Question: Should meditation always be preceded by chanting AUM?

Sri Chinmoy: No. I sometimes do it, but it is not at all necessary. When I first started my spiritual journey, I was fond of this divine sound which represents God in three forms: God as Creator, God as Preserver and God as Transformer. When we begin our meditation, we can first enter into God the Creator who is creating aspiration in us. Then we can feel that God the Preserver is preserving us to continue our divine journey. Finally, we can feel that God the Transformer is transforming our ignorance into wisdom at every moment. He is transforming our unlit consciousness into the illumined consciousness, our darkness into light, our falsehood into the plenitude of truth. The chanting is not at all necessary, but if one wants to get inspiration, it can be helpful.