Sri Chinmoy: They can be equally beneficial, equally fruitful. But in the evening, meditation becomes a little more difficult because for eight or ten hours during the day you have been in the hustle and bustle of the world. You have met with many unaspiring people, and unconsciously their undivine thoughts and impure ideas have entered into you. Unless you are very powerful spiritually, you will have assimilated many unaspiring and uninspiring forces from the world. So it becomes very difficult in the evening to meditate with the same hope, with the same freshness. If you take a shower it will help. If you associate with spiritual people, it will also help you. But usually it will not be the same.
But the following morning, everything will be out of your memory, at least for a while. During the time that you slept, the distractions of the outer world were washed away. All the impurities that had come into you from others were washed away. During the eight hours that you are asleep your soul, like a divine thief, is observing. An ordinary thief will steal something from you. But this divine thief will only give and give. If you need peace at one spot, your soul will put peace there. It is like a mother. A mother comes into the child’s room secretly, early in the morning. So as soon as the child gets up, he will be able to get the things he needs and go to school. At night the soul gets the opportunity to do what is necessary for you while you are sleeping. But during the day, when you are absorbed in the activities of the outer world, it becomes extremely difficult for the soul to give and for you to receive. For these reasons, morning meditation is usually the best.
Now, when you sit down to meditate, if you are ninety-nine per cent in the world of sleep and one per cent in this world, then how can you have a fruitful meditation? In the morning if you can conquer your lethargy, take a shower and sit down fresh and alert for meditation, then it becomes one hundred per cent good. Otherwise, your meditation will be useless.
Early in the morning there is no hustle and bustle, there is no commotion. You have taken several hours of rest, and you feel the strength of a lion. Next to early morning, the evening is the best time for meditation, because in the evening the atmosphere is calm and peaceful. You feel a kind of soothing sensation. In the evening you are tired, and you feel that the whole world is also tired. But there is a slight difference between the world’s approach to the truth, and your approach, when both of you are tired. When the world is tired, it will not aspire. It wants to rest. But you feel that your tiredness or lethargy can be overcome only by bringing more Light, more energy into your system. An ordinary person will not pray or meditate. If he is tired he will go to sleep. He will feel that there is nothing else to do. But you will say, “No! I am tired, but there is a specific way for me to energise my life, and that is to bring down Peace, Light and Bliss.” When you pray and meditate, at that time new life, new energy enters into you and refreshes you.
If you want to meditate in the evening, then meditate a half-hour or forty minutes before you eat. If you are really pinched with hunger, you can drink a glass of water or juice or milk. But if you meditate after you have eaten a heavy meal, the thousands of subtle nerves in your body will be very heavy and you will not be able to meditate well. The body will be heavy, the consciousness will be heavy, the nerves will be heavy, and your meditation will be useless. When you meditate properly, your consciousness flies like a bird. If you meditate well, you feel that your whole existence, like a bird, is flying high, higher, highest. But when you become heavy, immediately you sink, and your consciousness will not rise. So if you are unable to meditate in the morning, evening meditation is the next best thing, not noon or 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. At these times, meditation is not good. But once you become very advanced in the spiritual life, any time is good for you. The best thing, however, is to meditate both morning and evening. If you meditate well in the morning, you get one million spiritual dollars. And if you meditate well in the evening, you get ten thousand spiritual dollars. But if you can get even one dollar more towards the spiritual sum that you need for your realisation, then if you are wise you will take it.