'Always say things in such a way as to inspire people, not discourage them'

This is one of the stories in our Story-Gems project, a collection of our experiences with our Guru, Sri Chinmoy. Project homepage »

During the tenure of the first Victory’s Banner Restaurant, 1981-86, I would attend all the Christmas trips, which lasted two to three weeks back then. Sukantika, my spiritual sister who served as manager of the restaurant, would work overtime to cover my absence, so whenever Guru took his smaller European trips during the year, I would make an effort to send Sukantika.

Although the restaurant was always financially strapped, one year we were really hurting and didn’t have enough funds to send Sukantika on the mid-year European journey. I felt badly about this, and one day approached Guru on his porch, explaining that we didn’t have enough money and asking if it was absolutely necessary to send Sukantika. He said, “It is all a matter of consciousness. If her consciousness is going to fall, then she should definitely go. Consciousness comes before money.”

“Okay,” I replied, “I’ll tell her that.”

“Oh no, don’t tell her that!” Guru clarified. “Tell her that if she can keep her same good consciousness as it is and not go, then she doesn’t have to go.” Then he clarified, “The very suggestion that her consciousness may go down will serve as a seed to cause it to go down. Always say things in such a way as to inspire people, not discourage them.” It struck me how careful Guru is, down to the last word.

There is not a single seeker
Who cannot inspire others.
There is not a single seeker
Who cannot be inspired by others.

Sri Chinmoy 1

  • 1. Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, part 93, Agni Press, 1983