Meditation is not concentration. Senses come within the purview of concentration. When you see something it is the eyes that see. When you hear, it is the ears that hear. When you are reading a book, you hold the book in your hands. You see the letters with your eyes. You understand through the mind. You analyse with your discrimination. Thus you are able to read the book. The eyes, ears, hands, mind are all senses. As concentration includes the senses it is below the senses. When this goes beyond, it is called meditation. To reach the state of meditation from the level of concentration you should cross a border. In between concentration and meditation is the border called contemplation. After crossing the border of contemplation meditation starts.
Today many people are wasting a lot of time in the name of meditation. Are you able to focus your mind for even a single second? No. You may sit for half an hour to one hour. Serve the society instead of wasting time on this alone. You will be very happy. You sit for one hour, but can you focus your mind even for one second? The mind runs like a mad monkey. You pull back this wandering mind and it starts running again. Why do you waste a lot of time in a useless activity? Duty is God. Serve with the sole thought that all that you do is serving God. Work will be transformed into worship. Feel that all you do is the offering to God, as work of God. This becomes meditation. You can't get into meditation if you sit with your eyes closed. Whatever you do is the work of God. Think in this way and believe that your body is an instrument in the hands of the Lord. Have faith that God is doing such and such activity through you. Such a spiritual practice helps you a lot. This practice sets an ideal to many people.
Meditation is filled with selfishness. It gives satisfaction to you alone. You do not understand if others are being troubled because of you. Service to God with a selfish motive can never be a service. True meditation is in sacrificing selfishness and believing that everything is God. People waste a lot of time today. Energy is being wasted. Life is being wasted. Discharge all your duties and responsibilities with the name of God on your lips. Thus you can shed all your Karmas. God is not present in a single place in a distant location. ‘Sarvatah Paani Paadam, Sarvatosti Shiromukham, Sarvatah Shrutimalloke, Sarvamaavrutya Tishthati’, which means that He is present in every being, wherever you see. Confining God to a single place is like belittling God. It is sheer narrow mindedness to restrict God, who is all pervading, to a single place. You have to broaden your minds. It is only then that the power of discrimination increases in you. Universality can be understood, to some extent, through this kind of intelligence. Today there is science but no intelligence. Science has gained immense importance, but no one is trying to coalesce it with intelligence. Science can be used for the benefit of the society only when it is blended with intelligence.
Students! The first thing that you have to do is to study properly. Understand the discrimination involved in it. Try to apply that knowledge in practical situations. Students today, however, possess only bookish knowledge, which becomes superficial in no time. They lack general knowledge and the knowledge of discrimination. How can you gain practical knowledge without these? Our M.Sc. student (a student who spoke prior to Swami’s Discourse) told that the world will be good only when the individual is good. Society transforms only when the individual transforms. When the society becomes good, the entire nation becomes good. The entire country depends on the qualities of an individual. Hence it is important that man develops moral principles and qualities. There is no use possessing any amount of strength and intelligence. Character is important.
‘Neti Vidyalu Telivi Tetalane Penche, Konchemaina Gunamunu Penchabovu’, which means modern education enhances intelligence alone, not character. Of what use is all intelligence without character? ‘Panta Pandani Bhumi Padi Ekaramulela? Konchemaina Chalu Manchi Bhumi’, which means it is good to have a small piece of land which gives good harvest rather than ten acres of barren land.
Similarly, instead of acquiring three or four degrees, it is good if you get one degree and practice what you have studied. That becomes good learning. Education is not just being familiar with various books. You should have in mind the benefit and well-being of the entire society. You should become ideal students.
Source: Yama and Niyama: The Twin Pillars of a Righteous Life, Discourse 8, My Dear Students Volume 4