Chapter 44: On Work and Meditation
German Visitor: What is the relation between the active and meditative living? How to find the balance?
SWAMIJI: It is a very simple matter. When a person feels that meditation is the most important thing, and higher than any other thing, it will mean that one wants to do only meditation, and does not want to do anything else. This is the idea behind the feeling that meditation is the highest. But, is it possible for a person to be doing only meditation and doing no work?
German Visitor: No.
SWAMIJI: Why is it not possible? Let that person answer the question. When you say that meditation is the highest and the most important thing, why cannot you do only that, and you want to do some other work? What is the reason? It is an individual matter; each person should answer this question.
Why are you working so much, when you say that only meditation is necessary? There is some reason for your work. What is that reason? The reason is that you cannot exist in this world, in this body, without doing some work; and if the body does not exist, the meditation also does not exist. The whole thing goes. You are asking me the connection between work and meditation. Inasmuch as without existing, you cannot meditate, and without some work you cannot exist, the connection is simple. It is essential for maintaining yourself as a seeker of truth, for the purpose of meditation.
Actually, every work done with a feeling of devotion is also a kind of meditation. When you work, you are not doing it for a selfish purpose. You are doing it as a necessary medium for keeping you fit and secure for the purpose of higher worship and meditation.
Work also becomes a preparation for meditation. Therefore, it is a part of meditation itself. So, work becomes worship, and contemplation and action are interconnected, like body and soul. You cannot keep your body somewhere and your soul somewhere else. They are together. So, the body is connected with work; the soul is connected with meditation. But, they are not two things. You know, your body and soul are together; so, likewise, work and meditation also go together. They are one integral whole. That is the relation.