A lecture by Sri Chinmoy
at Trent University, Batta Library, Peterborough, Ontario
All of us here are seekers. Once we become seekers, we come to realise that we have imperfections. Before we launched into the spiritual path we had the same imperfections, but we did not consider them imperfections. Now that we have entered into the life of aspiration, even an iota of imperfection, of limitation, creates tremendous remorse within us.
Why are we imperfect and limited? We are imperfect and limited precisely because we do not consciously and soulfully claim God the Infinite, the Eternal and the Immortal as our very own. If we dare to claim God consciously and constantly as our very own, all our limitations will be transformed into boundless opportunities to climb high, higher, highest in the process of our cosmic evolution.
Now, what is limitation? Limitation is our unconscious or conscious expression of separation from our Source. What is limitation? Limitation is our conscious acceptance of the non-essential as our very own. What is limitation? Limitation is our failure to integrate the Dream-sky of Heaven with the reality-land of earth. Limitation is the yawning gulf between our present realisation and our future revelation. Limitation is the yawning gulf between our illumining revelation and our fulfilling manifestation. Today there is an undeniable chasm separating our realisation-world from our revelation-world, and our revelation-world from our manifestation-world. This chasm is our limitation.
A life of complexity is a life of limitation and abstraction. A life of simplicity is a sunlit path that leads to the fulfilment of our life's multifarious goals. Complexity deliberately ignores the divine beauty and the limitless capacity of humility. Simplicity knows that humility is not the painful awareness of our limitation, but the conscious recognition of our real divinity.
Self-deceit and self-acclaim are limitation. Self-deprecation is also limitation. When we deceive ourselves, we unconsciously try to uproot our life-tree. When we uproot the life-tree forcibly, it is broken and torn asunder. When we aggrandise our ego, we just feed our earthly existence and kill our inner life. Again, when we underestimate our own existence, our capacities and potentialities, we starve our divine existence, we grow weaker and weaker, and finally we die. When we deprecate ourselves, when we try to keep ourselves forcibly in a tiny prison cell, we do not allow our life-seed to germinate. Self-deceit is the conscious negation of our inner divinity, and self-deprecation is the conscious misconception of our inner divinity.
To conquer limitations is to grow into the process of conscious and speedy evolution. When we have conquered our limitations, we realise that everyone without exception has been blessed with unique capacities and potentialities. Once an individual discovers his own uniqueness by conquering his limitations, he feels certain that others also have a uniqueness of their own.
Limitation is self-thinking. Self-thinking is the conscious disproportionate adoration of our finite self. When self-thinking gives way to God-thinking, the tiny individual drop becomes the ocean of Infinity, and limitations disappear sooner than at once. When universality comes forward, the blossoming of the divine personality immediately follows. In our continuous universality, Eternity glows and Immortality flows. To conquer limitation is to grow into the process of illumining and convincing revelation. To conquer limitation is to live in the process of direct and perfect manifestation.
Earthly possessions limit us. Heavenly renunciation frees and liberates us. Supreme illumination immortalises us. Limitation abides in the cave of the unlit mind. Freedom grows in the land of the aspiring heart. Immortality abides in the kingdom of the illumining soul.
Right now we are limited. But limitation is not and cannot be our eternal reality. Each limitation of ours can easily be overcome provided we know that our Source is unlimited. Once we dare to claim God the Almighty Father and God the Mother Supreme as our very own, in the twinkling of an eye we are bound to feel ourselves unlimited in every way. And in the unlimited expansion of our consciousness, we come to feel that it is our bounden duty to manifest our Beloved Supreme here on earth in His own Way.
Published in My Maple Tree
Questions and Answers
following the lecture
Question: How do we know if our actions are ego-motivated or whether we are following the message of our soul?
Sri Chinmoy: We can easily know whether it is the soul operating in and through us or whether it is ego operating in and through us. If we execute the message of the ego, consciously or unconsciously it will bind us; whereas, if we execute the message of the soul, immediately we will feel a sense of freedom. At that time we are not bound by our action; only we know we have done the right thing.
If we carry out the commands of the soul, then no matter what the result is — whether success or failure — we will be satisfied. When the soul asks us to do something, we will not be attached to the result. Even if the result comes in the form of failure, we will be satisfied. This is because in divine action, our attitude is of paramount importance, not the result. Our attitude should be one of giving. We will only give, give and give — according to our soulful capacity. Then it is up to God whether He blesses us with success or failure, whether He gives us Peace, Light and Bliss or not. If we feel this way, we are bound to be satisfied with our actions.
But if ego has compelled us to do something, if the ego’s desire is not fulfilled, we will be disappointed and upset. Even if our ego-centred desire is fulfilled, we will not feel a sense of abiding satisfaction; for immediately another desire will come into existence. Our ego-hunger will increase and we will say, “No, it is not enough.”
Question: What were you doing during the silence before you asked for questions?
Sri Chinmoy: I was doing quite a few things before I invited questions. I went to a very, very high plane of consciousness and from there I brought down Peace, Love, Light and Bliss. All the people in this hall have souls, and most of the souls were hungry. But some souls needed Love, while others needed Peace or Bliss and other divine qualities. So according to the different souls’ need and receptivity, I have brought down the divine food and fed them.
Question: Does a spiritual Master have any ego?
Sri Chinmoy: To be very frank with you, to be a true spiritual Master of a high calibre one has to transcend the ego. Once one is truly realised, the ego is bound to disappear and be divinely transformed. The ego is always in the world of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, the world of possession. This is a limitation. Only when he transcends this limited consciousness can he embody Peace, Light and Bliss in infinite measure in his inner being.
When a spiritual Master says, “I am God’s son; Him to realise, Him to reveal, Him to manifest, I came into the world,” this is not ego. True spiritual Masters are fully conscious of the fact that we are all God’s children. They have this inner knowledge, and they tell others how they can also attain it. At that time some people misunderstand. They feel that the Masters are exercising their ego-power. But I wish to tell you that with real spiritual Masters, it is not ego but oneness that they are offering. When they try to illumine others with their oneness, people feel that they are imposing or thrusting their ideas, emotions or idiosyncrasies upon them. But spiritual Masters know that they are not only God’s children, but His conscious, chosen children; therefore, they cannot make friends with ignorance. They feel God’s Love and Presence in all their multifarious activities so consciously and so vividly that they feel whatever He does they themselves are doing.
Spiritual Masters have something called divine authority. When a Master says something forcefully to his disciples, when he tells them that they have to do this or that, it is not the human ego that is operating; it is the feeling of oneness. The Master feels that they are a part of him, a part that is unlit or obscure; so he exercises his conscious will power to perfect that part. The part that is perfect tries to perfect the part that is imperfect. Spiritual Masters are very often misunderstood because of this. Ordinary people think, “If he is a Master, then how is it that he has so much ego?” But his ego, fortunately, is of a different type. His ego is not crying to show its superiority and lord it over others, or trying to separate him from others. No! His ego is expressing the feeling of divine oneness.
Question: Why do you go from place to give place and give lectures?
Sri Chinmoy: As a human being, I personally do not do anything for my own sake, absolutely nothing. For God, for God’s sake, I do everything. Earthly things I do not need. I need one thing only and that is service. God has given me the capacity and the necessity to serve Him in humanity. To offer my dedicated service to the world at large is my only will, and it is my will because this is what the Supreme in me has commanded me to do. I go from one place to another because I have been asked by the Divine within me to serve Him in this way.
I come here like an inner farmer and try to cultivate the inner crop. If I get fertile soil then it becomes easier for the farmer in me to cultivate the land. If the land is dry and barren, then the farmer finds his work extremely difficult. The people who believe in this farmer are the ones who will get the bumper crop of realisation from him. Others, who believe in other farmers, will get realisation from them.
Question: How can we attain lasting freedom?
Sri Chinmoy: If we try to achieve freedom through our vital power, by hook or by crook, then we will not get real freedom. But if we get freedom from the soul, it is spontaneous and everlasting. This is the freedom that is based on our feeling of inseparable oneness with the entire world. So if we want to achieve real and everlasting freedom, it has to come from the soul. If we use our human determination to attain freedom, we see that this determination usually comes from our vital — not the emotional vital, but the vital that wants to exploit its position of supremacy. When we attain freedom through the exercise of our determination, it does not last. On the contrary, just when we think we have attained freedom, we discover that we are badly bound in a hundred subtle ways. Real freedom is the feeling of love, truth and oneness; it is not through determination but through inner realisation that we can build up this feeling. It comes from our inner realisation that we are of infinite Light and for infinite Light.
There is another word we can use: will power. Will power and determination are two different things. Will power comes directly from the soul, while determination usually comes from the vital, which is often unillumined, obscure, impure. Will power, which is the very breath of the soul, immediately brings Light with it. It endows us with the ultimate Vision, and with that ultimate Vision we can attain the soulful and permanent experience of real inner freedom.
Question: Sometimes during meditation I get a feeling of timelessness. Can you comment on this?
Sri Chinmoy: At that time earth-bound time disappears and Heaven-free time appears. At that time you consciously obliterate from your physical mind the sense of time that binds. Now you look at your watch and feel that you are supposed to meditate for an hour or half an hour; but when your consciousness is elevated, you forget the time that binds and you enter into the eternal time. There it is all a continuous flow; the river is flowing into the ocean of Infinity.
Stories by Sri Chinmoy
at Public School 86 in Jamaica, New York
Totapuri was one of Sri Ramakrishna’s teachers. He always wore a loincloth. He did not wear proper clothes. Sri Ramakrishna used to call him always “Naked fellow.” In the beginning when Sri Ramakrishna was meditating very hard, Totapuri gave him some instructions. He taught many things to Sri Ramakrishna.
Totapuri was unable to accept Mother Kali. Sri Ramakrishna was all for Mother Kali. When Totapuri asked him, “Do you want to have lessons from me?” Sri Ramakrishna said, “I have to take permission from the Mother.”
Totapuri said, “What? You have to take permission from the Mother?”
Then Mother Kali gave Sri Ramakrishna permission. From Totapuri he learned everything, but they fell into disagreement. Totapuri could not accept Mother Kali, the Mother aspect, so Sri Ramakrishna said, “This is the time for you to go.”
When I went to Swami Vivekananda’s house, I was standing ten metres away. There was a fence. I spoke to the officials in perfect Bengali, but they did not allow me to go inside. They said, “No, no, no, no.”
I told them that I had written a book about Swami Vivekananda. I think I know more about him than those fellows who were not allowing me to enter into his room. What could I do?
This is a story about Dimitri, Irina Malikova's little son.* Today I was talking to him on the phone. I said, “Lotika will be here shortly. When she goes back to Moscow, I will send lots and lots of gifts for you.”
Then he said, “But Guru, you are the best gift.”
I could not believe it! I asked Irina if she had told him to say that, and she said, “Oh no, Guru, not this time. But previously when you used to send gifts, I would say, ‘Guru is the best gift.’”
So softly and sweetly he said to me, “But Guru” — he calls me Guru — “you are the best gift.”
* Irina Malikova, a dear friend of Sri Chinmoy, is at this time the Chief of International Relations at the Gorbachev Foundation
Sri Chinmoy makes the following remarks after his disciples Ranjit and Unmesh told about their recent trip to India
Dear ones, we do not have to go to India. You have brought India to us by sharing your experiences. I am very grateful to you both, very, very grateful to you.
Recently we have had two passings: Pulak’s mother and our dearer than the dearest disciple Sunil. I was inspired by the two books that you have given to me, and I would like to tell two very significant incidents. One is about death.
Shyama Charan Lahiri had three daughters. The middle one had been married at the age of sixteen to a very rich person. When she was eighteen years old she came to her parents’ place, and she developed cholera. Her case was very, very serious. Her mother, Shyama Charan Lahiri’s wife, asked her husband to cure their daughter. The husband gave some Indian medicine composed of chilli powder, mustard oil and all kinds of other things. He told his wife that, if she gave it to their daughter, the daughter would be cured.
The wife said, “My God, if something happens after I give this kind of silly preparation, then her family will blame us.” The daughter was married to such a rich person. The mother did not give the medicine, but she called in a real doctor. The following day the daughter died.
The daughter and the family were upstairs, and on the ground floor Shyama Charan Lahiri was giving a discourse on the Bhagavad Gita to a few disciples. The family members were crying and crying most pitifully, so Shyama Charan Lahiri’s students said to him, “Now can we not stop?”
He said, “No, we do not have to stop. Why do we have to stop? They are crying; they are doing their job. We are here praying and studying the Bhagavad Gita. We should continue to do our job.”
But his disciples pleaded with him, and finally he stopped. His brother-in-law asked him a very significant question. He felt that Lahiri Mahashay was stone-hearted. His own daughter, eighteen years old, had died. The brother-in-law asked, “What is the difference between a God-realised person and an ordinary person when their dear ones meet with death?”
Shyama Charan Lahiri said, “It is very simple. In your case, when you throw something, like a ball, against a wall, the ball again comes back to you. It bounces and comes back. For an ordinary person, when somebody dies, it is like a ball that strikes against the ground and comes back to him. But for a God-realised person, death is not like that. For us, the ground is very, very soft — full of water, clay and mud. "When we throw the ball, it stays in the ground. In your case, you suffer for a very, very long time when somebody dies in your family. In my case, as soon as my daughter died, the ball entered the ground and it did not come back. Just for a fleeting moment I suffered, not for such a long time the way you suffer.
“This is the difference. When an ordinary person’s dear one dies, the ball will come back again. But in the case of a spiritual person, a realised person, the ball stays in the ground. Then how can he suffer? The suffering lasts only for a very short time.”
This is something I have read for the first time. I got it from a book that Ranjit and Unmesh gave to me.
Another incident I already knew. Shyama Charan Lahiri went to the Himalayas and prayed for a short time with his Master. He did not want to part with his Master. His Master said, “No, you have to work. You have to go back, and you have to teach family people how to pray and meditate. Otherwise, people who are married will never believe in God, and they will give up spirituality. They will not even accept the spiritual life. So you must go back. Whenever you are in need of me, just invoke me, and I will be present.”
Shyama Charan Lahiri went back. Once he was amidst his friends, and his friends started criticising all spiritual Masters. They said there is no such thing as occult power. It is like my old story about my dearest friend in the Ashram. He once said to me that there is no occult power; it is all lies, all falsehood. Shyama Charan Lahiri started arguing with his friends. He said, “There are spiritual Masters who can come here immediately. They can materialise.”
His friends all disagreed. They said, “Absurd! It cannot be.”
Shyama Charan Lahiri entered into a small room. His friends were all laughing at him because he said he was going to bring his spiritual Master, who was at that time in the Himalayas.
Shyama Charan Lahiri invoked his Master for a few minutes. He was very seriously meditating. His Master came into that room in his subtle body, and then he showed his physical form.
The Master became furious. He said, “This is what you have done? You have brought me all the way here so that these people, out of curiosity, will see me?”
Shyama Charan Lahiri said, “Master, now that you have taken the trouble, please come into the adjacent room.”
The Master said, “I am coming, but I am telling you that this is the last time I will come to you when you invoke me. When I want to see you, I will come to you. But I shall not come to you at your request. You are torturing me. Who cares for these people? Who cares whether they believe in God? They are so bad! Out of sheer curiosity they want to see me. My presence will not help them. I have come, so I shall listen to your request. I will go to the other room.”
Then the Master entered the adjoining room, and Shyama Charan Lahiri’s friends were so stunned. The Master was absolutely full of luminosity. The Master said to them, “Now I want to give you more proof. Give me something to eat.” They were eating chapattis, and he also ate a chapatti in front of them.
Once again the Master said to Lahiri Mahashay, “I am not going to listen to you any more. Nobody is going to accept the spiritual life from my presence.” Then he disappeared.
I knew this story, but I saw it again in that book. In the story about the daughter, for the first time I read about Shyama Charan Lahiri’s philosophy concerning the difference between spiritual people and ordinary people when their dear ones die.
These stories are from the books given by Ranjit and Unmesh.
Published in Only One Power