Question: I am interested in the divine relationship between dance and music and sports.

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on what kind of dance you are practising. Dance will help you in the spiritual life only if it is absolutely devotional. In India, for example, many dancers express their utmost devotion to one of the Indian Cosmic Gods, such as Lord Shiva. If you happen to be a Christian, on the other hand, your dance will show your love, devotion and surrender to the Saviour Christ. “Let Thy Will be done” — that was his sublime message.

If you are dancing for a spiritual purpose, then it can increase your devotion. But if you are dancing to attract the attention of people to your own vital life, to please your emotional life, to be more attractive to the public and to be appreciated and admired by the audience, then it is my feeling that dancing will definitely destroy your spiritual life. So it is you who have to decide whether you want to please God with your devotion, love and gratitude or you want to please your own emotional life.

The same applies to music. We can sing soulful songs. Again, we can sing vital songs, rock and roll and so forth. A seeker will not choose to sing emotional and vital songs. A seeker will choose only soulful and prayerful songs.

Then comes sports. Are you doing sports in order to make progress, or to defeat others? If you are competing with others to increase your own capacities, to see how far you can jump or how fast you can run, no harm. But you have to feel that you are doing it for your own progress and not to defeat somebody by hook or by crook.

Suppose you know how long it takes you to sprint 100 metres. You will be happy by setting a new personal record. While you are making your personal record, if somebody falls behind in the race, it is not your fault. But, while running the race, if you say, “By any means, I have to defeat that person,” then it will be a terrible mistake.

Competition helps you only if you are doing it for your own progress. You practise hard and then you see that gradually, gradually you are improving. But if you compete with others only to defeat them, then you will be doing the wrong thing and also you will feel miserable. Today you may defeat someone, but then you will look around and see that there is somebody else who can easily defeat you. When you see that there is somebody to smash your pride, all your joy goes away.

But if you are entering into competition for your own progress, you will get tremendous inner joy. You will say, “This much capacity God has given me, and if God is pleased with me, tomorrow He will give me more capacity.” In that way, no matter what the result is, you will be satisfied. But if you want to get joy by defeating someone, I tell you, that joy does not last. If you look around, you will see that there is somebody else who is far, far better than you.

For sports, singing, dancing or anything we do, if there is a spiritual purpose behind it, then we are doing the right thing. If there is no spiritual motive behind it, then it will be a mistake on our part. No matter what we get, even if we are successful, we will never, never be happy.