Meditation is a means of elevating the mind to Divine consciousness, for reaching the ultimate goal of life, which is Divine Love for God. All day long people work and live in a material environment that pulls their minds towards the world. Meditation fills the mind with devotion, detaches it from the world, attaches it on God, and results in the purification of consciousness. This surcharging of consciousness through meditation benefits one throughout the day.
Consider the analogy of milk. If you pour water in it, the milk is unable to remain separate from it and retain its pure identity. However, if you keep the water separate from the milk and convert it into yogurt, and then extract butter from the yogurt, that butter can then challenge the water, “Mr. Water! I will sit on your head and float. You cannot do anything to me. As long as I was milk, you would mix within me and dilute my concentration. But now, I have become butter, and thus I am immiscible.”
Similarly, in isolation from the disturbing elements of the world, if we learn to focus our mind on God for some time, it will help us in sustaining Divine consciousness throughout the day, even while working in the world. Like the sandalwood tree, we too will live in the world but not let the world live within us.
chandana viṣha vyāpai nahīñ, lipaṭe rahata bhujaṅga
“Although the sandalwood tree has venomous cobras lying encircled around it, their poison does not affect the tree.”
Meditation has innumerable other benefits too. Modern scientists estimate that we use only three percent of the mind’s potential. The reason for this is that our mind is scattered, and it keeps flitting from topic to topic and thought to thought. But if we can learn to concentrate our mind, we can increase the utilization of our mental and intellectual faculties.
Meditation also has a very salubrious effect on physical health. Most ailments have their roots in the mind. When one harbors poisonous thoughts, of hatred, envy, anxiety, tension, fear, etc., it disturbs the mental sheath (one of the five sheaths in the body). This disturbance is then passed on to the prāṇic sheath, which then manifests in the physical sheath of the body as disease. Meditation on God heals the various ailments of the mind, resulting in enhancement of vital energy and the improvement of physical health as well.