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Meditation and chanting

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The meaning of Meditation

Meditation originated from Vēdic Hinduism which is the oldest religion that professes meditation as a spiritual and religious practice. The objective of meditation is to reach a calm state of mind, reduce stress, promote relaxation and enhance personal and spiritual growth.

The meaning of Chanting

Chanting means repeating the Name of God.  It is the most convenient spiritual practice. As per the science of Spirituality, chanting the Name of God, is the foundation of spiritual practice in the current era. FHA founder, His Holiness Dr. Jayant Athavale once asked the following question to His Guru, His Holiness Bhaktaraj Maharaj (Baba), regarding meditation and chanting. 

His Holiness Dr. Jayant Athavale: Out of the spiritual practices of meditation and chanting, which is superior?
Baba: Chanting is superior due to the following reasons:

  1. Continuity of spiritual practice: Meditation [super conscious state (samādhi)] is not continuous but chanting can occur continuously. In order to blend with The Infinite Principle continuous spiritual practice is essential.

  2. The true 'waking state' [Self-realisation (ātmānubhūtī)]: The seeker comes to the waking state from the state of meditation since there is an attraction to the gross dimension. On the contrary the one chanting is continuously in the 'waking state', that is in a way he is in a continuous state of meditation!

  3. Attraction to the gross dimension: Attraction to the gross dimension is due to impressions on the subconscious mind. During meditation there is only suppression and not annihilation of the tendencies of the subconscious mind. However with chanting annihilation occurs to a major extent.

  4. Surfacing of subtle thoughts: Keeping the mind thoughtless means not paying attention to the outside or inside. This is incorrect as in this state subtle impressions do surface at sometime or the other. However, when one concentrates on the Name, subtle impressions do not surface. Hence, chanting God's Name is superior to a thoughtless mind.

  5. Spiritual experiences and the spiritual level: The spiritual experiences in meditation are not indicative of one's spiritual level whereas those in chanting God's Name are indicative of it.

  6. True and false spiritual experiences: The spiritual experiences obtained through chanting are real as the one chanting has blended with the Name. On the other hand the experience of the null state obtained in meditation is illusory as here only dissolution of the mind has occurred.

  7. The corpse-like state (mrutāvasthā) and the state of Divine consciousness (Chaitanyāvasthā): Meditation gives the experience of the corpse-like state while with chanting one gets the experience of Divine consciousness (Chaitanya).

  8. Ego: In the Path of Meditation (Dhyānyoga) the ego persists due to subtle thoughts like 'I do meditation,' 'I returned to the waking state from the super conscious state (samādhi),' etc. However in chanting, due to the spiritual emotion that the Guru is instrumental in getting the chanting done through oneself, not only does the ego of spiritual practice not develop, on the contrary it undergoes dissolution.  

  9. The artificial and the natural states: Meditation is an artificial state whereas through chanting of God's Name the natural state of communion with God (sahajāvasthā) is attained.

  10. Chanting God's Name: The supreme spiritual practice.

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