Question: Can the academic life and the spiritual life go hand in hand?

Sri Chinmoy: Please do not separate your academic life from your aspiring life. You have to feel that you are not studying to become a mental or an intellectual giant. No, you are studying to become good so that you can be of better service to mankind. If you are studying a particular subject in order to teach it to someone, then you will do it devotedly, with utmost love. On the other hand, if you are studying because you want to show others that you are far superior to them, then there will always be problems, because you will be at the top and they will be at the foot of the tree. If you are studying in order to become good, then if I am at the foot of the tree, you will also want to be at the foot of the tree. You will not feel that you are becoming an intellectual giant and your friends and acquaintances are all inferior to you. Goodness and good service are nothing but aspiration, pure aspiration. Goodness is always aspiration, but greatness is always mixed with the vital. The moment I use my heart of goodness, I see that everybody is divine, everybody is beautiful. You exist as well as I. But when I use my vital of greatness, there is no second person. Only I exist and nobody else. But in the end we have to realise that there is no "I", "you" or "we"; there is only God.