Question: What is the difference between prayer and meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: When we pray, we ask for and receive something good and divine: God’s Protection, Compassion, Love and Blessings. But when we meditate, we become those very things. We get God’s Compassion, God’s Love and so forth from Above and assimilate them. Once we become these things, it is our bounden duty to give them to our sisters and brothers in the world. But we cannot give unless we first become. Both prayer and meditation are equally necessary. When we pray, we receive; when we meditate, we become. Then, once we become, we claim God the creation as our own and give back to God the creation everything that we have received from God the Creator.

It is like going to a garden and picking some beautiful flowers. We place these flowers on the altar and pray to Lord Jesus Christ. While we are praying, the fragrance and divinity of the flowers enter into us and, in the depths of our heart, we become this fragrance and divinity. Afterwards, when we go out on the street, people see and feel something in us — although they may not know what it is. And what they see and feel in us they also receive from us. When they see us, they enter into our heart-garden, where they also can get the beauty and fragrance of these most beautiful flowers.