change your attitude; you have to feel that you are totally, totally helpless and lost without God. Then only can you have receptivity.

Once you get some light, try to grow into the light itself. If you see that you have got a little receptivity again, then dig more. Do not be satisfied with the receptivity that you have. Today, if it is a tiny pool, make it into a pond, then make it into a big lake, then into a sea. Receptivity can be expanded like that, gradually. Starting with a small hole, gradually make it large, larger, largest.

So these are the two ways to become receptive. The second method is much faster than the first, but the first method is good in that it makes you feel that you are working for receptivity, that you are trying. The second method makes you feel that it is beyond your power to work for anything, that you must entirely depend on God's Grace. If you take these measures, either concentrating on seven places, or becoming totally helpless, you will get immediate results.

Question: Does water really have consciousness, or does it just represent consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: Water represents consciousness and water also embodies consciousness. If one is a very advanced, highly developed seeker, not to speak of a great Master, then one is bound to see and feel that water embodies consciousness. When life-energy is taken as inseparable from water, at that time water embodies consciousness. Consciousness is the connecting link between Heaven and earth, between the finite and the Infinite. And it can take different forms. Water represents consciousness for those who have not yet discovered the oneness between the finite life and the infinite Life. They feel that there is a great gap between the finite and the Infinite. But I always say that the finite and the Infinite are one, in the same way that the drop and the ocean are one. Boundless drops make up the ocean. If one knows that the drop represents the ocean, then one will also feel that one or two drops embody the ocean itself.

Those who are not advanced separate the ocean from the drop, the finite from the Infinite. For them, the realised spiritual Master who is representing the Supreme is a different reality from the Supreme. But if people are highly advanced, they will see that the one who is representing the Supreme is definitely embodying His Consciousness. When the spiritual Master is in his everyday consciousness, some disciples may think that he is just an ordinary human being. But if the disciples are aspiring, they will feel that the Master is the representative of God all the time. When the Master is in his human consciousness, they will feel that he is representing God in His human consciousness. Even when the spiritual Master is in his highest divine consciousness, some disciples may feel that the spiritual Master is one person and that God is somebody else. But when the seekers develop receptivity, they do not see any difference between the Master and God at that time. At one moment Sri Krishna said that he was representing Brahman. The next moment he said that he was Brahman Himself.

Question: Does any change take place in your body when the divine forces enter the physical?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. It has happened many times. When a very high spiritual force, a dynamic force, enters into me, I see that I embody hundreds and thousands of lions. When infinite Peace enters into me, I see the Pacific Ocean. If a childlike force which is very sweet and beautiful enters into me, I see myself as a child of five or six years old. Many people have seen me as a small child when they have meditated with me. Again, when a force enters into me and wants to show me my traditional ancient consciousness as a Vedic seer, at that time I see myself as I was many incarnations ago. I see myself in the jungle with a long beard, a moustache and long hair.

I do not want to say that one consciousness is superior or inferior. This moment I see a Vedic consciousness, and the next moment I see the consciousness of a little child of four or five. It is not that I am unable to maintain my own consciousness; only it is not necessary. Somebody may get inspiration from the first consciousness, and somebody else may get inspiration from the second one.

It is not in my subtle body that I see these changes in my consciousness, and I will not say it is in my gross physical. But part of the physical receives the force and is transformed in different ways. Here transformation does not mean illumination and perfection, but just changing from one form to another.

The body does change, and I see it with my own eyes. The powerful forces are bound to change it. Sometimes, when a force descends very powerfully and I do not want to control that force, my nose and jaw shake. At that time, I am not entering into a dramatic performance. If you hold something under a tap and run water over it in a particular way, it may shake under the pressure. But if you hold it more firmly it will not shake. Light is descending powerfully and I am just letting it flow freely.

To come back to your question, the physical definitely changes. The actual physical height can change. Others will not be able to measure it, but spiritual Masters will be able to. It is not deception; but it occurs in the subtle form. So you will not be able to see how the height changes with your human eyes.

Question: Sometimes after I have a very high meditation at the Centre or in a meditation hall, I have so much energy that I really want to run around. I don't want to stay in the hall.

Sri Chinmoy: Your whole being has been energised in such a powerful manner that afterwards you are bursting with spiritual energy. When this energy outburst comes, it is usually at one particular place, such as the chest area above the heart-not actually in the heart itself. Or it may happen that at one particular part of your head, such as your forehead, you will feel energy is trying to come out of your head, as if something is about to burst.

If you are alone, at that time you can chant, you can read my poems aloud, or you can sing. If you are with others, then in silence very soulfully sing some spiritual songs that you know. Let this energy, which comes in a very exuberant way, flow from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head like a river. Do not try to hold it. Let it not be accumulated at one particular place. Let it take the form of liquid energy. You will see that automatically you will become calm and quiet again. By consciously trying to help the energy flow from one place to another inside you, you will be able to enjoy that divine energy.

Question: Is there a natural rate of progress a seeker makes on his own?

Sri Chinmoy: One can never make progress on one's own. Even on the physical plane — let us say, on the plane of desire, one cannot make progress on one's own. Someone may think that because of his strong desire he has succeeded, to some extent, on the physical plane. But there are millions of people on earth who have the same intense desire as he had, yet they do not succeed. If someone is successful in a particular thing, if he looks around he will see that there are many, many people with the same intense desire to become great in that particular field. So why are they not successful whereas he is successful?

It is because, even in the desire-world, the Grace descends — not just sometimes, but quite often. In a running race, there will be five or six competitors. They all have the same intensity to win the race, and perhaps all of them have practised to the same extent for years and years. But somebody receives the Grace and he stands first. In school, you will study and somebody else will study, but that other person may get a higher grade than you. You have also studied for ten hours, but he has received more Light from above. We call it Grace.

There is no such thing as success. It is all the descent of Grace. The Grace has descended and unconsciously a particular individual has received it. Since he does not aspire, we have to say that he has received it unconsciously. If he can receive the Grace consciously, then on the earth plane he does not have to work so hard. Again, if he is in the world of aspiration, as the Grace is descending, at that time his capacity to receive it is also increasing.

Two brothers were in the same class, and they used to study together. Both of them were disciples of a particular spiritual Master. They used to study very hard. One day, the Master said to them, "You don't have to study so hard. Just pray to me and study a little. If you pray to me, your study will be more effective." The younger one said, "No, by thinking of you I will not pass." So he studied for nine hours or twelve hours a day. The elder one had more faith. He only studied a very few things, and the rest of the time he repeated the Master's name.

So what happened? The day the examination came, the very things the older brother studied were on the examination. And the one who studied the things that he considered most important, the one who studied so many books — he failed. They started together with the same desire to do extremely well on the examination, but then there was someone, the Master, who offered them Light. To both of them he said the same: "You don't have to study for so many hours. Just think of me, think of me." One did, and one didn't. The one who studied for only a few hours and then meditated with devotion received the Grace that descended. The one who didn't believe the Master studied so hard, but even then he failed.

You study to start your journey in the desire-world, let us say. Naturally, there is progress. But then the Grace descends, and consciously or unconsciously you receive it. If you receive it consciously, then you go very fast. Even if unconsciously you receive it, still you make progress. But if someone doesn't receive it even unconsciously, then for him there is no progress at all.

In your case, let us say, you have done well in your outer life; you have been successful. But don't feel that it was because of your natural ability, natural capacity, that you have succeeded to the extent that you have. No, because you have accepted the spiritual life, the Grace is still operating. I have an extremely close connection with your soul. Many, many times your soul has come to me and asked me to do quite a few things, and each and every time I have done them. Your soul has received my blessing-light consciously. Then your soul has worked so hard to inject the things that it has received from me into your mind and vital. Your heart has always accepted these things consciously. Your mind and your vital have also accepted them, at times consciously and at times unconsciously.

So, all the success that you see in your outer life, I wish to say, is due to the fact that some parts of your being have accepted consciously and other parts have accepted unconsciously what I have offered to you. But it is the Grace that has brought about this success. There are many like you who are desperately trying to be successful in the same line. But they don't have your fate, because they have not received the Grace from above. That Grace is your success. If an individual accepts it unconsciously or consciously, then he moves very fast.

Again, Grace discriminates. When it operates in the desire-world, Grace will take the person a long distance. After covering a long distance, it says, "I am ready to take you even farther; very far I am ready to take you. But what you will get I am now showing you. If you are satisfied with this distance, I will definitely take you there. But if it does not satisfy you, then I wish to tell you that there is another road. That road is called aspiration. On that road, even if you don't get anything, still you are satisfied. It is not necessary to cover a very, very long distance. No, just by remaining on that road, you get satisfaction. At your very journey's start, the satisfaction that you get will far surpass the satisfaction that you will get after covering a very long distance on the desire-road, just because there is no satisfaction on the desire-road."

Sometimes from the desire-life people enter into the aspiration-world just because they are not happy all the time, or because they are not making considerable progress. So they feel it is better to give up. But what are they giving up? What do they actually have to give up? Very little either in the desire-world or in the aspiration-world. The thing is, somebody gives us something from above, and if we use it properly, then He gives us more. If we misuse it, then He feels sorry. He says, "All right, I will give you another chance. But that chance will come in a few more incarnations." When He gives us something from the desire-world, He gives and gives and then waits for the day when we wake up and say this is not what we want. Finally you will say, "No matter how much You give me, in the inner world I am not satisfied. So give me something else, something totally different." As soon as your soul makes you feel this, then your inner progress really starts. At that time He starts giving you from the aspiration-world, and if you properly use what He gives you, then it increases.

Question: Do spiritual Masters come into the world already realised?

Sri Chinmoy: In my case, realisation was achieved quite a few incarnations ago — not in my previous incarnation but quite a few incarnations before this one. But because we have to accept the human mind at the beginning of each incarnation, we are like a tiny plant — helpless in a sense. We have to do quite a few things in order to deal with the world.

A true spiritual Master is God the fully manifested man, whereas a true spiritual seeker is man the evolving God. God the manifested man and man the evolving God are two different things. When a true spiritual Master comes into the world, inside he has and is Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. But he has to come as a human being so that humanity can approach him. The Supreme in him says, "If I come to humanity with My Infinity, Eternity and Immortality, if at every second I am playing with Infinity, Eternity and Immortality, then humanity will be frightened to death. Human beings will not approach Me. They will just try to hide."

When Lord Krishna showed his Universal Form, Arjuna was frightened to death. When Arjuna saw his past, present and future and the entire universe inside Krishna, he did not appreciate it; he was frightened to death. He said, "Forgive me, forgive me. I can't joke with you anymore. I said nasty things to you. I insulted you. I scolded you. Please forgive me, forgive me." All the time Krishna had been playing with Arjuna as a friend. Because of this friendship, Arjuna had been approaching him. But if, from the beginning, Krishna had shown Arjuna who he was, then Arjuna would not have dared to mix with him.

So if the Supreme comes with His Infinity and Eternity, which He has and really is, then humanity will be afraid of Him. The drop will never dare to consciously make friends with the Infinite, with the Vast. But if the drop sees another drop that is a little better or a little larger than itself, then the tiny one is inspired. Some spiritual Masters only reveal a little more capacity than an ordinary individual. Then ordinary individuals can believe in them and receive what they are offering. These Masters take the same human form and same type of consciousness as human beings so that the human beings can have access to them. Outwardly they have to play this game. Otherwise humanity will not be able to approach them. But inwardly they know what they are. So the human way is absolutely necessary to follow for human beings on earth. But inside the human you have to see the Divine.

The seeker, on the other hand, plays the role of man the evolving God. The seeker is trying to reach the Highest; he is aspiring to have the Infinite, the Eternal, the Immortal. Eventually he enters into Infinity, Eternity and immortality, and he is satisfied. Then he has to feel that every other human being is part of himself. He has to feel that he has millions of arms, millions of legs, millions of eyes — like some of the cosmic gods and goddesses who have hundreds of arms. So man the evolving God is aiming at what God the manifested man has and is.

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