Individuality and Personality

A lecture by Sri Chinmoy
at the
 University of California, Berkeley


Human individuality is a self-torturing personality. Divine individuality is a self-discovering personality.

Man does not have to lose his individuality and personality. Man has to feel and realise his all-pervading divine individuality and all-serving divine personality. When we speak of individuality, we immediately see that it is composed of pride, vanity, desires, frustrations, fear, anxieties, worries and so forth. This kind of individuality can be observed in our ordinary day-to day life. But there is another kind of individuality, which we call the divine individuality. Divine individuality is totally different from the individuality of pride, vanity, ego, earthbound desires, limited achievements and limited fulfilment. Divine individuality is a direct expression of the Divine in us.

God is One. At the same time, He is Many. He is One in His highest Transcendental Consciousness. He is Many here on earth in the field of manifestation. At the Highest, He is Unity. Here on earth, He is Multiplicity. God is the Lotus, and He has many, many petals, each representing an individual aspect of Himself. He is manifesting Himself in infinite ways and in infinite forms.

When we speak of human personality, we immediately think of something coming from our physical consciousness or the physical body. A man, with his inborn capacities, tendencies and talents and all his characteristics, forms a kind of personality. When a man stands in front of me, his personality spreads like water flowing onto a flat surface. When we think of a person or a thing, immediately our own individuality enters into the personality of that person or thing. Right now I am here with you at Berkeley, the august university. But if my mind carries me to someone in India, my own individuality immediately becomes one with the person there. I have entered into the person who is now in India, and I can use his personality on the strength of my union with him. I have not lost my individuality. I feel that my individuality has been transformed into an all-pervading and all-serving personality. The moment I think of anybody, my consciousness enters into him and pervades him. When my consciousness takes me into a person, I become part and parcel of him. Then I expand my consciousness there. When my consciousness expands, his consciousness also expands. We always serve the moment we consciously enter into something other than ourselves.

In our true Self we are all one. But in our outer self, we are many. Among the “many,” we see that one is serving the other; and the “other” may not take an active or even a conscious part in the process. For example, I am giving a talk here. You may feel that I am serving you with my knowledge and my spiritual light, but I wish to tell you that you are also serving the Supreme in me through your communion with me and your understanding and appreciation of my offering to you. This is what we call the all serving-personality. The moment we stand before a person, even if he does not take an active or dynamic part in the interchange, our very presence constitutes an important part of the consciousness of that person. An ordinary person does not understand the language of a flower, but when he stands in front of a flower, what actually happens? He appreciates its beauty, and the beauty of the flower appreciates his consciousness. There is mutual appreciation, mutual love, mutual service.

I am serving you with all that I am and all that I have. You are serving me by becoming totally one with my consciousness. That is true service. In this kind of service we do not lose our individuality. My individuality remains inside you, and your individuality remains inside me. It is the extension of our personality in the form of this widened individuality which the Supreme expresses in infinite ways. Although a tiny drop of water can be taken as an individual drop, when it merges into the infinite ocean it does not lose its so-called individuality. On the contrary, its individuality is expanded into an infinite expanse of ocean. When we look at the ocean, we see the ocean as an immense being, a huge personality that has inside it billions and billions of living beings. It is a living being itself. By merging into the ocean, the drop becomes as great as the ocean. Similarly, when we enter with our individuality into our divine personality, we see that our individuality is transformed into the infinitely vast and all-pervading personality of the Divine.

 Published in Eastern Light for the Western Mind


Meditation for Absolute Beginners


Photo by Sarama Minoli


Sri Chinmoy holds a public meditation at All Angels' Church in New York City for absolute beginners in meditation. Following is the text of Sri Chinmoy's directions to the beginners. On the same day, at 1 p.m., Sri Chinmoy conducts another meditation; this one is for highly advanced seekers and is held at the same place.

To say that you are beginners is to prove that you are true, sincere seekers. A sincere seeker always runs the fastest. I wish to give a short talk and then I shall demonstrate to you how to meditate.

“My Lord Supreme, I am an absolute beginner. I need some advice from You.”

“My eternal child, before I fulfil your desire, let me first fulfil my desire. I am extremely grateful to you. I am extremely proud of you, for today you are conscious of what you are saying and you are conscious of what you are going to do. Today is a most important day both in your life and in my life. Yours is the heart of aspiration and mine is the heart of dedication. Meditation is a divine ball that a seeker eternally plays with and spirituality is a vast, infinite field. Now I wish to offer some advice, my chosen instrument.

“Be simple. To start with, be simple. It is simplicity that grants us peace of mind. A child is simple. From now on, think and feel that you have another name and that name is simplicity.

“Be sincere. It is your sincerity that can claim me as your own, very own. It is your sincerity that can make you feel that you are of Me and I am constantly for you.

“Be pure. It is your pure heart that can make you feel at every moment that I am growing inside you, that I am glowing inside you, that I am fulfilling Myself inside you.

“Be sure. Be sure that you are doing absolutely the right thing. Meditation is the only right thing. To meditate is to please Me in My own way. To please Me in My own way is to meditate.”

“My beloved Lord Supreme, I shall meditate; I am meditating.”

Now in silence kindly repeat the word “simplicity” inside your mind, inside your head. (Sri Chinmoy places his hand, on the topmost portion of his head over the Sahasrara Chakra or crown chakra.) In silence, please repeat the word “simplicity” seven times, and concentrate only on this particular area of your head.

(All do this and a few moments later…)

Now kindly repeat “sincerity” seven times inside the heart, in silence, soulfully. Concentrating on your heart, please repeat the word “sincerity” silently, seven times.

(Again all do this and a few moments later…)

Now kindly repeat the word “purity” inside your navel centre or around the navel. Please repeat the word “purity” seven times in silence, please, most soulfully.

(All try to do this.)

Now kindly meditate here on the third eye, on the forehead in between the eyebrows, a little above. Kindly repeat the word “surety” seven times. (Sri Chinmoy places the third finger of his right hand on his third eye centre, or Agni Chakra.) Repeat “surety,” here, seven times please, in silence.

Now, if you do not mind, please place your hand here on the top of your head and just say three times, “I am simple, I am simple, I am simple.” Please all of you join in and say this. Thank you.

Now, if you do not mind, please place your hand here on your heart and just say three times, “I am sincere, I am sincere, I am sincere.”

Now, please place your hand here on your navel and just say three times, “I am pure, I am pure, I am pure.”

Now, if you do not mind, please place your hand here on the third eye and just say three times, “I am sure, I am sure, I am sure.”

Now here we are all beginners. We are all sincere seekers. To tell the truth, there is not a single seeker on earth who is not a beginner. No matter how high he is spiritually or otherwise, he is undoubtedly a beginner. If he wants to make progress, continuous and constant progress, then he has to be an eternal beginner in something. Self-transcendence is the only thing that can satisfy us. Each time we sing the message of self-transcendence, we become true beginners. Again, when we can call ourselves beginners that means we are constantly transcending our previous achievements. A beginner is he who has the inner urge to do something, to grow into something, something more divine, more illumining and more fulfilling.

Early in the morning we shall meditate before the sunrise. In the evening when the sun is setting, again we shall meditate. At least twice a day we shall meditate. Early in the morning before Mother Nature becomes agitated it is the safest and the most effective time to meditate. In the evening when the sun sets it is the best time to meditate because nature becomes inwardly calm, quiet. The human nature becomes tired, exhausted, for Mother Earth has completed its multifarious activities. So morning and evening meditation are of paramount importance for the beginners.

Now regularity is of paramount importance. We must meditate regularly. We cannot live on yesterday’s food. Yesterday we ate. Today again we have to eat. Today we eat and yet tomorrow we shall also eat. We feed the body two or three times a day. Similarly, we have to feed the soul two or three times a day. When we feed the body, we get energy, and derive the necessary nutrition and strength to continue our life-journey. Similarly, when we feed the soul on the strength of our prayer and meditation, the soul reveals and manifests the divinity within. Therefore we have to meditate soulfully and regularly every day. And this regularity is like a measuring tape, measuring rod with one metre, two metres, three metres on it. Suppose our goal is situated at a particular place which has to be covered by ten metres. Ten times we have to use the measuring stick. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. This way we finally reach our destination. If we do not have regularity we may go part of the way but we will never really reach the goal; we will only start out on the road and never complete the journey. Regularity is of paramount importance. So here we are all beginners; we must pay all attention to regularity.

Now we have to know something more: “How are we meditating, sincerely or not?” And if there is anything that can add to our sincerity, then we will accept it.

A flower increases our inspiration. A candle flame or burning incense increases our aspiration. If we do not have a flower or candle or incense, no harm. But we have to feel before we start our morning meditation, that our mind is simple, our heart is sincere and our life is pure. We have to feel that here on earth we have come only to reveal and manifest God. We must be absolutely sure about this. So here is simplicity, here is sincerity, here is purity, here is surety (pointing to the various parts of the body or psychic centres, as before). And then we shall pray and meditate. Now if you prefer a particular concept of God, for instance, love, then please inwardly repeat the word “love, love, love”, most soulfully. While uttering “love” most soulfully, please try to feel that this word is reverberating in the inmost recesses of your heart. “Love, love, love.”

If you care more for the concept of peace, divine peace, then please chant the word “peace” inwardly or repeat it to yourself. Try to hear the sound, the cosmic sound that embodies that word. The word “peace” will be a seed-sound reverberating in the very depth of your heart. If you want light, then please repeat the word “light, light, light.” While uttering the word, chanting or soulfully repeating, please feel that you have become that word, or divine quality. Feel that your very existence, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head, has become love, or the quality you are repeating. All your nerves, your subtle body, your physical body, everything, everything is flooded with love. The quality has that magic power. Love. Peace. Light. Delight. You choose the divine quality which you wish to embody and become.

One more exercise. Now please feel that you are standing at your heart’s door and you have invited your friends, love, peace, light, delight, power, other friends that you cherish and treasure, to enter. You will stand at your heart’s door and wait for them to arrive. When you see that they have come, you will please let them in. But if others arrive whom you have not invited, then please do not allow them to come in! Complexity, insincerity, impurity, insecurity, doubt, jealousy and other negative forces are all uninvited guests. If you see them at your heart’s door, please do not let them enter. Please feel that love has taken the form of a human being, peace has taken the form of a human being, light has taken the form of a human being, delight has taken the form of a human being. Similarly, jealousy, insecurity, doubt, impurity, complexity and other negative forces have also taken human forms and human shapes; you can see them with your human eyes. So please allow your invited friends to come in, but those who are not friends, who are uninvited, will be compelled to stay outside. They will not be allowed to enter your heart’s door. If every day you can think of even one friend and invite that friend to stand at your heart’s door, it will be the beginning of a divine friendship. Say to yourself, “Today I will allow only my friend love to come in and not anybody else. Tomorrow I will allow my friend joy to come in and the day after tomorrow I will invite my friend peace to come in.” Again, if you say, “I have developed considerably. I have the capacity to invite more than one friend in. I shall definitely invite all my friends in — love, joy, peace, light and delight. But I did not have enough means to feed more than one friend at a time, therefore I could only invite one friend. Now I can invite all my divine friends and allow them to enter into my heart-room.”

Now I wish to tell you that I am not a teacher but a tutor. A teacher examines you and if you do well, then the teacher gives you good marks. If you don’t do well, then you fail. But here I am a tutor, a friend who helps you in your studies, so that you can do well when you sit for the examination. Since I am a tutor, it is my bounden duty to be of service to you, that is to say, to meditate with you and pray for you. So I shall meditate with each one of you for a couple of seconds on each one. If you would like to give me the opportunity to be of service to you, then please, kindly be seated in front of me, twenty at a time, so that I can pray and meditate on each one individually.

Before I meditate on each of you, kindly do one thing for me. Please breathe in and hold the breath. Feel that you are holding the breath here, in the third eye, for a couple of seconds. Your concentration will be here. You are holding the breath, the life-energy, here. The second time you breathe in, hold the life-energy here in the heart centre. The third time you breathe in, hold the breath in the navel. Please repeat this, first in the third eye, then heart, then navel. Now I shall meditate on each of you. Kindly observe inwardly with a loving heart. Feel that I am your divine tutor, the friend who is going to be of some service to you. In return, you have only to offer me your loving, cheerful heart, and when I meditate on each of you, kindly keep your eyes open, slightly open. 

[Sri Chinmoy repeats this last exercise with each of the successive groups of seekers.]

Published in AUM – Vol. 3, No.10, 27 October 1976


Meditation for Highly Advanced Seekers


Sri Chinmoy: Now I wish to meditate with the highly advanced seekers. Advanced seekers do not need any instructions, especially mental instructions. Therefore it is not necessary for me to tell you anything. It is my fervent wish to meditate with you soulfully, devotedly and unconditionally. We are invoking more peace, light, power and delight. I wish to share with you the iota of divine peace, light, power and delight that I have. If you wish to meditate with me, then please come up and sit in front of me. We shall meditate on peace, divine peace, and then we shall meditate on divine light. Then we shall meditate on divine power and then divine delight.

[Sri Chinmoy invokes each of these divine qualities at various intervals and all feel the consciousness of these qualities and receive them according to their receptivity.]

Published in AUM – Vol. 3, No.10, 27 October 1976