Question: Which is better: morning meditation or evening meditation?1

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 their undivine thoughts and impure ideas have entered into you. Unless you are very powerful spiritually, unconsciously 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 and freshness as in the morning. If you take a shower it will help. If you associated during the day with spiritual people, it will also help. But usually morning and evening meditation will not be the same.

By the following morning, everything will be out of your memory, at least for a while. During the time that you slept, the distractions and impurities of the outer world will have been washed away. During the eight hours that you are asleep your soul, like a divine thief, is observing. An ordinary thief will steal from you. But this divine thief only gives and gives. The soul is like a mother. A mother comes into the child's room secretly at night to lay out the things that he needs for school. So as soon as the child gets up, he will have everything he needs. Similarly, while you are sleeping, the soul gets the opportunity to do what is necessary for you. If you need peace at one spot, your soul will put peace there. But during the day, when you are absorbed in the activities of the outer world, it is more difficult for the soul to give and for you to receive.

So morning meditation is usually the best. Early in the morning there is no hustle and bustle, no commotion. And since you have taken several hours of rest, you feel the strength of a lion. If you can take a shower, conquer your lethargy, and sit down fresh and alert for meditation, then your morning meditation becomes one hundred per cent good. But if you are ninety-nine per cent in the world of sleep, your meditation will be useless.

Next to early morning, evening is the best time for meditation because the atmosphere then is calm and peaceful. At that time you can 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 the world is tired, it will not aspire; it wants only to rest. But you feel that your tiredness or lethargy can be overcome only by bringing more light and more energy into your system. If an ordinary person is tired, he will feel there is nothing else to do but go to sleep. 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-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. In proper meditation, 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 cannot rise.

So if you are unable to meditate in the morning, evening meditation is the next best thing — not noon or 2 p.m. At these times, meditation is more difficult. Once you become very advanced in the spiritual life, you will be able to meditate any time. The best thing for now, however, is to meditate both morning and evening. If you meditate well in the morning, you may get one million spiritual dollars. And if you meditate well in the evening, you may 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.

  1. MUN 248. January 1974.