What is the Spiritual Life?

A lecture by Sri Chinmoy
in the Alice Millar Chapel
Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois


Here we are all seekers, seekers of the infinite Light and the eternal Truth. What does this mean? It means that we have accepted the spiritual life soulfully and consciously.

The paramount question is, "What is the spiritual life?" The spiritual life is something that is natural and normal. It is always natural and it is always normal, unlike other things that we come across in our day-to-day multifarious activities. The spiritual life is normal and natural precisely because it knows its Source. Its Source is God the infinite Light and God the eternal Truth.

When we follow the spiritual life, we come to feel that a life of peace need not always remain a far cry. We come to feel that a life of love, the love that expands, need not always remain a far cry. Everything that fulfils us divinely and supremely, we can achieve and claim as our very own if we follow the spiritual life. Right now Peace, Light and Bliss in abundant measure we do not have at our disposal. But when we practise spirituality, when our inner cry, which we call aspiration, climbs up high, higher, highest, at that time Peace, Light and Bliss we get not only in abundant measure but in infinite measure. And we can achieve and treasure these divine qualities in the inmost recesses of our hearts. When we practise the spiritual life soulfully, devotedly and unconditionally, we try to bring to the fore the divinity that we all have. And this divinity is nothing short of our perfection.

Here we are all seekers. Each seeker represents the ideal and the real. The ideal is self-transcendence and the real is God's all-pervading Consciousness.

If we want to grow into the real and the ideal in us, we have to clean our mind thoroughly of the undivine thoughts that are constantly assailing us. And we have to empty our heart and fill it with infinite Light and Delight. Then God the Real and God the Ideal will be able to sing and dance in our aspiring being.

Here we are all seekers. We are all chosen instruments of the Supreme, our Beloved Supreme, the Eternal Pilot. We can prove this soulful statement of ours, not by words but by deeds, by our serving love and loving service.

Loving service. Our loving service can prove to the world at large that we are the chosen instruments of the Supreme, for the Supreme. When we love the Supreme soulfully, devotedly and unconditionally in our aspiring mind, we heighten our God-Height; and when we serve the Supreme soulfully, devotedly and unconditionally in our aspiring mind, we deepen our God-Depth.

Since we are the chosen instruments of the Supreme, our immediate necessity is God-realisation and our absolute duty is God-manifestation. In the fulfilment of our immediate necessity, we can become the torch-bearers of infinite Truth and the harbingers of God-Vision within us and without. In the fulfilment of our absolute duty, we discover that we are God-seeds and God-fruits. Let us offer our God-seed to the Supreme; let us place it at His Feet, so it may grow into a divine tree that can lift humanity to the highest transcendental Height. Let us also offer to the Supreme our God-fruit. Let us place our God-fruit at His Feet for His Manifestation, His total and complete Manifestation here on earth.

Published in The Soul’s Evolution



Sri Chinmoy’s 300th book Aspiration-Tree is published. It is the first hard-bound book produced by Aum Publications in Jamaica, New York. The book is simultaneously published by Bhakti Press in Ottawa, Canada.

Sri Chinmoy said about his 300 books:

They “signify 300 flames of aspiration. These are not my aspirations but the aspirations of humanity.

“This is not my achievement. This is the achievement of the Absolute Supreme in us, through us and for us. These 300 books embody a few million words. Each word is a manifestation of Divinity's Reality on earth for those who love me ...

“Each book is another name for my gratitude to my sweet children on earth and my loving friends in Heaven. When my spiritual children see or feel anything in me, they must feel gratitude – Sri Chinmoy the gratitude, Guru the gratitude.”

Published in Anahata Nada, January 1, 1977, Vol. 3, No. 12


Imagination has a Reality of its Own

by Sri Chinmoy
comments after a musical performance by his students in Xiamen, China


When you are singing very, very devotional songs, at that time try to imagine the Feet of the Supreme. If you can see and feel that you are looking at the Feet of the Supreme, then your devotion will automatically come to the fore. This is a very effective way. I always say that imagination has a reality of its own. So if you can imagine the Feet of the Supreme, according to your aspiration and dedication, then automatically the soulfulness will come. You will be filled with prayerful feelings.

That is one way. There is another way. While singing very powerful songs, if you can concentrate on one particular limb of your body, then you will be able to bring to the fore the power aspect. Divine power is inside the heart, true, but as soon as we think of power, we think of our shoulders or our arms. If you place your concentration there, you will be able to sing most powerfully.

I like the song Khule dao ankhi very much.

Khule dao ankhi khule dao hiya
khule dao man pran
khule dao deha khule dao sab
ogo prabhu bhagaban

It means:

O, open up my eyes,
Open up my heart,
Open up my mind,
Open up my vital,
Open up my body,
Open up everything of mine,
O my Lord, O my Lord Absolute Supreme.

In Bengali, the word ‘God’ has many, many synonyms, but the one that comes immediately in the hearts of all Bengalis is bhagavan. Ishwa and param prabhu are other words that we use, but in the Bengali heart, we get an immediate response from bhagavan. Bhagavan is absolutely embedded in our heart-breath.

When you sing the song Bhagavan, bhagavan nicely, I get such joy. God has hundreds of synonyms, but bhagavan comes first of all, before all other synonyms. It embodies all the God-aspects. Again, when we say param pita or param prabhu, at that time the devotion aspect comes more to the fore. Prabhu also means God, but there the devotion aspect is paramount.

Similarly, to a little child, his mother and father are one, but the word ‘Mother’ touches the heart or breath of the child more than the word ‘Father’. This is my own feeling. The Bengali word for Mother is ma. We use this word when we want immediate attention. When you are in pain or anything is wrong, the Mother comes first. The Father enters into the picture when it is a matter of something very large. The Father belongs to the large, larger, largest world. The Mother is intimate, most intimate. She is the one who will come to our immediate rescue. When the Father comes, immediately we enter into vastness. But when the Mother comes, immediately we enter into the world of affection, sweetness, fondness and intimacy.

Published in Sri Chinmoy Answers, part 37