Prayer and meditationA seeker who wants Peace, Bliss and divine Power in infinite measure will feel that prayer is not as important as meditation. When we pray, we try to elevate our entire consciousness. When we pray, we aspire toward the Highest and our whole existence goes upward like a flame. Prayer can come from the heart, but there is always a tendency in prayer to desire something. Since we are following a path of spirituality, naturally we will use our prayer to ask for something good, divine and fulfilling. But when we pray we automatically act as if we are beggars who are crying to God to grant us a boon.
When a beggar comes and knocks at the door, he does not care whether the owner is a rich man or a poor man; he just knocks and knocks in order to get something. This is the way we pray to God, asking for this and that, looking up at Him and crying to Him. We feel God is high above while we are down below. We see a yawning gulf between His existence and ours. We ask for things like a beggar asking a king for a coin. We do not know when or to what extent God is going to fulfil our desires. We just ask and then wait for one drop, two drops or three drops of Compassion, Light or Peace to descend upon us.
When we pray, there is an inherent subtle tendency on our part to push or pull from within. But when we meditate, we just try to throw ourselves into the Sea of Reality and grow into the Reality itself. Usually when we pray, Infinity, Eternity and Immortality do not immediately enter into our mind. Even though our prayer may be intense, it is only a tiny raft on which we are trying to cross the sea of ignorance. But when we meditate we become an ocean liner. At that time we can not only cross the sea with utmost safety and certainty, but also we can carry many along with us.
In prayer, unfortunately, our whole attention is on attaining one particular object. When we feel that the thing we have been crying for is achieved, our prayer often ends. We take a rest for a few months or a few years. Then when subtle desire prompts us, we begin to pray again.
When we meditate, it is nothing like that. In meditation we dive into the vast sea of Consciousness. We do not have to ask God for Peace or Light because we are swimming in the sea of divine qualities. At that time God gives us more than we can ever imagine. The deeper we go in meditation, the more we expand our own consciousness, the more abundantly the qualities of Light, Peace and Bliss grow inside us. Meditation itself is the fertile soil where the bumper crop of Light, Peace, Bliss and Power can grow.
In meditation there is a flame of constant aspiration. Our journey is eternal; our progress and our realisation are also constant and unending because we are dealing with Infinity, Eternity and Immortality.
In prayer we think of our own need and try to fulfil ourselves with God's help. In meditation, we throw ourselves into God's Consciousness and allow God to fulfil Himself in and through us. When we pray we act like beggars, but when we meditate we become princes. We see and feel that the whole universe is at our disposal. Heaven and earth do not belong to someone else. They are our own Reality which we cannot fully experience right now because we have lost it. But we are trying to regain it through our soulful meditation.
The way to get the utmost from meditation is to meditate according to the soul's necessities and demands. We must not feel that just because we are sitting quietly for five or ten minutes our meditation is going well. Meditation is not that easy. It requires conscious effort. The mind has to be made calm and quiet; at the same time, it has to be dynamic and vigilant like a fortress and not allow any enemies to enter. The heart must be like a pure and blossoming flower, opening fully to the light of the soul. The soul must come to the fore and spread its inner light all around. This is real, integral meditation.
In the highest spiritual life there is no comparison between meditation and prayer. Meditation is infinitely deeper and wider than prayer. In the West prayer is used by seekers with considerable efficacy. But a real seeker who wants to go to the ultimate Goal must feel that prayer is the lowest rung and meditation is the highest rung in the ladder of spiritual evolution to realisation. When we pray to God we ask God to fulfil us, to give us Peace, Love or Joy. When we meditate we expand, spreading our wings like a bird, trying to enter consciously into Infinity, Eternity and Immortality, welcoming them into our aspiring consciousness. We see, feel and grow into the entire universe of Light-Delight.
In prayer we have nothing and God has everything. That is why we say, "God, give me this." When we meditate we know that whatever God has, either we also have it or we will someday have it. We feel that whatever God is, we also are, but we have not brought it forward.
By praying wholeheartedly, we arrive at a certain consciousness where we get Peace, Light and Bliss, but this consciousness will not always be a certainty, nor will we receive it in infinite measure. Prayer immediately separates us from the Source, whereas meditation takes us to the Source or brings the Source to us. When we meditate we feel that we are growing into the highest divine Reality. A real seeker can do both. He can start with prayer and end with meditation. Prayer is like a hand grenade but meditation is like an atom bomb. Certainly in the beginning if he wants to pray, he should pray. But ultimately he will come to realise that he must pay more attention to meditation. Those who have started following my path sincerely and devotedly should give more importance to concentration, meditation and contemplation.