Question: My friend is not a disciple. She has begun to meditate on your picture and she feels great fear.

Sri Chinmoy: There is no fear. It is only a matter of whether she is ready to give up certain things. Fear is not of the Real, but of giving up something. Very often people say they are frightened to death of my picture. But it is not my picture; only inwardly they are unwilling to give up their old habits, their old life. They look at my picture and see an ocean of uncertainty. But it is not actually an ocean of uncertainty. They are only holding onto old habits that they are unwilling to give up. “What will happen if we give them up? Right now we know what we are and what we are doing.” Her experience has to be interpreted in this way.

If one can obliterate the past and be ready to enter into the new, the ever-new, consciously and soulfully, one will see that the new also has its reality, a more fulfilling reality than the past. Then there can be no fear, never. Fear comes only when either we are unwilling to give up our old life or we are not certain of the new life. But mostly people are unconscious of the fact that they don’t want to give up their old life. Because they want to become spiritual, they feel embarrassed that they are still cherishing mundane things and they don’t want to admit it. Some are sincere; they say they are not going to give up drinking or drugs. They want the spiritual life, but they don’t want to give up their old life. Let us only encourage them and say that the new life will definitely give them a sense of satisfaction. It may be my path or somebody else’s path, but so long as spirituality is practised, they will get some satisfaction. And if it is followed sincerely and devotedly, the satisfaction will be abiding.