What is meditation?
It is the most important question as far as my religion is concerned.
Meditation is the very center of my whole effort.
It is the very womb out of which the new religion is going to be born.
But it is very difficult to verbalize it. To say something about meditation is a contradiction in terms. It is something which you can have, which you can be, but by its very nature you cannot say what it is. Still, efforts have been made to convey it in some way. Even if only a fragmentary, partial understanding arises out of it, that is more than one can expect.
But even that partial understanding of meditation can become a seed. Much depends on how you listen. If you only hear, then even a fragment cannot be conveyed to you, but if you listen…. Try to understand the difference between the two.
Hearing is mechanical. You have ears, you can hear. If you are getting deaf then a mechanical aid can help you to hear. Your ears are nothing but a certain mechanism to receive sounds. Hearing is very simple animals hear, anybody who has ears is capable of hearing – but listening is a far higher stage.
Listening means: when you are hearing you are only hearing and not doing anything else – no other thoughts in your mind, no clouds passing in your inner sky – so whatever is being said reaches as it is being said. It is not interfered with by your mind; not interpreted by you, by your prejudices; not clouded by anything that, right now, is passing within you – because all these are distortions.
Ordinarily it is not difficult; you go on managing just by hearing, because the things that you are hearing are common objects. If I say something about the house, the door, the tree, the bird, there is no problem. These are common objects; there is no need of listening. But there is a need to listen when we are talking about something like meditation, which is not an object at all; it is a subjective state. We can only indicate it; you have to be very attentive and alert – then there is a possibility that some meaning reaches you.
Even if a little understanding arises in you, it is more than enough, because understanding has its own way of growing. If just a little bit of understanding falls in the right place, in the heart, it starts growing of its own accord.
First try to understand the word meditation. It is not the right word for the state about which any authentic seeker is bound to be concerned. So I would like to tell you something about a few words. In Sanskrit we have a special word for meditation, the word is dhyana. In no other language does a parallel word exist; that word is untranslatable. It has been recognized for two thousand years that this word is untranslatable, for the simple reason that in no other language people have tried it or experienced the state that it denotes; so those languages don’t have that word.