Meditation: The Inner Teaching
by: Sri Chinmoy
Dear seekers, dear sisters and brothers, this evening I shall give a short talk on meditation and education. Since my subject will be meditation and education, with your kind permission I wish to meditate for a while. I shall be extremely grateful to each of you if you would join me in my meditation.
Meditation and the inner education. Meditation is a vast subject. Being a spiritual man, I know a little bit about meditation, and I can speak on this subject for hours. But I wish to tell you, with all the sincerity at my command, that if we can meditate soulfully even for a fleeting minute, the result of our meditation will far surpass the effect of any talk given by anybody on earth on this subject.
But since we have to convince our physical mind, we talk and we listen. We are in the mind, and we feel that we are of the mind and for the mind. Such being the case, at times it is of paramount importance to give talks on meditation; but meditation is best done in utmost silence, in pin drop silence.
Since we want to convince our physical mind, let us try to know what meditation actually means. Unfortunately, in the West, many people have misconceptions about meditation. They think meditation means living a life of self abnegation, and that meditation cannot be applied to our daily needs. They think meditation is for those who want to live in the Himalayan caves, for those who want to shun society. But I wish to say that these notions are all ill founded. A seeker who knows how to meditate properly, effectively and soulfully is a practical man. Meditation is not theoretical, but practical. Since God is Himself practical, a seeker of the highest Truth cannot be otherwise.
In this world either we desire or we aspire. At each moment we are given ample opportunity to possess and grab the world or to become inseparably one with the world. Meditation teaches us how to become inseparably one with the world at large. When we cry for the Vast, for the ultimate Truth, meditation is the immediate answer. When we want to achieve boundless Peace, boundless Light, boundless Bliss, meditation is the only answer. The world needs one thing, and that is peace, and meditation is the only answer. Everybody meditates. If you tell me, “No, I do not know how to meditate,” unfortunately I cannot see eye to eye with you. Everybody meditates, but there is a difference between my way of meditation and your way and his or her way of meditation. Since the dawn of Heaven, and the creation, everybody has been meditating, but we all meditate according to our capacity and receptivity. When we think of God and meditate on God, this is one form of meditation. When we cherish or treasure a good thought, even for a fleeting second, this is another kind of meditation. Anything that helps us to our self expansion is meditation.
In the West, we most often speak of prayer, while in the East, especially in India, we speak of meditation. The Western belief is that prayer can and will do everything. In the East, we feel that meditation can give us everything, that meditation will help us to grow into the ever transcending Beyond. Prayer and meditation are bosom friends. When we pray, our entire being climbs up high, higher, highest and reaches the ultimate Truth. At that time we offer ourselves to the Supreme, the ultimate Source. With our prayer we commune with God, we establish a free access to the highest Absolute Father. When we meditate, we make our mind calm, quiet, vacant and tranquil, and we receive Light from above in infinite measure.
Meditation and prayer are two different types of conversation, but they serve the same purpose. When we pray, we talk to God; we tell Him all about our needs and all our soulful expectations. Through our prayer we ask God for anything that we want; and anything that we would like to offer God from our very existence we offer through our prayer. But when we meditate we remain silent, absolutely silent, and we beg of God to work in and through us. He dictates and we try to execute His express Will.
In the beginning, we see and feel on the strength of our meditation that God alone is doing everything, and that we are mere instruments. But, in time, when we go deep within, we come to realise that He is not only the doer but also the action itself, and He is not only the action, but also the result thereof. To simplify the matter, we can say that meditation means God’s conscious and compassionate dictates to us and prayer means our soulful conversation with God. When we meditate, God talks to us and we most devotedly listen. When we pray, we talk to God and He most compassionately listens.
Meditation and the inner education are one an the same thing; meditation is the inner education. To be a proper human being we have to be integrally educated. To be a proper divine being we have to be supremely liberated in our inner life and in our outer life. The outer education tells us what the world is doing. The inner education tells us what we can do. The outer education helps us make a decent living. The inner education helps us live for God in the heart of man. The outer education is an observation, an observed fact. The inner education is an experience, an experienced reality. With our outer education we can at best knock at God’s Door. With our inner education we can not only enter into God’s Room, but actually sit on God’s transcendental Throne. The outer education is the fulfilment of the physical mind, the vital and the earthbound consciousness. The inner education is the song of liberation, salvation and divine freedom.
Each human being has two teachers. As there is outer education and inner education, even so is there a teacher for us in the outer world and a teacher for us in the inner world. The teacher in the outer world tells us, “Accept me. If you don’t accept me, you are bound to remain always a most deplorable fool. So the sooner you accept me, the better for you.” The teacher in the inner life tells us, “Accept me, please, for if you do not accept me I shall always remain incomplete. You and I are one. If one part of my existence remains unlit, obscure and unaspiring, then I myself remain imperfect. Therefore, I beg of you, O seeker, accept me, for I wish to become complete and perfect with your kind acceptance of my reality’s Light.” The outer teacher tells me, “Follow me. I can show you the goal. If you don’t follow me, there is no goal for you. It is I alone who can show you the goal, so follow me.” But the inner teacher tells us, “Believe me, once and for all, the supernal Light is in you. The transcendental light is of you. The eternal Father is for you. Finally, O seeker, I wish to offer you this message: you are the way and you are also the Goal. Believe me, once and for all.”
January 16th, 1974
University of Delaware