Transcendence of the past

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Part I — Transcendence of the past

Question: How can I best forget the past?

Sri Chinmoy: My maxim is, “The past is dust.” It is a wonderful phrase. The past really is dust. Let us be sincere to ourselves. Once upon a time, you were insincere. But today you are sitting in front of a spiritual Master and sincere seekers are all around you. Undoubtedly you are one of these sincere seekers. A sincere seeker knows that he has only one thing to cry for in this life, and that thing is God.

Now when we say “God”, what we actually mean is Joy, Peace, Light and Power.

Joy, real joy, is the spontaneous expansion of one’s consciousness.

Next we come to peace. What is peace? A child is peaceful when you give him a toy. He plays for ten or fifteen minutes, and while playing he makes a lot of noise. But the very noise that he is making gives him a sense of peace. He may be disturbing others, but the noise that he is making is his perfect peace. This is the understanding of a child. But you are a sincere seeker. Your peace cannot come from outside, from playing games or smiling at someone. Your peace must come from within yourself. It is there, but you have to bring it to the fore through your aspiration.

After peace comes light. For a blind man, the real light is the sun. When you stand in front of a blind man and say “light,” immediately he will cry for the sun. The conception of a blind man is that the sun is the only light, because he is always in darkness. But a spiritual seeker is wise. When you say “light” to him, the spiritual seeker will immediately go deep within. There he will see the real light. You have two eyes, and they function very well. But according to the great spiritual Masters, you are no better than a blind man because your eyes do not see the real light, the light that can change your consciousness. The sun shines on all human beings, irrespective of their age or profession. A man of morality and an immoral person can both receive sunlight. But the inner light is meant only for those who are crying for God and who want to serve God. This light is within you.

The last quality is power. You see physical power, vital power and mental power all the time. You can strike and beat a person with physical power. You can torment a person with vital power. And you can exercise intellectual supremacy with mental power. But there are two other kinds of power: psychic power and the soul’s power. With psychic power we do not show our supremacy over others. We only make others feel our oneness with them. We use the soul’s power only to illumine ourselves, and while we are being illumined, we feel the existence of others in our heart.

When we pray, meditate and aspire, our soul’s power is released, and we feel our oneness with the entire world. This oneness is a result of our conscious oneness with God. Until we have become one with God, we can never become one with humanity. Someone may say, “Let me become one with humanity first, and then I will become one with God.” But I will say that it is impossible. If you really want to establish your oneness with the tree of humanity, then first establish your oneness with God, who is the root.

Very often we use our human power for destruction. At that time power takes the form of aggression. Very rarely do we use our human power for a dynamic awareness of things around us or for a dynamic movement in our life. But the soul’s power is all peace and all dynamism at the same time.

When you want to see the soul in its perfect form of peace and equanimity, look within. When you want to see the dynamic power of the soul, the power that awakens and illumines our slumbering consciousness, look within. We use the soul’s power to realise the Highest and we use the soul’s power to illumine others’ consciousness. It is the soul’s power that we use to bring the Infinite into the finite and lift the finite into the Infinite.

How can you forget the past? Do you have joy, light, peace and power, the qualities that I mentioned? The immediate answer is in the negative. Are you satisfied with what you have and what you are? Again, the immediate answer is no. If you want real divine peace, light and power, and if these are the things that you are crying for, then you will definitely get them. You will get them either right at this moment or in the moment that is fast dawning in your life. The past has played its role. Right now it can prove to the sincere seekers or to your own aspiration that you are a failure because you do not have the things you really want. Failure is one of the so-called pillars of success. You may have failed yesterday, but that does not mean that you will fail again today. Yesterday you did not aspire, but today you are consciously trying to achieve the highest, the best and the most perfect life. Today you are crying for the things that you really want and need. And today only the present or the future can give you what you want.

Now, when I use the terms “future” or “Eternity”, you don’t have to feel that this means that you must wait forever. This is a wrong conception because Eternity is here in the immediacy of today. If Eternity meant that we had to wait billions and trillions of years before achieving the Infinite, then life would be hopeless. We would be always waiting. But Eternity is where we came from. Eternity is where we still abide. And Eternity is where we will have the full opportunity to grow and develop. So here on earth, the meaning of the future and Eternity is not just today, but this very moment.

The future and the present are the obverse and reverse of the same coin. The present together with the future form reality. A coin has two sides. If you see that one side of a coin is blank, then you will reject it. When you can see the present and the future, then you are seeing both sides of reality. But if you see only one side of reality, then it is incomplete and imperfect.

So your present and future must go together. Then you will see that you are transforming your life into a golden coin made by God Himself, and you will live in God’s treasure house where there is only Reality, Light and Power. At that time you will feel no fear, no anxiety, no doubt, no sense of abnegation and no self-torture. It will be all self-awareness, self-enlightenment, revelation and fulfilment.

Question: What is the best way for me to break my ties with ignorance?

Sri Chinmoy: The only way for you to break your ties with ignorance is through your constant, conscious inner cry. When you pray, meditate and aspire, sometimes you do it consciously and sometimes you do it unconsciously. It is your obligation to be conscious all the time. When you pray and meditate you have to do it consciously. Your constant and conscious inner cry can alone free you from ignorance. It is the only answer.

Question: How can I offer my ignorance to the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: How can you offer your ignorance to the Supreme? Please take ignorance as something precious in your life. Then feel that you are ready to give to the Supreme the things that you consider are most precious in your life. If you want to offer something to the person you love most, or to the only person whom you love, you feel that you are ready to give him the most precious thing that you have. Now, unfortunately, what happens? Sometimes you think that ignorance is something that you can get rid of at any time. Sometimes you are terribly afraid of ignorance, and other times you are not afraid of it at all. Sometimes you feel that you have to try to overcome it, and sometimes you feel that it is at your command. But instead of pulling in that way, try to feel that your ignorance is something most precious. Now, when you see your beloved, what do you do? You try to give him the most precious thing that you have in order to please him. So when you see the Supreme, your most beloved Person on earth and in Heaven, you try to give Him the thing that you consider most precious. So think of ignorance at that time as your most precious possession. Feel also that you have been a miser all your life. You have hoarded all this most precious wealth, but now you are giving it to Him. You say, “I am giving what I have. This is the only thing that I have as my own cherished treasure. Now I am offering it to you.” In that way, if you give it once as your cherished treasure, then it does not come back. Otherwise, if you think that it is something insignificant that you can conquer easily, or if you think of it as something dangerous, then there are so many ways that it can enter into your mind. So the easiest and most effective way to offer your ignorance is to give utmost importance to it. Feel that it is the only treasure that you have to give. You have to feel, “Let me give the thing that I have been cherishing and treasuring all my life to the Supreme.” Then you can claim that the Supreme is all yours, because you have given Him everything that you consider your own.

Question: How can I overcome the obstacle of ignorance?

Sri Chinmoy: How can you overcome ignorance? It is through your aspiration that you can conquer ignorance. When you cry, you can’t sleep. Again, when you sleep, you don’t cry. When a child is really sleeping, he cannot cry. He has to awaken first. Similarly, if you can cry, then you cannot sleep. Always try to cry inwardly. The outer cry is for name and fame; the inner cry is for light, peace and bliss. If you can cry for peace, light and bliss, then ignorance-sleep will automatically leave you.

Question: If all suffering is not necessarily good, should we avoid it?

Sri Chinmoy: You need it for your aspiration. Consciously you are not being touched by it, but break the cosmic laws and you suffer. Sometimes when you don’t have enough capacity, you accumulate more when you make friends with ignorance.

Part II — Vibrations

Question: Could you speak about vibrations?

Sri Chinmoy: Each individual carries a special vibration, either divine or undivine. If people are living an ordinary animal life, naturally you will feel a kind of strange vibration from them. Even we who are aspiring can’t always maintain the same standard. As soon as you go to a movie or ride on the subway, automatically the vibration there pulls your consciousness down. The vibration is coming right from the street, so it is very difficult to maintain a high consciousness.

At that time, if you give yourself a mark, you may not get more than twenty out of a hundred. Then again, when you are in the meditation hall, you will get a hundred out of a hundred. With ordinary people, who knows if they are trying to become good or not. But in spite of their efforts to become sincere, undivine forces may intervene and try to create problems for them. So you can’t blame ordinary people; they are at the mercy of the forces. In your case, on the subway or somewhere else, it is very difficult for you to maintain your own consciousness. But if wherever you go you can maintain a high consciousness, then you have really achieved something.

Question: Can somebody lower your consciousness by touching you?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. If you are not in an aspiring mood, if you are in an ordinary consciousness, your consciousness will definitely be affected. But if you are alert, how can it lower your consciousness? Suppose you have meditated for an hour. If somebody touches you, your meditation-power will be infinitely stronger than the touch. Even if someone tempts you, “Come here, I have seen another tree. It is much more beautiful,” you will be able to remain stronger. So it depends on how much aspiration you are embodying at that particular moment.

Suppose you are in a very spiritual mood, a peaceful mood, but not a dynamic mood. You are holding peace and light inside yourself, and for a moment, you are not alert. Another person is acting like a hungry wolf. When a hungry wolf attacks, naturally he will devour you. At that particular moment, if you are not powerful enough, the other person will take you to a very low plane of consciousness. It depends on how much divine power you are holding. If you are holding a very strong spiritual power, then nothing will be able to affect you. Sometimes when you look at a particular person, all your inspiration disappears. At that time you have to create an extra supply of inspiration and aspiration. Immediately in silence chant, “Supreme, Supreme, Supreme.” Pray to the Supreme to save you and illumine the other person. And the next time you see that person, you will see that he won’t remain in that same undivine consciousness.

Question: What should we do when we meet people with wrong vibrations?

Sri Chinmoy: If you meet someone who is not on the spiritual path and who is constantly throwing negative vibrations around him, then you have to stay totally and wholeheartedly away from that person. You must not waste your precious time, precious energy, precious inspiration and precious aspiration on that particular person. He is God’s child and God will take care of him. Right now he is not ready for the spiritual life; he is unripe. Since he is not ready, you should not disturb him.

The unripe and unready souls will be awakened at God’s choice Hour. When they are awakened, and when they want help, then spiritual people can go and help them. But if a person indulges in negative thoughts and negative acts, and at the same time does not care for the spiritual life, then the spiritual person has to stay away from that person as much as possible. He can be of no help to the totally unaspiring person. At the same time, the unaspiring person can create problems and confusion for the spiritual person. So the spiritual aspirant should not try to enter into him with his limited knowledge and light. The seeker should remain peaceful in his way of life, and he should let the person who is not aspiring remain in his own way of life. This is the best thing a seeker can do.

Part III — Depression, frustration and destruction

Depression, frustration and destruction

If you feel that you are not happy, I assure you that you can never make me happy. No disciple can ever make me happy, I tell you, if he or she is not happy inwardly. You may think that you are suffering, but you have to know that I am giving you all my compassion. If somebody cries because her husband is bad, or his wife is mean, then my compassion, my sympathy and my concern go out to that person. But if they do not throw away the suffering and unconsciously cherish this depression and suffering, will I be happy? No. I will identify myself with their suffering, with their hearts’ pangs, and I shall suffer the pain that they are feeling. Perhaps I shall suffer much more. So when it is a matter of happiness, if the disciples are unhappy, then I will not be happy. If you are unhappy, at that time you cannot make me happy. Even an ordinary human father will not be happy when he sees that his daughter is unhappy. Being a spiritual Father, I will feel happy only when I see you happy, because that happiness you need, I need, everybody needs.

There is an exercise you can do every day to be happy if you have been suffering from depression. Every day write down a list of ten good thoughts. Then, while you are working, even while customers are coming and you are waiting on them, read it. Or after the customer goes away, read it. What is important is that you have to feel what you have written. If you say, “Guru is kind to me, Guru is kind to me,” then also you have to feel it. After reading it two or three times you may feel, “Is he really kind to me? Until you feel that I am kind to you, until you are actually convinced, you are only memorising or repeating the words. If you feel, “Yesterday, Guru didn’t smile at me; he smiled at my friend,” then go on repeating, “Guru is kind to me, Guru is kind to me, Guru is kind to me.” Then the thought will come that three months ago in the car Guru did smile at you. Until that particular incident flashes back, just keep on repeating, “Guru is kind to me, Guru is kind to me.” When that incident actually comes to mind and you know that three months ago Guru was kind, then at that time you have completed the first thought.

Then take another thought: “I can eternally trust Guru, Guru will never disappoint me, Guru will never desert me.” You can also write down how many things I can do. In this way select ten beautiful thoughts.

Suppose you feel that you are jealous of someone. You can write down that you are jealous of this person on your paper. Then immediately say that I will take your jealousy away. During the whole day you do not have to complete even ten thoughts. All day perhaps you will spend on one thought. Suppose you are repeating, “Guru is kind to me,” but you are imagining only my anger or depression or what you call my indifference. If you are not successful with a particular thought, do not go on to another thought. Stay with that particular thought. Repeat, “He is kind to me, he is kind to me, he is kind to me.” Then all of a sudden, some incident will flash across your mind. You will remember that six months ago I did something very kind to you, and you will feel this. Then, once you feel the thing, then you can stop and go on to the next thought.

By becoming happy everybody will be able to please me. When you know that if you don’t smile at me, I will be unhappy, then to make me happy you have to be happy. If you are happy, I don’t need anything. If you are happy it will make me really happy. So just be happy.

Question: How can we come out of a depressed state?

Sri Chinmoy: If you know that you have taken poison, you have to take the antidote, which is cheerfulness. You can do this through gratitude, by remembering that once upon a time you were cheerful, and by remembering what cheerfulness did to help you. So if you take depression as poison, then you will let cheerfulness come to you again. If you are cheerful, then you make progress. It is an absolutely false, wrong theory that sadness, frustration and depression will expedite your progress. You cannot say that you are making very good progress just because you are suffering. You cannot say that everybody will sympathise with you and give you illumination just because you have a heavy load on your shoulders. First they will observe whether the load is self-imposed or not, then they will immediately see that you have thrust it upon yourself. You want to run the fastest, but you are carrying the heaviest load. Cheerfulness is the way, for it is cheerfulness that expedites our progress.

Question: Why am I disappointed with my human nature and other people's human nature?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are disappointed in someone, feel that they may also notice imperfections, limitations and other undivine qualities in you. Whether they are disappointed in you or not, if you are disappointed, feel that they may also notice these undivine qualities in you. You cannot be disappointed with them, because they also have the right to be disappointed with you. When you see imperfections and shortcomings in others, show your utmost compassion, for these imperfections have to be removed from those individuals. By being disappointed, you don’t change someone’s nature. But God is concerned with your prayer, with your spiritual life and with your good will. If you are concerned about someone, then eventually you will add to their inborn aspiration, because they are also trying to get rid of those undivine forces.

So you add to their inner cry, to their capacity. Although they have imperfections, they also have an inner cry, which increases when you offer your concern. But if you are disappointed with them, at that time you are separating your existence from theirs. When you expect something from someone else, you have a superior feeling. But do not expect anything from anyone. Only take the person for what he has or what he is and then feel your oneness with that person, your concern for him. In that way, you can illumine a person and while that person is being illumined, you will derive satisfaction. The real in you will never be satisfied when someone is imperfect. Only when everyone is perfect will you be satisfied, and this feeling of oneness is nothing short of your enlarged, expanded existence.

Question: The other day you asked me to bring gifts for you to give out and I forgot. In a case like this, if we displease you, how do we keep from getting depressed?

Sri Chinmoy: Next time, don’t displease me. How many things you forget. Here I have asked you to bring gifts, but just because you didn’t bring them, what problems you made for me. These two disciples are poor people. It takes them ten hours to drive to my place. So out of my compassion, I thought I would give them some gifts. When new people get gifts from me, they feel that I really care for them.

When this kind of thing happens, then immediately say inwardly, “Guru, forgive me. Next time I won’t do it.” You don’t realise that if I had given one of them a sari and the other a tie, then during the whole night they would have had sweet dreams. Their energy, enthusiasm and aspiration would have gone up tremendously. You people get so many material gifts from me. “Who cares for these things?” That is what you say. But inside my gifts are boundless love and concern for you. Material gifts are like magic. Inside the tie and the sari is a big story. I am depending on my instruments like you, and this is what happens.

Sometimes I ask one of the disciples to do something for me, and in my mind I keep a fixed time. Sometimes when I ask one disciple to bring food, I don’t set a time limit outwardly, but inwardly I put a force so that in fifteen minutes he will bring it. Now fifteen minutes, forty-five minutes go by and where do I stand? I am a beggar. Outwardly, I am not telling him to bring it in a specified time; but inwardly the force that I have put gets annoyed because nobody is receiving my message. The other day I went to a disciple’s store. I was not restless, but I was in a hurry. Now one boy was absolutely in Heaven because I had come. The Goal was right in front of him. But either through nervousness or because he was showing off how fast he could work, the food was not coming. At that time nobody else was there. I was the only customer. They were trying to do it quickly, but the forces were working against them. When I ask someone to do something, inwardly I fix a time, but it is not done. I put a force on the workers, but the result does not come in the time I have allotted because concentration in the workers is missing.

Whenever I ask disciples to do something, inwardly I fix a time, but I may not tell it outwardly. You may say, “Guru, you are a deceitful person,” because I say only, “Please bring it as soon as possible.” You can call it my weakness, but immediately I fix an hour in my mind. Again, outwardly I may fix a time — say half an hour — but inwardly I may set another time. Most of the time, in my mind I expect it in a shorter time, say eighteen minutes, and I put a force on it also. But it never comes in eighteen minutes. With greatest difficulty it may come in half an hour. The same thing happens with my literary work. I will tell you that I want the work to be done in three or four days, but in my mind I keep a fixed time that is much shorter. Those books say that they are written by Sri Chinmoy, but I know in each case that not one page could have been done without my spiritual children. I know how much I owe you people, but even a beggar expects something. When I go and knock at your heart’s door, at that time I expect something from you. I do not feel that I am a beggar.

So in the future, try to do the right thing first. Try to please me. Then depression will be nowhere in your life.

Part IV — The ego's reality

Question: How can I silence my ego?

Sri Chinmoy: How can you silence your ego? Now, the ego that you are speaking of is your little ego, but there is another ego called the big ego. The ego that binds you and the ego that wants to bind others is called the little ego. “I, my, mine, my family, my relatives, my intimate ones” — that is the little ego. You are speaking of that ego. But instead of thinking of that ego, think of the other one. The big ego says, “I am universal. I am God’s daughter. I am God’s chosen daughter. God is universal, so if my Father is universal, then I am also universal. It is beneath my dignity to confine myself to any individual or to a few people. I shall devote myself for the use of humanity; I shall serve God in humanity. I can only do the divine thing. Anything that is undivine I cannot do, because for me there is only God and God is all divine.”

The more we think of that ego, the easier it becomes for us. Actually we don’t call it ego; we call it our conscious oneness with the Highest, the Supreme, the Absolute. When we are consciously one with something vast, then the little ego automatically disappears. With this conscious oneness, every day think of yourself as a child of God. If you are a child of God, it means that what God has, you also have. You have inherited everything from God, but right now you are not mature so you cannot use it. A child who is four or five years old knows that his father is a multimillionaire and he knows that when he grows up his father is bound to give those millions of dollars to him. Right now the child cannot have the money because he is not mature enough; he will squander it. So you also have to feel that since you have entered into the spiritual life, infinite Peace, Light and Bliss are not vague terms. They will eventually be at your disposal. Then the little ego that wants to be satisfied with a penny or a nickel will automatically go away. When infinite Peace, Light and Bliss dawn on you, at that time you will not try to possess anything and at the same time you will not want to be possessed by anything. You don’t want to possess and you don’t want to be possessed by anyone else: this is called the true knowledge.

So give up your little ego and feel always your oneness with the Supreme, your universal oneness. You can call it divine ego or you can use any term you like, but only remember that when you say “big ego” and “little ego” it is like a friend and an enemy. Two individuals are right in front of you. One is your friend and the other is your enemy. You mix with your friend, not with your enemy. Naturally you will mix with the one whom you think to be divine. So that is oneness with God, which you can call the divine ego.

Question: When does the ego develop in the child and why does it happen?

Sri Chinmoy: A child can start developing ego at the age of two, at the age of one, or even at the age of six months. Although the child has not developed the mind, unconsciously the child may want constant attention from the mother. If the child does not see the mother around him, even if there is no necessity, immediately he cries. The child is missing the mother, which is a good thing. But the child feels that the mother is occupied somewhere else, or that the mother is thinking of someone else, so instinctively the child wants to capture the mother. The moment the mother is somewhere else, the child starts to cry, and when the mother comes, immediately the child becomes calm and quiet.

Now, what is ego? It is a sense of separativity. So you see how the child wants to possess because of this sense of separativity. Possession itself is nothing but ego, the song of ego.

If a child is three years old, when his mother looks at another child, he becomes jealous, he won’t talk. In our Centres we have a few children who won’t talk if I look at their sister or brother. The children won’t even look at me. Sometimes I invite the children to the Centre and they know that they will get gifts. I am like Santa Claus waiting with their gifts for them. But if their turn comes a few minutes later than the others’, then they feel miserable. A child knows that he will get his gift when his turn comes. But if somebody else is getting a gift five minutes earlier, then he feels that he is not in a position to possess what he wants to possess. Then he becomes jealous.

So ego is possession, constant possession, whether it is a child or a grown up who is in the picture. When they fail in possessing something, then they are totally lost. Human possession wants to bind or to be bound. The son wants to be on the mother’s lap and he wants the mother to fondle him. So when we see that the child wants to possess the mother and to be possessed by the mother, then we have to know that ego has started.

But if the same child at the age of twenty or thirty can be spiritual, if he prays and meditates, then if he sees that his mother has gone somewhere else to pray and meditate or even to talk to her friends, then he will not feel miserable, because he is praying to God. He will say, “Let me do my duty and let my mother do whatever she feels best.” As a child, he could not tolerate his mother’s absence even when she was only one minute away. Now that the same person is grown up, he is praying and meditating and he can easily afford to be away from his mother physically for hours. So now the young man does not want to possess the mother the way he wanted to possess her when he was a child.

Question: Why does the "I" seek so assiduously if it is the ego?

Sri Chinmoy: One “I” is the ego; the other is not the ego. The first “i” is the small “i”, the ego, and the other one is the capital “I”, the immortal Self, the One, the Brahman Absolute. The ego, which is the little “i”, the small “i”, is constantly seeking for something other than itself. That is why there is no end to its search. It is never satisfied with what it has and what it is. The truth is always somewhere else, beyond, beyond. It is just like standing at one shore of the river and thinking that the other shore is most beautiful. Then, when you get there, you will feel that the first shore is more beautiful. The very nature of the ego is to be dissatisfied and displeased. That is why it is searching for something other than itself. The small “i” has to search because it has not seen the Truth. At the same time, it does not want to see the Truth the way the Truth has to be seen, through the conscious awareness of the soul.

Now, the Self, the capital “I”, is self-enamoured in its own realisation of truth. On the one hand it is actually walking in the field of experience and on the other hand it is the experience itself. It also feels that it is the experiencer. Again, it is beyond all action, beyond all experience, beyond all fields of experience. We cannot bind the truth. One moment the truth is this and the next moment the truth is something totally different from this. So the “I”, the capital “I”, is all the time beyond our definition. We cannot define the capital “I” with our thoughts; it is beyond, all the time beyond them. Something is moving, but when we say that it is moving, our Upanishads say and our realisation says that it is not moving at all. “That moves and that moves not; that is far and the same is near. That is here, that is there, that is everywhere and, at the same time, that is beyond everywhere.”

So, with the mind we cannot think of this capital “I”. We can only realise the capital “I” on the strength of our aspiration. This “I”, the Self, is not seeking for anything other than itself. If we say that it is seeking for itself, that is true. Again, if we say that it is not seeking for itself, this is also perfectly true. If we say that it is all the time transcending itself and its own highest realisation or highest Truth, which it embodies, then this is also true.

The capital “I” is always satisfied. It is growing and expanding and fulfilling itself to its satisfaction. It has no need to get further fulfilment or to search. It wants to fulfil everything in and through the soul, which is the representative of the Supreme, God the Absolute.

Part V — Problems and difficulties

Question: What is the best way for me to conquer my faults?

Sri Chinmoy: The best method is to accept the faults, but at the same time to offer yourself to a higher light and power: the Power of God. If you can offer yourself, then the problems are solved for good. Once you conquer your faults by this method, Peace and Light enter into your system. Then you will not remember your faults.

The second method, which is the second-best method, is as follows: If you have a problem, then each time it arises you should convince your mind that you don’t have that difficulty. If someone is pinching you, then you must ignore it and say that no one is pinching you. Your real reality is not being affected; only the physical body is being affected. By saying that you are not the body, you can ignore the problem.

If you use the first way, then the problem cannot come back. But the second way is not one hundred per cent certain. The next day you will see the difficulty again and you will say that you were wrong in believing your statement. If you use the second way, then you may still remember that you had a problem.

Question: How do you discipline your emotions?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all you have to know what kind of emotion you are dealing with. There is divine emotion and there is undivine emotion. Emotion itself is not bad; it depends on how we use it. When we misuse emotion, it becomes undivine emotion. When it is properly used, it becomes divine emotion.

First I wish to tell you about the undivine emotion, which is purely in the gross physical, in the lower vital or in the obscure mind. The emotion is constantly trying to possess either an individual or the whole world. We start with one individual, then we move to two, then three, four and five. Finally, we want to possess the whole world. “Mine, my, I": this is the undivine emotion.

But again, there is divine emotion. You are God’s child. You have to realise God consciously. You have to fulfil God on earth. These are the expressions of divine emotion. To come back to your question on how you can discipline your emotion, the answer is here. You will be able to discipline your emotion, the emotion that binds you, the emotion that makes you want to bind the world and possess the world, if you take shelter in the divine emotion. The embodiment, the expression of the inner urge to realise and fulfil God is inner, divine emotion. If you care for the freedom of inner, divine emotion, then you become all-pervading. You are thinking of humanity all at once, not in the sense of possessing humanity, but in the sense of feeling humanity as part and parcel of your own consciousness. When something goes wrong in the world, if you are affected, then you truly feel your own existence in the heart of humanity.

So if you want to discipline your lower emotion, then I wish to say that you must start feeding your divine emotion. If you can consciously feed your divine emotion, if you can feel that each individual is God’s child and humanity’s embodied divinity, and if you have the inner urge to fulfil the divinity in humanity, this is divine emotion. This emotion will never bind you and you cannot bind it. So pay more attention to the divine emotion in you, which is all-pervading. Also think that the divine emotion will fulfil you and that you will be able to fulfil it. Pay all attention to the divine emotion and you will see that all the unlit, impure, earth-bound emotion will automatically be disciplined. It will be thrown into the sea of divine emotion, where everything is purified. If you want to discipline your lower emotion, then take shelter in your higher emotion. When you stay in your divine emotion, the undivine emotion will automatically be purified.

Question: Why do I sometimes become angry at everything around me?

Sri Chinmoy: This means that you have lost your oneness with the things around you. You can never be angry when you maintain your oneness. If you have oneness, then when you see imperfection, you will try to perfect it; when you see impurity, you will try to purify it. But when oneness is lacking, and you see imperfection or impurity, then you are bound to become angry. If you do not have oneness with your hands and your arms, then you may say, “How is it that they are not strong enough?” or “How is it that I am not playing well on the piano?” But when you have oneness, then there can be no anger.

Question: How can we stop ourselves from crying too much?

Sri Chinmoy: If it is crying for God, then cry. There is no such thing as crying too much when you cry for Peace, Light and Bliss. But in general, the cry that you offer is nothing but your cry for physical beauty, earthly achievements and all kinds of things like that. You should feel that these things are absolutely useless rubbish. When these desires are fulfilled, what happens? You see that you have only created more problems in yourself and that you have become more involved in desire or more attracted by desire. So you can see that earthly things are meaningless and the fulfilment of desires is useless. You have already fulfilled quite a few desires and they have not given you any joy. So automatically you can stop crying. Again, there is no end to our cry for Peace, Light and Bliss. If you want Peace, Light and Bliss, then you should cry and cry.

Question: How can we avoid crying for outer attention?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all you have to know that you are my spiritual daughter; you are not a beggar. If you were a street beggar, then at every second you would have to cry to somebody to give you a banana or some rice or some other food. But you have to feel that you are not a beggar woman; you are my spiritual daughter.

If you play the role of daughter, then oneness will come. You will say, “Right now I am young, so I am not fully conscious. But when I grow up I will get my Father’s love, delight, spirituality, perfection and light.” If the father has a car, the child will tell his neighbour, “It is my car, my car.” Then a day comes when the car really does belong to him. So in order to avoid crying for outer attention, you should play the role of a daughter and not the role of a beggar. A daughter does not cry for attention because she has established her eternal and inseparable oneness with her spiritual father. But a beggar does not want to establish oneness with the owner of the house. So if you feel that you are my true daughter, then you won’t need outer attention.

Question: What do you mean by a complacent feeling?

Sri Chinmoy: Previously, for months and years some of you tried to discover the meaning of life so that your existence could have even a little bit of the feeling of joy or purpose. You were moving around sometimes working in politics or mixing with society, but there was no higher goal. Now that you know the higher goal, it becomes a matter of reaching that goal. But you feel that because you know the goal, the goal is within your reach. Previously there was no mountain. Now you are standing near the mountain and you are waiting to see if somebody is coming towards the mountain. If someone comes, then you will try to climb. You have now possessed the mountain; it is your possession. If somebody comes, then you will climb up to show that it is really your mountain. It is a complacent feeling.

But the attitude should be, “Yes, here is the mountain. The mountain is claiming me, but I won’t claim the mountain until I have reached the goal.” Until that time our claim cannot be conscious. Sometimes we forget all about it. Sometimes we see the immensity of the goal and we say, “How can we claim it?” When the goal looks at the pilgrim, the goal always claims the pilgrim as its very own. Here, after arriving at the base, at the foot of the mountain, the pilgrim should start climbing up the mountain. Then only the pilgrim can claim it consciously and constantly. If the pilgrim cannot constantly claim the mountain, if he cannot climb up with the help of the mountain, then today he will say, “I don’t need it” and tomorrow he will say, “It is too high; I can’t assimilate the vastness of the mountain.”

Question: How can we know if it is lack of desire or lack of energy that prevents us from meditating?

Sri Chinmoy: You want to meditate but enthusiasm is lacking. Every day you do something, so it becomes tedious and monotonous. If you go to the track and you want to run, you do it but inner enthusiasm is not there. That is why you don’t run the fastest every day. You are ready on the physical plane. You are punctual, you have your sports clothes, everything is ready, but inside you there is no inspiration, there is no aspiration. You feel that you want to wave your magic wand and then you will instantly go and run the fastest. But to run the fastest, a real inner urge, inner inspiration is needed.

So if you really want to be successful, this inner urge is one thing that you need, but in order to fulfil the demands of this urge, something else is necessary and that is enthusiasm. Every day we must feel sincerely, devotedly and soulfully, that today is the last chance we have to realise the Supreme. On the one hand we are dealing with Infinity and Eternity, but on the other hand we are racing against the Eternal Time. We have to feel that this is the last day for us, absolutely the last day — that tomorrow we will not be given another chance. If we don’t realise God today, then we are finished. Somebody else will be given our chance. If somebody has aspired more than we have, then he will get the chance and we will not. But if we have aspired more, then we will get the chance.

So every day when you meditate, if at that time you can feel that this is your last day, your last opportunity to realise God, then you will try to do your best meditation. You have to accept failure if you fail, but if you sincerely try your hardest to meditate and you don’t get realisation, then you will not be depressed because you will know that you have tried.

When you start your day, feel that if you don’t realise God today, then you have lost everything and there is nothing else on earth to live for. In the evening, when you come to realise that you have not yet realised God, then console yourself. Think that tomorrow morning you will be given another chance. But when tomorrow morning dawns, at that time again the same problem will arise. Again you will think, “Today is my last chance. Today let me realise God, for I will not be given any other chance.”

In this way we acquire spiritual wisdom. Intensity will never come, sincerity will never come, if we feel that we can delay our God-realisation. Every day we must feel that it is our last day to realise God. Then sincerity will dawn. Otherwise, for Eternity we will walk along our path and we will never reach our destination.

Question: What should be our attitude towards expectation?

Sri Chinmoy: When we give in the spiritual life, there should be very little expectation. The Supreme is really kind, affectionate and compassionate. Naturally He will contact you. You don’t have to cry for appreciation. Ordinary people cry with expectation because they know that in the outer world if they give a dollar then they will get the equivalent of that dollar. But in the spiritual life we are all clever people. God is the only fool. He gives us much more than we give Him. For that reason depression should not come. If it does come, then you can throw it out of yourself. If it comes for one, two or three minutes, then think of it as something dirty like ink. Then you throw it away. But if you do it this way, by thinking that it is filthy and throwing it out of yourself, you won’t be able to conquer it. Depression will come back again and again. For two months or three months or two days you will be free, but again it will come back unless and until it is illumined. The best way is to bring light forward and then illumine your depression.

Question: How can I kill expectation?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us start with hope. Hope is power. You may think that hope is nothing but imagination, but inside hope there is power. There are many people who don’t hope. Either they don’t know how to hope or they don’t want to hope. But this is the wrong attitude. Hope is not delusion. Hope is not mental hallucination. We hope to do something good or to become something good, so hope is good. Now expectation is also a power. We should expect something from our life. We can’t ruin our lives like ordinary people. We can’t waste our time like ordinary people. We expect something good, something divine from ourselves. We must not say, “Oh, we do not want to become good.”

But eventually we have to give up our expectation. We will do our best, but we won’t expect anything. First we shall start with hope, then we shall expect to become good, then we must say, “I will do the right thing. I feel that it is my duty to do the right thing, to pray and meditate, and it is God’s duty to give me what He wants me to have. At the same time I must not fix it in my mind that God will give me something just because I am praying.” We shall not fix a date. We shall not say, “On such-and-such a date if I can’t become perfect, then I am giving up the spiritual life; I don’t need God.” That kind of idea we must not cherish.

Some people are of the opinion that if we please God once in His own Way, then naturally He will please us also in our own way. But this is a very tricky way of dealing with God. God’s bargain is not like that. Whenever I say that if you please God, then God will also please you, I do not mean that if you please God in your aspiration-life, then God will fulfil you in your desire-life. One time a disciple of mine told the other disciples, “Let us please Guru in his own way, just once. Then he will please us also in our own way.” But this idea is absurd. I do say that if you please me once in my own way, then I shall please you in your own way. But you have to know that if you really please me in my own way, by that time your will and my will have become one. I execute only the Supreme’s Will. I have no will of my own. So if I execute the Will of the Supreme and you have become one with my will, then naturally at that time your will becomes the will of aspiration and not the will of desire.

When we are able to please God, we shall not ask Him for human things but for divine things. God Himself is more than eager and anxious to give us those very things. At that time our will and His Will automatically become one. So the best thing is to do your best every day and leave it up to God to select the hour to fulfil you.

Question: What causes pride, and how do we get rid of it?

Sri Chinmoy: If we are sincere, then we will see that Mother Earth has blessed others with infinitely more capacity than we have. Then automatically our pride is transformed into humility. Pride enters at a particular point because of our ignorance. But when we have a sense of identification, at that time there can be no pride. When we are wanting in light, one portion of us is in ignorance while the other portion is in wisdom. So let us surrender our ignorance to our wisdom. Then there can be no pride. Pride goes away when light enters into us and we become one with others.

When I throw the shot with my right hand, I throw much farther than with my left hand. With my left hand I can’t throw at all. But my right hand does not say to my left hand, “Look, you can’t throw. You are simply useless.” No, both my left hand and my right hand belong to me. Again, when the right hand is throwing, the left hand has such identification with the right hand that it feels that it is throwing. So when there is a feeling of oneness, there can be no pride. When we achieve something and we are proud, we have to feel that the person next to us, who has not achieved this thing, is part and parcel of our own existence. If we feel our oneness with that person, then immediately we will feel that our achievement is his achievement and that his achievement is of the same level, the same measure.

Question: How can we avoid compromising in the ordinary human life?

Sri Chinmoy: In the human life compromise is a good thing. But in the spiritual life, compromise is a bad thing. Compromise is fifty per cent darkness and fifty per cent light, half ignorance, half wisdom-light. You can avoid compromise just by feeling that you cannot live without spirituality. What is spirituality? It is conscious self-giving to the Supreme, constant growing into the supreme Reality.

Question: I am caught between my spiritual life and my parents. My parents live in New York and I live in Puerto Rico.

Sri Chinmoy: At this point you are making a deplorable mistake. Just because you cared more for Puerto Rico, you left New York and you went to live there. If you had been more attached to your parents, then you would have definitely stayed in New York. As an individual soul you came out of your parents’ jurisdiction and you are no longer living under the same roof with them. Now you are staying in Puerto Rico. You are satisfied there. You feel that your life there is quite comfortable. Now you have joined our path. When you come here to New York, you have to know that your source is here. You should take spirituality from your source as often as you can. So here you are making an unconscious mistake: attachment. Break asunder attachment before you enter the spiritual path. You left your parents to live in Puerto Rico and you have accepted the spiritual life, so you should run the fastest.

When you come here, you can visit your parents once or twice, but if you spend most of your time there, it will be a serious mistake. Even before you accepted the spiritual life you cared more for Puerto Rico than for New York. If you really cared that much for your parents, then you would not have gone and stayed in Puerto Rico. You made the choice. You left and now you are settled in Puerto Rico. Then you came back to New York purely because of your spiritual life; otherwise, you would have been with your parents some other time of the year. You should not come here with the intention of killing two birds with one stone. You have come to New York to get utmost joy, to gain more aspiration, and also to stay with your spiritual brothers and sisters and share your inspiration and aspiration. When you want to stay with your parents, at that point all your old attachments come forward unconsciously. You become your old self. This is a serious mistake. So, next time you come here, stay with the disciples and go to visit your parents only once or twice. Otherwise, you will be cherishing unconscious attachment. We find it very difficult to become detached. In your case you left them before you accepted the spiritual life. But like most people you have kept an inner connection with your parents. Since physically you are out of New York, why do you have to go back to the same place which you consciously left for a better, deeper and higher vocation and to fulfil a choice in your life?

The next time you come, please try to stay with the disciples. When you make considerable progress in the spiritual life, then you are bound to offer something to your parents’ consciousness, provided they care to make inner progress and they want something to fulfil their empty lives. It is not by staying with them that you will help them. That is impossible. By exchanging thoughts and ideas, you won’t be able to help them at all. But if you make great progress, tremendous progress here, then this progress will enter into them. Just by talking philosophy, you won’t be able to elevate their consciousness. If you want to help them, then you should become infinitely more spiritual. Then through spiritual power you will be able to enter into them, even when they are not aware of it at all. That is the best process. You come here on special occasions precisely because of your spiritual life. You definitely come for a spiritual purpose, so you should fulfil that purpose.

Question: How can we overcome shyness when speaking to people about our path?

Sri Chinmoy: Shyness is very bad. When you express shyness, you outwardly pretend to be what you are not and you inwardly try to draw all the world’s admiration and attention. Shyness is only a clever way of achieving something. It is a very bad quality. Instead of giving something natural or normal to the world, you are becoming abnormal. In a clever, skilful way you are trying to draw attention. You become shy because you feel that shyness is a divine quality. But you have to know that it is in fact an undivine quality that you should aspire to overcome.

Question: How can I become more coordinated?

Sri Chinmoy: Some of the disciples display a lack of coordination because unconsciously they want to draw the attention of others in some way or other. They are not consciously doing it. The unconscious part in them has developed some capacity to put on a performance and the conscious part is embarrassed. The conscious part says: “What will people think?” while the unconscious part draws great pleasure.

Another theory is that people are clumsy when the coordination of the physical, the vital and the mind is lacking. When you drop something, your mind is fully aware of it, but the mind has forgotten that it needs the help of the physical to hold that thing. The mind separates its reality from the physical proper. It is as if a boss asks the worker to lift something very heavy. The worker will do it, but if the boss has to lift it, he can’t. The boss needs the help of his worker. Likewise, the mind has to take help from the physical and tell the physical, “Hold it.” But if there is a yawning gap between the mind and the physical, then there is a lack of coordination between the physical and the mind proper. There should be a smoothness, a kind of coordination. You have to pull the mind and the physical together. The two brothers, body and mind, must be put together and they must work together.

Part VI — The battle of the hostile forces

Question: Even when we are aspiring, dark forces can come and attack us. Is there any way that we can avoid this?

Sri Chinmoy: If you see that someone is attacking you and you feel that you have more capacity than he has, then you don’t have to run away because you have more strength. Just fight. To illumine the one who is attacking you, feel that there is someone inside you who has given you the capacity to fight and conquer the attacker. First see if you can conquer him. However, if you feel that in spite of getting inner help, you are not able to fight and that your attacker is winning, then you have to play the role of the child. When the child sees some form of disaster approaching, he runs toward his house for protection because his mother and father are there.

The difficulty is that sometimes ordinary forces, say, temptation-forces, are so subtle that you think that you can crush them in the twinkling of an eye. A desire comes and you feel that it will cause you no harm. You think, “If it comes in the afternoon again I will conquer it.” You have so much confidence, but in a sense it is false confidence. You think that when desire comes you will conquer it, but when it comes again you pay no attention. You think that it cannot win in a fight with you because you know that you are spiritual. If it comes again in two hours, then again you feel that it cannot take you away because you have much more capacity. This may go on three or four times more, but by the fourth time the capacity which you bragged about has become incapacity.

So when you know that something is attacking you, be very alert and careful. Don’t wait for the second arrival of the force. If you don’t conquer it the first time it comes, then the next time it will come with added strength. When a wrong thought comes into your mind, immediately accept the challenge and fight it out. Again, when a good thought comes asking you to meditate or pray, do not tell the thought, “No, let me read the newspaper now.” After two hours that good thought may not come at all. It will feel, “I am an unwanted guest. I don’t want to be rejected again.” Then if it comes to you again, you may want to watch television. Once you do not welcome a good thought, rest assured it will not return. If it is rejected, it does not want to come back. But desire is like a beggar. It comes again and again. Each time it has more expectation and more hope that it will definitely get something. So when wrong forces come, don’t think that you will be able to annoy or anger them. If they come a second time, just fight them out. And if they immediately accept defeat and go, don’t invite them back.

Question: What is the quickest way for me to transcend unconscious resistance to purifying, divine forces?

Sri Chinmoy: In your case the quickest way is to feel that there is a higher force that is ready to operate in and through you. But you have to give the higher force the chance. Always feel that you have done nothing unless the higher force operates in and through you. The creative part in you will not be able to resist forever. If you feel that there is opposition, then there will be a constant tug-of-war. But if a higher force is working in and through you, then the higher force will have much more capacity or strength than the undivine or unconscious force.

Question: As one's being becomes more pure, do the forces that test it become stronger?

Sri Chinmoy: In some cases when one is becoming pure, purer, purest, the hostile forces attack more vehemently. They think that the person is going to surrender and that they will win the fight. In other cases the hostile forces see that a particular seeker is so strong that he is going to win. Then they see that the best thing is to surrender. There is no hard and fast rule. In some cases the forces feel that they still have some time to operate and that they will be able to ruin the seeker. So in these cases, as the seeker progresses, the hostile forces attack more vehemently. The hostile forces say, “Where are you going? What are you doing? I have helped you and served you according to my capacity. Why are you going to leave me?” But the seeker will say, “Just because I stayed with you by mistake for forty years, that doesn’t mean that I have to stay with you for my forty-first year.” Then there will be a fight. If the forces see that you are weaker, then they will strike you most vehemently so that once again they can enter into you. If the opponents see that there is every possibility of winning, then they will muster all kinds of strength. But if they feel that you are stronger, then sometimes they surrender to you before completing the game.

Wrong forces play their role in their own way and good forces play their role in their own way. You cannot say that a person has done such wonderful things and that is why the forces attack him, or that a person is not divine at all and that is why the hostile forces do not bother him. The forces are like monkeys. Forces come and pinch the seeker and if he is not affected, then they go some place else. They also have their own pride. If they see that you will not open your door, then they will say that it is beneath their dignity to knock. But if they see and feel from within that you are going to open the door, then they will continue knocking. The forces do not attack because people are doing good things; it is just that they are roaming here and there, waiting for an opportunity to attack.

Question: Are hostile forces and occult things real or illusory?

Sri Chinmoy: In your case it is all mental hallucination. Hostile forces do not actually attack you although you feel that they do. You feel that they attack you because on the one hand you are fighting them on the outer plane, and on the other hand you are cherishing them unconsciously. You make yourself feel that you are really something and that is why the hostile forces are attacking you. You think, “I must be strong in some way or good in some way. That is why the hostile forces are paying so much attention to me and not paying attention to somebody else.” Our human mind is so tricky. When you are attacked by someone or when someone comes to rob you, on the one hand you are sad and miserable that you have been robbed and everything has been taken away, but on the other hand you are proud. You say, “Look. I am rich. That is why they have come to steal my wealth and not others’ wealth.” If your property and wealth are stolen, then you should feel miserable and that is all. But no, you feel miserable for five minutes and then some silly idea enters into your mind and you are bloated with pride. Similarly, very often when hostile forces attack you, on the one hand you get irritated, angry and upset, but on the other hand you get a kind of subtle satisfaction. You think, “Oh, perhaps I am really spiritual and divine; that is why the hostile forces have attacked me and not others.” We have to be very careful. We must not cherish the idea that we are spiritually rich and that is why the hostile forces are attacking us.

Hostile forces attack everyone very naturally. You may think that hostile forces are attacking only you. But go and ask the person sitting beside you, and he will say, “Oh yes, yesterday I had the same experience.” Then ask somebody else, “Did hostile forces attack you?” Everybody will tell you the same story. The thing is that you like to feel that you are the only sufferer. That is why consciously or unconsciously you cherish in a negative way the idea that you are spiritual and divine. Here you are making a mistake. You are spiritual and divine, true. But you are spiritual and divine because you have entered into the spiritual life. It is not because you are a special person that hostile forces have attacked you and not others. The very nature of the hostile forces is to attack everyone. Then sooner or later there will come a time when you and others are totally freed from these hostile forces.

Question: How powerful are the hostile forces?

Sri Chinmoy: One of the best disciples of one great spiritual Master became insane. He was a very great aspirant. He came from Chittagong, where I was born. When he left the ashram, he became mad, insane. He had been so close to his Master. Then he finally died.

Afterwards, a disciple asked the Master, “You speak about hostile forces, but the divine force is so powerful. What can the undivine forces actually do?” The Master answered, “Yes, the divine force is really, truly more powerful, much more powerful than the hostile forces. But you are asking me what they can do. Now you see that they can take away one of my best disciples.” A hostile force did that.

Question: By what process do hostile forces leave us?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes slowly and steadily bad forces leave us on the strength of our own inner illumination. Sometimes it takes one week or two months or three months. It is like a wound. Gradually it becomes smaller, but it hurts until it is totally recovered. When we run a thorn into our foot, a particle remains and when we walk we get such pain. If we recover from the wound immediately, as if by some miracle, then we get tremendous joy.

But when we suffer, along with suffering comes doubt. Human life is so precarious. Each time we suffer, either we can open more to God or we can open more to suspicion. We will say, “I have tried so hard. I have given up my vital life. How is it that all the evil forces are coming to bother me? When I didn’t care for the spiritual life, I didn’t have so many wrong forces.” We don’t realise that these forces have to be conquered slowly and steadily and that they may come to the fore at times. A kind of conscious anger and all kinds of self-contempt may come. “I am useless and good for nothing. This means that I am not meant for the spiritual life.” Whenever this happens, we must increase our own aspiration as quickly as possible. We have a disease and at this time we have to become more careful and more alert. When we are all right, we sometimes become relaxed and self-complacent.

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