Question: If we are only meditating for fifteen minutes each morning, is that really enough for God-realisation?

Sri Chinmoy: For God-realisation, there is no fixed requirement. We have disciples who say they meditate for twenty hours. Meanwhile they are only sleeping and snoring! It does not depend on the number of hours. You develop your physical muscles by taking exercise. Similarly, by meditating sincerely and soulfully, you develop your inner muscles. Again, it depends on God’s Grace. If God sees that you are meditating most soulfully for fifteen minutes, then God will definitely give you not only the capacity but also the opportunity to meditate for a half hour or two or three hours.

I will never be able to say that by meditating for fifteen minutes you will realise God. Again, who knows? If God wants you to meditate even for five minutes and then He wants to give you realisation, He can. God sometimes acts like a child. If a child has a flower or a tennis ball, he can go and give it to a certain person. That person may not be right in the front row. He may be in the tenth row. Again, although God is a child, He is a conscious child. He sees our past, present and future. In this incarnation perhaps someone is only meditating for fifteen minutes because he does not have enough time, he has so many things to do. But how do you know whether he meditated for hours, days, months and years in his previous incarnations? So it all depends on God’s Wisdom. He knows when you started meditating.

In my case, in my previous incarnation I realised God. In this incarnation, at the age of twelve, when I became fully conscious of my previous God-realisation, it was just like turning the pages of a book that I had already devoured. But in terms of hours, my eldest brother Hriday definitely used to meditate more than I did. In my family, two or three members meditated more than I did. They used to meditate for eleven or twelve hours daily. For me, it was five, six or seven. In my case, meditation became spontaneous. While I was running, jumping, throwing or doing other activities, I could meditate. I was able to do many, many things at the same time, whereas while my brothers were meditating, they were unable to do anything else.

God-realisation does not depend on how many hours you meditate. It depends on how intensely and deeply you meditate. In the Mahabharata, there is a story about how Arjuna used to worship for hours and hours, while Bhima used to worship for only a few seconds, and yet Lord Shiva was more pleased with Bhima. So to come back to your question, it is not how many minutes you spend in front of your shrine, but how devotedly you pray and meditate that is the most important thing. Then God will give you whatever is necessary — the capacity plus the opportunity.

No disciple of mine will ever be able to tell me that he is not getting the opportunity to pray and meditate because he is doing so much manifestation work. I know how many hours you have manifested and how many hours are still left for you to pray and meditate. Again, if you are really, lovingly, soulfully and devotedly manifesting, then that is part of meditation. There are some disciples who are making the complaint that they have no time to meditate because they are working so hard. They are fooling themselves. If you are really working hard, divinely and supremely, then God will give you time. And if you are working with utmost devotion, inside that devoted service you are getting the benefit of meditation.