Question: If you were to accept a seeker who was meant for you, would he be practising or following certain specific exercises?

Sri Chinmoy: In my case I do not give much importance to the physical part of Yoga, the postures and breathing exercises. I give all importance to the mental discipline and vital discipline. This we get from our practice of concentration, meditation and contemplation. If you go to the Indian villages, you will see many, many village boys who will be able to perform hundreds of difficult physical exercises. But perhaps they are millions of miles behind us in God-realisation or Truth-realisation.

The exercises do help to some extent. If you are wanting in physical fitness, then you will not be able to meditate well. But we should not give too much importance to physical fitness. The boxers, the wrestlers, the athletes of the world are physically extremely fit. But in terms of peace of mind, those who meditate will be much better off than they are.

Physical postures and exercises are like the kindergarten class. You can easily skip it and go directly to primary school. Concentration, meditation and contemplation are the higher courses. One can easily start with concentration. Concentration paves the way for meditation, and meditation paves the way for contemplation.

When we concentrate on a particular subject or object, we focus all our attention on it. We try to place in front of us the tiniest possible object or the tiniest possible thought; then we concentrate, we penetrate. The minutest thing that we can possibly imagine will give us the best result from concentration. If we keep a flower in front of us to concentrate on, we try to enter into the fragrance of the flower, into the essence of the flower.

When we meditate, we do just the opposite of concentration. At that time we enter into something vast. When we meditate, we try to feel inside us the vast sky, the vast ocean or the infinite universe. We try to expand our consciousness as far as possible.

When we contemplate, at that time we become consciously one with reality. In contemplation the divine lover and the Supreme Beloved become one. When you contemplate on something, you feel that very thing as your own reality. You become the object of your contemplation. The lover and the Beloved become one. This moment you see God as somebody else or somewhere else. But when you approach Him through contemplation, you see that He is also approaching you. Now you are seeking for reality, thinking that reality is something other than yourself. When you contemplate, you will see that what you considered reality is running after you, because you are the reality itself.

Concentration, meditation and contemplation are the practices that we try to learn and follow on our path.