The Way, the Truth, the Life
A lecture by Sri Chinmoy
Queen Margaret Union, University of Glasgow, Scotland
Dear sisters and brothers, dear seekers of the infinite Truth and Light, I wish to give a short talk on "The Way, the Truth, the Life." This is the motto of your university It is a lofty motto; therefore, I shall speak on this subject from the spiritual point of view.
Two thousand years ago the Christ proclaimed: "I am the Way; I am the Goal." His revealed aspiration was the Way; His manifested realisation was the Goal. Humanity's first and foremost achievement is the Way. Humanity's last and most glorious achievement is the Goal. There is a method to shorten the Way. There is a method to bring the Goal closer. How to shorten the Way? Increase our receptivity. How to bring the Goal closer? Surrender our will unconditionally to God's Will. We increase our receptivity through soulful, devoted and ceaseless self-offering. We make our surrender unconditional by realising the fact that our satisfaction lies in God alone and that God alone is our supreme satisfaction. If we have discovered this lofty truth, then only can we make an attempt to grow into unconditional surrender to God's Will.
God has infinite children. In God's family, Truth is the eldest son. Right after Truth is Peace. Truth and Peace are extremely close to each other; they complement each other. They are constantly trying to please each other. Truth offers its transcendental height to its brother Peace, and Peace offers its eternal depth to its brother Truth.
Their Father, the Lord Supreme, observes this act of mutual offering by His two devoted sons. God tells them that they are supremely indispensable in His creation. God says to Truth: "Truth, My son, earth succeeds because of you. If you did not exist, earth could never succeed in anything." God says to Peace: "Peace, My son, just because of you earth is able to receive Me. If you did not remain on earth, earth could never receive or reach Me."
Both Truth and Peace say to their almighty Father: "Father, it is true that we are of some service to You, but we are not indispensable. Never! We are Your creation. You are the Creator and You alone are indispensable. We are extremely grateful to You for granting us the opportunity to be of service to You. We wish to become; we wish to be. We wish to become Your messengers. We wish to be the carriers of earth's sufferings to Heaven-Delight. We wish to bring down Heaven's Delight into earth's excruciating pangs. Please allow us to perform this task so that through us You may fulfil Yourself, Father."
This is their hope and desire. They want to be constantly at the Feet of their Lord Supreme. They feel that if they stay at the Feet of their Supreme Beloved, then only will earth know how to value the supreme Height and the eternal Depth of the Absolute Supreme. Truth and Peace feel that they can act as intermediaries or representatives to show earth who the Supreme is and how He can be approached. How can He be approached? He can be approached only through the aspirant's devoted surrender to the transcending height of Truth and the illumining depth of Peace.
Truth is the connecting link between the Way and the Life. Truth energises and illumines the Way that the seekers of the Infinite travel: Eternity's road. It is Truth that feeds the life divine. It is Truth that helps the life divine in its total manifestation on earth. Truth is the connecting link between the path to the Goal and the Goal itself, which is the divinely perfect life on earth.
Human life and divine life. Human life is the life of earth. What we need on earth is the transformation of our nature, the transformation of our limited consciousness, the transformation of our earthbound necessity and reality. The divine life is the life in which we manifest the highest Reality. The Reality-Song we have already learned, but we have not yet started singing it here on earth.
The realisation of the human life is this:
A sea of Peace and Joy and Light
Beyond my reach, I know.
In me the storm-tossed weeping night
Finds room to rage and flow.
A raft am I on the sea of Time,
My oars are washed away.
How can I hope to reach the clime
Of God's eternal Day?
But the realisation of the divine life is this:
But hark, I hear Thy golden Flute.
Its notes bring the Summit down.
Now safe am I, O Absolute!
Gone death! Gone night's stark frown!
Human life and responsibility need not go together; human life and duty do not want to go together. Most human beings find it very distasteful to accept responsibility and duty. They do not want to be responsible even for their own actions, let alone for others' actions. Human life is afraid of responsibility. Human life is afraid of duty. But the divine life takes responsibility as a golden opportunity. The divine life takes duty as a golden opportunity. The divine life realises that we can expedite our Heavenward journey by fulfilling our God-ordained responsibilities, for this is what satisfies God. And the divine life knows that satisfaction can dawn in our life only when God is satisfied. If we do not satisfy God, no matter what we say, what we do or what we achieve, our true satisfaction will always remain a far cry.
The seekers who are walking along Eternity's road always feel it is their bounden duty to do the first thing first. The first thing is God-realisation. God-satisfaction blossoms into reality only when God-realisation has taken place. If we can satisfy God even in an infinitesimal measure through our divine love, divine devotion and divine surrender, then our life of insufficiency, desire and frustration will be transformed into a life of considerable satisfaction. But if God is missing inside our achievement, there will not be an iota of satisfaction there. So seekers of the infinite Truth have come to realise that it is in God and God alone that supreme satisfaction resides.
The human truth tells us that God is in Heaven or somewhere else, but not inside us. He is a foreigner or a stranger to us. He is in the highest Heaven and we are wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance on earth. How can God's Existence loom large in our life of impurity, in our life of inconscience, in our life of death? This is what the human truth says. But the divine truth tells us in soulful and unmistakable terms that God is bound to be within us. It tells us that the Heaven we are talking about is not somewhere else, not in the highest plane of imaginary consciousness. Heaven is not a location; Heaven is a plane of consciousness inside our illumined heart. This plane of consciousness which is fully illumined lives for the illumination of earth, the illumination of human consciousness. If we know what Heaven is and where Heaven is, then it is extremely easy for us to lead a divine life, for we see that Heaven is part and parcel of ourselves.
God is nearer to us than our eyes and nose, only we do not have the vision to see Him. When we keep our human eyes closed, we cannot see anything; we cannot see even the things that are near us. Similarly, if we keep the inner eye shut, then we cannot see God. When we open this inner eye, this third eye, we can see the past, we can see the future, we can see God's Height, we can see God's Depth.
Unfortunately, our third eye is fast asleep precisely because we do not feel the need of that eye. Most human beings are afraid of seeing their past and their future because they know what they were in the past. They know what kind of animal life they led and they don't want to see it again. Also, if they see the enormity of the future, the vastness of Infinity, Eternity and Immortality, they will be frightened to death. Again, some people are eager to open their third eye, but God's Hour has not struck for them. They meditate for a few years to open up the third eye, yet it does not open. But if the third eye does not open in the span of five years, they should feel either that they are not praying and meditating well or that this boon is not meant for them.
In the spiritual life aspiration is of paramount importance, but patience is also of paramount importance. We have to wait for God's Hour. Aspiration is like the runner's starting point. Then, when the starter fires the gun, he runs at his top speed. This is his aspiration. The goal is God's Hour. He has to run fast, very fast to reach the goal. The distance he has to run to reach the goal is fixed by God. If God wants the seeker to run one hundred metres, and if the seeker runs only seventy metres and then feels that he should have reached the goal by then, whose fault is it? The seeker has to cover the whole distance; he must run the full one hundred metres. Then only will he see God's Hour waiting for him. In the spiritual life aspiration is the starting point and patience is God's Hour. If the seeker starts his journey with aspiration and continues with aspiration plus patience, then he is destined to reach his Goal.
The unlit, obscure, ignorant and earth-bound human life can get its realisation, liberation and salvation only when it enters into Heaven's conscious and constant Blessings, Love, Compassion and Concern. How do we discover Heaven? In self-offering-self — offering according to God's Will and not our will. In the human way of life, the offering of reciprocal understanding or misunderstanding is the order of the day. I give to you and you give back to me. I strike you; you strike me. I speak well of you; you speak well of me. This is the human way. But the divine way is totally different. If it is God's Will, without the least possible hesitation I give to you what I have and what I am. What I have is the inner cry to climb up high, higher, highest. What I am is constant dedication to you and to the world at large, without expecting anything in return. Our life of aspiration is the life of constant awareness, constant self-giving, constant feeling of inseparable oneness with God and humanity. This is the divine way.
Sometimes we give of ourselves and feel that we are most generous. But it may happen that our offering is going to the wrong person, to one who does not need it or want it right now, to one who is fast asleep. The hour has struck for us to get up and to go to the inner school to learn, but our friends may still be fast asleep. We feel that we are doing them a favour by waking them, but they may not like the idea of getting up at this early hour. They may be irritated and angry. Our self-offering should be to the Divinity in humanity, but not to each individual as such. We will make a Himalayan blunder if we offer our dedication to someone who is still fast asleep in the inner world. He does not want our help right now. If we obey God's Will, we will help the right person, the person who is ready to come out of his ignorance-sleep and run with us to the Golden Shore. When we follow the divine life, when we lead a divine life, we always place God first in all our activities. His Will we execute. It is He who chooses the person or persons in whom we shall serve Him.
Published in My Rose Petals, part 3
The Seeker's Godward Journey
A talk by Sri Chinmoy in the Alice Millar Chapel at Northwest University, Evanston, Illinois, part of his ‘Fifty Oneness-State-Songs’ series.
Listen to Sri Chinmoy’s lecture...
Aum Aum Aum. In the spiritual life, we all know that simplicity, sincerity, determination and so forth are of paramount importance.
A sincere seeker of the Absolute Supreme has come to realise that his simplicity is not sufficient. He needs sincerity along with simplicity.
Then he comes to realise that his sincerity is not enough. He needs determination as well to make improvement and to proceed forward in his spiritual life.
Then, he comes to realise his determination is not enough. Along with his determination, he needs God’s Grace, continuous Grace.
And then, he comes to realise God’s Grace is not enough. On his part, he needs receptivity. If he does not have receptivity in abundant measure, then God’s Grace will not be able to operate in and through him in God’s own Way.
Then, after he has received receptivity, he feels the need of gratitude, a gratitude-heart. Without a gratitude-heart, he cannot acquire receptivity in its fullest measure.
And then, gratitude needs something else. Gratitude needs perfection, oneness-perfection. Without oneness-perfection, gratitude feels incomplete.
And then, oneness-perfection needs satisfaction-delight. If oneness-perfection is wanting in satisfaction-delight, then oneness-perfection feels it is not complete.
A sincere seeker feels in the inmost recesses of his heart, a garden. And then, he feels that his own heart has become a flower-garden. And this flower-garden desires to speak to God. And it has three special languages – beauty, purity and fragrance.
When it speaks to God in the language of beauty, God smiles and smiles at the seeker. And then, when the same seeker uses the language of purity, when it talks to God in the language of purity, God blesses him with His transcendental Blessings. And, when the same seeker speaks to God in the language of fragrance, fragrance from his heart-garden, God embraces him with what He has and what He is – His own Infinity’s Delight.
Unfortunately, all the seekers are not sincere, are not faithful. Doubt captures their mind and then they lose faith in their own spiritual life. At this point, the sincere ones, the fellow travellers, try to help the seekers who are assailed by doubt. The sincere ones say to the insincere ones, or doubtful ones, let us say doubtful ones:
“If you have faith, an iota of faith, even for a fleeting second, do you think God will deny His Grace to you, His boundless Grace? If you have an iota of love for a fleeting second, how will God deny His own Love, which will come in the form of His boundless Blessings to you? If you truly need God’s Presence, how can God deny His Presence to you, for are you not His own Vision? Are you not His own Reality, which is blossoming day by day for His own Satisfaction?”
The sages of the Upanishads, the Vedic seers of the hoary past, offered the most sublime message:
Asato ma sad gamaya
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya
Mrityor ma amritam gamaya
Lead me from the unreal to the Real.
Lead me from darkness to Light.
Lead me from death to Immortality.
Here, the inner significance of this lofty message is this:
“O Lord Supreme, the world of pleasure is trying to bind me at every moment. Do not allow the pleasure-life to conquer me. Unreal is the pleasure-life, so remove the unreal pleasure-life from me. Give me the life of true Joy, which You have and which You are. Do grant me the real life. Lead me from the unreal to the Real. And Your real life is Joy, boundless Joy. Do grant me Your boundless Joy.”
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya. “From darkness lead me to Light.”Here, [it means]
“O Supreme, darkness is blinding my vision and I allow darkness to cover me, my entire existence. For darkness quite often tempts me, it comes to me in the form of temptation. And I do not see through darkness. And this darkness blinds my vision. My future reality, my perennial reality-existence, it blinds. So, Supreme, do not allow, please do not allow darkness to blind my vision. What I need from You is Your Light. Light, more Light, abundant Light, infinite Light I need from You so that I can grow into Your very Image.”
Mrityor ma amritam gamaya. “Lead me from death to Immortality.”
What is death? Death is a force that delays the seeker’s journey. The seeker is a pilgrim. He wants to walk along Eternity’s Road. In order to walk along Eternity’s Road, he has to dive deep within constantly; he has to march forward constantly; and again, he has to fly up high, higher, highest, constantly.
Death delays his journey’s progress and a seeker knows that he has many, many things to do here on earth, there in Heaven. And here, he has to realise the Highest, he has to manifest the Highest, here on earth. This is the promise his soul made to the Absolute Supreme before it entered into the earth arena. Now, when death comes and it captures the seeker, it delays his pilgrimage, it delays his Godward journey, it delays his God-realisation, delays his God-manifestation.
This lecture is not listed among Sri Chinmoy’s published works as of 2022. The transcription is from the original audio.
My Path and my Songs are Inseparable
A talk by Sri Chinmoy
Aspiration-Ground in Jamaica, New York
Really good singers, I wish you to pay attention to my life-activities. We have had many favourite songs over the years. There are at least thirty songs that I compose each year that are very soulful, beautiful and powerful. These songs I take as part of my meditation, so you also may kindly take my songs as my meditation. If you take my path seriously, you have to give tremendous importance to my music-world, my song-world. Some of you are excellent singers. If you take my path seriously, then pay attention to my songs. My path and my songs are inseparable. My music, my songs come directly from my heart and from my soul. Kindly pay attention to your spiritual life in all its aspects.
Singing, singing, singing! There are some seekers and God-lovers who are not Tagore-worshippers, but how soulfully they practise and practise Tagore’s songs! In the same way, daily you can spend half an hour singing my songs.
Those who have the capacity, I beg of you to pay more attention to my music-world. There are many who cannot carry one single note, so I am not asking them.
No laziness! Please take everything seriously.
Published in The Temple and the Shrine