Concentration, Meditation and Contemplation

Artwork by Sri Chinmoy
Artwork by Sri Chinmoy


Concentration is the hero-soldier confidence of the third eye, the vision eye. Concentration is the fastest lightning speed. Concentration is the supreme secret of immediate and inevitable success.

Although determination and concentration have a close connection, concentration is infinitely, infinitely higher than determination. Determination comes from the silent mind proper. Concentration comes from the all knowing vision eye.

Concentration silences the destruction-loving animal in me. Concentration inspires the inactivity-cherishing human in me. Concentration manifests the all loving divine in me. Concentration expedites God’s all fulfilling arrival at my heart’s door.

Concentration secretly intensifies my heart’s God-hunger. Concentration speedily clears my mind’s thought-forest and gives me discipline-joy at every moment. Concentration indomitably tames my wild restlessness-vital. Concentration vigorously energises my sleeping lethargy-body.

Concentration smilingly and blessingfully asks me: “O seeker, do you want to accomplish ten most significant things in the short span of ten minutes, or do you want to accomplish only one thing?” I tell concentration that I would like to accomplish ten most significant things in the short span of ten minutes.

Concentration blessingfully and proudly tells me: “Then come and be in my boat. I am your only boatman.”

Concentration has a most significant message for me. It tells me: “Be brave within, be brave without!” When I am brave in my inner life, I breathlessly love only God the Creator in His own Way. When I am brave in my outer life, I smilingly serve only God the creation in His own Way.

Concentration tells me that I have only one Master. That Master is transcendental delight and not ignorance-night.

Each human being on earth is a God-representative, but concentration, meditation and contemplation are the most powerful representatives of God here on earth. These three representatives of God are piloting humanity’s aspiration-boat to the Golden Shore of the Beyond.

Concentration is the mind-divinity’s swiftness. Meditation is the heart-divinity’s vastness. Contemplation is the life-divinity’s fulness here on earth.

Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 26 February 1989

Sri Chinmoy, My Heart’s Peace-Offering, Agni Press, 1994.


Concentration and Meditation

Concentration is the Arrow.

Meditation is the Bow.

When you concentrate, you focus all your energies upon the chosen phenomenon in order to unveil its mysteries. When you meditate, you rise into a higher consciousness.

Concentration wants to penetrate into the object it strives for. Meditation wants to live in the vastness of Silence.

In concentration, you endeavour to bring the consciousness of your object right into your own awareness. In meditation, you rise from your limited consciousness into a higher and wider domain.

If you want to sharpen your faculties, concentrate. If you want to lose yourself, meditate.

It is the work of concentration to clear the roads when meditation wants to go either deep within or high above.

Concentration wants to seize the knowledge it aims at. Meditation wants to identify itself with the knowledge it seeks for.

An aspirant has two genuine teachers: Concentration and Meditation. Concentration is always strict with the student; Meditation is strict at times. But both of them are solemnly interested in their students’ progress.

Concentration says to God: “Father, I am coming to You.” Meditation says to God: “Father, do come to me.”

Concentration is the commander who orders the dispersed consciousness to come to attention.

Concentration and absolute firmness are not only inseparable, but are interdependent divine warriors.

Concentration does not allow Disturbance, the thief, to enter into his armour. Meditation lets him in. Why? Just to catch the thief red-handed.

Concentration challenges the enemy to a duel and fights him out. Meditation, with its silent smile, diminishes the challenge of the enemy.

Concentration and the surface mind dislike each other. Concentration opens the door to higher states of consciousness, while the surface mind wants to stay where it has always been.

The mind that is incapable of concentration is as changeable as the wind and as elusive as moonlight.

When concentration reaches its acme, revelation dawns. Newton saw the law of gravitation in the falling of an apple; Archimedes discovered the secret of displacement and cried out, “Eureka!”; J. C. Bose discovered life in plants, even in metals. The crown of success is attainable only in moments of deepest concentration.

Sri Chinmoy, Eternity’s Breath, Agni Press, 1972.



Concentration, Meditation and Contemplation

Why do we concentrate? We concentrate because we want to reach the Goal. Why do we meditate? We meditate because we want to live in the heart of the Goal. Why do we contemplate? We contemplate because we want to become the Goal.

How do we concentrate? We concentrate with the mind’s illumining one-pointedness. How do we meditate? We meditate with the heart’s expanding vastness. How do we contemplate? We contemplate with the soul’s fulfilling oneness.

Where do we concentrate, meditate and contemplate? We concentrate, meditate and contemplate in the heart. When we concentrate in the heart, God the Divine Warrior energises us. When we meditate in the heart, God the Divine Knower enlightens us. When we contemplate in the heart, God the Divine Lover immortalises us. The Warrior energises us with His secret Power. The Knower enlightens us with His sacred Light. The Lover immortalises us with His supernal Delight. The Warrior’s Power is our ceaseless capacity. The Knower’s Light is our endless divinity. The Lover’s Delight is our birthless and deathless reality.

When a beginner meditates, it is nothing but struggle. When an advanced seeker meditates, it is smooth sailing.

When an advanced seeker contemplates, he becomes a portion of the Universal Consciousness. When a Yogi contemplates, he becomes the Universal Consciousness.An occultist’s intimate friend is concentration. A Yogi’s intimate friends are meditation and contemplation. An occultist cares very little for meditation and contemplation. A Yogi cares very little for concentration.

When an occultist concentrates, it is terribly frightening. When a Yogi meditates and contemplates, it is unimaginably charming.

Concentration, meditation and contemplation: in form they are three but in spirit they are one. Concentration exterminates threatening obstructions. Meditation expedites our teeming possibilities. Contemplation places us on the throne of Divinity’s Reality and Reality’s Immortality. Concentration demands from us sincerity. Meditation demands from us purity. Contemplation demands from us integrity.

Yesterday concentration, meditation and contemplation were seething amazements to us. Today they are unusual surprises to us. Tomorrow they will be normal experiences to us.

Concentration is God’s Protection in man. Meditation is God’s Height in man. Contemplation is God’s Victory in man. Human doubt surrenders to concentration. Human fear surrenders to meditation. Human ignorance surrenders to contemplation.

Concentration is the last word on speed. Meditation is the last word on progress. Contemplation is the last word on success. Love of God is humanity’s fastest speed. Devotion to God is humanity’s greatest progress. Surrender to God is humanity’s mightiest success.

When a seeker concentrates on God, God blesses the seeker’s devoted head. When he meditates on God, God blesses his loving heart. When he contemplates on God, God blesses his surrendered entire being. When God concentrates on a seeker, the seeker starts his journey toward the Goal unknowable. When God meditates on a seeker, the seeker is in the midst of his journey toward the Goal unknown. When God contemplates on a seeker, the seeker completes his journey and reaches the Goal: Infinity’s Smile, Eternity’s Embrace, Immortality’s Pride.

Sri Chinmoy, Promised Light From The Beyond, Agni Press, 1973



Questions and Answers

Question: Do we not sometimes mistake the strong concentration of the vital for a good or strong meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Concentration and meditation are two totally different things. One can easily know whether one is doing concentration or meditation. When it is concentration, there is tremendous intensity; it is like an arrow entering into the target. But in meditation, there is peace all around, specially in the mind. Intensity is there, but the intensity is flooded with luminosity. In concentration there need not be, and at times there is not, the highest luminosity. Concentration wants immediate results. It is ready to do anything, by hook or by crook, to achieve its goal. But meditation won’t do that. Meditation feels that it has infinite time at its disposal. That doesn’t mean that meditation neglects fleeting time. No! It appreciates fleeting time, but inside fleeting time it sees endless time. That is why meditation has infinite Peace inside it.

Intensity of the vital during meditation is not bad if it is the purified vital and not the demanding vital. The vital is a real dynamic horse, but we have to know how to utilise it. We are now using the vital in the world of passion, in the world of argument, greed, and so on. But this same vital can be used as a dynamic strength to fight against ignorance, imperfection and death. So if the vital is pure at the time of concentration, then our success is very satisfactory, and it assures us that the fulfilment of our goal on earth is not a dream.

Sri Chinmoy, Meditation: God’s Blessing-Assurance, Agni Press, 1974.


 Question: In concentration we must concentrate on something small and in meditation we must concentrate on something large?

Sri Chinmoy: During meditation we are not concentrating. At that time we are just feeling and observing the vastness around us. In contemplation we are merging into the Supreme Reality and becoming inseparably one with that Reality. God the Creator and God the creation are becoming one in contemplation. Again, inside contemplation there is concentration and also meditation.

Sri Chinmoy, Sound And Silence, Part 1, Agni Press, 1982.


Question: Master, what is the difference between meditation and inner concentration?

Sri Chinmoy: Concentration is one-pointed; it is one-pointed awareness. It does not look forward or backward or sideways. Inner concentration tries to penetrate the veil of ignorance, so that ignorance is totally conquered.

In meditation, you have to feel that you are consciously trying to enter into the infinite expanse of consciousness. Everything here is finite. Everything there is Eternal, Immortal. When you are in a high meditation, you do not concentrate on anything. At that time, you only throw yourself into the Infinite vast of light, peace and bliss. You throw yourself into Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. Concentration is one-pointed. If concentration is aimed at ignorance, it tries to destroy ignorance. If it is aimed at knowledge, it tries to enter into the very breath of knowledge.

Sri Chinmoy, Earth’s Cry Meets Heaven’s Smile, Part 2, Agni Press, 1974.


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