Ten divine secrets

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Part I — Ten divine secrets

TDS 1-10. On 6 May 1976, during a celebration of D's birthday, D requested Sri Chinmoy to reveal some of his inner secrets for the benefit of the disciples. The following is Sri Chinmoy's reply to that request.

Miracles

In the outer world a miracle is something unusual that fascinates the human in us. In the inner world a miracle is a common experience-reality. In the outer world each miracle creates tremendous confusion in the human mind. It fascinates the mind but, at the same time, it detracts from the spiritual reality. But in the inner world every so-called miracle is only an incident, a happening, a necessity so that the outer life can be awakened, perfected and fulfilled without falling prey to doubt, fear, frustration and impurity. There is not a single day when I do not perform hundreds of miracles in the inner world. But when I do something in the outer world directly and immediately, then it becomes an astonishment, something fantastic, which may create problems. This is one secret.

The reality of the inner world

When I sing or play instruments, no matter how badly I play or sing, no matter how many mistakes I make, my realisation remains the same. When I play, some disciples inwardly laugh and others just fall asleep. But you have to know that whenever I do anything in the outer world, quite a few things happen in the inner world. Each time I do something significant for humanity, the cosmic gods and spiritual Masters of the highest order come to appreciate it. I am their brother; I am one with them. When I do something, they come and garland me.

But what am I going to do with the human beings who are living in the world of insecurity, impurity and jealousy? Shall I take them as the reality and the inner world as the dream? Or shall I take them as the dream and the inner world as the reality? The inner world is much more real to me. When I look at you, I see inside you the Supreme, and also I see your human imperfection. I see the real inside you and, at the same time, something else which is not real. I see the divine and the human. Within each human being, it is the same Supreme, but in the outer expression it is totally different.

Insecurity and complacency

I always say that insecurity is very bad. Why should you be insecure? Oneness is the only reality. He who has established oneness with God has no insecurity. But until that oneness is established, the seeker has to be very careful. He must always remember that he has come here to become God's perfect instrument. If he does not become a perfect instrument and please God in His own Way, then the fulfilment of the Master's mission will remain a far cry. Every hour and every day he should think, "Let me become a perfect instrument." Even if he is highly appreciated in the outer world, he should not have a complacent feeling. If he does, he will not strive to become better and he will not make any progress.

God is transcending Himself at every moment. Our part in God's cosmic Game is to know that we need perfection and then to strive for perfection — the ultimate perfection which is always transcending itself. If we feel insecure because we have not reached our goal and because we are still imperfect, then that kind of insecurity is helpful. We are imperfect and we know it, but we are in no way trying to increase other people's insecurity. If we have this kind of insecurity, then every day we will try to make progress until we become perfect instruments of God. This sense of insecurity helps us. When we feel miserable that God-realisation is a far cry for us, our next step will be to strive to make progress.

Some disciples become complacent because they get outer affection from me. But perfection will remain a million miles away from them if they do not constantly increase their desire for self-perfection.

Fighting in the inner worlds

The other day we were watching Muhammad Ali fighting on the television. One of the disciples asked me, "How can you watch that kind of fighting? It is so brutal!" So I told her that several weeks ago two of my disciples fought in the inner worlds, and their fight was infinitely more brutal. She herself had fought with someone in the vital worlds a month or so before that time.

If you are fighting or boxing in the outer world, you may break your nose or your shoulder and then have to stop. But if you are fighting in the inner world, especially in the vital world, your inner capacities can be permanently damaged or totally destroyed. You can lose all faith in your inner reality, in God and in your Guru. When faith loses to doubt, your spiritual life is ended.

When I see disciples fighting or being jealous in the outer world, sometimes I just ignore them. In comparison to what can happen in the inner world, it is nothing. I direct my attention to the inner world. My whole concern is for their inner life. Their quarrelling outer nature will be transformed in a minute when their inner life is illumined.

Inner work

Just because I am eating or talking, some people may think my spiritual life is forgotten. But they have to know that in the inner world I can do many things at one time. When someone drives a car, he is doing all kinds of things at the same time. He is looking ahead and also glancing in the rear view mirror and to the side. He uses his feet and his hands to operate the car and, at the same time, he may be talking or listening to the radio. An ordinary man has enough power of concentration to do many things at one time, but only on the outer plane. A Yogi can do all these things on the outer plane and many other things on the inner plane simultaneously. I go very high in the inner world while outwardly I am talking or joking. This is another secret that I have to offer.

Feeding the disciples' souls

Believe it or not, every day I feed the disciples' souls. As it is the bounden duty of the mother to feed her children every day, whether the children want to eat or not, so it is my duty to feed my divine children who are here on earth and also the disciples who have passed away. I also feed many who are not my disciples but who have seen who I am.

There are times when I visit you in a subtle body while you sleep. Like a nurse, I go with utmost compassion to check on you to see if everything is all right and to make sure that the wrong forces are not operating inside you. If I see that you are all right, I quietly leave. Many times you see me, but before you get up other forces operate and you forget that I was there. The experience of my presence can last three or four days; again, it will not last even five minutes if ignorance, like a cloud, veils the mind.

Disciples who have left the path

Quite a few disciples have left our path and I have asked a few to leave. I wish to say that those who have left us have gone out of one room and are staying in another room. I have two rooms belonging to me. If they were to remain in this room, they would disturb the others who are there. So I have asked them, either inwardly or outwardly, to enter into the room of the universal heart. The first room is for the select few who are crying for realisation and who are ready to give utmost importance to realisation. Those who have the capacity to run fast, those who have the same standard, should stay together. The tiger and the goat are both animals, but how can one put a tiger and a goat together?

Disciples who have left, or whom I have asked to leave, do not stay with the select few in my family, but they do stay within my universal heart. Is there anything apart from the universal heart? No, there is nothing. So how can we say that someone has gone out of my heart? But my personal heart, which also houses Infinity and Immortality, is eager to help those of you who still remain in my boat. It is ready to offer realisation, perfection and satisfaction to you as soon as possible, whereas the others will have to take time. They belong to Eternity. But for you Eternity beckons now. For you God's Hour has struck. They will also reach the goal, but you have learned the value of time.

The eternal newness of life

There is no end to our realisation; there is no end to our manifestation. There is always something new to achieve or become. Those who do not live the life of the heart are like broken records. They keep playing the same ignorance-tune over and over. But if we are seekers, every day we have to make a new record, sing a new song, discover a new melody. Those in my boat who are consciously aspiring are singing a new song every day.

Dealing with wrong forces

Sometimes wrong forces attack the disciples because the disciples have done quite a few things wrong. When the forces attack them, they suffer. Then they ask for an interview. They feel that if I talk to them, it will be all over. But I have observed inwardly why they are suffering. I know that if I give them outer attention, their suffering will become worse. It has often been my experience with the wrong forces that as soon as they see love and compassion in the outer world, they attack more violently. When these forces see me coming with love, concern and affection on the outer plane, they attack most powerfully because they are most powerfully threatened. It is like a last effort. Their attack is so powerful that the victim identifies with it and surrenders to them. Then he becomes an instrument of the wrong forces and his depression and frustration increase. It has happened many times. When the depressed person asks for an interview, I don't give it because I know what the consequences will be. I know he is suffering, but I must not feed the destructive aspect. This is why very often I deal with the disciples only in the inner world — with utmost compassion, love and concern. Although I may appear to ignore you in the outer world, you have to know that I am not ignoring you in the inner world.

When depression and frustration loom large in your life, if you want to receive my light, you have to bring some receptivity. You will be able to receive my cure according to your receptivity. What is your receptivity? Your receptivity is your cheerfulness. You have no receptivity when you are depressed, so there is nothing that can be done outwardly. If a patient is dead, what can the doctor do? No matter how many injections the doctor gives him, the patient cannot be cured. Only when there is a little life-energy left is there some hope. If the patient starts with a little cheerfulness, which is spiritual life-energy, then your Guru-doctor will be able to feed that cheerfulness immediately. Even if you have been suffering for a long time, if you come to me with cheerfulness, I can cure your suffering. Your cheerfulness is the bud that will blossom. But if there is no bud, then how can you eventually have a flower? So you have to come with receptivity. If you show inner cheerfulness, then I am ready to help you outwardly as well as inwardly. But without your cheerfulness, the minute I try outwardly to help you, that same minute I will fail and your depression will become infinitely worse. So you must bring some cheerfulness to save yourself.

Outwardly, I try so many times to please the disciples in their own way, so that they will also please me in my own way. If I please them ten times in their own way, I feel that they should try to please me at least once in my own way. But human desire knows no end. The more I try to please them, the more they compel me to please them. I feel that they should at least act like gentlemen: If I please them ten times, then they should please me at least once. But they want to please ignorance instead and they don't please me even one time. If they did please me, they would be able to open up to light, to compassion and to delight. But instead, the disciples say, "You have not given me an interview. You are not pleasing me. You are doing many things wrong. You smiled at someone else and made me jealous. You do something wrong and make me suffer and then you just watch. You just sit there painting or playing the flute. You are fooling us and you won't fulfil any of our needs." When the disciples feel this, then what can I do? I am helpless.

Fulfilment of desires

I have not come into the world to fulfil your desires; I have come to fulfil the divine Will. If you have desires, you have to be responsible for the fulfilment of those desires. But I wish to tell you that those who have given up the inner life to fulfil their desires have found only frustration. Either they have not been able to fulfil their desires or they have found that fulfilling their desires has not given them any true satisfaction. So let us be wise: let us walk along another way. I am your guide. Previously, you listened to the mind and were disappointed. But the heart is the true reality. You are searching for light, but you have not yet achieved it. The heart has told you to take my guidance. When you want to do something, if the teacher tells you not to do it, you should not do it. If I don't allow you to do something, it is because it is not God's Will. You have come to me with an age-old disease: ignorance. Just allow me to cure you. Ignorance has ruled you for millennia, because you have been trying to please your desires. Now try to please your aspiration. God's Hour will strike without fail.

These supreme secrets are my gifts to you, These are real inner secrets that I think will be of benefit to you in your inner life. If you are not aware of them, try to be aware. Other inner secrets will be difficult for you to grasp. They are also true, but they will not help you in any way. If all the disciples listen to these secrets which I have just told you, they will be able to run the fastest. Otherwise, they may stumble and fall on the road.

Part II — Talk

Each moment is an opportunity1

Each moment is an opportunity. Each moment during meditation is the greatest opportunity, no matter what consciousness you were in the rest of the day, or even just before you came into the meditation hall. If you do not meditate well owing to this or that, it does not help at all to blame a third person, or the entire world, or even yourself. During each moment of meditation, the Supreme is knocking at your heart's door. He stands before your heart's door and knocks for you to open it. If you keep it closed, He just goes away.

Each moment is important in your life, but each second during meditation is of utmost and absolute importance. If you have depression, frustration, anger, insecurity, jealousy, impurity, undivine thoughts, undivine ideas or an unaspiring life, during meditation you must throw all these things into the ocean of the Supreme's Compassion. Otherwise, you become the most deplorable loser.

Once you have accepted the spiritual life, you have to be extremely wise. There are many, many people on earth who have not accepted the spiritual life. They do not know and they will never, never know what a divine opportunity is, what a supreme opportunity is. Each moment during meditation is both a golden opportunity and an inner examination. If you do not pass this inner examination, then no matter how many years you stay with your Master or how many times you come into this world, you will remain practically the same undeveloped, unillumined human being.

As seekers, you should feel that you are extremely fortunate, for you are in a divine boat. And you should feel infinitely more fortunate that the Pilot Supreme has infinite Concern and Compassion for you. He is under no obligation to give, but He gives unconditionally out of His infinite Bounty. If you do not accept unreservedly when He gives you unconditionally, then nothing will be able to help you, save you, illumine you or carry you to the other shore. Out of anxiety, worry, depression, frustration, anger, fear and all negative qualities, if you forget to value the most valuable thing both on earth and in Heaven — the Supreme's Compassion — then you are throwing away an unparalleled divine gift.

Nothing will remain permanent in a seeker's life except the infinite Compassion of our Beloved Supreme. If you can receive this infinite Compassion, then, when you leave the body, Heaven's door will be wide open for you. But if you misuse this Compassion, then you will have nothing to show to Heaven's doorkeeper. But, most of the time, the Supreme's infinite Compassion and infinite Concern either you misunderstand or you ignore; either you don't have the receptivity to feel it or you do not value it.

It is the Supreme's Compassion that you have to value first in your life. Unless and until you value the Supreme's Compassion, the gratitude-flower will never blossom inside you. And if you don't develop gratitude, then you are still in the animal kingdom. So, at every moment, value the Supreme's supreme Compassion, which is constantly descending from above. If you can accept it and value it, if you can treasure it at every moment as something which will always remain unparalleled in your inner and outer life, then yours will be the life of supreme satisfaction.

Name, fame, earthly prosperity and earthly achievements will always prove to be useless, useless, useless, even for those who are not sincere seekers. There comes a time when even an ordinary human being — one who has not accepted and who will never accept the spiritual life seriously — will not hesitate to say that earthly achievements all end in frustration. The possessions and the achievements of the desire-life will always end in frustration Only one thing has the capacity to give satisfaction and always will give satisfaction, and that is oneness — conscious, constant, complete, unreserved and unconditional oneness with the Will of the Supreme.

Who says that you do not know the Will of the Supreme? Is there anybody who does not know the Will of the Supreme? No! If you remain in the heart, then at every moment you will know what God's Will is. But if you remain in the mind, never, never will you be able to know the Will of the Supreme. You may have grandiose thoughts and lofty ideas, but they will not be the Will of the Supreme. Life's victory or defeat, life's acceptance or rejection, are not the ultimate reality in the Eyes of the Supreme. He laughs at our acceptance or rejection of life, at our victories and defeats. But He triumphantly smiles at us when His Will becomes our will. We do not have to become great in the outer world to prove to the world or to Him that we are worthy instruments of His. Never does He care for our earthly status. He cares only for one thing: our constant oneness with His Will.

We think that we are beggars. But we have to know that the Supreme is also a beggar. At each moment, we beg Him to grant us millions of things. But He begs us sleeplessly to grant Him only one thing: our soulfully surrendered oneness. This is His only wish. You can say, "Why does He have to beg, since He has everything and He is everything?" He begs because He feels this is the easiest, safest and most effective way to bring humanity close to Him. If He uses His omnipotent Power to bring us close to Him, then He will just break us into pieces. But if He can make us feel His sweetest Compassion, the infinite flood of His Compassion, and if we can remember this Compassion, then this is the safest and surest way to bring about our surrender.

At each moment you can be the happiest person both in Heaven and on earth. The Supreme's universal Consciousness and transcendental Consciousness can be your constant, illumining and fulfilling friends, if you want to have them as your own. You have to do only one thing: give what you have and what you are. What you have is willingness, and what you are is eagerness. Willingness and eagerness: your willingness to become entirely His, constantly His, and your eagerness to be utilised by Him at every moment in His own Way. If you give these, you don't have to give anything else. Then you will become His unparalleled, eternally unparalleled, instrument.


  1. TDS 11. Sri Chinmoy gave this talk on 5 January 1980 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Part III — Questions and answers on marriage

TDS 12-39. These questions were answered at All Angels' Church in Manhattan on 10 September 1976.

Question: What is the spiritual purpose of marriage?

Sri Chinmoy: The spiritual purpose of marriage is to show that two can easily become one, that a sense of separativity can be transformed into unity and oneness.

Question: What do you see as being the current basis for most marriages?

Sri Chinmoy: Most marriages are founded either on the need to assuage loneliness or on the need to fulfil the demands of the lower vital. Loneliness must leave the human in us; therefore, companionship is of paramount importance in some cases. And when the lower vital demands become very powerful, people feel the unavoidable necessity of fulfilling them.

Question: Do you feel it is necessary for a couple to be legally married?

Sri Chinmoy: As long as human beings want to live in society, and as long as society has something to say about the welfare of the world, legal marriage is of utmost importance.

Question: What is the importance of the marriage ceremony and what is its inner meaning?

Sri Chinmoy: The outer importance of the marriage ceremony is to share joy with others — with dear ones and well-wishers. The inner importance is to convince the outer mind that here on earth, where division reigns supreme, oneness can also play its role.

Question: Why do you feel marriage is compatible with the spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: Marriage may or may not be compatible with the spiritual life in any particular case. It is up to the individual to decide whether or not marriage is compatible with his or her spiritual life. It is not at all obligatory for a seeker to get married. it entirely depends on the individual. To say that marriage is compatible with the spiritual life is to say something which may be very far from the truth in some cases. It is the individual seeker who has to decide whether marriage and the spiritual life can and should go together for him or for her.

In a good marriage, immediately two eyes become four eyes, two arms become four arms. Everything is doubled: strength, consciousness, reality, divinity, everything. In a bad marriage, everything is weakened. Frustration looms large and, finally, destruction plays its role most ruthlessly. There is no hard and fast rule that one should not get married in the spiritual life or that one should get married. It entirely depends on the soul's decision. Some souls feel that through marriage they will be able to make faster progress, while others feel that marriage will be a hindrance to their spiritual progress. God and the individual souls must make the decision, not the human mind.

Question: What do you feel is the place of sex in a spiritual marriage?

Sri Chinmoy: Two seekers who have accepted the spiritual life and who want to continue making progress must slowly and steadily purify the lower vital. It is a slow, steady, illumining and convincing process. Gradually, the lower vital movements can be transformed into inner and deeper ecstasy.

Question: Do you feel fidelity is necessary in marriage and, if so, why?

Sri Chinmoy: Fidelity is of paramount importance in married life. If, in the process of evolution, a being has come into the human kingdom, then that being must fulfil the demands of the human kingdom. Each kingdom has rules and regulations. The plant kingdom and the animal kingdom have their own rules and regulations. Similarly, the human kingdom also has rules and regulations. If one wants to remain in the human kingdom and not in the animal kingdom, then fidelity in marriage is of utmost necessity from the spiritual point of view.

Question: What do you feel are the necessary ingredients for a marriage in which both partners develop spiritually?

Sri Chinmoy: Mutual faith, mutual love, mutual sacrifice and mutual self-giving are the ingredients for a successful spiritual marriage.

Question: Do you feel that some kind of formal spiritual practice is of benefit to the harmony of marriage? If you do think so, what kind of practice would you recommend?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, there should always be some spiritual practices. These spiritual practices alone will enable the seekers to have harmony in their marriage. Purity in thought and action, patience, both in the inner life and the outer life, and always to live in the loving heart rather than in the doubting mind — these are the spiritual practices that can support a marriage.

Question: What should a householder's attitude be towards working in the world?

Sri Chinmoy: The householder's attitude should be all-loving, all-serving and all-illumining. The householder should feel that the outer world is only an expansion of his or her own world; it is not isolated from his world. The householder should feel that the vast world and the world that he himself embodies or represents must go together. The microcosm and the macrocosm, the finite and the Infinite, must go together.

Question: When do you feel divorce is the best course of action?

Sri Chinmoy: When everything else has failed. When the power of oneness has failed, when the power of love has failed, when the power of compromise has failed, when everything has failed in keeping two lives together, then divorce is the best action.

Question: Do you have any recommendations for dealing with quarrelling and misunderstanding in a spiritual marriage?

Sri Chinmoy: Constant prayer for peace of mind and for the soul to come to the fore, for the expansion of the heart's all-loving capacity, can alone solve all misunderstandings and quarrels.

Question: What should be the attitude of the husband towards the wife and of the wife towards the husband?

Sri Chinmoy: Both the husband and the wife must feel that the husband is the son of God and the wife is the daughter of God, who is both Father and Mother. The Source is God the Father and God the Mother, and they are God's children. They are supposed to play their roles devotedly and soulfully in the cosmic Drama of God.

Question: What is the proper attitude towards money and possessions for householders?

Sri Chinmoy: Householders must take money as material power, which has to be utilised divinely. Money-power is not to be used to lord it over others, but to meet with the necessities of life. This power has to be used judiciously, devotedly and in a fulfilling manner. Money has considerable power, but whether it is good or bad depends on the individual. The individual can use it divinely or undivinely. When money-power is used properly, it is a divine boon; if it is misused, it is a veritable curse.

Question: When do you feel divorce is detrimental?

Sri Chinmoy: Divorce is detrimental when the inner beings want to continue to be together, when the inner beings feel that, in the course of time, both husband and wife will better understand each other and lead a more illumining life. The inner beings must determine whether or not the marriage should be continued. If the seekers do not listen to the voice of their inner beings, if their outer minds compel them to get a divorce, then the divorce will be detrimental to their spiritual progress. It is the inner beings that should determine both marriage and divorce.

Question: Do you feel ritual is of benefit to a harmonious family life?

Sri Chinmoy: If the members of a family have faith in rituals, then certainly rituals will be of benefit. But just because there are people who have faith in rituals, that doesn't mean that all couples should observe rituals. Rituals are preliminary stages in the spiritual life, like kindergarten. Some children study in kindergarten before they enter into primary school. Some students skip kindergarten. It depends on the individual case.

Question: What do you see as the main reasons why people desire children?

Sri Chinmoy: Most people desire children because they feel the necessity of expansion. On the human level, they want to show that they have a family and a comfortable life. The smile of their child gives them tremendous joy. On the inner plane, it is the same song: expansion. One wants to become many.

Question: What do you see as the main reasons why people do not desire children?

Sri Chinmoy: People do not want to have children because they do not want to have more responsibility. They feel that the less responsibility they have, the faster they will be able to run toward their destined goal.

Question: What is the spiritual purpose of having children?

Sri Chinmoy: This entirely depends on the seeker. The seeker must listen to the inner voice. If the inner voice says two seekers should have children so that the manifestation of God can take place in and through more members of the family, that can be the only spiritual purpose.

Question: When do you feel a couple should have children?

Sri Chinmoy: When a couple is well-established, fully secure and mature in their spiritual life, and if it is the Will of God, only then should a couple have children and not before.

Question: When do you feel a couple should not have children?

Sri Chinmoy: A couple should not have children when they are not on good terms, when they are not well established in the spiritual life and when it is not the Will of the Absolute Supreme.

Question: What is the best attitude for bringing up children?

Sri Chinmoy: The best attitude for bringing up children is guidance, compassion, forgiveness and conscious oneness.

Question: What is the mother's duty in bringing up children?

Sri Chinmoy: The mother's duty is to teach the children how to pray, how to be simple, sincere and loving. These are a few things that the mother should take as her bounden duty in bringing up her children.

Question: What is the responsibility of the father in bringing up children?

Sri Chinmoy: The father's responsibility is to teach his knowledge and wisdom and to bring to his children the message of the vast world. The little family is not all; there is a large family also. The mother will use all her loving, intimate, affectionate qualities. The father will also do that, but he will also bring the message of the outer world to the children. The mother will make the little family sweet, sweeter, sweetest, and the father will bring the outer world closer to the children. He will make them feel that there is another world which has to be housed inside the little world, or that the little world has to be part and parcel of that large world.

Question: How should parents work together in bringing up children?

Sri Chinmoy: Parents should do their respective duties, as I have mentioned. Whatever the father has to do, the father should do gladly, soulfully, devotedly, untiringly and unconditionally. Whatever the mother has to do, she should also do gladly, soulfully, devotedly, untiringly, unconditionally. This is the only way to bring up children satisfactorily.

Question: What is the parents' responsibility for the formal education of their children?

Sri Chinmoy: The parents have to take full responsibility for the formal education of their children. They have to send the children to school. They have to give proper attention to their children's studies, to their outer behaviour and to their inner growth. Children must not be left alone. At every moment the parents should take considerable interest in the children's welfare. In the formative years, the parents must play a most significant role. Children are like tiny saplings or plants. They have to be sheltered and taken proper care of by the parent until they have grown into large and strong trees.

Question: What advice can you offer to single parents?

Sri Chinmoy: To those who are single parents because of divorce, my only suggestion is that they should not speak ill of the other party to their children. The children should not be influenced. Let the children listen to the dictates of their own hearts. Let them feel that both their father and their mother are good. Let their hearts, like magnets, pull the good qualities of the father and of the mother. Neither the father nor the mother should consciously or unconsciously influence the children against the other partner.

Parents should be very careful if they get a divorce. They should pay extra attention to the children, for when the family breaks, the consciousness of the children will break automatically. And who is responsible? The parents are one hundred per cent responsible; therefore, they should take action to rectify the situation as well as they can. They can only do so by giving their children more love, abundant love, and by showing the children that their separation will in no way affect their love for them. What is of paramount importance is love. They have to offer their children boundless love.

Question: Do you feel that having only one parent affects children, and, if so, how?

Sri Chinmoy: Very often, having one parent does affect children. Children want to have both a father and mother. Only then do they feel that the family is complete. But again, in hundreds of cases we have seen that one parent is able to show the children the affection and love of both father and mother. If the father is not alive, naturally the mother is expected to offer and bound to offer the father's love as well. And if the mother is not alive, the father has to play the mother's role. But if one parent cannot play the role of both parents, naturally it affects the children.

Part IV — General questions and answers

TDS 40-47. These questions were asked by a disciple on her birthday.

Question: What is the date when I will realise God?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, how do you know that you have not realised God? Everybody here has realised God. But there is something called conscious realisation of God and something called unconscious realisation of God. Unconscious realisation of God you already have because you have consciously accepted the spiritual life. Once you accept the spiritual life, unconsciously you have realised God. Now you have to realise God consciously. You have to pray and meditate consciously, soulfully and unconditionally.

There is an earthly calendar and there is a Heavenly calendar. The date of your God-realisation is not yet written on the earthly calendar, but on the Heavenly calendar the date is written. But one fleeting second on the Heavenly calendar is hundreds of years on the earthly calendar. One millionth of a second on the Heavenly calendar becomes hundreds of years here on earth. Since you are a spiritual seeker, let us say you are dealing with the Heavenly calendar. In terms of Heavenly time, you will realise God very soon. In terms of earthly time, perhaps you will have to wait for a few years.

Question: Why don't I wake up in the morning?

Sri Chinmoy: You have two friends, an old friend and a new friend. Your new friend is Sri Chinmoy Kumar Ghose. Your old friend is Mr. Ignorance. Still you are unable to tell your old friend, "Mr. Ignorance, I will have nothing more to do with you. It is all over between us. I am fed up with you. I am no longer your friend." If you can do this, and if you tell Sri Chinmoy Kumar Ghose that he is your best friend, your eternal friend, your only friend, then Mr. Ignorance will become jealous of Sri Chinmoy Kumar Ghose. Mr. Ignorance will say, "Who cares to have Chetana as my friend? Since she is now somebody else's friend, who needs her?"

You have to shout and seriously insult Mr. Ignorance so that he will not bother you. As long as you allow your old friend to bother you, then you will never be able to get up early in the morning. You have to make a choice between your old friend and your new friend. You cannot have two friends who are at daggers drawn. Choose the old one or choose the new one. If you want your new friend, then you have to be loyal to him. If you want your old friend, then you cannot expect to get up early in the morning to meditate. So make your choice.

Question: What should I do to receive the most?

Sri Chinmoy: Each quality has a way of being received. If you say, "What should I do in order to receive peace most?" then my answer will be one thing. If you ask what you should do to receive light, or power, or any divine quality, then I will tell you something different, because we cannot receive all things in the same way. If you want to have strong arms, then you have to take arm exercises. You have to specify which place you want most to strengthen. Which quality would you like to receive most?

Question: What is the quality that I need most?

Sri Chinmoy: The quality that you need most and that everybody needs most is gratitude. Every seeker, without exception, needs one particular thing, and that is gratitude. Now, how do you develop this quality? Not by looking into the far past and seeing your stone life, plant life and animal life. Even in the human life, which is reasonably good, what were you in the past? A bundle of desire, a bundle of jealousy, a bundle of insecurity and a bundle of falsehood. But now, what have you become? Are you the same Himalayan falsehood? No, far from it. Now you are in the truth, of the truth and for the truth. What has made you feel that you are in the truth, of the truth and for the truth, or for the highest life? The answer is your inner cry. And who has given you this inner cry? God.

What will you give God, since He has given you so much inner cry? You can give the thing that you feel is best. What God feels best to give you is His Compassion. Because of His Compassion, you have accepted the spiritual life. What you should feel best to give Him in return is your gratitude. Your gratitude is by far your best quality, so give Him your gratitude. The more you give gratitude to Him, the more you will be able to receive from Him.

Question: How can I manifest my spiritual name?

Sri Chinmoy: First you have to be conscious of your name. Your name and my name have the same meaning. Only in my case, my family added 'moy', which means 'full'. Your name is Chetana, which means 'consciousness'. My name is Chit, which also means 'consciousness'. 'Moy' means 'full', and the combination becomes Chinmoy.

I have done my task by realising and manifesting my name. How? By crying inwardly, sincerely and constantly for years and years. If you also cry like that, then you will also become fully conscious. If you are not fully conscious, then it is impossible for you to realise the significance of your name.

Consciousness pervades the entire universe. How many times a day or a week or even a month are you aware of the significance of this momentous name? Sometimes months pass by and you are not aware of your name. Like that, many — almost all — of the disciples do not try to remember, let alone become conscious of, the meaning of the soul's name that they have been given. They forget that it is not just a name.

Previously you had one name, and now you have another. But there is no difference unless you consciously remember the meaning of your new name. Previously your name was Loren. But there is no difference between Loren and Chetana unless you constantly feel that Chetana is not just another name. You have to give importance to your soul's name; otherwise, it does not help you.

If you give importance to the form, then one day you will be able to give full importance to the essence. Your soul's name and your soul are like a temple and a shrine. If the temple is not properly honoured and attended, then the shrine will fall into disrepair. The shrine is the significance of the name Chetana, which is the predominant quality of your soul, and the word Chetana is the temple. If you do not think of the temple, then how will you think of the shrine inside the temple? So when you say "Chetana," or when somebody else says it, immediately think of the temple. The essence of the soulful word is the shrine. Without a temple, the shrine will be destroyed by the hostile forces. But if you remember that you have a temple, which is "Chetana," then you will also remember that there is a shrine inside it, which is the essence or quintessence of the word. In this way, the form and the spirit go together.

Question: How can I forget my body-consciousness and enter into your consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: Pray and meditate. Pray, pray, pray and pray to the Supreme. Meditate and meditate on the Supreme. On the physical plane, lose some weight. On the vital plane, lose some insecurity. On the mental plane, lose some impurity. Then your goal is won. There is no other way.

The physical plane means lethargy, which often manifests itself in the form of excess weight. The vital plane means insecurity. The mental plane means impurity. If you can conquer all these, then your goal cannot remain a far cry.

Question: What can I do to please you most?

Sri Chinmoy: What can you do to please me most? Please me most. I am answering now like a Zen teacher. The Zen teachers would answer your question this way, with a koan. You will ask how you can please me most, and I will say, "By pleasing me most." How can you please me most? By pleasing me most.

Not by trying, but by doing. That is the answer. There should be no "how", no question. You have only to say, "I am doing it." Do not say, "I want to do it," or "I will do it". Just do it. If you cannot say, "I have done it," which will be, unfortunately, an inch far from the truth, then say, "I am doing it."

Question: Guru, it seems to me that I hardly do anything. I don't meditate as much as I should. I don't do anything right, and still you are so nice to me.

Sri Chinmoy: You are not deliberately hostile to me, to my mission, to my manifestation. It is my bounden duty to help those who are not deliberately hostile to me as long as they remain in my boat. Again, there are some who are deliberately hostile, but just because they are still with me, I feel an inner obligation to help even them. It is just like having a pet that you have to feed and take care of. That animal may kick you or bite you, but what can you do? As long as you keep the animal, you have to take care of it. If the animal is very mild and obedient, the owner does not mind taking care of it, even if it does not do any work or help him in any way. The owner does not mind as long as the animal does not act like a destructive force.

In your case, that problem does not arise at all. You are not destructive or disobedient. In your case, it is only your friendship with ignorance that is delaying you. When that friendship goes away, then you will enter into the soul.

There are three types of disciples. One type prays to the Supreme to please me or to please the Supreme in me at every moment in the Supreme's own Way. Another type prays or meditates to please the Supreme in me fifty per cent of the time, and fifty per cent of the time they expect the Supreme in me to please them in their own way. The third category is praying to the Supreme only to please them one hundred per cent of the time in their own way.

Now you select the category which you want to belong to. See if you can say, "I am trying in my own way to be in the first category, to become a first class disciple of the Supreme, to please Him all the time in His own Way. That is my prayer." If you cannot say it, then learn to say it. Everybody should try to please the Supreme in His own Way. Then you will all become first class disciples.

Part V — Other questions and answers

TDS 48-49. These questions were asked by other disciples on that birthday.

Question: Sometimes I feel I am making a lot of progress and then, during the night, something happens, and I know it's happening even while I am asleep. I feel like something is interfering with my progress, and when I wake up I know that I have lost something. Is there any way that I can protect myself while I am asleep?

Sri Chinmoy: I am always telling you people that before you go to sleep you should meditate for a few minutes on your navel centre which dominates the vital world, the undivine, impure forces. If you consciously meditate on the navel centre to try to establish some purity there and if purity comes to the fore or descends from above, then these forces cannot overpower you or bother you.

But when you feel that you have made progress, you have to know that this progress has not been lost overnight. There are times when, in order to make faster progress, you may have to go one step backward. Suppose you are a good long jumper, and you have taken five steps forward. You are very happy because you have made some progress. But from there, if you want to jump, you will not do very well. You will be able to jump much farther if you go a few steps backward first and run before you jump. You will see that if you go a few steps backward and take a running start, then the distance that you can jump increases. The calculating human mind will say, "Look, she has gone so far back." It will not see how far and how fast you will now be able to go forward.

So when you have discouraging, unpleasant dreams, or when you feel that you have gone backward during your sleep, you have to know that a few days later you may have a very significant, illumining and fulfilling dream. The physical mind will feel that you have gone backward, that you have fallen. But the spiritual heart will feel that perhaps it was necessary.

This is all on the human level — to go a few steps back so that we can get a good start. On the spiritual level it does not apply. On the spiritual level wherever you are, you go forward from there. But since the physical mind is operating, I am saying to use the physical method. In the spiritual method, the mind does not work at all. There you have to go forward from where you are. If you see that you are unable to go one step further, you ask yourself what is preventing you. Then, I will say, what you need is conscious awareness of what you are doing and what you are not doing. If you are consciously aware of what you do during the day, then you will be able to go faster.

Sometimes you may dream about something you did ten years ago. A spiritual Master in his early years used to eat one whole chicken every day. After the age of forty he gave it up. But even when he was sixty or seventy years old, in the subconscious mind that experience came to him in dreams. So do not be afraid. These things happen. But if you have an unpleasant experience or dream, immediately you should ask yourself, "Do I really want this experience?" If the answer is no, then all its power is gone. But if you give it importance and say, "Oh, this is something unpleasant which will destroy all my progress," then you will definitely be affected by it.

Do not be afraid of any dream. If you are afraid of any dream, then that particular dream will bring to you all its undivine friends. If today you are afraid of one particular dream, that undivine dream will invite many more undivine dreams to capture you. But if you are not afraid, that dream will not bother you anymore. At that time, it will not be able to affect you.

Question: How can we tell if we are making good progress?

Sri Chinmoy: There is only one way to determine one's progress. Ask yourself this soulful question: "Do I need only the Supreme, or do I need anything else or anybody else?" If you say you need the Supreme ninety-nine per cent and you need something else or somebody else one per cent. then there is no real progress. If you can say, "I want the Supreme one hundred per cent," then the beginning of progress has started. When the beginning of real progress starts, the Supreme starts bringing Peace, Light and Bliss to help you walk along Eternity's Road.

Real progress in the spiritual life starts only when the seeker sees, feels and is convinced of the truth that he or she wants the Supreme one hundred per cent and not ninety-nine per cent. Before that time, we may feel that we are making progress when we see that we have fewer desires, fewer insecurities, fewer impurities than we had before. But this progress is no progress at all. As long as we live on earth in human form, if we have not realised God, then we will always have these dark forces. If we had ten thousand desires before and now we have only one, then we may feel that we have made progress. But I wish to say that real progress is not there. Inside that one desire all the other thousands of desires are looming large.

If one drop of desire remains, you may think that you do not have countless other drops. But thousands and millions of desiring forces are inside that one drop. So where is the progress? All you can say is that previously you had something on a large scale, and now you have it in a small amount, but very concentrated. Your one drop is so powerful that it can easily expand into a very large quantity. That one drop, that one iota of desire, can be as powerful as hundreds of desires, because it is concentrated.

The progress that we make in terms of earthly capacity is no progress at all. We can only make progress when we feel that our existence is one hundred per cent for the Supreme. On that day, our spiritual progress starts. Then the Supreme grants us His Peace, Bliss and Light, and we receive His divine qualities consciously. Real inner progress starts only on the day when we consciously feel that we want God alone, and for everything we will depend on God only. If we depend on Him for every little thought and action, at every second, then only can we feel that we need Him alone.

Part VI — More questions and answers

TDS 50-52. These questions were answered on 30 January and 6 February 1977.

Question: How can we feel that the inner world is more real than the outer world?

Sri Chinmoy: The body, our outer sheath, is the outer world, and inside the body is the inner world. Inside the body what do we have? The heart. Inside the heart is the soul, and inside the soul is God. God is everywhere, true. But inside the soul, God-Reality is infinitely more manifest, more visible, more tangible. And he who embodies the soul-reality consciously, constantly and unconditionally is undoubtedly revealing and manifesting God more than anybody else.

As human beings, we definitely give more importance to our heart. When the heart fails, we know that we have to leave this world and pass behind the curtain of Eternity. Even if someone does not aspire, or pray and meditate, if anything happens to his heart, he will be miserable. For the heart is dearer to him than anything else. Someone may live in the mind, but the moment somebody speaks of the heart, he feels that his reality there is more important than his reality in anything else. The heart-reality is much more important than the mind-reality, the vital-reality or the physical reality.

Anything that is more real to us is more important and more meaningful to us. And again, anything that is more important to us becomes more real to us. God is most important because He is most real; He is the only real Reality in His entire universe. God is most real to us, and at the same time, God is most important to us.

If we give importance to a thing, then automatically that thing becomes real to us. The moment we take away the importance of a thing, that thing has no value. If we really value the inner life, then the inner life has to become real.

When we don't pray and meditate, we see only the physical world around us. We feel that this is absolutely real. But when we pray and meditate we see and feel that there is another world and that this physical world is only an expression of that world. But again, we have to know that we ourselves are the creator of this other world, just as we are the creator of this physical world. The physical world is like a house, which we build with our hands, with our outer capacities. Similarly, the inner world we build with our will power — not mere thought power, but will power. When we create something in the inner world with our will power, if what we create is pure, divine and immortal, then we feel that we are safe.

How can we feel that the inner world is more real? As I said, the reality of something depends on the importance or value we give to it. Reality depends on necessity. If we are hungry, immediately food becomes the only reality before us, around us, within us, without us. Anything that demands our attention or concentration has to be real, whether it is material food or inner peace, light and delight. The reality of a thing entirely depends on how necessary it is for us. If we need something, then that very thing has to become real.

Again, if the thing that we need has no reality within it, then there will be no inner cry on our part. If God were not real, then we would not cry for God. The reality itself has abundant power to create hunger in others.

It is like an expert runner who teaches beginners how to run towards the goal. This moment he is at the goal beckoning to them, the next moment he is at the starting point or in the middle of the course right beside them. Similarly, God the Reality is the starting point and God the Reality is the end. But we don't say "end," because God Himself is constantly progressing; He is the ever-transcending Beyond. So today God the Starting Point is our supreme necessity; therefore, the starting point is totally real to us. Tomorrow God the Goal will be our aim, and at that time the goal has to be real to us.

The inner world is real because we know everything that is within will one day come forth and blossom. The seed is under the ground, within Mother-Earth. But one day it germinates and grows into a plant, a sapling and, finally, a huge banyan tree. In the beginning, everything is inside. From within we come out.

The soul is inside the heart, and the heart is inside the body. The deeper we go, the sooner we see that the real Reality is within us, not without. But again, to complete the game, we cannot remain only inside the inner reality. We have to come out to the outer reality. Otherwise, there will only be a tenant with no house to live in. Both the tenant and the house are equally important. If there is a tenant, then only we will feel the necessity of a house. And again, if there is a house, then we will definitely need a tenant. The soul is the tenant and the body is the house.

How should we value the inner life? We should value the inner life slowly, steadily, sincerely and devotedly. If we do it in that way, then the inner life is bound to grant us infinite peace, infinite light and infinite bliss. The inner life is the normal life. God is always normal. Occult power, spiritual power and all the other powers are all normal powers. They are not unnatural. Unnatural power we have developed by mixing with ignorance and falsehood. Only when we do not acknowledge our divine birthright do we act like abnormal human beings. The outer life has unfortunately become abnormal because we try or want always to get the immediate result from the outer life as such. We do not want to dive deep within; we are always satisfied with a drop and not with the ocean. But when we value the normal in us, when we want to become normal once again, then we automatically value the inner life.

Question: How can we treat our brothers and sisters with a more spiritually encompassing heart?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us simplify this question. How can we show our affection, love and concern and become one with our spiritual brothers and sisters? We have to know at this point that we are all students. Each day that we pray and meditate, we are learning more from the Supreme. He is teaching us every day, every hour, every minute how to become kind, affectionate, loving illumining and fulfilling.

As soon as we learn something from the Supreme, immediately our inner beings try to share this knowledge with others. We call them "others" because we have not yet established our oneness with them. When we pray and meditate, we gain something. If we share that very thing with others, then it immediately increases. The more we share our earthly knowledge, the more we gain. And Heavenly knowledge, which is wisdom and oneness, increases in infinite measure when we share it. With one light, with one lamp, we can ignite another lamp. With one flame, we can ignite two flames or three flames. This is one way to become one with our sisters and brothers.

Another way is to bring to the fore the entire knowledge-sun, the entire wisdom-sun from within. Then automatically we will see each of our spiritual brothers and sisters as a flame inside the sun. Again, each flame embodies another sun. The sun itself embodies countless flames and, at the same time, inside each flame a new sun is dawning.

When we look at our spiritual brothers and sisters, we have to see them as an exact prototype of our own life, our own reality. We have to feel that there are two bodies but only one Goal and one Source. We have to remind ourselves at every moment of the Goal and of the Source where we came from and where we will one day return. If we can remember that, then automatically we will be kinder, more loving, more affectionate, more illumining and more fulfilling.

You play the viola; you also play other instruments. While playing, if you see that one string is not functioning well, what do you do? You fix it. Your concentration is not only on one string, but on all the strings. If one string creates problems for you. then you cannot play well. Similarly, try to feel that each of your spiritual brothers and sisters is a string inside your heart.

The viola that you play is the outer reality. But there is also an inner reality, an inner viola which you are playing every day, every hour, every minute. The strings of this instrument are sincerity, simplicity, humility, purity and divinity. When you think of yourself, think that you are that particular instrument, and your strings are sincerity, humility, purity, divinity and so forth. If sincerity goes away, if sincerity is not functioning, then the whole instrument is useless. If the purity-string is not functioning, then your inner music will be ruined. You have to keep all the strings in perfect order. If you can keep them in perfect order, then only will you have satisfaction. If you can keep them in proper shape, you can have one family, one consciousness, one reality, one soul and one goal.

Question: How can we find joy in strict discipline?

Sri Chinmoy: What the mind calls discipline, the heart calls a process by which we achieve something or gain something. The soul does not even call it a process. The soul feels that what we call discipline not only embodies the reality-delight but is the reality-delight itself.

Whenever we want to do something, immediately the mind vetoes it. Even if the mind itself wanted it two days ago or two years ago, that same thing the mind is now ready to veto. This is our tricky mind. Even if it wanted something yesterday, today it takes away its conscious willingness. With our heart or our vital we want something, but our mind immediately says, "No, don't take it." So discipline in our ordinary life is nothing short of punishment, precisely because of the mind's unwillingness.

Here in America you have not suffered from malaria and I hope nobody ever suffers from that disease. In India, how I suffered from malaria! Once my elder brother and I were attacked on the same day. You can't imagine how painful it is. All the subtle nerves and gross nerves start dancing. Such pain! You simply shout and scream. Previously perhaps you did not know any acrobatics or special exercises, but as soon as you get malaria you become an expert. All our best acrobats you can challenge with your exercises. Pain compels you to do it. At any other time if you had asked me to do that kind of exercise, I would have said, "Impossible!" But when I had malaria, I was in such pain that I could do all kinds of acrobatics.

The only medicine for malaria is called quinine. It is extremely, extremely bitter. No other medicine is as bitter as quinine. But quinine is the saviour. If we don't accept the medicine, then how are we going to get rid of our fever? Right now, ignorance lords it over us. Ignorance is our master, but we don't want this master anymore. We need somebody stronger than our present master who can overthrow him. We want knowledge to be our master. Knowledge comes in the form of discipline, which is like quinine. If we accept this discipline, then only can we conquer ignorance. So we have to allow discipline to be our new master, our new guide, our new saviour. Let us give the highest post to discipline.

Right now when we think of discipline, we feel that it is nothing short of punishment, which we are facing all the time. Instead we have to feel that discipline is our help, our guide, our inspiration, our aspiration, even our realisation. It is discipline that can and will conquer the undivine forces in and around us. So let us think of discipline as a new master who is helping us to learn something new, meaningful, soulful and fruitful so that we won't have to learn anything more from our old master. Our old master was lethargy, darkness, ignorance and all the negative forces. Now we have to give the utmost value to our new master, discipline. Discipline embodies light and it is more than eager to offer us light. If we can feel this, then only will we not be afraid of discipline. Let us think of what it is going to give us which we do not have right now. When we make this kind of comparison, we will see that we are swimming in ignorance-sea and discipline is telling us, "Poor child, why are you suffering? I have boundless light, delight, peace and bliss. Come here: it is all for you." So let us go there where it is all light and delight. And who is giving us this light and delight? Discipline, our guide, our saviour.

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