Question: When my birthday is approaching, it gives me an incentive to be spiritual so that on that day I will be able to please God. But then a few months after my birthday I lose my incentive.

Sri Chinmoy: Everybody does! You are not the only culprit. Human beings are all sailing in the same boat!

If you think of your birthday not only as a day of joy, but also as a day of promise, then you will see that you have not fulfilled your promise to God. Your promise to God is to be a perfect instrument of His so that You can please Him always in His own Way. Today you are seeing that you have so many imperfections. Tomorrow again you will see that you have so many imperfections. The day after tomorrow, the same thing. But again, your aspiration is to become a most perfect instrument.

If you can keep this aspiration as a burning reality, you will eventually achieve your goal. Your goal is to climb up the spiritual Himalayas. You may say, "The Himalayas are so high, so tall, and I have only just started. What am I doing?" If you maintain your goal, you will go up, up, up. But if you do not want to see your goal because after two days you are tired, then you will be assailed by doubts. You will say, "It is so high! The best thing is to go down." Or you may say, "Oh, I have climbed up a few feet. Now let me take rest." But in the spiritual life, there is no such thing as rest. If you are not looking up, then you will look down. At that time you will see that there are so many people at the foot of the Himalayas. They are lying down, sleeping and snoring. You will say, "Oh God, they are most comfortable. Let me go down and join them." Then you go down, and where is your goal? You climbed up before your birthday, and for a few days after your birthday you kept going up and up. Then afterwards relaxation started and brought you down. Now God alone knows when you will get up and make a new beginning.

If you take your birthday as the continuation of your promise to God to become His most perfect instrument, then today you will see that you have not fulfilled your promise, and tomorrow you will see the same thing. But, as you go on and on, you will see that there are quite a few good qualities which you are getting and quite a few bad qualities that have gone away from you. So that is a great satisfaction. Ten years ago, perhaps you had twenty desires. Now, since you are praying and meditating every day, you may see that you have brought it down to six desires or five desires. Here you are seeing your progress. This progress is your satisfaction, your perfection. In our philosophy, progress is always perfection. I will achieve perfect perfection when I have no desires, but the fact is that yesterday I had ten desires and today I have only four desires. Tomorrow I will have three desires. So that progress is perfection.

Absolute perfection is when you do not have even one desire. But there is something beyond this. You have extinguished all your desires, true, but do you have aspiration? God will catch us in that way. You may say, "I do not want this; I do not want that." But then God will ask you, "What do you want? Do you want Me all the time, in My own Way? You do not want to have a car, you do not want to have material wealth, you do not want to fly all over the world, you do not want to have houses and so on. Yes, I appreciate this, but then in a positive way, have you cried for My Love, for My Blessings, for My Compassion?" According to you, you are perfect because you do not have any desire, but according to God you are not perfect because you are not asking for His Peace, for His Love, for His Joy, for the increase of your own aspiration.

What we call progress is definitely perfection in its own way. But as there is no end to our progress, even so, there is no end to our perfection. That is why we continue and continue and continue. Every day you have to think of your progress. Then you will see that there is no end to your progress. Otherwise, if we do not look at our progress, we will not be able to continue our life-journey. For five days before our birthday we shall work very hard, again for another five days after our birthday we will aspire most intensely, and then it is over. But no, our birthday is every day. Since each birthday gives us joy and determination and reminds us of our promise, then let us keep that birthday every day to maintain the same promise.