University of Dublin
Examination Hall, Trinity College
14 June 1973
Dearest brothers and sisters, I have special love and admiration for your country, Ireland. I have been cherishing and treasuring love for this country since I was twelve, when I read a book written about the spiritual Master, Swami Vivekananda. In his biography I read something most striking. A young woman from your country was so deeply inspired by the Swami's spiritual light that she went to India and offered her entire existence to Swami Vivekananda, her spiritual Master. Her name was Miss Margaret Noble, but her Master offered her a new name, a spiritual name, her soul's name: Nivedita. Nivedita means dedicated self-offering, total self-offering. She offered her whole existence to India. India's spiritual children will forever remain indebted to her love and sacrifice. India s freedom-boat will forever be indebted to her significant efforts to free Mother India from ignorance. Nivedita embodied dedicated self-offering.
When I was twenty-three years old, for the first time I read her book about her Master, Swami Vivekananda. The great spiritual Master, Sri Aurobindo, once remarked that this book of Nivedita's was written with the blood of her heart. From this book I learnt how a disciple can become inseparably one with the Master on the strength of implicit love, devotion and surrender to the Master's will.
There are two types of people on earth: spiritual people and unspiritual people. Spiritual people are often accused by those who are not spiritual of being abnormal. They supposedly want to live in the clouds and eat the moonlight; they have no sense of reality; they are just fooling themselves. This is the accusation that is often thrown at them. Spiritual people, in return, say that they are absolutely normal, whereas the unaspiring people are abnormal. An unaspiring person accuses a spiritual person of not paying attention to the outer life. But a really spiritual person is bound to pay full attention to the outer life. If he is not sincerely spiritual in the truest sense, then in the name of spirituality he will ignore and revile the outer world. But the outer world is the manifestation of God. If someone wants to realise the highest Truth, how can he ignore God's outer manifestation? A really spiritual person will not ignore the outer world. On the contrary, he will accept the world. He will accept the challenge of the world. Then he will conquer the ignorance of the world and he will offer his wisdom-light to the world at large.
Unaspiring people often say that a spiritual person is afraid of the world; he is a coward; he does not brave the world, but runs away and hides like a thief, while the ordinary, unaspiring person shoulders the responsibilities of the entire world. But I wish to say that if a genuine spiritual person does not involve himself in the activities of the world, it is because he is preparing himself to shoulder the responsibilities of the world. He knows very well that it is God alone who can give him infinite Light, infinite Bliss, infinite Peace and infinite Power to change the face of the world. Just by mixing with the multitudes, he will not be able to help the world. But by serving the Inner Pilot, by fulfilling the Inner Pilot, he can one day be of real service to mankind.
Among the spiritual people, there are some who are accused of too much spirituality, and there are some who are accused of too little. The latter are like students who go to school for a while, but do not want to complete their studies. They want to stop at grammar school or high school. These seekers are satisfied with an iota of peace, light and bliss. They do not feel that they need infinite Peace, Light and Bliss. But at times frustration looms large in their lives, and then they expect infinite Peace, Light and Bliss overnight. God feels that it is absurd on His part to give them infinite Peace, Light and Bliss. They are still children. We do not give a child thousands of dollars. We give him just a penny; that is more than enough for him. Even if this child begs his father to give him a thousand dollars, the father knows that he will not be able to appreciate it or utilise so large a sum properly or wisely.
In the spiritual life, when his aspiration does not immediately satisfy the craving mind of the budding, beginning aspirant, this person very often leaves the spiritual path. He thinks he is wasting his time. He says, I have tried. I have prayed to God to give me Peace, Light and Bliss, but He has not fulfilled my prayer. I tried so hard, but He has not listened. But his conception of what kind of aspiration he has offered to the Supreme is not the Conception-Light of God. He is a child in the spiritual world. If he meditates for fifteen minutes a day, he feels that he has played his role and that it is now God s bounden duty to satisfy him, to fulfil his desires. But when one becomes a sincere seeker, one feels that it is God s duty to bless him with Peace, Light and Bliss only in God's own time.
At our sweet will, we cannot demand Peace, Light and Bliss from Above. Who wins the spiritual race? He who has patience. He who has inner courage. He who has the mounting inner cry, which we call aspiration. Each individual has only two things. When he is not in the inner life or in the life of the spirit, when he is in the body, in the vital and in the mind, at that time he has desire. But when he accepts the inner life, when he lives in the heart and the soul, he has aspiration. Desire has to possess one thing today, two things tomorrow and three things the day after tomorrow. Desire is like that. But aspiration does not go from one to two to three. Aspiration just tries to immerse us in the sea of Peace, Light and Bliss. It does not try to possess the drops of this sea one by one.
From the ordinary point of view, desire is the most important. From the spiritual point of view, aspiration is the most important. If we desire something strongly, naturally we will get it sooner or later. In the world of desire, if we try very hard to get something or to achieve something, in the course of time we will succeed. And in the world of aspiration, if we desperately cry for Peace, Light and Bliss in infinite measure, we are also destined to achieve our Goal in the course of time.
Now what do we need along with our aspiration? We need inner confidence. Right now hesitation looms large in our life. We want to do something, but hesitation does not allow us to do it. Doubt constantly plagues our mind. Hesitation kills our inspiration. It is impossible for us to achieve our purpose. But when we have aspiration, we automatically develop confidence in our life, inner confidence.
What is confidence? Confidence is the harbinger of success. With confidence we can accomplish everything sooner or later. Success is a very complicated thing. It is very difficult to achieve. When we think of success, we think of something pleasing and comforting to us. But this is success on the physical plane. On the spiritual plane, success is something that energises us and liberates us from the body-consciousness.
When we achieve success in the ordinary life, we feel that it is not sufficient. Today we achieve success in a particular sphere. Immediately we are subjected to more desires. We achieved success, but success does not satisfy us; success does not please us. We cry for success, but when this success dawns we want to achieve something else.
In the spiritual life, success is a different matter; success is an inner progress. Progress is success in the process of evolution. We have evolved from the mineral life through the plant life to the animal life, and from the animal life to the human life. Now we are longing for the divine life. We are always in the process of evolution, and success is nothing other than our progress. When we make progress, what do we actually do? We manifest our inner Divinity, our inner Reality, our inner Immortality. When we manifest our Divinity and Reality, we feel that this Divinity and Reality, and God, are one and the same. The manifestation of our inner Divinity is the manifestation of God Himself, and what we call our manifestation is actually God s own Manifestation.When we go deep within, we see that God Himself has chosen us as His instruments in order to manifest Himself in and through us. But when He manifests Himself in and through us we have to play our part, because the Creator and the Creation always go together. The player and the instrument always go together. If there is no instrument, the player is useless; and, again, if there is no player, the instrument cannot do anything. Both are equally important in this case. When God manifests Himself in and through us, He gives us equal credit. When manifestation takes place, man and God smile together. The divine man and the Lord Supreme smile together. That is the sign of perfect manifestation.
We talk about aspiration. We talk about concentration, meditation and contemplation. Why do we need them? We need them because we want to go back to our Eternal Home. Earth is our temporary home. Here we stay for fifty, sixty or seventy years. But we have an Eternal Home where we live forever, and that Eternal Home is deep inside our heart.
Right now we have four homes: earth, Heaven, death and God. Earth is our home. But from earth what do we get? Frustration, only frustration. We work for the world. The world does not care. We work for our near and dear ones. They show no sign of gratitude. They do not fully acknowledge the fact that we are trying to help and serve them. So what happens then is that we look up. The song of aspiration dawns in our life. We want to see our Heavenly Home, but we have no idea where Heaven is. We feel that Heaven is in the sky. Spiritual Masters, however, say that Heaven is deep inside our pure heart. We are not in a position to enter into the inmost depths of our heart, so Heaven right now is sheer imagination for us. Our third home we reach at the end of our earthly journey, and that home is death. When we enter into this home, we take rest from the battlefield of life. But our vast, eternal Home is God. When we think of God the Home, what happens to us? Consciously or unconsciously, we expect Love, Peace, Bliss, Infinity, Eternity, Immortality. These are the things God the Home is bound to grant us. Whatever we see in God the Home, whatever we expect from God the Home, we will get. If we need Peace, He will flood our being with infinite Peace. If we expect Light, He will surcharge our inner being with divine Light. Anything that we need or expect devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally, God is bound to give us. Why? Because He is all Love.
It is God who has taught us the secret of expectation. It is He who has taken the form of expectation in us, and it is He who meets with our expectation from Above. When we expect aspiration from God, He becomes aspiration. It is through aspiration that He enters into His own perfection. Spiritual seekers know that God is the eternal Player. He is playing constantly with His aspiration and His realisation. His highest Transcendental Height and His purest Aspiration- Light go eternally together. His Life-Boat plies between the shores of Aspiration- Light and Transcendental Height.from The Oneness of the Eastern Heart and the Western Mind
a collection of university lectures by Sri Chinmoy