Question: Sometimes an aspirant goes through difficult times in the spiritual life, and the forces of nature hinder and overwhelm his aspiration. At that time, you live in a desert where you know there is aspiration, but you cannot get to it because you are overwhelmed. What can a disciple do at that time to get to the point where aspiration is on the front line again?1

Sri Chinmoy: Very good, very good, very good! I shall try to answer your question in different ways. The main aspect is what to do when the disciple goes through a rough period. Once upon a time he had very intense aspiration, and then unfortunately undivine forces attacked that particular seeker or disciple.

Let us approach it this way. Take these hostile attacks as mud, clay and sand. A child is playing in a field. At one place there is clay, mud and sand. His whole body becomes besmeared with dirt. He knows he is now dirty, whereas before he was not. Again, he has the inner feeling that only his mother can wash him and make him decent and beautiful once more. He goes to his mother, and what does his mother do? Immediately she starts washing and cleaning the whole body of her child. Then her beloved son becomes clean.

This is one way. Just feel that you are God's little child, chosen child, supremely chosen child. When you cry and cry inwardly, God will immediately come and do the needful.

There is another way. The seeker has to feel that he is a flame, a tiny flame, and the wind is blowing very hard. This wind is the hostile force. Then the seeker will cry inwardly, "O God, protect me, protect me! I really do not want to be destroyed by the wind, by the hurricane that is blowing." Then the Supreme is bound to come in response to the sincere cry of the seeker, His child. The Supreme will put protection all around the seeker, like a fence. Here the fence is nothing other than Light.

There is a third thing that you can do. Right now it is night. If we turn off the light, it is all darkness, darkness, darkness. Take the hostile force as darkness. In the outer world, how long does it take to illumine darkness? Only a fleeting moment. You turn on the switch and then it is all light. It is the same in the inner world. Who turns on the switch for you? The Supreme, your Inner Pilot or your Master. Light is already there in the form of God's Compassion. In this case, God plays the role of an electrician. He brings down Compassion, which is like electricity in the outer world, and then He gives it to you.

An ordinary electrician repairs the problem and goes home. Then the person who lives in the house knows that when he turns on the switch, the electricity will be there. Similarly, the seeker knows that when all wrong forces are attacking him, when his life is surrounded by darkness, God has given him the key, the wisdom, to inundate his life with light once more.

Again, if you feel that you are God's little child, you will also have to feel that no matter which floor your mother is on, she will come running. Let us say that you are on the first floor, and your mother is on the third or fourth floor. You are crying, crying, crying either for milk or for a toy, or for something else. Do you not think that immediately your mother will come down from the other floor to make you happy? Whatever you need, your mother will give. Of course, if a child is asking for a knife, the mother is not going to give him the knife. But if the child is asking for a little sweet or a little food, or a toy, the mother will give it. The child has no wisdom. If he asks for a knife, the mother will not give it; but anything else — food, sweets, milk, toys — the mother will give immediately.

Similarly, the seeker, the disciple, must have that inner cry. He must cry to God, "I need this, I need that, but what do I really need now, when the hostile forces are attacking?" Then God will immediately give His Protection.

I have a little dog named Chela. When the weather is bad and it is raining, he will just go upstairs. I am seated on my bed and he stays on the floor near my bed. Even if I do not say a word to him, he feels he is well protected. Again, if he starts crying because he is afraid of the thunder, I come down and comfort him. Here it is exactly the same. The mother will come when the child is a little baby. When the child is five or six years old and any kind of fear enters, he will just go to where his mother or father is for protection.

Our difficulty is that we do not believe in God's Protection. Why? Perhaps yesterday we told a lie or we scolded someone or insulted someone. This kind of idea enters into our mind: we did something wrong, we did something wrong, we did something wrong. Therefore, why should God protect us? If we ask ourselves, "Is God pleased with me?" the answer that will come to us is, "No, He is not pleased with me." We have made up our mind that because we did something wrong a few days ago, God is so displeased with us that today, when we are in trouble, He is not going to help us, He is not going to protect us.

This is what the mind is saying. But where was this tricky mind when we were doing something wrong, when we were telling a lie or something else? How is it that the same tricky mind did not tell us at that time, "It is a wrong thing that you are doing. Do not do it!" The tricky mind allows us or secretly instigates us to go away, farther than the farthest, from our heart. Then the tricky mind will say, "Who asked you to listen to me?" Can you imagine! Three days ago perhaps the mind begged us to do something. The mind came in the form of temptation and said, "Ah, how nice it is to smoke and drink!" Later the same roguish mind will say, "Why did you listen to me? Why did you listen to me?"

Many years ago, I told a famous story about a disciple. The disciple said, "I am supposed to get up in the morning at six o'clock." At six o'clock the following morning, the mind came and said, "Oh, it is still so dark outside. Just for today, why not meditate and pray a little later?"

Instead of six o'clock, it became seven o'clock. At seven o'clock, the mind again came and said, "I think I will be able to do my prayers and meditations quickly today just before I go to work. Therefore, let me sleep a little longer." Each time the disciple woke up, the mind was instigating him to take more rest, more rest.

Alas, at nine o'clock the disciple finally woke up. Then he said, "What have I done? What have I done? It is nine o'clock, and I am so late! When I go to work, my boss will scold me. I do not even have time today to meditate." Then the seeker became angry with his mind. He asked the mind, "Why did you act like this? Now I am so late. The whole day will be difficult for me." The mind's reply was, "Who asked you to listen to me?"

This is the mind we all have. Whenever we think of doing things that the heart tells us are wrong, undivine, the mind will say, "No, no, just a little." It is like taking chilli. If I take a small portion of chilli, I enjoy it. Then I think that perhaps I will be able to take a little more. But when I take a large quantity of chilli, how I suffer! My whole throat burns and burns! I should not take chilli at all. Knowing that it will create problems for me, I should not take it. It is the same when we are about to do anything wrong in our spiritual life.

We have to feel that in our spiritual life we are at a certain height. Once upon a time we were lower. In the course of evolution we were also animals. Now, if the forces are attacking us to bring us down, there is someone to protect us, and that is God. There are billions of people on earth. How many are praying to God sincerely and seriously? Is it not God's Duty, when somebody is sincerely and seriously praying to Him, to protect that person?

Then the question comes: how sincerely can we claim God as our own? Our main difficulty is that when we do something wrong, immediately we separate ourselves from God. We say, "God is angry with me. God will never look at me. He may even punish me." All these wrong thoughts come into our mind.

Instead of that, immediately we should say, "Yes, I have done something wrong, but my Father is there. He is not coming to punish me. He is only coming to show His Compassion. God will tell me, 'My child, do not do this again. Do not do this again. It is wrong, wrong. You see, you are hurting yourself. You are hurting Me.'" We have to have that closeness, that intimate feeling for God.

In your case, you have such a beautiful son and beautiful daughter. Which philosophy will you apply when they do something wrong? Will you come with affection, compassion and forgiveness or will you come with an iron rod? I am sure you will use your affection, compassion and forgiveness.

For God, forgiveness will always come first. Again, who will forgive whom? God forgives whomever He calls His own. When a member of the family does something wrong, the father and mother have so many divine weapons. The first is forgiveness. Then comes compassion. Then comes affection.

Similarly, because God has Affection for you, He is showing His Compassion, and because God has Compassion, He is showing His Forgiveness. Now God is coming in the form of Affection, Compassion and Forgiveness to save you. But the same mind that came in the form of temptation and instigated you to do the wrong thing is now telling you, "Oh, no, God will not even look at you. You are such a bad fellow! God is not going to love you anymore because you did something undivine. Now God will be billions of miles away from you."

That is not God's Way. God's Way is to take each and every human being to his highest, highest, highest. God's other Name is Affection. God's other Name is Compassion. God's other Name is Forgiveness. In so many ways we can invoke God and He will come in the form of Affection, Compassion and Forgiveness. The dark day does not last forever. When God's Forgiveness operates, the seeker becomes very sincere and devoted again. Once more he goes to the highest.

If I drank nectar for a few years, will I be satisfied with drinking rainwater from a ditch? No, I will not. If I had the taste of nectar once upon a time and now I am drinking water from the street, I will say, "O my God, what am I doing?" But the hostile forces darken our mind; they damage our mind. The hostile forces say to the mind, "Tell this person there is no difference. He can drink a little street water for a few days." But if I drink street water, it will not take a few days; in a few seconds I will have to go to the hospital.

Always think of God as Someone who loves you infinitely, infinitely more than anybody else can love you, because He created you. He brought you into the world. He created your soul, He created your body, vital, mind and heart. How can the Creator not think of the Creation and love the Creation?

A little child, four or five years old, has a doll. If she sees that the doll is not properly dressed or if something is wrong with its hand, her whole world revolves around fixing the doll. That is her creation. She is responsible for the little doll. Such affection the child has for her little doll. God the Omnipotent, out of His infinite Compassion, has created this universe. Will He not have Compassion for His Creation? Will He not have Concern for human beings?

Always we must think that God is all Forgiveness, all Love, all Compassion. No matter how many bad things we have done, even if we have done countless bad things, God will forgive us. The human way, when somebody has done something wrong, is to punish that person. The human way is tit-for-tat. If I do something wrong, you retaliate. But the divine way is not like that. The divine way is immediate forgiveness and compassion.

Then we have to think that God the Omnipotent has infinite Power. Can His infinite Power not take away our little wrongdoing? He is infinite. He is the Possessor of infinite Power. No matter how many times we misbehave, no matter how many times we fall down, if He wants to use His omnipotent Power and lift us up, He can.

I am a tiny drop, let us say, and the ocean is so vast; it is infinite. If I want to remain on the ground instead of entering into the ocean, the ocean may say, "Who cares if you do not want to enter?" But if the ocean sees that I am so eager to enter into it, then the ocean comes and takes me, the little drop. Then what do I become? I become the ocean. Nobody will be able to say, "Oh, that silly little drop, where has it gone? Where is the little drop?" It has become the ocean.

Always think of God as Someone who is all eagerness to forgive the people who make spiritual mistakes. He is all ready to forgive, but we do not believe in God's Forgiveness. We feel that our crime is infinitely stronger than God's infinite Power. Is it not a joke? I am an individual and God is all-pervading. Omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent He is. Is His Capacity not infinitely greater than my capacity for doing something wrong?

It is a question of faith. I have to feel that He loves me, He needs me. As I need Him, similarly, He needs me to do His Work on earth. Now I am helpless. I have done something wrong, so I am praying to God, "Please forgive me and take me back."

God replies, "I am taking you back. And I am doing something more: as you need Me, I also need you to do My Work on earth."

Look at this! The omnipotent God is telling the individual, "Forget about your weaknesses. Again come and remain inside My Heart. You need Me, you need My Forgiveness, you need My Compassion. I am ready. I am giving you what you need. But again, I am telling you that I need something from you. I need you to spread My Light. I want you to take My Light and spread it here, there and everywhere, throughout the length and breadth of the world." We need God for His Light, so that we shall always remain illumined. And God needs us to spread His Light here, there and everywhere.

When we do something wrong, with our helpless cries we say to God, "I was Yours, but all of a sudden I feel I am not Yours."

God says, "You fool! You are always Mine, throughout Eternity. Since I created you as a soul, throughout Eternity you are Mine, Mine, Mine."

When I feel that God is mine and I am all His, there is no problem. But unfortunately, when I do something wrong, I feel that God is somebody else, a third party. Such being the case, why should He forgive me? But He is not a third party. He is my own, very own. Alas, unconsciously, or consciously and deliberately, I try to go away from Him. God is running after me, chasing me, to catch me and put me into His Heart once again.

Always try to feel that the human weaknesses are no match for God's Compassion. Human weaknesses are so limited in comparison to God's infinite Compassion. If I feel deep within that there is something which is infinitely better, higher, deeper and stronger, and that very thing is ready to help me, then that infinitely higher existence will grab me, embrace me and make me feel once more that I belong to God only. I do not belong to anybody else. I belong only to God, my Inner Pilot.

The one thing to do from now on is to feel that you belong to God. No matter how many things you do wrong or have done wrong, He is there to awaken you once again, to illumine you and make you feel that you are all His, all His. You belong to Him; He belongs to you. You need Him because you feel that you are helpless. He says, "You are not helpless. You are Mine, but you have allowed wrong forces to enter into you. Now kick them out of your system and claim Me!"

When we claim God as our own, very own, God will not remain fast asleep. He will not be snoring! He will come running and running. God will say, "My child is claiming Me as his own, very own. I will do everything, everything for him to make him see his inner light and inner height again."

Everything God will gladly do for you, for me, for everybody — for whoever needs Him, whoever most sincerely claims Him.

  1. YBG 75. Sri Chinmoy answered this question in Puerto Rico on 15 October 2005