Concentration, meditation and contemplation
Concentration, meditation and contemplation1We are all seekers of the infinite Truth, Light and Bliss. Each individual here is a seeker, according to his own capacity. I am a seeker of the absolute Truth, Light and Bliss just like you. Precisely because we are all seekers, we all are in the same boat, a golden boat. This boat is sailing towards its destination, the golden shore of the ever-transcending Beyond.
A seeker is he who knows something about the inner world. A seeker is differentiated from an ordinary person only because he thinks of the inner world, because he cares for the inner world just as he cares for the outer world.
A seeker has a most intimate friend in the inner world: aspiration, the inner mounting cry. Again, he has a most deplorable foe: desire. He wants to be totally freed of his foe, desire, and wants to be always with his eternal friend, aspiration.
When we aspire, we come to realise that there are three most significant things that we have to know in order to discover God, see God face to face and grow into the very image of God. What are these three things, which are of paramount importance? Concentration, meditation and contemplation. Each seeker is supposed to know something about concentration, meditation and contemplation. Since I am a seeker, by God's infinite Grace I happen to know a little bit about concentration, meditation and contemplation.
This evening I wish to share with you very briefly what I know about concentration, meditation and contemplation. In the inner world, when I wish to run the fastest — according to my capacity, of course — I concentrate. In the inner world, when I wish to fly the highest, I meditate. And in the inner world, when I wish to dive deep, deeper, deepest, I contemplate.
I run, and concentration is my friend. I fly, and meditation is my friend. I dive, and contemplation is my friend.
When I concentrate, I invoke God the Power. When I meditate, I invoke God the Peace. When I contemplate, I invoke God the Delight. God the Power, God the Peace and God the Delight, each individual here embodies to a certain extent. When we invoke God, either we feel that God the Power, God the Peace or God the Delight comes down to us from above, or that God the Power, God the Peace or God the Delight comes to the fore in us.
Here on earth, in and through Swami Vivekananda, God the Power manifested Himself to a considerable extent; in 1893 here in America, the Parliament of Religions was witness to this supreme fact. God the Peace manifested Himself considerably in and through Lord Buddha. Then, when we think of Lord Krishna, meditate on Lord Krishna, we see that God the Delight has manifested in and through him. When we concentrate, meditate and contemplate, these three great spiritual giants appear before our mental vision.
When I concentrate, I feel that I need God. As a matter of fact, because I need God, therefore I concentrate. When I meditate, I feel that God needs me. And when I contemplate, I feel that both God and I need each other. I need Him for Realisation-to discover what I eternally am, the Highest Absolute, and God needs me to manifest Himself in perfect perfection in and through me. This the seeker in me sees and feels when he concentrates, meditates and contemplates.
When I concentrate, I see the goal either right in front of me or at some far, remote place. When I meditate, I see God inside my heart or I see my Goal inside my heart. And when I contemplate, I see and feel that I am the eternal traveller walking along Eternity's road. At the same time, I am the way, the eternal way and I am the eternal Goal. I am the traveller, I am the way, I am the Goal. When I contemplate, I come to realise this. And something more, I realise that this moment I am the Divine Lover and God is the Supreme Beloved and the next moment God is the Divine Lover and I am the Supreme Beloved. Divine Lover and Supreme Beloved constantly exchange roles. This is what I discover when I contemplate.
A brave heart, concentration demands from me. A calm, quiet and tranquil heart, meditation demands from me. A oneness-heart, a heart of inseparable and universal oneness, contemplation demands from me. If I am to win in the battlefield of life, what I need is a brave heart to concentrate, a calm and tranquil heart to meditate and a heart of universal oneness to contemplate.
Concentration tells me each second is invaluable; I must not waste even a fraction of a second. Meditation tells me to avail myself of all the divine opportunities that knock at my heart's door; I must not waste any opportunity, for each opportunity is leading me a step ahead towards my destined Goal. Contemplation tells me to discover the eternal Time, the Heaven-free Time, inside the fleeting earth-bound time.
In the inner world before I concentrate, I use my aspiration-friend, my inner cry, to purify my eyes. I have to purify my eyes if I want to do the best concentration. Before I meditate, I use my aspiration-friend to purify my heart. And before I contemplate, I request my aspiration-friend to purify my entire earthly existence-my body, vital, mind and heart-so that I can do the best contemplation, according to my capacity.
Imagination helps the seeker in us considerably. Before we concentrate, in silence if we can imagine the blazing sun, the fiery sun, then it helps us considerably in our concentration. Like a magnet, the seeker in us pulls the power of the sun, the boundless power of the sun.
Then, before we meditate, if we can imagine the vast sky, then the vastness of the sky enters into us and helps us considerably. It helps us establish tranquillity and peace in our mind, in our heart, in our earthly physical frame.
And before we contemplate, we should in silence imagine the moon, the beauty of the moon, which is the emblem, here on the earth, of the Absolute Supreme. The beauty of the moon represents the Consciousness of the Divine Mother. The Mother aspect of the Supreme Beloved is embodied by the moon. So if we imagine the moon, then the beauty, delight, sweetness, nearness and closeness of the Absolute Supreme we feel operating in and through us. Or if we can imagine the most beautiful child on earth, and if, on the strength of our imagination, we can feel this most beautiful child in the inmost recesses of our heart, then it helps us considerably.
When I reach the highest pinnacle of concentration I see my third eye. This third eye, which is between the eyebrows and a little above, offers me a pass to enter into the past, present and future. Anything that has to be nullified in the past I nullify. Anything in the remote future that has to be accelerated I bring into the immediacy of today. And anything that has to bear fruit today, in the present, I do sooner than at once.
When I reach the zenith of my meditation, the acme of meditation, I see Sat-Chit-Ananda; Existence, Consciousness and Bliss become my friends. This triple consciousness, which can be considered as one, tells me that I belong to it; I am in it, I am with it and I am for it. Existence-Consciousness-Bliss claims me as its very own, as I claim it as my very own.
Then, when I do my best contemplation and reach the highest contemplation, I see Eternity, Infinity and Immortality. They tell me that I am their inseparable friend. I am a human being, but they know that I am one with Infinity's heart, Eternity's breath and Immortality's life.
On the practical level, when I concentrate, I concentrate on the tiniest thing, on the smallest thing possible, because this is how I, and everybody, can develop the concentration-power quickly.
When I meditate, I meditate on the largest thing possible. This is the secret way one can acquire very fast the power of meditation. Then when I contemplate, I at once play the role of concentration and meditation together. I concentrate on the tiniest substance, let us say, on a drop, the tiniest drop. At the same time I meditate on the vast ocean. So I concentrate on the soul and the body of the tiniest drop and I meditate on the soul and the body of the vast ocean.
When I contemplate, at that time the realisation of the Divine Lover and the Beloved Supreme comes first. Again, inside contemplation there has to be concentration and meditation as well. Concentration indicates the increase of intensity in depth and length. Meditation indicates the assimilation of vastness that is already acquired or achieved.
PRD 1. Cornell University, 26 November 1975↩