ContemplationThere are three steps: concentration, meditation and contemplation. Concentration is the first step. Meditation is the second step. Contemplation is the last step. During meditation, I am a God-lover. But when contemplation comes into the picture, at that time God is both the Lover and the Beloved.
When we come to the level of contemplation, God tells us, "Now I want to play this game in a very specific way. This moment I want you to play the role of a God-lover. You are My lover and I am your Beloved. The next moment I want us to change our respective roles. You will be My beloved, and I will be the Lover." Contemplation is at a very high level — higher than the highest. How many people can contemplate? It is difficult to concentrate and to medi tate. But contemplation is a very high state of the spiritual life, a very, very high state.
Contemplation is like playing a game. In ping-pong or tennis, at times you serve from one side, and at times you serve from the other side. You are constantly changing sides. If you change sides in an ordinary game, your name remains the same. In contemplation, you may also think that even if you go to the other side, you will keep your identity and God will remain God. But God says, "No! When you come to this side, at that time immediately you have to say that you are God, and I am you." Like that, on one side you are putting on the clothes of a slave, and on the other side you are putting on a king's dress. Again, it is like the Master and the disciple. If you come to one side, you are the Master. If you go to the other side, you are the disciple.
Contemplation is the experience of the lover and the Beloved, on the strength of their oneness. This moment we see God as God, in His highest Divinity, and we worship God. But then God says, "You have realised Me. You have realised the Highest. Now allow Me to worship you as the Highest." It is a divine game. In contemplation, the lover also plays the role of the Beloved. At that time God says, "Now I am putting you on the Throne." First, God is sitting on the Throne, and the lover is getting joy by seeing God on the Throne. Then God says, "I am on the Throne, and you are getting so much joy because you have seen Me, your King. Now I want to get joy. I want you to sit on the royal Throne. I want to worship you!"
Contemplation is when the lover becomes the Beloved and the Beloved becomes the lover. At that time God the human and God the Divine become one. Man and God — man, who is tomorrow's God, and God the Eternal — are playing the same game.
When we are in contemplation, at that time it is a hide-and-seek game. I am searching for God, and God also plays the game by searching for me. When I see God and I catch Him, I get such joy. And when God searches for me and catches me, He also gets tremendous joy. That is contemplation.