Question: Could you please discuss how contemplation differs from meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: If you meditate on a specific divine quality, such as Light, Beauty, Peace, or Bliss in an unshaped form, or if you meditate in an abstract way on Infinity, Eternity or Immortality, then constantly you will feel an express train going forward inside you. You are meditating on Peace, Light or Bliss while the express train is constantly moving. Although your whole mind is calm, vacant and quiet, without thoughts, you will see there a movement towards your goal. Your mind is calm and quiet in the vastness of Infinity, but there is movement: a train is going endlessly towards your goal. In meditation there is a goal. You are envisioning a goal and meditation takes you there.

In contemplation it is not like that. The entire universe, the Goal, the farthest Goal, is deep inside you. When you have contemplated, your whole existence has become a perfect receptacle to hold all of Divinity deep inside you. When you are contemplating, you are holding within yourself the entire universe with all its infinite Light, Peace, Bliss and Truth. There is no thought, no form, no idea, nothing. Everything is merged in contemplation; all is one. In your highest contemplation, you are one with the Absolute. But in your highest meditation there is a dynamic movement. That movement is not aggressive; you are not beating or striking anyone, far from it. But a dynamic movement is going on in your alert consciousness. You are fully aware of what is happening in the inner world and in the outer world, and, at the same time, you are not affected. In contemplation you are also not affected, but there you and your whole existence have become part and parcel of the universe, which you are holding deep inside you. This is the main difference between contemplation and meditation.