Question: If there is much impurity in your environment at work or school, how can you best keep it out of you?

Sri Chinmoy: If you feel there is much impurity where you work, if your colleagues are full of impurity, then you have to be more careful, more conscious. You have to concentrate more on purity in your life. There is no other way.

If it is easy, then you don’t have to concentrate much on purity. But if you find your relatives, neighbours and colleagues are all full of impurity, then you have to pray more and meditate more. At every moment you have to feel that there is a battle going on between your aspiration and the pull of the material world. So you have to be more careful, more vigilant, more spiritual.

But you have to do it with utmost sincerity and humility. If you have the feeling that you are far more spiritual or more pure than others around you, then it will be all self-deception. You may think that you have more spirituality, more purity, but who knows? Someone else may have more spirituality and humility and other divine qualities. Just because you follow a spiritual path doesn’t mean that you are more pure. There are many people who are not conscious of spirituality, but they are more pure than you are. Unfortunately, many people who enter into the spiritual life look down on others, thinking, “They don’t go to any spiritual centre, they don’t go to church, they don’t pray, they don’t have purity.” That is a wrong idea that most of you cherish. It is a false aggrandisement of the ego. Undoubtedly there are many people who are far, far inferior to you in terms of purity; but again, I see all around many people who have more purity than most of you have. So just because you follow the spiritual life, it does not mean that you have more purity.

If we are really pure, then we don’t see impurity in others. If we are not pure, then we see mud in everybody. A child is pure, so he does not see mud in anybody. Only when he becomes fourteen or fifteen or so does he see mud everywhere, because at that time he has his own mind. If his mind is all impure, naturally he sees impurity everywhere. Real spiritual people are not at all disturbed by impurity, because they have tremendous inner light and that light saves them. So in your case, I wish to say, do not seek impurity in others; only think of your own inner light. The more you can bring to the fore your inner light, either the impurity you see will be illumined or you will not see impurity at all.