Question: A disciple from Arecibo told me one night that he felt the necessity to meditate while he was driving his car at night and that he went out of his normal, physical mind. I told him not to do it and that I was going to ask you about that.

Sri Chinmoy: No, it is not advisable, especially for the beginners to meditate or concentrate while driving. When one becomes an expert in the spiritual life, one can do anything. Right now he is touching the wheel, he is touching the gas, he has to look around and be alert. But a day can come when he has more capacity; at that time he can concentrate, he can meditate. But right now he can repeat the name of the Supreme. “Supreme, Supreme,” he can say slowly and quietly. While repeating this, he won’t lose so much of his outer consciousness.

But if he enters into deep meditation and he does not have the capacity to keep a balance between his inner consciousness or his inner aspiration and his outer situation, then he can have a serious accident. At the beginning it is always advisable to meditate at home in one corner of a room. Here he is dealing with life. Here he is taking a tremendous risk and he is also involved with others. He is driving and if he enters into deep meditation and if he takes somebody’s life, what right has he? If he is at home at the time of meditation, if he wants to sleep, he can lie down. He can do anything he wants, anything which will suit him. But when you are in a car, when others are involved, you have to be very, very careful. When others are involved in the street, you always have to be very careful. So for the seekers, especially for the beginners, it is inadvisable to meditate in the car. You have twenty-four hours. Right now the beginner need not, cannot, cannot is the right word, cannot meditate for more than an hour. Impossible. You can meditate for fifteen minutes, four times a day. If you can meditate four times for fifteen minutes each day, sincerely, then that is one hour. More than that if he wants to do, he will only count hours, saying that he has meditated ten hours, twenty hours, etc. Out of twenty hours, perhaps ten minutes he will have really meditated and the rest of the time he will have slept or enjoyed all kinds of earthly thoughts, activities, every thing except meditation.

So for my new disciples, from the beginner disciples, I don’t expect more than one hour meditation. Then it is like a muscle that is being developed. One hour and ten minutes, one hour and a half, two hours, three hours. But while he is meditating at home or in a group, he has to feel that this is something that can be developed, slowly, steadily and gradually. And this is something right now that has to be done almost secretly. Ramakrishna and other spiritual Masters said it. If you are doing something which creates a sensation in others or which is drawing attention from others and if you are a beginner, then all of your meditation, all your progress will be in vain. Once you become expert and you are meditating most deeply, no matter how many people are looking at you or mocking at you, are appreciating you or flattering you, you won’t listen. While they are flattering you, you will remain unperturbed. But at the beginning you will meditate at home or in the Centre. Otherwise, if you meditate in the street while you are walking, or during your driving, you will run into trouble.