A seeker is a singer

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Part I — Discourses and prayers

The third eye1

I wish to give a very short talk on the third eye; then we shall most soulfully concentrate, meditate and contemplate on the third eye.

The third eye fascinates curiosity-seekers. Fortunately, we are not curiosity-seekers. The third eye helps sincere seekers considerably on their way to self-discovery. Here we are all sincere seekers. Sincere seekers are those who know perfectly well that there is only one way to achieve abiding satisfaction in life, and that way is to offer the results of all their actions to the Absolute Supreme soulfully, unreservedly and unconditionally. The third eye fulfils God's Dream in and through the sincere seeker precisely because sincere seekers are true God-lovers.

The third eye is the eye of vision-light. What is vision-light? Vision-light is at once our self-transforming and self-transcending, God-revealing and God-manifesting reality. What else is vision-light? Vision-light is the capacity that we embody to differentiate our animal past and human present from our divine near future and our supreme distant future.

The message of our past was total destruction. The message of our present is conscious or unconscious division. The message of our near future is oneness, satisfaction in oneness. And the message of our distant future is perfection in satisfaction and satisfaction in perfection.

Some people are of the opinion that it is not advisable to open the third eye, for if it is opened prematurely, our inner progress will come to an end. They are of the opinion that opening the third eye is not a boon. In fact, they feel that it is a veritable curse. But seekers must know that if they are really sincere, if they have an intense inner cry, then God, the Author of all good, will not open their third eye untimely. If they are sincere, God will do everything for them at the right hour. But if they are insincere, then naturally they may have to pay the penalty if their third eye is opened prematurely.

Fear is the worst enemy of a seeker when he wants to open his third eye. On the one hand, he is consumed with the desire to open his third eye. On the other hand, the moment the idea flashes across his mind that when his third eye opens he will be able to see his past lives, he is afraid. What happens when an insincere seeker opens his third eye is most deplorable. If his past was not satisfactory, if it was most discouraging, then immediately he is shocked. He curses himself and loses all hope. He thinks that because he was so bad in the past, for him there can be no bright future and he is doomed to disappointment. His mental sky is overcast with clouds.

When an insincere seeker sees the future, the result is equally deplorable. If he sees something discouraging, frightening or saddening in the near future, then he is frightened to death. If he sees that one of his dear ones is soon going to die, then before the event actually occurs, he himself dies with fear and anxiety. For these reasons, the insincere seeker often is afraid to open his third eye. But if a sincere seeker has the indomitable will right from the beginning to see the past and to enter into the future with a surrendering attitude, placing the results at the Feet of his Beloved Supreme, then fear cannot torture his life. If he sees that he was not aspiring in his past incarnation, so what? He knows that he has the golden opportunity to aspire in this incarnation. Just because he did not do something positive or constructive in the past does not mean that he cannot do it in the present. Just because he was not an honest man before, there is no reason why he cannot be honest now.

When our third eye is open, if we see that something is going to happen to someone in the immediate future, we have to remember who loves that particular individual more: we ourselves or the Source of love. Right now, our love is very limited. We all know it. But there is Someone who has unlimited, infinite Love. We are right now praying to that Being or to that omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent Reality. That all-loving Reality undoubtedly has more compassion, more vision-light than we have; therefore, it is our bounden duty to surrender to His will. If we are ready to place the results, the capacities, the achievements and the fruits of our vision at the Feet of the Supreme, then we are safe. There is no other way, when we have our third eye open, to make the fastest progress in the spiritual life.

When the third eye opens up, it sometimes creates tremendous excitement. If we know that something good is going to happen, if we come to see that something most encouraging and inspiring is going to happen, then we become overexcited. This excitement quite often delays the event. It also takes away our mental poise. Then, in the inner world again we become bankrupt. So when we get an encouraging message by virtue of opening our third eye, we should look around and see if there is anybody on earth who has achieved more love, more knowledge, more wisdom, more light than we have. If we are sincere, then we are bound to see that there were people, there are people and there will be people who have achieved infinitely more than we. When we see this, then immediately our excitement pales into insignificance. We can be happy; but if we are overexcited at seeing what is going to happen, then we lose our mental poise. Once we lose our mental poise we cannot make further progress in the spiritual life. So we should not be overexcited when we see that something good is going to happen and, at the same time, we should not be depressed or disheartened when we see an inauspicious future or past with the vision of our third eye.

Before we accept the spiritual life, we wallow in the pleasures of ignorance. When we sincerely accept the spiritual life, we try to give up our bad habits; and sooner or later we do succeed in giving up our bad habits. This is the proof that we have made considerable progress. This is the proof that we do not belong to the past reality but that we belong to the future reality, which is growing in the immediacy of our aspiring today.

We pray and meditate with the hope that one day we shall enter into trance, for each seeker feels that trance, which is nothing short of bliss, is necessary in the spiritual life. It is something most advantageous, most illumining and most fulfilling. Here I wish to say that if one can open the third eye, this facilitates or expedites the attainment of trance, or samadhi. When the third eye is opened, we can run the fastest along the mental road to God. The mental world is obscure, dark, impure and insecure. But when we open the third eye and walk along the mental road, immediately everything that is insecure is made secure, everything that is impure is made pure, everything that is undivine is made divine. Everything that is dark is illumined by the third eye.

Now, there is a slight difference between the third eye and the trance-life. We have two ordinary human eyes. When we use our human eyes, we see that the reality is at one place and the person who is watching the reality is at some other place. If you are sitting in front of me and I am looking at you, then you are the goal and I am the starting point. The destination and the starting point are at two different places. I am the starting point, and you are the goal. This is the understanding that we get from our human eyes. But if we use the third eye at that time we see that the starting point and the destination are at the same place. They cannot be two; they are together. When we enter into trance, we get one experience which we usually do not get from the third eye. The third eye will show us that the starting point and the goal are together. But this vision of oneness may not give us immediate Delight. If we can enter into trance, then immediately we get the universal Life and the transcendental Life together; therefore, we are flooded with Delight.

When we enter into trance and get abundant, boundless bliss, we are totally satisfied. We do not know who embodies this infinite Delight. We cannot see the personal God who embodies both the transcendental Life and the universal Life. Just by entering into trance, we cannot see the Owner, the Possessor. But if we can open the third eye, then we can see the Absolute Supreme in His subtle, personal aspect. Infinity is one thing, and the absolute Reality is something else. When we enter into the highest trance, we enjoy infinite Peace, Light and Bliss. But He who embodies this infinite Peace, Light and Bliss may not be visible at all. But if we open the third eye, then we see the Transcendental Absolute, the Absolute Supreme. The Absolute Supreme is far above infinity and infinity's Light, Delight, Peace and Bliss.

Our aim, our goal, is to please the Absolute; therefore, we shall pray and meditate. If we feel that opening the third eye will help us so that we are not assailed by fear, doubt, anxiety and worry, then we should definitely meditate on the third eye. For the sooner we can clear away our mental jungle, the sooner we will reach our destination, which is the Golden Shore of the ever-transcending Beyond.

Now we shall concentrate on the third eye. The third eye is located in between the eyebrows and a little above. In this spot we shall concentrate, meditate and contemplate.

While concentrating, let us imagine for a few minutes in the third eye a flame, a burning golden flame. What we call imagination is nothing short of an existence-reality, a world of its own. So let us concentrate, and while concentrating let us feel that there is a burning flame in our third eye. Please breathe in as slowly and as quietly as possible. While breathing in, try to feel that you are not breathing in through your nose: you are breathing in through your forehead. While breathing out you are also breathing through your forehead. Then please feel the presence of burning flames inside your forehead, precisely inside the third eye.

Now let us meditate on the third eye. This time, also, please breathe in and out through your forehead. But now please imagine the planet sun or the inner sun, which is infinitely brighter than the planet sun. Please imagine at least one sun inside the forehead at the third eye, and inside that sun please imagine countless flames or rays of light. This time, please keep your eyes fully open so that you can feel the vastness of the sun along with its light and power.

Now we shall contemplate. From the spiritual point of view, contemplation is the sweetest form of inseparable oneness. This oneness is the oneness of the divine lover with the Beloved Supreme. The oneness that abides between the divine lover and the Supreme Beloved is called contemplation. It is by virtue of contemplation, proper contemplation, that we come to realise that we are not only divine seekers but also divine lovers, and that God is our Beloved Supreme. We are like tiny drops, while God is the ocean. Countless drops form the ocean, and again, the ocean embodies all the drops. First we imagined flames, then the sun itself. When we can contemplate properly, we will become one with God Himself. When the God-loving seeker and God together play, sing and dance, at that time God sings the song of multiplicity in unity. When the One Absolute remains in His transcendental aspect, and the seekers and God-lovers approach Him, then God is singing the song of unity in multiplicity. So let us contemplate on the third eye. For a few minutes let us feel that we are the lover-flames: then we shall feel that we are the Beloved-Sun. Thus, we shall change our respective roles.


  1. SSN 1. Sri Chinmoy offered this talk during a public meditation held at All Angels Church in Manhattan, on 22 October 1976.

A seeker is a singer1

A seeker is a singer. Unlike other singers, he sings only two songs: his song of self-giving beauty and his song of God-becoming duty. His heart's soulful cry is his self-giving Divinity-song. His life's fruitful smile is his God-becoming immortality-song.

When a seeker says to the Supreme, "O my Beloved Lord, I am for You only," he sings his song of self-giving. When he says to the Supreme, "O my Beloved Lord, You are my ever-transcending vision's height and my ever-increasing reality's depth," he sings his song of God-becoming.

When a seeker says to the Supreme that his life is constant dedication to the eternal Source, he sings his song of self-giving. When he says to the Supreme that he is devotedly and unreservedly one with His Infinity's Goal, he sings his song of God-becoming.

The seeker's inner resolution is his song of self-giving. The seeker's inner revolution is his song of God-becoming. Inner resolution is an art. Slowly, steadily and unerringly the seeker learns the art of divine love, divine devotion and divine surrender. Inner revolution is also an art. Slowly, steadily and unerringly the seeker learns the art of realisation, revelation and manifestation.

The inner resolution is nothing short of inspiration in action. The inner revolution is nothing but aspiration in action. Inspiration is a bird. This bird carries the seeker on its wings and shows him the Face of his Beloved Supreme. Aspiration is a ladder. The seeker climbs up this ladder and reaches the ultimate Height. There he becomes one with Infinity's Height and Immortality's Life. God is supremely pleased with him. God descends on the same ladder. He comes down and makes the seeker His faithful, devoted and unconditional instrument.

God offers Himself here on earth completely, and His devoted seeker singer sings with Him soulfully and unconditionally. While singing the song with his Beloved Supreme, the seeker increases his realisation-power, realisation-peace, realisation-light and realisation-delight. While singing the song with the seeker-singer, the Beloved Supreme manifests His Divinity, His immortality and His Oneness-Reality here on earth devotedly, unreservedly and unconditionally.


  1. SSN 2. Sri Chinmoy gave this talk at Trinity Church in Boston, Massachusetts, on 21 June 1977.

Aspiration1

I am an aspirant. I aspire. When I aspire, I radiate: my entire being radiates, my physical reality radiates, my whole face radiates. The seekers around me get inspiration from my radiation, and my radiation serves them by increasing their aspiration. In this way, with my aspiration I offer a special service to those who are around me.

My aspiration is my illumination. When I aspire, I illumine my own unlit, dark and obscure parts. I illumine my own ignorance-life, and those fellow travellers who are around me get illumination from my illumination. In this way, my illumination serves the seekers who are around me by helping to illumine their unlit and obscure lives. My aspiration is my realisation. There was a time when I cheerfully and madly danced a dance of division. In those days, I wanted division to reign supreme in my entire life. "I" and "my": these were the two songs I knew then. But now in my aspiration-life, I see that division cannot solve my problems. It is only my union, my Oneness with the Source — the perennial Life-Tree which through Eternity has been growing inside my heart — which can and will solve all my problems. My oneness tells me that there is only one Source, and to that Source all human beings and the entire creation belong. In oneness founded on a solid basis I get satisfaction far beyond my imagination.

My aspiration is my perfection, and perfection is my experience of self-transcendence. At every moment, by virtue of my aspiration, I transcend my previous heights, and each time I transcend myself I get new inspiration. My entire being is inundated with a new inspiration-dawn. Perfection is my constant self-transcendence to satisfy the seeker in me and to satisfy my Beloved Supreme.

Aspiration is torture: so says my lethargic body. Aspiration is pressure: so says my unruly, restless vital. Aspiration is terror: so says my doubting and suspecting mind. Aspiration is pleasure: so says my crying heart. Aspiration is leisure: so says my loving soul. And finally, my Lord Supreme says that aspiration is nothing short of treasure. Out of His infinite Bounty, He tells me that my aspiration is not only my treasure but also His treasure.

My desire-life unconsciously wanted to destroy me, my reality-existence. My aspiration-life consciously wants to employ me and make me perfect so that I can serve my Beloved Supreme constantly in His own Way. My Beloved Supreme compassionately tells me that He will give me what He has and what He is: infinite Compassion. I tell Him that I shall give Him what I have and what I am: a tiny drop of devotion. He accepts what I give Him lovingly, smilingly and unconditionally. I accept what He gives me devotedly, soulfully and unreservedly.


  1. SSN 3. Sri Chinmoy gave this talk at St. Paul's Chapel, Columbia University, New York, on 18 October 1978.

Prayer and meditation

Prayer is man's soulful cry for God. Meditation is man's fruitful smile in God.

Prayer is personal, also universal. Meditation is impersonal, also transcendental.

Prayer is petition, also adoration. Meditation is absorption, also perfection.

Prayer needs God's Compassion-Shower. Meditation needs God's Illumination-Tower.

I pray for Immortality in mortality. I meditate on Infinity in Eternity.

Prayer is night crying for light. Meditation is light searching for delight.Prayer reminds us of our hidden sins. Meditation reminds us of our forgotten sun.

Through prayer God says, "My child, I am waiting for you. Come and see Me."

Through meditation God says, "My child, wait for Me. I am coming to see you."

Prayer is the purity that counts. Meditation is the luminosity that mounts.

My prayer-teacher shows me the beauty of soulfulness. My meditation-teacher blesses me with the duty of oneness.

Prayer soulfully reveals man's faith in God. Meditation smilingly reveals God's faith in man.

My God is mad because nowadays I do not pray either in the morning or in the evening. My God is sad because nowadays I do not meditate sleeplessly and unconditionally.

God? Who, you?
God? Who, he? No!
God? Who, I? No!
Who, then, is God? God is my prayer-purity's quest.
Who, then, is God? God is my meditation divinity's nest.

Before I pray

My Supreme Lord,
Before I pray to You
For a possession-night,
May I pray to You
For a renunciation-flame,
May I?


My Supreme Lord,
Before I pray to You
For a renunciation-flame,
May I pray to You
For an acceptance-lamp,
May I?


My Supreme Lord,
Before I pray to You
For an acceptance-lamp,
May I pray to You
For a oneness-column of light,
May I?


My Supreme Lord,
Before I pray to You
For a oneness-column of light,
May I pray to You
For a surrender-sun, May I?

6.

My Supreme Lord,
Right after
My aspiration-height-prayer,
May I pray to You
For a dedication-length,
May I?


My Supreme Lord,
Right after
My dedication-length-prayer,
May I pray to You
For a union-depth,
May I?


My Supreme Lord,
Right after
My union-depth-prayer,
May I pray to You
For a perfection-cry,
May I?


My Supreme Lord,
Right after
My perfection-cry-prayer,
May I pray to You
For a satisfaction-smile.
May I?


My Supreme Lord,
Right after
My satisfaction-smile-prayer,
May I pray to You
For a gratitude-heart,
May I?

7.

My Supreme Lord,
For You I have two beautiful gifts:
My prayer-sound,
My meditation-silence.
Today I am offering to You
My prayer-sound-gift.
Tomorrow I shall give to You
My meditation-silence-gift.

Before I meditate

My Supreme Lord,
Before I meditate on You
To destroy my uncomely, unaspiring
And undivine thought-world,
May I meditate on You
To grant me a pure, progressive
And promising thought-world,
May I?


My Supreme Lord,
Before I meditate on You
To grant me a pure, progressive
And promising thought-world,
May I meditate on You
To completely silence my thought-world,
May I?


My Supreme Lord,
Before I meditate on You
To completely silence my thought-world,
May I meditate on You
To grant me,
Out of Your boundless Bounty,
An adamantine will-world,
May I?


My Supreme Lord,
Before I meditate on You
To grant me an adamantine will-world,
May I meditate on You
To richly bless me
With an unalloyed, unreserved
And unconditional surrender-world,
May I?

9.

My Supreme Lord,
Right after my meditation
On the illumining Light,
May I meditate
On the immortalising Delight,
May I?

My Supreme Lord,
Right after my meditation
On the immortalising Delight,
May I meditate
On the fulfilling Oneness,
May I?

10.

My Supreme Lord,
Yesterday I placed at Your Feet
My prayer-sound gift.
Today I am placing at Your Feet
My meditation-silence gift.

I Meditate

I meditate. I meditate not out of curiosity. I meditate out of necessity.

I meditate not out of fear. I meditate out of love.

I meditate not out of possessiveness. I meditate out of selflessness.

I meditate on God not because God is great. I meditate on God because God is good.

I meditate on God not because God will give me everything I want. I meditate on God because God will give me only the things that I need.

There is a special reason why I meditate. I love to converse with God. He is such a charming conversationalist, and I am a charmed listener.

I meditate to unlearn and to learn. I meditate to unlearn my earth-bound mind-education. I meditate to learn my Heaven-free heart-aspiration. I am my heart's hunger-cry. God is His Heart's Feast-Smile.

Some people think that I am not practical, while others think that I am not sincere. Still others think that I am stupid. We all know that criticism is the order of the day. Such being the case, how can I expect to be an exception? Again, in all sincerity, I must tell the world that perfection is still a far cry in my life. I have made an inner promise: I shall fear no criticism when I am right; I shall ignore no criticism when I am wrong.

Meditation is the flowering of my confidence in myself and my confidence in God. I have no confidence in human beings, precisely because I know them and precisely because I do not know them. I have complete confidence in God not because of my helpless life, but because of my sleepless heart. I have complete confidence in myself not because God is my only choice, but because He is always His unconditional Boon.

When I do not meditate, conscience torments me, peace hides from me, joy deserts me and satisfaction ignores me. When I meditate, God's blue Eye blesses me, God's green Heart embraces me and God's red Feet shelter me.

Early in the morning, when I hear God's Voice, I open my inspired eyes and meditate. During my morning meditation, God says to me, "My child, go and prove to the world that you are all for Me." Late at night, when I hear God's Voice, I close my tired eyes and meditate. During my night meditation, God says to me, "My child, lo and behold, you are of Me unmistakably and eternally."

Prayer

What is prayer? Prayer is possession. What is prayer? Prayer is renunciation.What is prayer? Prayer is fulfilment.

With our human prayer we possess. With our divine prayer we renounce. With our supreme prayer we fulfil-we fulfil the Will of the Supreme soulfully, unreservedly and unconditionally,

The human prayer says, "Lord, give me." The divine prayer says, "Lord, take me." The supreme prayer says, "Lord, give me, if so is Your Will; take me, if so is Your Will. I have only one message for You: I am all for You, only for You."Human prayer says, "Lord, give me what You have, and make me happy." Divine prayer says, "Lord, take me, along with all my possessions, and make me happy." The supreme prayer says, "Lord, in me and in others, please Yourself only in Your own Way, and thus make me happy."

Earth's prayer is a slowly ascending cry. Heaven's prayer is a speedily spreading smile. Earth prays for the immortal life. Heaven prays for the eternal satisfaction. Earth-prayer is God-Beauty's Perfection. Heaven-prayer is God-Duty's Satisfaction.

Prayer has a soulful brother: meditation. Prayer's God is high above. Meditation's God is deep within. Prayer is the strongest intensity in a seeker's life. Meditation is the steadiest immensity in a seeker's heart. Prayer's God is greatness and goodness. Meditation's God is fulness and oneness. When I pray, I speak to God devotedly. When I meditate, God speaks to me affectionately. This is how we enjoy our fruitful conversation.

On the strength of my prayer, I go to God. On the strength of my meditation, I bring God to me. I go to God and tell Him what He can most compassionately do for me. God comes to me and tells me what I can cheerfully do for Him. Prayer is humanity's momentous success. Meditation is divinity's continuous progress. Prayer's ultimate goal is God-Infinity's Sound-Glory. Meditation's ultimate goal is God-Eternity's Silence-Beauty.

Meditation1

Meditation is invocation. We invoke God's Presence. God's Presence is satisfaction.

Meditation is an act of inner listening. We listen to the dictates of God. When we listen soulfully, devotedly, unreservedly and unconditionally, we derive satisfaction in boundless measure.

Meditation is acceptance. It is the acceptance of life within us, without us and all around us. Acceptance of life is the beginning of human satisfaction. Transformation of life is the culmination of divine satisfaction.

Meditation is self-giving. We give what we have and what we are. To the finite reality we give what we have. To the infinite Reality we give what we are. What we have is concern. This concern we offer to the finite. What we are is willingness. This willingness we offer to the infinite.

Assurance we offer to the earth reality. Acknowledgement we offer to the Heaven-Reality. To the earth-reality we offer our constant assurance that we are undoubtedly and unmistakably for the earth-reality, for the transformation and illumination of the earth-reality. To the Heaven-Reality we offer our most sincere acknowledgement of the supreme fact that we are of the Heaven-Reality, that our source is the Heaven-Reality.

Meditation and prayer are two aspects of one and the same soulful reality. The Eastern world is fond of meditation. The Western world is fond of prayer. Both prayer and meditation lead us to the selfsame goal. Meditation and prayer are like brother and sister; they are divine twins. We can say that prayer is the female and meditation is the male. Prayer says to meditation, "Look, brother, there is something high above. Let us cry and fly, fly and cry, and there above we shall get everything that we have been longing for." Meditation says to prayer, "Look, sister, there is something deep within us. Let us dive deep within and we are sure to get everything that we have been longing for from time immemorial. Let us dive deep within.

Sri Krishna meditated. His meditation-power has taught us many things. But the most important thing it has taught us is this: Truth will ultimately prevail; the justice-light of Truth will one day inundate the entire earth-consciousness.

Lord Buddha meditated. His meditation has taught us that this human life of suffering will, without fail, one day come to an end. The excruciating pangs that each human being undergoes will one day come to an end, and human suffering will be transformed into divine ecstasy.

The Saviour Christ prayed. His prayer has taught us many sublime, soulful and fruitful lessons. It has offered us the message of divinity in its tangible form. But his most essential teaching is that the Kingdom of Heaven is within us. This Kingdom of Heaven is God's creation, God's Vision and God's Reality. God's transcendental Vision and God's universal Reality are within this Kingdom of Heaven.

Let us meditate devotedly, soulfully, unreservedly and unconditionally. From our meditation we shall discover the supreme truth that as we need God, even so God needs us. We need Him constantly to reach our own highest height. He needs us constantly to manifest His own deepest depth.


  1. SSN 13. Sri Chinmoy gave this talk at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, on 16 February 1977.

Part II — Questions and answers

Question: Does God create at the animal level?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, He does. God Himself is in the process of ever-transcending perfection. It is He Himself who becomes the animal and it is He who will become the man. God wants to experience Himself through various forms of manifestation. A potter, when he makes a pot, changes the shape constantly until it reaches a standard that satisfies him. Similarly, God is perfecting Himself through the animal kingdom as well as through humanity, because He Himself is the Spirit which has descended into all matter. This is His divine Game.

Question: I cannot understand how anything created by God can be imperfect. How can He create a soul that is not perfect?

Sri Chinmoy: God does not throw the soul heartlessly into the manifestation. The soul is not alone. God Himself is always inside the soul. We say that we have come from God and that we are a part of Him. But where is our realisation? Where is our perfection? We are in the process of consciously attaining this realisation and perfection. Each individual represents God-that we know. But each individual has not consciously realised Him.

The Absolute God, who is the Supreme Self, is perfect. The Highest, the One without a second, the God who has created the multiplicity, is always perfect. But the God who has entered into the earth plane for evolution has accepted imperfection because he has taken on the earthly consciousness, which is full of limitations and imperfections.

We cannot separate God from our existence or from our imperfections. Do you think that God is not there in all the imperfections that we see in this world? God is everywhere, but He is manifested to different degrees. God is in the thief as well as in the honest person. He is there, having an experience. God is in everything. He is in the highest and He is also in the lowest.

But we do not want to have the God who is in the lowest. We want to have the God who is in the highest. God is in filthy water as well as in pure, clean water. If I want to remain healthy, I shall drink the pure water. God is not manifested in sufficient degree in the filthy water to allow me to benefit from drinking it. In fact, I would become sick or even die if I did. So the God in the dirty water does me no good in my life of aspiration.

Similarly, if I want to be perfect and serve the Divine, I myself have to become divine. How many times in his daily existence does each human being become the victim of ugly thoughts, undivine thoughts? But during the same day he also gets divine, fulfilling and sublime thoughts. In the uncomely thoughts God is not manifested as He is in the divine thoughts. But again, God does not separate His Existence from one moment to another and stay only in the good thoughts. He is there in our undivine consciousness as well as in our aspiring consciousness. It is we who have to decide which aspect of God we want. The Supreme, the Spirit, has entered into matter, which is sleeping. Gradually the Spirit awakens from its own self-imposed sleep within matter. It pushes matter forward, encouraging it to evolve. It says, "Open your eyes: you have to grow into the Infinite." With our human consciousness, with our wisdom, with our conscious aspiration, we have to grow towards the best, the highest, the most fulfilling.

Our usual conception of God is that He is up above and cannot come down. I may say that I and my Father are one, but if I am an ordinary person, I believe that my Father is up in Heaven whereas I am down on earth. But no, my Father is here, too. Even if I am in hell, then He is also in hell. My Father cannot remain in Heaven while I am in hell. When I say that my Father and I are one, it means that even if I am in the most abysmal depths, He is there, too. He is where I am, if we are really one. And even if I am not conscious of our oneness, God is always with me and in me. If I am in prison, my Father will be there also. He can never stay aloof from me, for we are inseparably one.

To come back to your question, God is not saying to the soul, "Go ahead and develop as best you can." He Himself is always with us and in us. In fact, it is He who is secretly our highest Self.

Question: What is the difference between faith and belief?

Sri Chinmoy: We tend to believe everything that we hear from our parents, from our friends, from the world around us. When we speak of having 'faith', this is stronger than mere 'belief'. Faith deals with our strong inner convictions. George Bernard Shaw once said that we have not lost our faith in God, but we have transferred our faith to the medical profession. This is often true. Very often people have more faith in doctors than in God; most of us have more faith in human beings than in God.

Question: I feel that I am a child of God and I also feel, unfortunately, that I am a child of belief, tradition and all sorts of things. Is it possible to be free from all past beliefs and be absolutely one with God?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, a child of God, a true child of God, can have total oneness with God consciously. You can be one with God without acting on the strength of all the old beliefs, superstitions or unnecessary traditions that you have accumulated from your childhood. Your mind can be totally emptied of the old ideas, traditions and beliefs which you cherished or are still cherishing.

Through sincere aspiration you can get rid of the mental beliefs or worldly beliefs that you have kept in your heart and mind. You can replace them with your soul's spontaneous light, which expresses itself as inevitability or immediate assurance. This feeling of inevitability and assurance, which is based on the soul's light, can be established in your mind and heart. Then the so-called worldly beliefs you can discard as you discard old clothes. It is not only possible but inevitable; in fact it is necessary for God-realisation. Otherwise, these old beliefs in the form of society's dictates or in the form of traditional morality will hamper your spiritual progress.

In human belief there is always a mixture of doubt. Fifty per cent will be belief, fifty per cent will be doubt: or one per cent may be belief and as much as ninety-nine per cent may be doubt. But when you live in the soul and are illumined by the soul's light, at that time you will get assurance not only from the soul but also from the soul's inevitability, which is absolutely one with God's dynamic Reality and God's dynamic Vision. At that time you can go beyond all beliefs and be in direct, constant oneness with God, the highest Reality. Then you will live in the soul constantly and express its highest Truth. At that time, old beliefs will have no place in your life.

Question: In what way can we show a person who does not believe in God that God exists?

Sri Chinmoy: The only way you can show the existence of God to that kind of person is by your own personal inner peace, inner light and inner joy. You can show the Supreme in any of the infinite aspects or infinite ways in which He manifests Himself. You do not have to show Him in a human form, even if you were able to do this. Since the Supreme is infinite Joy, Peace, Light, Bliss and Power, you can reveal Him just by embodying these qualities in yourself. Your very appearance, your very presence, when you stand in front of that person, can make him feel the existence of God inside you.

When you are in the presence of a spiritual person, what do you feel? You feel peace, you feel light. His very presence makes you feel that there is something divine in him. What are you experiencing? It is actually the Supreme in the form of the aspirant's divine qualities. So the best way to demonstrate the existence of God is to manifest God in your own life, in your own consciousness.

You cannot convince others by using words, by endless talking and arguing. Every intellectual argument showing the existence of God can be met by a counter-argument. You will discover this if you study Western philosophy. There is no end to the statements and rebuttals about the existence or non-existence of God. These fruitless arguments have been going on for centuries. Whole philosophical systems have been built up around these intellectual theories. But even if your mind is illumined with your soul's light, that is not enough to convince someone who does not agree with you. The mind of the other person also has to be in touch with his own soul's truth to some extent. Then only will he be able to receive the inner truth of what you say. Needless to say, this rarely happens.

The best way to convince someone of the existence of God is to try to manifest His Divinity in your own life. If the other person is at all sincere or receptive, he will see that you have something that he lacks. He will also feel that your qualities of light and peace are coming from another source. He knows that you are leading a spiritual life. He knows that you believe in God. He will see and feel that you have got inner peace, poise, light and joy. If he is sincere, this is all the proof he needs. His inner perception of a better, higher consciousness in you is the only thing that will convince him. It will convince him more than thousands of words.

Question: Does a person have to obtain a temporary suspension of his karma so that he can obtain worthy aspiration?

Sri Chinmoy: Spiritually it does not happen in that way. Suppose an individual has done something wrong. What will happen is that the cosmic forces, or the cosmic law, we can say, will offer him the results of his action. It may happen that something wrong has been done, but for five or six months-or even more-the result may be suspended. The karma is due, but for a few months or a few years the cosmic forces are observing the person and waiting for the appropriate opportunity. During that time if they see that he is trying to turn over a new leaf, if he is praying and meditating and leading a better life, then this karma may be reduced or even cancelled. It is not actually that the karmic debt is being suspended or cancelled. No, the forces are operating. The forces that are going to punish him or, we can say, offer him the result of his action, are still operating. But if the divine forces come to the fore in that particular person, they can fight against these forces of karma. The karmic forces have already started to act and the result is coming. But in the meantime the divine Compassion may begin to operate in and through that particular person. He may feel, "All right, I have done something wrong, but now I am doing something right to make up for it. I have the capacity to do something wrong, but I also have the capacity to do something right. Let me do it and earn God's Forgiveness." Then God's Forgiveness will fight against his karmic punishment.

If a spiritual Master is involved in the life of a particular seeker, then what can the Master do? If he sees that somebody is about to be punished for his wrong actions, if the spiritual Master wants to and if it is the Will of God, he can take the punishment on himself. He will not suffer as much as the seeker would have suffered. If he wants, he can immediately throw the pain or suffering into the Universal Consciousness. For my disciples I do this kind of thing.

Question: I would like to know why so many obstacles arise in our way when we enter the spiritual path?

Sri Chinmoy: Here you have to know what the true and conscious acceptance of the spiritual life entails. Before you accepted the spiritual life you had all these problems, either in the subconscious part of yourself or in your outer daily life. But just because you were unconscious, you were not aware of them. Before you accepted the spiritual life, you were fast asleep in the world of inconscience, so you were not fully aware of the difficulties you had.

When you are fast asleep at night, somebody may be talking in your room, but just because you are asleep, you don't know about it. Similarly, you think that you had no difficulties before. But that is just because you were in another world. Once you enter into the world of reality, which is the world of spiritual aspiration, and your inner life is awakened, you will become aware of these problems.

This is a great opportunity for you to make progress. In the spiritual life you immediately know who your enemies are, who is standing in your way. Immediately you get the opportunity to face your enemies, fight them and transform them. When the enemy is hiding in the dark you don't see him. If you don't see the enemy, how are you going to fight him? How are you going to chase him away or capture him and transform him? But in broad daylight you can clearly see your obstacles. Now that you are conscious, you are seeing the difficulties — not necessarily as outer enemies but as your own imperfections. The more you run toward the Light, the more you will see the slightest darkness within yourself and feel it holding you back. When you are consciously trying to be perfect, just a slight imperfection will disappoint you. If you told me that you would come at three o'clock and you came one minute late, immediately it would bother you. "Oh, I told my Master that I would be there at three o'clock. How is it that I am late by one minute?" The nearer you are to the Light, the more importance you give to Light and the more clearly you will see what is darkness and what is Light.

It is not enough just to see your enemies in order to conquer and transform them. Also you must have aspiration. This aspiration brings down the highest Light and highest Power for you. In you it acts, through you it acts and for you it acts just because you are aspiring. If you are not aspiring, this divine Grace, divine Power, will not descend into you. Then all these obstacles will remain in your life for many, many, many incarnations.

In this incarnation, however, you have accepted the spiritual life consciously, devotedly and soulfully. Now you can make wonderful progress. You have received the greatest opportunity to overcome all difficulties, and you should be happy that you are now aware of the obstacles and can fight them and transform them. It is your aspiration that will solve all your problems. When you did not have aspiration, that was the real problem. Now the problems that you are seeing can easily be conquered on the strength of your sincere aspiration.

Question: How can a man achieve will power — I mean the strength to go forward on the spiritual path?

Sri Chinmoy: There are quite a few things one has to do. You are using the term "will power" in the spiritual sense, so I am telling you from the spiritual point of view how you can develop and increase will power. First of all, you must mix only with spiritual people. It is true that everyone is God's child; we are all God's children. But God is not asking you to mix with everyone. He is asking you only to mix with those whom you feel are spiritually aspiring. By sitting beside an ordinary person, you may get pleasure. But by sitting beside someone who is spiritually aspiring, you will get divine joy, because his inspiration is increasing the divine strength inside you. Will power is in all divine qualities. In joy also there is tremendous will power. So you will be able to increase your will power by mixing with people who are spiritual.

Here is another way. You know that you eat twice or three times a day. Eating energises your body but it does not energise your soul; it does not fulfil your soul's mission on earth. For that you have to spend a few minutes two or three times a day in meditation.

Then you have to constantly ask yourself one thing: do you want God or do you want ignorance? Both are standing right in front of you at every moment and you must make a choice. You know and everybody knows that one cannot serve two masters. So when these two masters stand in front of you, you have to decide immediately which one you want. If you choose God, then you must come to Him and enter into Him. And each time you find that you have come out of a divine consciousness, you have to enter into it again. If you can re-enter into God's Consciousness faithfully every time you come out of it, then eventually you will reach the point where you will not come out of it and enter into ignorance anymore. A day will come when your conscious choice of God will be permanent and you will be totally merged in God forever.

As you begin your spiritual journey, always try to feel that you are God's child. Early in the morning you can soulfully repeat, "I am God's child, I am God's child, I am God's child." Immediately you will see that whatever is dark, impure and ugly in you will go away. Later in the day, when ignorance comes to tempt you, you will feel, "I am God's child. How can I do this? I cannot enter into ignorance." By repeating, "I am God's child," you will get abundant inner strength and will power.

These are some ways to increase your inner strength. You can practise all of them, but to start with, mix with spiritual people. Again, you should be careful. If you are following my path, you should mix with my disciples. This is not because I am mean or I am jealous of other spiritual seekers. But one cannot be in two boats at once. If you have one foot in our boat and the other foot in another boat, you will only fall into the sea of ignorance-confusion. It is for your own good that I ask you to associate only with the disciples of your own Master. A real Master cannot be jealous of any other path or any other Master. We shall all ultimately reach the same Goal. But as I said before, one cannot serve two masters. Two spiritual Masters can never be properly served by one individual at one time. If you want to serve the Supreme in me, come only to this place and do not go to any other spiritual place. If today you are here and tomorrow at some other group, then you will never make any progress. You will not get anything lasting, either from me or from the other Master. You will only become confused. By being regular in any path you develop inner will power. Regularity is a great help in developing will power.

Question: How can we tell which is our ego's will and which is the soul's will?

Sri Chinmoy: When it is our ego's will, we try to achieve something by hook or by crook. That is to say, we don't hesitate to employ foul means. We try to do something and then, if we see that we have not succeeded, immediately we try to achieve it by any means at all. That is our ego's will. If we don't achieve our goal even then, we curse the person from whom we expected the thing or we curse the thing which we wanted to achieve and could not achieve.

The soul's will has infinitely more power than the ego's will, but the soul uses its power only because God is inspiring it to achieve something divine. This is what makes the soul's will divine: God's Power is behind it. When we bring the soul's will to the fore, the first thing that we feel is a kind of inner conviction. From deep within we receive the inner conviction that our Inner Pilot wants a certain thing from us. We feel clearly what we want to be or what we want to achieve, plus we feel the inspiration to do the thing. The ego's will, on the other hand, does not offer us this inner assurance. Although we are not convinced inwardly, we try to convince ourselves that we are doing the right thing, even when we are adopting foul means. We try to convince ourselves through our mind, through our vital, through our physical.

When it is the soul's will, we automatically feel not only an inner conviction but also a kind of inner confidence. If God wants us to win, to succeed or to achieve, then we know that He will give indomitable will to the soul. This inner confidence is accompanied by an inner joy, sometimes an inner ecstasy. In the case of the ego, this does not happen. While we are exercising our ego's will, there will often be some fear in it. "Perhaps I will lose the battle. Perhaps my pride will be smashed. Perhaps I will be outdone by the other party." A constant battle is going on. Although we may feel that we are stronger, more powerful, more dynamic, we have no security or confidence. We are afraid that we will be defeated or will not have the capacity to achieve our desire. But the soul's will does not care for success. The soul's will cares only for progress and experience.

When the soul's will power is utilised, it is like a huge wave in the sea. Immediately it inundates the entire consciousness. Once the soul's will is expressed, we are bound to feel that our inner consciousness is inundated with divine energy, inner joy, inner delight, inner power and inner confidence. Everything negative is swept away by the surge of the soul's force. But when we use the ego's will, we feel that we are personally building a palace. We have enormous pride, but also fear that even while building it the palace may crack or collapse. With fear comes doubt. When fear and doubt go together, we see frustration and destruction looming large. But the soul's will is inundated with inner confidence, inner assurance and inner oneness with the Highest. In this inner confidence is true divinity.

Question: In one of your poems you say, "Hope lost, gloom growsDark poison-blightDestruction flows." What can an aspirant do if he is losing hope?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, I wish to tell you why a person loses hope. Someone loses hope because he makes himself feel that there is a certain period, a given time, in which he has to achieve something or in which he is going to achieve something. We decide, for example, that in two days we are going to achieve some specific thing. Outwardly we may say that in the near future we hope to get something or do something. But this is not entirely true. If we go deep within, we will see that our minds have already set a particular time limit. When the date arrives, our outer mind may not know that this was the deadline fixed on our inner mind's calendar. But on that day, if we have not achieved or received the hoped-for result, we will find that our whole world has collapsed. If we don't see the result on that day, we will be miserable.

What can we do to regain hope? First, we have to know that real hope is not something weak. Very often we think of hope as something very delicate-a sweet, smooth, soothing feeling with no reality in it. But this is not an adequate definition of hope. We have to know that hope is something very solid, very strong. Hope is not something that is crying for the world beyond or crying for a truth which does not exist. No, hope has seen the truth, but it cannot and does not yet possess it. It has seen the truth, only it is unable to bring the truth into the world.

This is divine hope that I am talking about. Divine hope is very different from human hope. Ordinary human hope can rarely be fulfilled because inside it there is no determination, no sincerity, no conscious willingness to accept the highest Truth. With our human hope, if we want to achieve the Highest, the Ultimate, we will not succeed. When the Highest is descending and approaching our physical being, at that time human hope will be terrified. It will try to escape the moment it sees the vastness of the Reality that it was hoping to possess.

But divine hope is something that has seen the truth which we are ultimately going to achieve. If we know what divine hope is, then we will get strength from the certainty that it offers us. Hope has not yet been able to bring the truth to the fore in our lives, but one day it shall. The time which has been planned by God has not yet come, but it will come.

Human hope expects something-say, five dollars. When fulfilment comes, immediately this human hope is overjoyed and it loses its inner poise. But if we start with divine hope, we will never lose our inner balance and poise. Our divine hope has already seen truth in its highest aspect. Now this truth needs only to be embodied. Our hope is only to bring that truth into manifestation. Then, when hope's fulfilment comes, we do not lose our inner balance because we knew that it was bound to happen.

How can we avoid losing hope? We must try to cast aside all expectations from our desiring mind. It is our outer mind which feels that it needs something or wants something. When we feel that we need something, hope begins to play its part. It is the desiring mind that feeds our outer hope. If we can be above the desiring mind and remain all the time in the spontaneity of the heart, then we will have a constant feeling of possessing the divine truth. Our inner heart is always full and complete, requiring nothing. When we need nothing, hope does not enter into the picture, for it is not at all necessary.

So if you can remain with your heart's burning aspiration, it will be impossible for earthly hope to knock at your door because your divine hope is already self-sufficient. When you remain with your heart's aspiration, you are constantly identified with God's Will, and at that time your earthly hope is transformed into divine hope.

Your question was, "What can you do when you lose hope?" When you lose hope, you have to tell yourself that the Reality is bound to come to you precisely because you are in the world of aspiration. You are aspiring most sincerely, most devotedly. You know that you are doing the right thing. If the truth or the fulfilment that your hope has seen has not yet been able to come into manifestation, you need not worry. It is only when you lose your aspiration that you can feel that you are lost.

When I said, "Hope lost, … destruction flows," I was speaking about the ordinary man who is not aspiring in any way. It is hope, human hope, that keeps him alive on earth. Hope plays a great part in the ordinary human life on earth. For example, some people say that they are doing disinterested work and so on. But only aspirants and truly spiritual people really do this. Ninety-nine percent of the human beings are only feeding their own hopes and desires when they work. That is why they are living, working, existing. Otherwise, they would not budge an inch.

For a spiritual person this does not apply. Where is destruction for a spiritual person? For him there is no destruction. He acts only to fulfil God's Will. God's Will can be fulfilled in two ways: in the form of success or in the form of failure. But God Himself is above both success and failure. So if you want to become identified totally and inseparably with God's Will, then think neither of success nor of failure. Think only of pleasing the Supreme. According to our human eyes the fulfilment of hope is success. But the fulfilment of God's Will goes far beyond so-called failure or success, and this is what is of paramount importance. Divine fulfilment is always beyond outer results. We understand the results and we derive the utmost benefit from the results only when we are one with God's Will unreservedly. When we are identified with His Will unreservedly, at that time we will undoubtedly feel that we are fulfilled also.

So what can you do when you have lost hope? Only feel the necessity for the flame of your aspiration to burn more brightly and more intensely. Then hope you won't even need. An ordinary person needs hope in order to make any move forward, and if there is no forward movement, then self-destruction starts. So without hope, life for an ordinary person becomes a stagnant pool. But if you have sincere aspiration, you do not have to worry; you will get everything.

Question: Sometimes we think that we have surrendered to God, but later we find out that part of our ego has not surrendered at all. It has been hiding and afterwards comes out. How can we attain complete surrender? How can we make all this ego surrender as a whole?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us view surrender as a muscle. By taking exercise we develop our muscles. If we exercise every day, our muscles become strong, stronger. strongest. Surrender also grows by regular exercise. We can develop this surrender day by day. In one day we cannot make complete surrender to God. It is impossible. Nobody on earth has done such a thing. It is not your fault; it is not my fault; it is nobody's fault. But in order to achieve absolute surrender we have to exercise this spiritual quality constantly.

Our greatest enemy is the ego. At the time we want to surrender, ego gets up and stands defiantly in front of us. We have to know where ego actually lives. The ego hides most of the time in our vital. It hides more in our vital than in our mind, and more in our mind than in our heart. In the mind and in the heart there is some ego, but in the soul there is no ego at all. The soul is egoless. The moment we leave the domain of the soul, the moment we come into the heart, with its affections, likes and dislikes, we find ego. Then, when we come to the mind, we see that ego looms large — the mental ego. When we come to the vital, again there is tremendous ego. And when we enter into the physical, it is all ego.

Question: Spiritually speaking, what is meant by God-realisation?

Sri Chinmoy: God-realisation means the realisation of one's own Self. When you realise your highest Self, you will know that you are nothing other than God. According to our Indian philosophy, "As many men, so many gods." What does this mean? You may think that it means there are innumerable gods who take care of human beings, and that the gods are infinitely superior to human beings and have to look after them. But it does not mean that. The ancient Hindus, when they said, "As many men, so many gods," meant that each person is God. But each person is not consciously aware of this. When he becomes divinely aware of what he is and what he stands for, he knows automatically and spontaneously that he is nothing other than God. God and he are absolutely one both in the inner life and in the outer life.

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