Question: Is it easier to hear the soul's voice on our birthday than on other days?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on your meditation. On your birthday if you are thinking of how many gifts you are going to get from your friends or how many people are sending you telegrams or letters, and if during your meditation all those thoughts are coming, then will you be receptive? God will give you zero. The day itself is good, but on that day hostile forces can attack you very nicely: "Did he congratulate me? Who will give me a cake today? Let me examine whether so-and-so is my real friend or not. If she does not give me a cake, then our friendship is finished!"

On your birthday you are meditating to get special Blessings, but every day you have to meditate with utmost sincerity. Then you create the receptivity. It is like a muscle — every day you have to practise. Overnight can you become a wonderful singer? No. Only by practising and practising. So if you meditate every day soulfully and devotedly, then you will be receptive on your birthday. Otherwise, during the entire year you will think of your breakfast, what you ate last night, what others are doing or what kind of dress you are going to wear today — this kind of nonsense you will think about during your meditation. At that time, meditation is not in your mind; in your mind is the rest of the world. Then how are you going to be receptive? Throughout the year if you meditate sin cerely, then on your birthday, your special day, you can receive, because on that day you will be more careful in your prayer. You will be more alert. Then automatically you will become more receptive.

There is no hard and fast rule that on your birthday you will have a better meditation. True, on your birthday, the Person who is going to give you Blessings will be kinder, more affectionate and more compassionate to you, but you have to open your heart's door. On other days, if He comes to you, because of your lack of receptivity you will get perhaps ten dollars' worth of spirituality. But on your birthday, out of His infinite Compassion, He is bringing one hundred or two hundred dollars' worth of spirituality. Just because it is your birthday, He may stand outside your heart-door a few minutes more. On regular days, He may stand for five seconds. During these five seconds, He knocks and knocks at your heart-door. If you do not open the door in those five seconds, He goes away. On your birthday, after He has knocked at the door, He may stay there for five minutes. After five minutes, if you are not opening the door, He will go away. It is enough. So on your birthday, you are getting more opportunity, but you cannot say that on that day you are going to be receptive. God is always ready to see whether you are going to open the door. But it is up to you. You can keep the door bolted from inside. If you do not open the door, He is not going to break it open. He is coming as your guest to give you something. If you do not open the door, what can He do?

We have to create receptivity by praying every day sincerely. If you want to depend on one particular day, your birthday, you will be totally lost. A good farmer ploughs the field every day. A bad farmer will wait for the particular day when there will be rain and everything else at his disposal, while the good one will go on, come rain, come sun, ploughing faithfully.

Similarly, good students will study every day. Bad students, the night before the examination, will drink coffee and give themselves a headache by trying to read everything. Then they will depend on luck. They will say, "Since I will not be able to read the whole book, let me guess which question my teacher is going to ask me." Then they select ten or twelve questions to study, only to discover, to their extreme sorrow, that the teacher has not asked those questions. If you are a good student, throughout the year you are reading. Then, by examination time, you have read the whole book. Then no matter which question the teacher asks, you will be able to pass.

God is also a Teacher. If you practise meditation every day, then on your soul's day you will easily receive from Him. Otherwise, five or six days before your birthday you will try to become very pure, very sincere, very self-giving. Before that, for eleven and a half months you led an unaspiring life, an undivine life. For eleven and a half months you slept and then in fifteen days you will try to become a perfect instrument of God! Then how will you pass your examination? During those eleven months, every day God was trying to teach you, but you neglected your study. In fifteen days are you going to cover the whole year's lessons? It is impossible.

Again, there are always some lucky people who study at the eleventh hour and pass because God is so compassionate to them. The teacher happened to ask the question they studied — all by sheer luck. But how many people can have that kind of luck? By sheer luck you may pass the examination one year, but every year will you pass the examination? One year, by chance, you may pass, but the next year you will fail. Then the third year you will give up your studies and go home.

In the spiritual life also, if throughout the year you do not study and before your birthday you want to become a saint, it does not happen. It is a gradual process. Regularity is of paramount importance. Punctuality is also important. But if you fail in punctuality, at least try to maintain your regularity. Punctuality is difficult, but regularity is not. Throughout the year you have to be regular and punctual in your meditation. Then automatically receptivity comes. But if you say, "On my birthday I will aspire and become a perfect person. All of a sudden, an angel will descend from Heaven and transform my bald head and give me lots of hair and I will look so beautiful," no, no, no. That angel will never descend. Every day, ever hour, every second you have to aspire.

[Sri Chinmoy then spontaneously composed a special birthday song:]

"Freedom within, freedom without" —
Today's shout.
"To please my Lord in His own Way
I came into the world" —
Tomorrow's whisper.

Sri Chinmoy's commentary: Today's world is full of desire. The desire-world wants freedom. Today's shout is "Freedom, freedom, freedom — I came into the world to enjoy freedom!" We cry for freedom, but freedom we never get.

Tomorrow's world will be full of aspiration. Tomorrow's whisper wants to please God in His own Way. As soon as we start aspiring, we see that it is God Himself who is aspiring in us, through us and for us.