Question: Could you explain what contemplation is and how it differs from meditation?Sri Chinmoy: Let us begin with concentration. When we concentrate, like a piercing ray we enter into the very depth of the object upon which we are concentrating. But when we meditate, we enter into absolute silence and become one with the infinite vastness. In concentration, we focus our attention on something very small and enter into its very depths. In meditation, we meditate on something very vast — like the vast sky or the deep sea — and become one with it.
Contemplation is the highest stage. In contemplation we not only enter into something and become one with it, but we also exchange identities with it — as though we were playing a game of hide-and-seek. When we contemplate our Beloved Supreme, we see Him face to face. At one moment we are loving God with all our heart and soul. The next moment we ourselves have become the object of contemplation, and He whom we were adoring is now looking upon us with affection, love and adoration. In contemplation, the God-lover becomes inseparably one with God the Supreme Beloved, and the two exchange identities back and forth.