In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna poses the question to Sri Krishna as to how one can know the spiritual man, how does he walk, how does he speak, how does he act… Spiritual practitioners pose similar types of questions about meditation, as to what is the right form of meditation, how does one site, how does one act, how does one carry out the meditation. Sri Krishna’s answer to Arjuna was that it was not the external form, but the internal substance that determined the truth. It is similarly the inner aspiration, the motivation of the seeker who meditates, that determines the effectiveness of the meditation. Meditation does not mean that one should simply sit and let ‘anything’ happen that comes up, and then, when the time is up, the individual gets up and nothing has changed or been transformed in his life. Meditation is not simply to withdraw from activity. A question that can be asked is whether the individual is the same after the meditation as before the meditation. What has changed? In fairness, some types of meditation will of course not bear obvious fruit after a single attempt. So one can look back and see whether after any period of time, one day, or one week, or one month, etc., the meditation has made the individual more reflective, more insightful, more compassionate, more understanding, more in tune with the divine purpose of his life. If it is not moving the seeker forward in the spiritual practice, then it is simply a static exercise that may help relax the individual, but does not go much farther. The dynamic form of meditation will have a transformative effect, and that is how one can see the difference over time.

A disciple asks: “How is it done? Is it done in a different way?”

The Mother observes: “I think it is the aspiration that should be different, the attitude should be different. ‘Different way’ — what do you mean by ‘way’ (laughing) the way of sitting?… Not that? The inner way?”


“But for each one it is different. … I think the most important thing is to know why one meditates; this is what gives the quality of the meditation and makes it of one order or another. … You may meditate to open yourself to the divine Force, you may meditate to reject the ordinary consciousness, you may meditate to enter the depths of your being, you may meditate to learn how to give yourself integrally; you may meditate for all kinds of things. You may meditate to enter into peace and calm and silence — this is what most people generally do, but without much success. But you may also meditate to receive the Force of transformation, to discover the points to be transformed, to trace out the line of progress. And then you may also meditate for very practical reasons: when you have a difficulty to clear up, a solution to find, when you want help in some action or other. You may meditate for that too.”

“I think everyone has his own mode of meditation. But if one wants the meditation to be dynamic, one must have an aspiration for progress and the meditation must be done to help and fulfil this aspiration for progress. Then it becomes dynamic.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter V Growth of Consciousness, Means and Methods, pp. 88-89

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 17 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.