What is spirituality and what is it not?
Sri Chinmoy: Spirituality is not an escape from the world of reality. Spirituality tells us what the true reality is and how we can discover it here on earth. Spirituality is not the denial of life, but the purest acceptance of life. Life is to be accepted unreservedly. Life is to be realized soulfully. Life is to be transformed totally. Life is to be lived eternally.
What happens if a person wants to enter the spiritual life but has to adjust himself to the material life?
Yoga and life must go together. We have to go deep within to discover the spiritual life, but without negating the material life. From inside we have to come outside; we cannot go inside while holding on to the values of the outer life. We need the inner life and in the inner life is to be found infinite joy, peace and bliss. From the inner life, we bring to the fore our inner, divine qualities. The material life can then be easily adjusted. The material life, in fact, has its true significance only when it is supported by the inner life. At present, what is actually happening is that we are trying to separate the material life from the spiritual life. Actually, there is no such division, but unfortunately people think that either one has to accept the material life and wallow in its pleasures or else one has to be a complete ascetic, that there can be no compromise. This is not true. The material life has to be accepted, but not in a sense of total indulgence. The material life is to be accepted for the manifestation of our divine, inner qualities.
God has to be placed first in one's life, without negating the material life or the outer world. If we place God first, then God enters, on our behalf, into the outer world, into the material world. But if we place the material world first, then we cannot reach God because the process is wrong. It is from God that we have to enter into the material life. God looms large in the inner life and from the inner life we can and must bring Him into the outer life. This is how we can adjust ourselves to the material life and make it one with the spiritual life.