Question: How do you tell whether you are ambitious or are really aspiring?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are ambitious, what will happen? You will have a kind of aggressive vital. Then, even if you are also trying to get peace, light and bliss, I tell you there will always be some undivine element there. But if you are really trying to do your best, if you are really aspiring, there will not be this kind of aggressive movement. If a runner wants to exert himself to his utmost capacity and reach his best running speed, then that is his aspiration. But when there is ambition, immediately a kind of rivalry starts. Ambition wants to be the best in everything, but aspiration is different. It says, "I will do my best. If I want to engage in sports, I shall have to practise running. But the result, the achievement, will be entirely at the Feet of the Supreme."

At first I only want to achieve something, but if I get the feeling that I want to be on the top and that others should be at least one step below me, then this is ambition. Ambition always likes to be on top and hold others below it. But if it is aspiration, then I will aspire to go to the Highest, not because of my needs, but because of the Supreme's need to take me to the Highest, so that He can fulfil me in His own Way. Aspiration will say: "If it is the Supreme's Will, let Him take me to the Highest. If it is His Will, let Him keep me at the lowest plane. Let Him keep me wherever He wants — at the foot of the tree, in the middle of the tree, at the top of the tree or far below the tree."