Meditation: Individual and collectiveMeditation is the eye that sees the Truth, the heart that feels the Truth and the soul that realises the Truth.
Through meditation the soul becomes fully aware of its evolution in its eternal journey. Through meditation we see the form evolve into the Formless, the finite into the Infinite; and we see the formless involve into the form, the Infinite into the finite.
Meditation speaks. It speaks in silence. It reveals. It reveals to the aspirant that matter and spirit are one, quantity and quality are one, the immanent and the transcendent are one. It reveals that life can never be the mere existence of seventy or eighty years between birth and death, but is, rather, Eternity itself. Our birth is a significant incident in God's own existence. And so is our death. In our birth, life lives in the body. In our death, life lives in the spirit.
Meditation: individual and collective. As the individual and the collective are in essence one, even so are meditation individual and collective. We are all children of God. Our body says that we are human. Our soul says that we are divine.
No matter whether we are human or divine, we are one, inevitably and eternally. We are the inseparable parts of the whole. We complete the whole.
Vast is the ocean. You see a part of it. He sees a part of it. I see a part of it. But the full expanse of the ocean is far beyond our gaze. Our vision is limited. But the portion that each of us sees is not and cannot be separated from the entire ocean.
What does an orchestra produce? It produces a symphonic unity. Different notes from different instruments form the symphony. As each instrument plays its own notes, so each individual may meditate in his own way. But ultimately all will arrive at the same goal and the basic realisation of oneness. And this realisation is nothing other than liberation — liberation from bondage, ignorance and death.
Tat twam asi "That Thou art." This is indeed the secret that can be revealed in meditation. This "Thou" is not the outer man. This "Thou" is our soul, our divinity within. Our unlit and undivine nature tries to make us feel that the body is everything. Our illumined and divine nature makes us feel that our soul, which has no beginning and no ending, is everything. Indeed, it is the soul that is the breath of our existence both in Heaven and on earth.
Self-knowledge and universal Knowledge are not two different things. Everything in the universe becomes ours the moment we realise our Self. And what is this universe? It is the outer expression of our inner achievements. We are our own Saviours. Within us is our salvation. It is we who have to work for our salvation. We are our own fate-makers. To blame others for the unfavourable conditions of our lives is beneath our dignity. Unfortunately, this act of blaming others is one of man's oldest diseases. Adam blamed Eve for his temptation. Poor Eve, what could she do? She also blamed another. No, we must not do that. If action is ours, responsibility is also ours. To try to escape the consequences of our actions is simply absurd. But to be free from committing blunders is wisdom; it is the real illumination. Trials and tribulations are within us and without us. We simply have to ignore them. If this act of ignoring is not effective, we must face them. If that, too, is not enough, we have to conquer them here and now. The paramount problem is how to conquer the trials and tribulations. We can conquer them only by our constant aspiration and meditation. There is no substitute, no alternative.
From meditation, when it is deep and one-pointed, we get spiritual knowledge and pure devotion, which act not only simultaneously but also harmoniously. The path of Bhakti, devotion, and the path of Jnana, knowledge, lead us ultimately to the same goal. Devotion is not blind faith. It is not an absurd adherence to our inner feeling. It is a matchless process of spiritual unfoldment. Knowledge is not something dry. Neither is it an aggressive power. Knowledge is the food that energises our earthly and heavenly existence. Devotion is Delight. Knowledge is Peace. Our heart needs Delight and our mind needs Peace, just as God needs us to manifest Himself and we need God to fulfil ourselves.
Meditation: individual and collective. It is easy to meditate individually. The aspirant is fortunate, for no third person stands between him and God's Grace. It is easy to meditate collectively A student naturally gets joy while he is studying with others in the class. Here also the aspirant is fortunate, for the sincere aspiration of other seekers may inspire him.
True, there are difficulties in meditating individually, for laziness can plague the aspirant. True, there are difficulties in meditating collectively, because there is every possibility that the ignorance and weaknesses of others may unconsciously attack the aspirant's body, mind and heart.
Whether we meditate individually or collectively, there is one thing we absolutely must do: we have to meditate consciously. Making an unconscious effort is like forcing oneself to play football in spite of one's utmost unwillingness. One plays, but gets no joy. Conscious effort is like playing football most willingly. One gets real joy. Similarly, conscious meditation gives us inner Delight from the soul.
Finally, each human being must have the spirit of a divine hero. If he is left alone in the thickest forest, he must have the inner strength to meditate without fear. If he is asked to meditate in Times Square amid crowds of people, he must have the inner strength to meditate without being disturbed in the least. Whether alone or with others, the aspirant must dwell in his meditation unshaken and unafraid.