Question: In the New Testament Jesus says, "Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed." Here we see faith in tradition; the Gospel was told to us, and we believe in it. But then we are called upon to believe in something higher: that we can actually experience God. Everyone has to achieve this within himself in his own way. Do you believe in this individual approach to God?

Sri Chinmoy: The Saviour’s lofty utterance is at once beautiful, illumining and fulfilling. To be blessed means to be more in tune with God’s Compassion, Light and Will.

Let us say somebody comes to me and tells me that he has been to a garden that has many beautiful and fragrant flowers. While he is telling me about the garden, unconsciously or consciously he is injecting some light into my being. I am getting joy from the garden just because he is telling me about it. When I go there myself, I am able to enjoy the garden to the fullest extent. But the joy that I previously got from my friend definitely adds to the joy that I get from the garden itself. When he tells me about the garden, it is like he is giving me a dollar. When I go to the garden and see it myself, it is like getting one hundred dollars. So then I have one hundred and one dollars.

But if my friend tells me about the garden, and I say, “No, I can’t believe anything from him,” then it is only when I go there myself and see that what he says is true that I will get the joy that I deserve. But if I had believed him when he first told me about the garden, my total amount of joy would have been greater. His own joy, which he was so eager to share with me, would have entered into me and been added to the joy I got myself when I went personally to the garden. Then naturally I would have been happier.

I do believe in an individual approach to God. Each sincere approach ultimately leads to the goal. When we come to the Vatican to be blessed by the Holy Father, I may come by boat, you may come by plane, a third person may come by car and a fourth person may come on foot. Each one has used his own means to reach the goal, but the destination, which is flooded with infinite Light and Delight, is the same. Therefore, I give value to each and every individual approach, since all ultimately lead to the destination.