Question: Guru, how is it possible to tell whether you are ascending or descending when the movement takes place in such small steps?

Sri Chinmoy: Anybody can know whether he is ascending or descending. When you are descending, immediately your inner joy, your inner satisfaction goes away. You can fool others, but you can't fool yourself if you are sincere. You can try to fool yourself or deceive yourself by grasping some divine quality with your mind or your vital. But when your inner world becomes barren, you really feel miserable if you are sincere. If you don't feel miserable when your inner life is barren, that means that you are trying to convince yourself that nothing is wrong, when actually everything is wrong. Your house is totally burnt down, destroyed, but you say, "Oh no, my house is not burnt. This is not my house. My home is somewhere else." But you definitely know that it is destroyed. Or if you have one dollar and then you don't see it again, you know that you have lost it. How can you say that you have not lost it? It is just a dollar, but you know that it is gone.