Interviewer: The term "Master" is something that Westerners very often have difficulty with. Could you talk about the relationship between a Master and a devotee or disciple?

Sri Chinmoy: A spiritual Master is one who illumines the seeker. The Master is like a private tutor who helps the seeker learn the inner knowledge, so that he can fight against ignorance-night and swim in the sea of wisdom-light. A private tutor teaches the student and helps him in every way to learn the subject. Then, when the student sits for the examination at school, he does well. So a spiritual Master is he who carefully teaches the student how to pass the inner examination. But there is only one real Teacher, and that is the Lord Supreme Himself. We spiritual Masters are only His instruments.

If I know a little more than you do in one particular field, then I can help you. If you know more than I do about something else, then you can help me in that field. In a family, if the older brother knows more about the father than his younger brothers and sisters, then he is in a position to teach them. But he will not claim to be the father. The older brother will tell the younger ones, “I know a little bit more than you do about our father, so I will tell you how you can approach him.” We who are called spiritual Masters are like older brothers to humanity. We are members of the same family trying to teach our younger brothers and sisters to value, appreciate, admire and adore our heavenly Father.

Interviewer: Are you saying that we are all masters in some area of life?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. If I want to know something about how a radio station operates, you will be in a position to teach me. In this field I am totally helpless. So if I want to find out about this, then I will go to an expert in this field and learn from him.