The soul's special promise, part 1
Question: When is God's Birthday?Sri Chinmoy: God observes His Birthday in the heart of the seeker only when He sees that the seeker is crying most sincerely for his or her perfect perfection in life.
Question: How does God celebrate His Birthday?Sri Chinmoy: God celebrates His Birthday on earth with His blessingful Joy of Life.
Question: Do all souls make the same promise in essence when they enter the earth arena?Sri Chinmoy: No! Before entering into the earth arena, each soul makes a special promise, and it has to fulfil that promise in a special way before it leaves the world.
Question: Does conscience dawn at birth or after a few years?Sri Chinmoy: Usually conscience comes after the child has been on earth for three years.
Question: Is the soul's promise prophetic?Sri Chinmoy: No! The soul's promise can easily be delayed or destroyed if the darkness of the undivine body, vital or mind becomes extremely strong. Even if the soul's promise is very powerful and very sincere, in most cases it is affected to some extent by the unruly members of the soul's family. Quite often it happens.
Question: What are our inalienable birthrights?Sri Chinmoy: Our inalienable birthright is to claim God. Our main goal is to become His choicest and most perfect instrument.
Question: What is the best way for parents to receive a newborn child?Sri Chinmoy: The best way is to offer gratitude to the Absolute Supreme when receiving a newborn child and to prayerfully inject soulful dreams into the child's heart.
Question: How close a connection does a helpless baby keep with the Source?Sri Chinmoy: The individual does not keep a connection mentally. But the soul itself, although it is inside a little body, can keep a very close, direct connection with God. God has given the soul ample inner light to communicate with Him. Because of its connection with God, the soul is the most powerful member of the inner family. But when it becomes one with the body, vital, mind and heart, the soul pretends to be helpless. At any moment the soul bird can easily fly out of the cage if God wants to take it. But while the bird is inside the cage, it has to deal with the body, vital, mind and heart by pleading and pleading and pleading.
When the body is only two, three or four years old, the soul's connection with God is always strongest. Because children do not have minds, it is very easy for them to keep direct contact with God. But when they grow up and start developing and using the mind, it is much more difficult. Also, children get extra attention just because they are children. God gives special Concentration, Blessings and Love to the souls of children.
Question: Does the soul give importance to the birthday when it is in the animal incarnation?Sri Chinmoy: As soon as you see some animals, you know that they are going to be human in their next incarnation. You may see them in a zoo, but their eyes and even their consciousness seem human. If the animal is extremely developed and mature and on the verge of becoming a human being, then the animal's soul may observe the birthday.
Question: Do the souls of countries observe their birthdays?Sri Chinmoy: It depends on whether or not the country is spiritual. Some countries do not believe in the soul or in God, and their souls do not observe their birthdays. But if a country does believe in God and the soul, the soul definitely can observe its birthday.
The birthday of a country may not take place on a fixed date. In this case a birthday takes place when a new consciousness is dawning in the country. When the soul can offer this new consciousness to the citizens of the country, when the soul can enter into the body, vital, mind or consciousness of the country with something new, at that time the soul observes its birthday with all its joy.
Question: Do the cosmic gods and goddesses have birthdays?Sri Chinmoy: They do, but they celebrate their birthday as the day when the happiest thing has happened. When they conquer hostile forces on earth or in Heaven, then they celebrate their victory.
Question: Do the souls of your creations, such as your songs and paintings, celebrate their birthdays?Sri Chinmoy: Consciously they do not. Since I am the creator, if I feel like observing their birthdays, I can. If I have painted something extraordinary and I want to observe the date when I created it, then I can do so. But the souls as such do not consciously celebrate.
Question: Is there more significance to your last birthday?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, your last birthday and also your first birthday have a very special significance. On your last birthday before you leave the body, the soul is counting how many good things and how many bad things you have done, how many of its promises it has fulfilled and how many it has not fulfilled.
The Supreme says to the soul: "I came to you and offered you as much as I could. How much did you manifest My Light on Mother-Earth?"
The soul says to the Supreme: "You have given me the capacity and opportunity to come here and serve You. Now I am going back to my celestial Home with my gratitude and love."
Question: Are some birthdays more significant?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, on certain birthdays you are more conscious of your inner life, your aspiration and dedication. Those birthdays are infinitely, infinitely more important than the birthdays when you are only thinking of parties and friends and counting how many gifts you have gotten. It is not how many outer or earthly achievements you have attained that matters, but how many hours you have thought of God and offered gratitude to God for sending you into this world to work for Him. If, on the strength of your prayer and meditation, on a particular birthday you are conscious of your goal, that birthday is infinitely more important than other birthdays when you are not consciously and sincerely trying to do something significant or become something good for God.
Question: Generally, is the birthday a person's best day to make progress?Sri Chinmoy: We have to know that every day will not be the same. Some days are rainy; others are sunny. When the inner weather is bright and clear, naturally on that day we can get more inspiration. The soul's day is like that. But if we are not aware of it or if we are not paying attention to it, then it is like any other day. So we cannot categorically say that we will make the most progress on our birthday.
Some people feel miserable on their birthday because every moment they are occupied with earthly, mundane things. They feel miserable the whole day because early in the morning they could not meditate, during the day they could not meditate and in the evening they could not meditate. The birthday is the anniversary of the day the soul entered into the world, making a very special promise to the Supreme. Especially on our birthday, we have the golden opportunity to renew that promise and offer our surrender and gratitude to the Supreme. The opportunity is there; only we have to avail ourselves of it.
Question: What is the best way to be receptive on one's birthday?Sri Chinmoy: The best way is to repeat again and again: "I came into the world to love God, to serve God and to manifest God." If you can repeat this, you can make the best progress.
Question: Is the power of one's prayer more potent on one's birthday?Sri Chinmoy: The power of a person's prayer depends on the consciousness of the individual. If the consciousness of the individual is high, then his prayer will be more potent. If his consciousness is not high, even if it is his birthday, then it will not be potent.
Some seekers are clever or wise. Over the years they have observed that they do not make any progress on their birthday; instead, they go downhill because often the hostile forces attack on that day. So five or six days before their birthday, they pray and meditate with utmost sincerity, love and devotion. In this way they accumulate inner wealth. Then, if the hostile forces attack them on their birthday and their consciousness descends, if they are not feeling spiritual at their birthday party, it is not so bad because they have already earned and received so much.
Question: How can we make progress if we are not with you physically on our birthday?Sri Chinmoy: It depends entirely on your inner faith. If you meditate on my highest transcendental consciousness, you are bound to feel my spiritual presence. During your meditation, if you can feel that while I am in that consciousness I am all for you — for your spiritual success and progress — then your meditation will be extremely powerful.
Right now I am relaxed and answering questions, but you are trying to listen to me devotedly and you are seeing the spiritual inside the physical in me. Similarly, when I am physically absent and you are meditating on my transcendental picture, you have to feel the physical inside the spiritual. Then easily you can make progress.
Question: Does it help to pray in advance for receptivity on one's birthday?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, you should starting praying and meditating quite a few days in advance so you can create powerful receptivity on your birthday.
Question: Is there a spiritual advantage for your friends if you give them material birthday gifts?Sri Chinmoy: It depends on your connection with the person. If you sincerely feel an inner connection, then giving gifts helps them both inwardly and outwardly. But if you do not have any connection, if you give somebody a birthday gift just because that person gave you a gift on your birthday, then there is no feeling behind it and it is silly. But if you give something with utmost feeling, concern and loving oneness, then it does help.
Question: Which is better: being peaceful on your birthday or killing yourself making prasad and so forth?Sri Chinmoy: Being peaceful is infinitely more important than buying prasad or going out to a restaurant with your friends. These things are not important. If you can get peace, joy and inner aspiration while you are eating Chinese food with your friends, that is all right. But if your inner poise, inner height and intense inner cry all disappear inside your Chinese food, then that is not good. If you only give yourself to outer, social activities and pay no attention to your spirituality, then you will lose all your inner wealth.
Again, you have to know that the inner and the outer both must go together. If you pray and meditate in the morning most soulfully and powerfully, definitely you will receive inner poise and other inner wealth. Then you have to maintain this inner poise while you are making prasad or doing other things during the day.
Question: Does the soul have a preference for the particular season in which it is going to be born?Sri Chinmoy: When the soul takes incarnation, it does not care for winter or summer or spring. It is descending because somebody is begging for a soul and saying, "I am welcoming you. Be my guest. This is my home. This is my month." But from the highest Heaven, the soul is not thinking of spring or summer.
Question: Does the soul have a free access to the past, present and future and also to God's own Knowledge?Sri Chinmoy: It depends on how developed the soul is. Ordinary souls do not have that capacity. The most advanced souls may have a free access to quite a few planes of consciousness, but even these souls do not have access to all planes of consciousness or to God's infinite Wisdom-Light. If God, out of His infinite Bounty, wants to grant His infinite Wisdom-Light in a blessingful way to a particular realised soul, He can. Otherwise, no soul, no matter how highly developed it is, will be able to have God's Wisdom Light or free access to all the planes.
Question: If the soul has access to the oversoul, which has access to God, then what is evolving in each of us?Sri Chinmoy: Access is not everything. You people come to see me when I am playing tennis. You have access to me, but that does not mean you have my wisdom-light. In the disciples' case, what is evolving? Your eagerness is evolving. Today you have a certain eagerness to please me, to become close to me, to get peace or light from me. As your eagerness increases, your receptivity increases and you are able to receive more inner qualities from me. On the strength of your eagerness, each time you are getting a little more, a little more. And as your inner wealth increases, your spiritual life or inner life evolves.
Question: When you say that someone's soul comes to you, does the soul come to you in a particular form?Sri Chinmoy: When I say that someone's soul comes to me, it does not mean that the soul has to come always in its own form. The soul can also take the form of your face or your body in the subtle physical world. Sometimes a person's soul comes to me just before I see that individual. First I see the soul, and then I see the person. Sometimes the soul comes to me in its own form, with boundless beauty that cannot be described. At other times, the soul can take the form of the individual's physical body.
Just a few days ago, for example, I saw two disciples on 150th Street. Just a few seconds before that, I was talking to their souls. At that time, what I saw was not the soul in its pristine form. The souls had taken the form of the subtle physical.
Question: I see reports quite often about serious problems with overpopulation. In terms of all the new souls that are coming to earth and all the other plants and animals that are gradually evolving into human beings, will there be enough room for all these souls to incarnate and evolve?Sri Chinmoy: Have you forgotten that you and I will die one day? Souls are all the time coming and going. It is like a shuttle. Tomorrow you are going to Boston and a few days later you will come back. Like this, the soul is taking incarnation and then, after playing its role successfully or unsuccessfully, it is going back. Then new souls are coming.
Question: Will there ever be a time when souls incarnate in a different way than they do now?Sri Chinmoy: Some spiritual Masters say that in the process of evolution — it may take thousands of years or God knows how long — souls will come down directly from the subtle physical and take human form without going through the birth process. "Superman" is the word Nietzsche used, but he used it in a vital sense, whereas Sri Aurobindo used it in a divine sense.
Now we are at the mercy of death. Death can take us away at any time; while we are drinking water or reading the newspaper, we can die. Only spiritual Masters and very highly developed souls can use their conscious will to determine the moment of their death. But in the future, when souls come down directly into the physical body while remaining fully conscious, they will not be under the jurisdiction of death. Souls will be able to stay on earth to work for God and manifest God's Will as long as they want to. Then they will have greater possibilities to manifest God because death will not be able to take them away prematurely.
At that time, the body itself will be part and parcel of the soul's divinity. Now the body is lethargic and undivine. It does not listen even to the heart, let alone the soul, which is infinitely higher. Now we do not know where God is or even where our soul is. Sometimes we are aware of the heart, but we do not listen to it. But the day will come when the body, vital, mind and heart will be perfect instruments of God. At that time these members will be so spiritually developed that they will immediately understand whatever it is that God does.
Now we do not understand anything about God's Vision. It is just a matter of belief or feeling or blind faith that God is doing everything for our own good. Now it is not necessary for us to understand Him, because we love Him and have faith in Him. But a day will come when He will be able to make us immediately see and feel why He is asking us to do something. At that time the mind will not operate at all.
Now when God asks us to do something, the heart may be ready to listen, but the mind hesitates. Again, the mind is afraid that if the heart, vital and body all listen to God and the mind remains the only obstacle, then the mind will be in serious trouble. So right now the mind obeys God unwillingly. But a day will come when the mind will immediately be convinced, just like the heart, that God is telling us to do the right thing.
Question: On one's birthday, is it very difficult for the soul to come forward?Sri Chinmoy: In life we always observe special dates. Otherwise, life is monotonous. Every day we eat, but the day we go to a restaurant and eat special food, we remember. Every day the soul is observing our body, vital, mind and heart. But on our birthday, the soul renews its promise to God, and the members of its family — the heart, mind, vital and body — also renew their promise to God. The soul has made conscious promises to God, and the members of its family have made unconscious promises. But there is only one promise that they all make: God-fulfilment — God-fulfilment in the body, in the vital, in the mind, in the heart and in the entire being.
For great seekers, every day the soul comes to the fore and helps them considerably. But if someone is not a conscious seeker, the soul does not try to come forward; it feels it is a hopeless case. If the doctor knows that somebody is practically dead, then what is the use of giving him an injection? But if he sees that there is still some life, then he will try. In the case of ordinary human beings, even on their birthdays the soul does not come forward because the individuals are not consciously aspiring.
Question: Since there is no earth-bound time in Heaven, how does the soul know on what day to incarnate so as to be in accord with astrology? Does the Supreme say, "Wait, you have to go down on such and such a day because of astrology?"Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme does not deal with astrology at all. The soul is not going to think of the time and date it should come down, and who is going to watch. The soul is the boss. Whenever the boss wants to come down to the factory floor, he comes. Then the workers see whether it is three o'clock or five o'clock and what position the zodiac is in.
When taking incarnation, the soul never thinks of astrology — far from it! The soul will have an interview with the Supreme and then it is done. It is not like when you go to the bank, and others in the street will see that you have taken a cab and that you are looking at this person or that person. They will say, "Yes, he was there, he looked around, he went to that teller and so forth." The soul is not paying any attention to these things.
Question: When does the soul decide to incarnate in a certain family in a certain country?Sri Chinmoy: The soul can decide five or six years in advance, a few months in advance or even a minute before the baby leaves the mother's body. It can even decide an hour or two after the baby has left the mother's body. Sometimes the baby is born, but the soul has not yet come. Usually after the baby has been alive for three hours, the soul will no longer enter into the body. Then the baby will not live.
Question: When the soul picks a particular family to be born into, is it because it is very fond of the members of that family?Sri Chinmoy: On rare occasions it may happen that the soul decides four or five years before it incarnates that it will enter into a particular family for a special reason. It can be either because of fondness, or because it wants to do something special, or because in a previous incarnation the soul promised another soul that they would be together. Also, if two souls are together in the soul's world and one soul incarnates a number of years before the other, the soul that remains may promise the other soul, "When I come down I shall enter into your family. You will be my mother; I will come to you as your daughter." So sometimes there is a special reason, and sometimes there is no special reason why a soul enters into a particular family.
Question: Has it ever happened that two souls want to enter into the same family at the same time?Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely. In the case of twins and triplets and so forth, the souls may have been dying to come together, and then the Supreme has sanctioned it. Often two souls decide to come down together as twins because they are fond of each other and they are ready to make sacrifices for each other.
Question: Guru, your soul is always to the fore. In your case, when it is your physical birthday, what happens in the inner world?Sri Chinmoy: For me, every day is my birthday. But on my physical birthday, it becomes more important for me because I see that on that day my disciples are trying to bring down more Grace from Above, either for themselves or for my victory. Whenever I complete something good, it is my soul's victory. So on my birthday, the disciples are trying to get more blessings, affection and concern from my soul. They are asking me for more compassion, more light and more divine qualities because they know I entered into the world to be of service to them, or they are praying to the Supreme for the Supreme's Victory or for my victory.
Also, two or three days before my birthday, the cosmic gods and goddesses in Heaven ask my dear ones — my parents, my relatives, my admirers, my disciples of this incarnation and disciples of my previous incarnations — to observe my birthday in the soul's world. Now that I have taken human incarnation, it is as if I am in a different country. So in Heaven they think of what I am doing on earth and count the days until I am with them again. So in these ways my birthday is really special.
Question: As a doctor, I know that our body's structure is determined by the genes we get from our parents. I was wondering if there is a similar connection between a baby's soul and the souls of its parents?Sri Chinmoy: The parents have their own souls and the child has its own soul. In some cases the souls were connected in previous incarnations and in some cases they were not. In these cases, the child's soul and the parents' souls are being connected by the Highest, by God the Supreme, for the first time. Again, if in this incarnation two souls are connected, there is no guarantee that in the next incarnation they will be together again.
It is like players on a football team. Some players will play for a long time, whereas others may not play for more than one season. Then they will go to some other club or give up playing entirely. But only very, very highly developed souls will be given permission by God to give up playing entirely and will no longer have to reincarnate. Ordinary souls have to come back again and again to learn the game and work for God.
Question: Is it good for a child when his soul was connected previously with his parents' souls?Sri Chinmoy: It can be very good — like an old friendship. If I have been friends with someone for a long time, then we have shared so many things. That individual is aware of all the things that have happened in my life and I am also aware of his life-story. So we are getting a chance to help each other and be of service to each other. In this sense, the longer we maintain our friendship, the better.
Again, friendship can be progressive. On earth you can call somebody your friend and he can call you his friend, but when the time comes for you to make a request of that person, he will say he is busy or not feeling well or give some other reason not to help you. This kind of friendship is useless. Many times it happens that a friendship lasts for forty or fifty years, but during these fifty years neither person helps the other in any way.
Real human friendship should be based on self-offering. When you are in need or when you want something, I will give it to you; and when I am in need, you will help me. That kind of friendship is good. Again, there is another kind of friendship that is established by God, the Inner Pilot. This friendship is not like human friendship at all. In this case, I am not somebody's friend because I have done that person a favour or that person has done me a favour. No, here the message of friendship is coming from a higher authority. God Himself is commanding me to be the friend of so and so. That friendship rests on a totally different basis.
Again, the same Highest can tell me to withdraw my friendship. It is not because the other person has become bad. The Highest wanted to have a special experience in and through me with regard to that person, and when that experience is over, He does not want me to maintain my friendship. For spiritual people who are very advanced in their inner life, friendship is on another level — not a human level but a divine level.
For instance, I have many students. On the one hand you can call them my spiritual children. Again, they have established their eternal friendship with me, and I have established my eternal friendship with them. It was they who wanted it, not I; and it was the Will of the Highest Absolute Supreme, who made us one. Our oneness He will keep either throughout Eternity or for as long as He wants.
This is very different from human friendship, which lasts for twenty or thirty years and then ends after we leave the body. If two friends are not of the same spiritual level, after they leave the body they will not be together. Each will go to a particular plane of consciousness according to his own inner development. If one is on a very high branch of the tree and the other is on the lowest branch, on earth they may be able to work together and stay together, but in Heaven they will go to different places. In Heaven, only souls of the same standard remain together.
Again, when someone is connected with a spiritual Master, even if the Master is infinitely higher than the student, they can be together in Heaven. There spiritual Masters have their own realm, and if they are fond of their students and their students are fond of them, they can remain together. It is like a family. Even if the parents have very great wisdom and depth, whereas the children are quite undeveloped, still they stay together. But if two friends do not belong to the same spiritual family, then after they die each will go to a different plane of consciousness according to his own spiritual development.
Question: What are your feelings about suicide?Sri Chinmoy: Suicide is the worst possible crime on earth. It is lower than the lowest, worse than the worst. It is an insult to God. If someone commits suicide, it is the worst possible betrayal of God because each individual is the embodiment of God's highest Dream. God's highest Dream is to make each and every individual His absolutely choice instrument. God gives us limited freedom, but if we use that limited freedom to destroy ourselves, we are destroying everything that God wanted to create in and through us. God gives us a knife thinking that we will use it to cut a mango and share it with our friends. But instead of cutting a mango, if we stab ourselves out of anger, frustration and doubt, it is the worst possible sin that we are committing.
When normal people die, even if they were not spiritual, they ascend to a certain plane of consciousness. But people who commit suicide enter into a low, lower, lowest plane of consciousness where they suffer excruciating pains. The excruciating pains that human beings can suffer on earth are nothing in comparison to the torture that they undergo in this plane of consciousness. I have a free access to all the planes, so I know what happens to those who commit suicide and I also know what happens to people who lead a spiritual life. I know, because I have the capacity to go to the abysmal abyss, just as I have the capacity to go to the highest height.
God created us for our perfection; He created us to give Him joy. Those who identify only with their body, those who live only in the mind and in the vital, feel that they own their bodies. But we do not own our bodies; the owner is the One who created us. It was He who gave us the body. So we have no right to destroy it. The Creator is always the possessor, but we have to take some responsibility for taking care of the creation. If we take responsibility for our body and keep it healthy, if we take care of our doubting and restless mind and our strangling vital, we will never commit suicide.
Question: If human beings knew about their former incarnations, wouldn't they be better in this incarnation?Sri Chinmoy: If you know that in your past incarnation you were very bad, then in this incarnation you will say, "Oh, if I was that kind of person, then how can I expect to be good and divine now?" If you were a cruel military officer who killed many people in your last incarnation, and now those people whom you killed are approaching you as friends, so many bad thoughts will come to mind and you will feel miserable. Again, if you know that you were a saint in your past incarnation, you will say, "If I was so divine and spiritual in my past incarnation, how is it that I am having so many bad thoughts now? How is it that I feel such jealousy and insecurity?" Again you will feel depressed and miserable. So the best thing is to block out past incarnations and open yourself to fresh, new experiences.
If you are in your room and somebody is knocking at your door, you have no idea whether it is a good person or a bad person. So the best thing is not to open the door for some time. If it is a bad person, he will say, "It is beneath my dignity to keep knocking at his door when he does not pay any attention to me," and he will go away. If the person knocking at your door is a friend, he will say, "Perhaps he is doing something very important. Let me wait."
In the same way, many thoughts will come to you when you are praying and meditating. But if you continue to meditate and pay no attention to these thoughts, eventually the bad thoughts will go away and only the good thoughts will remain. They will say, "He is praying and meditating and trying to reach the Highest. Let us wait and be of service to him." Then, when you finally open the door, you will see that only good thoughts will be waiting for you.
Suppose yesterday you prayed for two hours and got tremendous joy. Today you can try to meditate for another two or three hours and keep a direct connection with the previous day. Also, if you did something twenty or thirty years ago that was very good, you can keep your connection with it. But if you try to dig up your ancient past — what you did one hundred or three hundred years ago — it will create so much confusion in your life. Only think about walking toward your goal. Eventually the bad thoughts will stop following you and only good thoughts will remain.
Question: Sometimes in my dreams I see a seashore, and I feel that I once lived there. I don't know why, but it is very unpleasant for me.Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes the soul wants to give us a direct, luminous experience of reality, and what we see in our dreams can be true. But sometimes unaspiring things that come from the vital world can get mixed up in the dream. A dream is like the cover of reality; as soon as you remove the tablecloth, you see the table. Under the tablecloth may be so many dirty, filthy things.
Similarly, dreams coming directly from the soul are very pure; these dreams are absolutely clean, bright, encouraging, inspiring. There is nothing between the dream and the reality. But in other cases, many unhealthy, unaspiring things from the vital world make the dream very confusing, so the reality is not clearly visible through the dream.
Sometimes a dream is like an absolutely clear sky, and we can easily see the sun. But sometimes the sky is covered with teeming clouds and the sun is totally veiled. When we have dreams like that, we have to know that the vital has come forward and is not letting us see the reality. We have to pray and meditate sincerely for a few years so that we can learn to distinguish between a dream that comes directly from the soul and is showing us the reality and a dream that comes from the vital and is not showing us the reality.
When we know from which plane a dream is coming, then we can know whether or not to take it seriously. If it is coming from the vital world, we will not pay any attention to it, for we know it is all confusion. If it is coming from the psychic world, we have to know how to interpret it. And if it is coming from a high, spiritual world and showing the absolute reality, we will be anxious and eager to know what is happening or about to happen.