Question: Do we have to remove all materialistic goals in order to realise God?

Sri Chinmoy: How we utilise the material life is what is of paramount importance. Matter, as such, has not done anything wrong to God; it is not anti-divine. It is we who use material things in a wrong way. We must enter into the material life with our soul’s light. We can use a knife to stab someone or we can use it to cut a fruit to share with others. With fire we can cook and with fire we can also burn ourselves or set fire to someone’s house.

We have to feel that matter and spirit go together. Matter has to be the conscious expression of spirit. If you say that matter is everything, that there is no spirit, no higher life, no inner reality, then I have to tell you that you are mistaken. There is an inner reality, there is an infinite Truth that wants to express itself in and through matter. Matter is asleep, and it has to be aroused. The material life has to be guided and moulded by the spirit.

But first we have to understand what the material life is for. If by material life we mean lower vital enjoyment and the fulfilment of gross desires, then it is useless to try to accept the spiritual life simultaneously. But if the material life means the life of expansion — the expansion of the heart, the expansion of love — then matter and spirit can easily go together. In this material life we have to see Peace, Light and Bliss. What we see right now in the mind is jealousy, fear, doubt and all undivine things. But in this very mind we can and we must feel harmony, peace, love and other divine qualities. If we want these divine qualities from the material life, then the material life can go perfectly well with the spiritual life.

The true material life is not just eating, sleeping and drinking. The material life is a significant life. And it eventually has to become a life of dedication. Right now in the physical we are trying to possess people and things. But the material life will have meaning only when we stop trying to possess and start trying to dedicate. When we dedicate ourselves to the Supreme, to the unparalleled goal of realising God, only then will life reveal itself to us as the message of Truth, the message of Infinity, Eternity and Immortality.