Question: What is the relative importance of prayer?
Sri Chinmoy: For a genuine seeker who wants Peace, Light, Bliss and divine Power in infinite measure, prayer can never be as important as meditation. When we pray, most of the time we have the feeling of begging. "Oh God, give me this; do this for me." Automatically we feel that we are beggars and that somebody else will offer us his boons. A beggar goes and knocks at the door of anyone; whether he is a rich man or a poor man, he doesn't care. He just knocks and knocks in order to get the money. So when we pray, we are like beggars. We pray to God this side, that side, looking up, looking down and whatever. We don't know from which quarter or from which level God is going to fulfil our desires. We look up and cry, "God, give me, give me, give me!" There is a yawning gulf between His existence and our existence.
If we go deep within, we will see that it is a subtle or gross desire that prompts us to pray. It is for one drop, two drops or three drops of Compassion or Light or Peace that we are praying. Unfortunately, when we pray our whole attention is focused on a particular object or desire, and we feel that if we achieve the particular thing that we are crying for, then it is enough. So if prayer is fulfilled, then prayer stops. Through prayer, we hope that God will give us what we want, and then when God gives, when our prayer is answered, at that time we stop praying. For a few months or a few years we stop praying until desire again prompts us. Then again we pray.
But meditation is different. In meditation, we will stay at a particular divine region where we can all the time feel the expansion of our consciousness. The more we can feel the expansion of our consciousness, the clearer it becomes that Peace, Light and Bliss are growing inside our meditation. Meditation itself becomes the fertile soil where the bumper crop of Peace, Light and Bliss can grow. As there is no end to our aspiration, so also there is no end to our meditation. Here we are dealing with Eternity, Infinity and Immortality; so our progress is constant and, at the same time, unending.
When we meditate, we are in the sea of tranquility. At that time there is no one to pray to and God feels our need more than we can imagine. Always He is there; only we have to receive Him. When we meditate, God feels the need to fulfil Himself in and through us. So in the true spiritual life, there is no comparison between prayer and meditation. There are times when we will pray, but if we are a real seeker, if we really want to go to the ultimate Goal, then for most of us meditation is the highest rung in the ladder of spiritual evolution. Again, if we pray for the fulfilment of God's Will, if we pray for His divine Victory in and through our lives, then this kind of prayer is very high, very powerful. Many of the great spiritual giants of the West realised God through this kind of prayer.