First of all, let us try to know and understand what meditation actually means. What is meditation? Meditation is man's inner movement and outer progress. Meditation is man's inner soulful promise and outer fruitful manifestation.
A man of no aspiration will dauntlessly ask, "Does meditation really accomplish anything?" A man of sterling faith and aspiration will confidently ask, "Is there anything on earth, in God's Creation, that meditation cannot accomplish? Is there anything that cannot be achieved by meditation?"
God will immediately answer these two questions. To the man who has no aspiration, God will say, "My child, sleep. Sleep. You need rest." To the one who is all aspiration, God will say, "My child, fly. Fly. My highest Height of the Transcendental Beyond is eagerly expecting your arrival."
What is the first and foremost thing we expect from meditation? Peace. Peace and nothing else. Meditation is the embodiment of peace. The present-day world needs only one thing: peace.
The peace-lover, our ex-Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, offers us a sublime message: "No peace which is not peace for all ..." In peace, what looms large is eternal, fulfilling rest. He says, ". . . no rest until all has been fulfilled."
Why do we meditate? We meditate just because our life needs inspiration, our life needs aspiration. Aspiration is, to some extent, a form of meditation. It is our meditation that promises to give us our realisation-tree. Today meditation plays the role of aspiration and tomorrow meditation will play the role of realisation. The Inner Pilot, the Pilot Supreme within us, inspires us to act; and it is He who has already kept the fruit of action safe in the life of our aspiration.
The truth-seeker in Dag Hammarskjöld, on the strength of his own inner conviction said, "Somebody placed the shuttle in your hand: somebody who had already arranged the threads."
In our human life two things are of paramount importance: role and Goal. At every moment we have to know what our role is, and then we have to be conscious of our ultimate Goal. At our journey's start we have to be fully aware of our role. At the end of our journey's close we have to be fully conscious of our Goal. Now, there must needs be a connecting link between our role and our Goal. Meditation is this connecting link between our role in the Divine Play, the Divine /Lila,/ and our ultimate Goal in God's ever-evolving Universe. Man's role is his conscious self-surrender to the Will of the Absolute Supreme. This is his only role. Man's Goal, the Goal of Goals, is in constant self-surrender to the absolute Will of the Supreme.
Life is conscious ascent and conscious descent. Now, when we say ascent, what do we actually mean? Life's aspiration is ascending towards the Highest. When we say descent, we mean the illumining descent of the soul's all-transforming and all-fulfilling meditation. The human life is an ascending prayer. Again, the divine soul in each human being is a descending meditation. Our ascending cry and the descending Grace are inseparable. Together they move, together they fulfil the Absolute, here on earth. As human beings are countless, even so are their endless prayers. Each human being can doubt the value of spiritual prayer during his short span of life, but no human being on earth can say that he never prayed. Be it for a fleeting second or for hours or for months or for years, each individual has to pray. This prayer has intrinsic value. Again, when it is a matter of the individual, one individual can far excel the rest of mankind; similarly, one individual prayer far excels all prayer.
The profound seeker in Dag Hammarskjöld offers an unparalleled prayer for mankind:
Before Thee in humility; With Thee in faith; In Thee in Peace.
Does meditation accomplish anything? Meditation does accomplish something; in fact, it accomplishes everything. God's Divinity meditated and created humanity, humanity in infinite shapes and forms. God's humanity meditates, and before long we shall see the result: the sun of perfect Perfection will shine on the face of aspiring humanity.
Here we are all seekers of the Infinite Truth. None of us has even an iota of doubt about the efficacy of meditation. But we have friends, neighbours, acquaintances, who may ask us, "Does meditation really accomplish anything?" We can tell them, "O unbelievers, O disbelievers, do not sit on the unsure ground of apprehension. Look. Here is the key: meditation. Meditation is the key to unlock the door of God's Plenitude and Infinitude." This is what we can say to the unbelievers.
To the disbelievers we can say, "Before you entered into the world arena, yours was the promise to realise Him here in this body, Him to fulfil, Him to manifest here on earth. Now, spread your wings. Spread your wings once for all and catch the first morning breeze with your soul's soulful promise to the Supreme, to the Absolute."
Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium
United Nations, New York
April 1, 1971