Aspiration, the inner flame!

God had a glowing Dream. The name of that Dream was Aspiration. Man has a climbing cry. The name of this cry is also aspiration. God was originally One. With His Aspiration, God wanted to become Many. He wanted to divinely enjoy and supremely fulfil Himself in and through an infinite number of forms.

Man is many. With his aspiration, man the dividing and divided consciousness, man the obscure mind, man the unfulfilled being wants to become one with the world-consciousness, the world-life and the world-soul. He unmistakably and soulfully feels that this is the secret and sacred way to feel the deepest Depth of Reality and the highest Height of Truth.

Aspiration, the inner flame. Unlike other flames, this flame does not burn anything. It purifies, illumines and transforms our life. When purification takes place in our lower nature, we hope to see the Face of God. When illumination dawns in our outer nature, we fed that God is near and dear, that He is all-pervading and all-loving. When our nature, the lower and outer, grows into the Transformation-Flame, we shall realise the truth that God Himself is the inmost Pilot, brightest Journey and highest Goal.

Some people are under the impression that desire and aspiration are the same thing. Unfortunately or, rather, fortunately that is not true. They are two totally different things. The difference between desire and aspiration is very simple and dear. Desire wants to bind and devour the world. Aspiration wishes to free and feed the world. Desire is the outgoing energy. Aspiration is the inflowing light. Desire says to man, “Possess everything. You will be happy.” Poor man, when he wants to possess just one single thing, he sees that he has already been mercilessly caught and possessed by everything in God’s Creation.

Aspiration says to man, “Realise only one thing, and that thing is God. You will be happy.” Fortunate and blessed man, on his way upward and inward, long before he sees God, he feels sublime peace in his inner life and radiating joy in his outer life. He feels that the realisation of the Supreme Beyond can no longer remain a far cry.

Aspiration has, not one, but three genuine friends: yesterday, today and tomorrow. Yesterday offered its Inspiration-Flight to aspiration. Today offers its Dedication-Might to aspiration. Tomorrow will offer its Realisation-Delight to aspiration.

Aspiration is our inner urge to transcend both the experience and the realisation already achieved. This is absolutely necessary because God the Infinite constantly transcends His own Infinity, God the Eternal constantly transcends His own Eternity and God the Immortal constantly transcends His own Immortality.

The childhood of aspiration wants to realise the Supreme in an earthly and individual way. The adolescence of aspiration wants to realise the Supreme in a divine and glorious way. The adulthood of aspiration wants to realise the Supreme in the Supreme’s own way.

Aspiration is realisation. Aspiration is revelation. Aspiration is manifestation. Aspiration is realisation if and when the aspirant needs God-Realisation and God-Realisation alone. Aspiration is revelation if and when the aspirant feels that God-Revelation is absolutely for God’s sake. Aspiration is manifestation if and when the aspirant feels that God-Manifestation is his birthright.

– Sri Chinmoy, Eastern Light For The Western Mind

Sincerity and Spirituality

Sincerity and spirituality are of paramount importance in our day-today life. Human life can be successful only when it is founded on a one-pointed confirmation of Truth in life’s multiplicity.

For a God-lover, sincerity is an oasis in the desert of life. It is extremely difficult to be totally sincere, but we need sincerity in the physical, in the vital, in the mental. What is sincerity, after all? Sincerity is the dynamic horse deep inside us, and the rider of this horse is our psychic being.

Now, what is spirituality? Spirituality is man’s inner urge to run toward the Farthest, to fly toward the Highest and to dive into the Innermost.

A unaspiring man will criticize the imperfections and limitations of others although he lacks the inclination, the willingness and the capacity to perfect his own imperfections and limitations. But a man of spirituality is sincere. Not only does he not criticize the imperfections of others, but also he is fully aware of his own shortcomings and he tries to correct them. In addition, he sees the world’s imperfections as his very own and tries to perfect them by perfecting his own nature.

Sincerity wants to see the Light. Spirituality shows sincerity what the Light is, where the Light is and how the Light can be seen.

An ordinary person loves the body infinitely more than he loves the soul. A spiritual person loves the soul infinitely more than he loves the body. Why? He knows that his body will last only fifty, sixty, seventy or eighty years, and then he will have to give it up. Each time he reincarnates he is donning a different body, but he has the same soul throughout all his lives. He knows that the soul is the conscious representative of the Supreme, revealing and manifesting in each incarnation the embodied Truth on earth. That is why a spiritual person loves the soul much more than he loves the body.

But an advanced seeker of the infinite Truth will give equal importance to the soul and the body. He knows that he needs the soul in order to enter into the Highest, the Ultimate, the Transcendental Beyond. But he also needs the body in order to manifest the Truth that he achieves in the highest plane of consciousness. He needs the physical in order to manifest the divinity within him. It is here on earth, in and through the body, that he can fulfill God’s Vision and God’s Reality.

Sincerity is God’s Heart; spirituality is God’s Breath. When we offer our human sincerity to God, God becomes All-Love. When we offer our limited spiritual cry to God, God becomes All-Joy, All-Pride. With his inner light, a spiritual man can easily succeed here in the material world. This light is his soul-power. This power is not destructive, but constructive. When a spiritual man deals with the outer world, he has no need to fear anybody or anything on earth. His soul-power will always come to the fore to help him establish the kingdom of heaven on earth.

A sincere man is of paramount importance on earth. But his sincerity cannot take him very far. He may be sincere to his friends, to his family and to the world at large; but if he does not have the inner cry, he will not be able to enter into Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. No doubt he is far superior to an ordinary, insincere man. But if he does not feel the conscious need to aspire, if he does not feel the necessity of growing into the Light of the Beyond, if he does not have the inner urge, then for him the Transcendental Goal will always remain a far cry. His aim is only limited perfection, limited joy and limited achievement.

A spiritual person has an inner hunger. This hunger is constant. This hunger is for the Unlimited, for Infinity itself. His dissatisfaction is not the dissatisfaction an ordinary person feels when he does not get what he wants. When a spiritual man is dissatisfied with the world, he is dissatisfied precisely because he feels that the wealth of the world has no real value. He wants Infinity, Eternity and Immortality, and these he will get only from his aspiration. In order to have aspiration, he needs God’s infinite Compassion; and he wishes always to bask in the sunshine of God’s boundless Grace.

Again, a spiritual person does not look down on a sincere person. He feels that this sincere person is his younger brother. He who has sincerity today has every possibility of entering into the world of spirituality tomorrow. Sincerity and spirituality should go together.

If one has sincerity only, God-Realisation will dawn on him in the distant future. But if one has spirituality along with sincerity, then he is destined to realise God very soon. With sincerity’s help, slowly and steadily we can go to God. With spirituality’s help, we can bring God to us quickly, convincingly and triumphantly.

– Sri Chinmoy, Eastern Light For The Western Mind 

Is that so…

In the spiritual life, the most important, significant and fruitful thing is self-control. No self-control, no Self-realisation. In the dictionary we come across hundreds of thousands of words. Of all these words, self-control is the most difficult one to practise. How can we have self-control? If we want to have self-control, we have to surrender ourselves to the Source. This Source is Light; this Source is God.

A child wants to have many things, many useless, harmful things. But the mother knows that if she gives the child these things he will be ruined. And just because the mother and the child are one, the mother herself will also be ruined. So the mother does not fulfil the child’s countless unlit, destructive desires. Similarly, the body is a child. If we fulfil the wants and demands of the body, then in the long run our life will be ruined.

Now, why does the body not listen to us? The answer is very simple. We do not listen to our soul. If we listened to our soul, the body also would listen to us. We know that the body has a superior, which is the vital. The vital’s superior is the mind, the mind’s superior is the heart and the heart’s superior is the soul. The soul’s superior is God. The soul listens to the Inner Pilot, God, all the time. The heart very often listens to the dictates of the soul – very often, but not always. The mind practically never listens to the heart. The vital does not listen to the mind, and the body certainly does not listen to the vital. The actual problem starts with the mind, in the mind.

How can we inspire the body, the vital, the mind and the heart to enter into better and more fulfilling light? We have to know at this point that if we find fault with the body, vital, mind and heart, we can never change and transform them. But if we appreciate them, saying that they have the capacity to play a significant role in God’s cosmic Drama, that they are as important as the soul for the full manifestation of God on earth, then we can transform them. If we do not condemn the body, vital, mind and heart – on the contrary, if we tell them that they can be the chosen instruments of God, that God needs them for His divine lila (game) on earth – then eventually we can transform them. The unruly members of our family will before long feel the importance of their respective roles in the fulfilment of God’s manifestation on earth. They can and will be unified and united for the fulfilment of a single Goal.

Self-control. In self-control we need simplicity, sincerity and humility. Simplicity has to feed self-control. Sincerity has to feed self-control. Humility has to feed self-control. We can say that the breakfast of self-control is simplicity, the lunch of self-control is sincerity and the dinner of self-control is humility. Unfortunately, we are living in an age when self-control is not appreciated. It has become an object of ridicule. A man is trying hard for self-mastery. His friends, neighbors, relatives and acquaintances all mock at him. They find no reality in his sincere attempt to master his life. They think that the way they are living their lives is more worthwhile. The man who is trying to control his life is a fool, according to them. But who is the fool – he who wants to conquer himself or he who is constantly a victim of fear, doubt, worry and anxiety? Needless to say, he who wants to conquer himself is not only the wisest man but the greatest divine hero. The Commander in Chief of the cosmic gods, the divine warrior Kumar, son of Lord Shiva, fights against hostile forces, asuric forces and ignorance in the battlefield of life. He fights to establish here on earth, in the immediacy of today, the kingdom of heaven. Earlier I said that people mock when a man tries to control himself. At times we see that even spiritual Masters are ridiculed and mercilessly condemned by society. Even a spiritual figure whose heart is snow-white, whose heart is purity itself, whose life has no sting of impurity, whose very breath is the flood of purity – even he falls victim to the criticisms of the ignorant world.

This reminds me of a Zen story. There was a Zen Master who was very pure, very illumined. Near the place where he lived there happened to be a food store. The owner of the food store had a beautiful unmarried daughter. One day she was found with child. Her parents flew into a rage. They wanted to know the father, but she would not give them the name. After repeated scolding and harassment, she gave up and told them it was the Zen Master. The parents believed her. When the child was born they ran to the Zen Master, scolding him with foul tongue, and they left the infant with him. The Zen Master said, “Is that so.” This was his only comment.

He accepted the child. He started nourishing and taking care of the child. By this time his reputation had come to an end, and he was an object of mockery. Days ran into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. But there is something called conscience in our human life, and the young girl was tortured by her conscience. One day she finally disclosed to her parents the name of the child’s real father, a man who worked in a fish market. The parents again flew into a rage. At the same time, sorrow and humiliation tortured the household. They came running to the spiritual Master, begged his pardon, narrated the whole story and then took the child back. His only comment: “Is that so.”

Here I wish to say that in your spiritual life all of you are trying to conquer your lower vital. Either today or tomorrow, in the nearest future or in the most distant future, you are bound to conquer the lower vital. But in the process of your self-transformation, if people do not understand you or care for your pure life, please pay no heed to their criticism. If they do not appreciate your sincerity, your effort or your success in controlling your lower vital nature, no harm. But if you want them to appreciate and admire your attempt, then you are unnecessarily bringing into your life not only their criticism and disbelief, but doubt and temptation as well. Each human being unconsciously embodies criticism, disbelief, doubt and temptation. On the one hand, you are trying to transcend yourself on the strength of your aspiration; on the other hand, you are bringing other people’s temptation into your life, and with that temptation you are unconsciously trying to feed your lower nature.

So I want you to try to be sincere to yourself. Let the world find fault with you. Let the world bark at you. Your sincerity is your safeguard. Your spiritual discipline will lead you to your destined Goal. Who is the king? Not he who governs a country, but he who has conquered himself. Everybody has the capacity and opportunity to become a king if he wants to. God has given him ample opportunity and boundless capacity to be the king not only of the length and breadth of this world, but of the entire universe.

– Sri Chinmoy, Eastern Light For The Western Mind 

Spirituality and Science

Man’s scientific and spiritual achievements are the conscious inspiration-light and aspiration-might of the Divine’s urge toward two goals: the realization of the body’s countless necessities and infinite capacities, and the manifestation of the soul’s transcendental vision of the Beyond here on earth, in the heart and immediacy of today.

Science is that precious thing on earth which is pushed forward by a glowing imagination and pulled forward by its own growing experience. Spirituality is that precious thing on earth which is carried within by fulfilling aspiration and later brought to the fore, where it can become consciously one with God the Field of Experience, God the Experience and God the Experiencer.

Within our living memory, we have seen science advancing very fast, while human happiness has been receding at an alarming rate. Today’s world is seeing a flickering candle flame of spirituality, but tomorrow’s world will be flooded with the light of spirituality, destined and decreed.

Science right now deals mostly with the material world. What is the material world, after all? It is the world that does not believe in the possibility and inevitability of a divine life. Spirituality right now deals mostly with the inner world. What is the inner world? The inner world is the world that says that the possibility of a divine life on earth is undoubtedly unreal today, but tomorrow it will be possible, the day after it will be practicable and just the day after that it will be inevitable.

Science has the capacity to show mankind the full development of the mental life. Spirituality has the capacity to show mankind the possibility and inevitability of the life beyond the mind, the supramental life. The outer progress and world-discovery swiftly follow the fruitful imagination in the world of science. The inner progress and self-discovery gladly follow the soulful aspiration in the life of the world within, the world of spirituality.

Science and modern life are simply indispensable to each other. The modern life is the eye; science is the power of vision. Spirituality, and the future life of mankind will be indispensable to each other. The future life of mankind will be the fully awakened consciousness, and spirituality will be its guiding and fulfilling soul. Science itself has become an art, and this art must now stand alongside all other arts. No art can ever have its fullest expression in the modern world without the aid of science. Spirituality is the supreme art of our nature-transformation. God the Supreme Artist uses spirituality to divinely reveal to the world man’s embodied divine Reality and transcendental Truth.

To fulfil his practical needs, man bitterly cries to science. To fulfill his personal inner needs, man helplessly cries to spirituality. The somber despair of ruthless destruction and the matchless ecstasy of the outer, human fulfillment have a common friend: science. The most hopeful certainly of a new and pure creation and the life-energizing, life-nourishing, life-transforming and life-fulfilling delight of the inner and divine fulfillment have a common friend: spirituality. Science and spirituality must be united. They need each other. Without the one, the other is incomplete, almost meaningless. Together they are not only supremely complete but also divinely meaningful.

 – Sri Chinmoy, Eastern Light For The Western Mind 

I am a free bird…

I have no duties to perform or obligations to fulfill.

Name and form do not belong to me. I have forgotten the limitations imposed by knowledge. The eyes see, the ears hear, but there is no one who is looking, no one who is listening. The body and the brain are alive and alert, but there is no mind, no thinker. Thoughts come and go, but they never disturb the peace that is always present.

Like an actor on the stage, I perform whatever actions are required of me. Still I know that it is all a play. Who can say what life is? The body breathing, the senses responding—what could be more miraculous than this?

In this liberation, there has never been any bondage. I understand that there is nothing to understand. In this completeness, there has never been any incompleteness. I know that I am the One. There are no words to express what I am. Thought cannot encompass it. Reality cannot be broken into parts. Therefore, notions of this and that, I and you, are illusion.

This world appearance is like a ripple on the surface of the ocean. I feel the depth of that ocean, but I cannot describe it. The world of form appears, but has no substance. I see no separation anywhere. I do not know myself or experience myself as a separate person. I do not know or experience others as separate persons. I am friendly with everyone, because I do not feel that others are different from me. I invite everyone into my own happiness. There is only Oneness there, so how can you call it love? I do not want anything, nor do I not want anything. All seems good to me as it is.

My true nature is silence. I sit quietly in my Self. Those who need me will find me. I know that I will also receive whatever I need. I have no thoughts about the future. I know that there is never any moment other than this one.

This life around me is my Self. I meditate on that Self with devotion. The flame of life is always lit. I am the devotee and the object of devotion as well. I am both full and empty, foolish and wise, asleep and awake. I do not understand myself! I cannot locate myself anywhere in space. I cannot experience myself at any point in time. I do not exist in any shape or form, and yet I am. My being is a mystery to me!

I perceive beauty, but it is not projected by me, nor does it come to me from outside. Beauty and goodness are in the nature of existence itself. That is the conclusion I come to.

This human form has its weaknesses and strengths, but I know that I am not that. Therefore I am not constrained by the body. I do not conceive of myself as being like this or like that. Therefore I am not constrained by thought. I never experience a state in which I am not aware. Therefore I am not constrained by ignorance. I know that one day this body will fall away and all knowledge of the world will end. Therefore I am not constrained by knowledge.

Like a flag flying in the wind that shows that the wind is there, this world reveals my existence, but I remain unknown.

Is there anything I need to satisfy me? No, I am content with my Self.

‘I’ am not enlightened, awakened, or Self-realized. There is no one to whom those words can be applied.

May all those who seek the Self come to this understanding—that there is no path that leads to the one who is seeking. May all those who practice spiritual disciplines come to this understanding—that there is nothing you can do to become what you already are. May all seekers everywhere come to the end of their seeking and live freely in peace and happiness.

I am a free bird. I have no duties to perform or obligations to fulfill.

– Andrew Vernon, A Free Bird

Eternal Truth…

Today the body is here; tomorrow it is somewhere else. Today the body is suffering; tomorrow the body is enjoying. Today the body is doomed to disappointment; tomorrow the body is surcharged with inspiration and aspiration. The body is constantly seeing and feeling itself in different shapes and forms, feeling that it has no permanent reality.

Despite being real, the body feels that it is unreal. It always tries to discover reality in something else, in someone else or someplace else. The body, being unconscious, feels that it lacks the Truth, the Reality and the Plenitude. It always feels that it is a beggar. According to the body, Reality is something static. And feeling that it is nowhere near the eternal Reality, the body seeks it somewhere else where it is permanent.

Let us take the example of a beautiful girl. Everyone knows that she is extremely beautiful. Beauty is a reality in her. But she is not satisfied with her beauty. She feels that someone else is more beautiful than she, perhaps even someone whom others consider ugly. No matter how many times her dearest ones tell her, “You are the beauty. Nobody is as beautiful as you are,” she is not satisfied. This is the case, not only with physical beauty, but wherever reality exists in the physical realm.

The physical is not and cannot be satisfied with its own possessions. It feels that others have the truth, light, beauty and bliss whereas it does not. The very nature of the physical is to feel that it is the eternal beggar. It wants something from somewhere else, either from human beings or from heaven. There is always a sense of dissatisfaction in the physical. The physical is naturally the seat of dissatisfaction.

The case of the soul is not like that, however. The soul constantly feels that it has everything from God in infinitesimal measure and that it has the potentiality to house Infinity. It is satisfied with its reality. The soul is satisfied because it knows what it has and what it can grow into.

The soul now exists in the field of manifestation. It knows that it has the capacity to unveil the Infinite, either today or tomorrow. It is satisfied with what it has right now; and it is also satisfied with what it will have, what it will do and what it will reveal in the Infinite, for the Infinite. The very nature of the soul is to remain satisfied. It lives in divine satisfaction. Very often the body gets joy and still remains unsatisfied. But the soul lives in constant joy, for it sees the Eternal Reality.

The soul is aware of the truth that Reality is both static and dynamic. The soul is satisfied when it sees the Reality in its highest, in its deepest, in its all-pervading consciousness. The body never sees Reality from all angles, never sees Reality in its ultimate sense, the way it must be seen, felt and realised.

The body wants to feel Reality in its own way – that is, by separating it into infinitesimal pieces and seeing it bit by bit. But the soul wants to see Reality in all its phases, in all its activities both dynamic and static, in all earthly incidents and heavenly experiences. The soul does not limit Reality. It sees Reality in its Infinity, it feels Reality as the infinite expression of the Absolute and it always tries to identify with Reality in its infinite ways of expression and realisation. Although the body is trying to get the highest Reality, which is both static and dynamic, it can never look at or feel the Reality unless it surrenders totally and unreservedly to the wisdom of the soul.

The ordinary human body is imperfection incarnate. This imperfection can be transformed into perfection only when the body voluntarily offers itself to the soul’s ever-growing Light, Wisdom and Bliss. A day is bound to dawn when the body will make this offering. Then the body and the soul will run together to fulfil the Supreme’s Mission – the mission of nature’s transformation, the mission of the revelation, manifestation and fulfilment of the highest Truth here on earth.

– Sri Chinmoy, Eastern Light For The Western Mind 

God, Truth and Love

Because I love mankind, God loves me. Because I love God, Truth loves me. Because I love Truth, I really and truly love myself.

Why should God love me? I just said that God loves me because I love mankind. There is another reason, too. God loves me because I love His entire Creation. I know and feel that God can never be separated from His Creation. Creator and Creation are one, inseparable. When we appreciate the Creation, the Creator is pleased and satisfied. When we ourselves create something, produce something, build something, people notice our achievement and appreciate it deeply. We are pleased because it is we who have done it. Similarly, the universe is God’s Creation. When we love the universe, we simultaneously love God the Creator and God the Creation; and both the Creator and the Creation will be pleased with us.

Because I love God, Truth loves me. Truth has no existence without God. God is the very breath of Truth. Truth and God are one, indivisible. On the one hand, Truth is another name for God. On the other hand, Truth cannot exist without God, whereas God can at each moment transcend Truth – earthly truth and heavenly truth, earthbound truth and heavenward truth. Even His own Transcendental Truth God can transcend at His own sweet Will. Although we can safely say that God and Truth are one, God alone has the power to transcend all truths, even the Truth itself. That is why Truth without God is helpless. But when we love God, Truth loves us because Truth is immediately fed by our aspiring soul. Inside God is the existence of Truth. In our very appreciation of God, Truth is fed and nourished. And Truth rightly feels that its unique message to the world can be spread only when we truly love its Possessor, God.

Because I love Truth, I love myself. A human being is the expression of Truth. He is not the expression of ignorance, falsehood, darkness and death. No, he is the embodiment, realisation and expression of truth – the lesser truth, the higher Truth and the Highest Truth. Each moment the divine Truth is transcending its boundaries in us. We see it, feel it and realise it when we live the inner life, the life of the soul. Because I love the Truth, I really and truly love myself. My existence and Truth are the obverse and the reverse of the same coin, which is the inner being or soul, the representative of the Supreme here on earth.

I love myself. What do I love about myself? Not my body. If I love my body for the sake of my body, tomorrow I shall be frustrated because there are millions and billions of human beings on earth who are more beautiful than I am. Naturally I will feel miserable. If I love my physical mind for the sake of my mind, tomorrow I shall see millions and billions of mental giants right in front of me, and my mental capacity will fade into insignificance. If I love my vital dynamism for the sake of my vital dynamism, then I shall see that there are millions and billions of people who are simply inundated with striking dynamism. Similarly, if I love anything else of my own, for its own sake, I am bound to be frustrated. I shall defeat my very divine purpose. But if I love myself just because God is expressing Himself through this body, vital, mind and heart, then I see that I am unique and peerless in the whole history of the universe, because no other Chinmoy is going to be created by God with the same capacities, same understanding, same experiences. Each individual can love himself just because he is a direct channel of the Divine. God wants to express Himself in each individual in a unique way. When we become consciously and fully one with God, we not only fulfil Him but we also fulfil ourselves. When I say that I really and truly love myself because I love Truth, it means that I consciously feel that Truth is constantly breathing in me, with me and for me.

My very breath on earth is the living reality of Truth. I love and adore myself at every moment – not because of my sound body, dynamic vital, refined mind and pure heart, but because God is inside me, God is utilising me, God is fulfilling Himself in me and through me. This is the sole reason why my body, vital, mind and heart are loved by me and must be loved by me. Each individual has to be surcharged with this supreme Truth. He should consciously feel that his life on earth is the outer manifestation of the Supreme’s inner Breath.

Supreme, I am Thy Glowing Grace. I am Thy Golden Plow. I am Thy Vision’s Kite.

– Sri Chinmoy, Eastern Light For The Western Mind