Guruji, What is the difference between penance and meditation? Which is greater?
To keep a single-pointed goal, pursuing God without deviating, and following the path with the mind, is called penance. Here, mind is a must. The body that is troubled by the mind may succumb to illness. Anger and hatred may also arise. If you have a strong will power, you can follow this path. Finally, when you reach your goal, your desires will be fulfilled. You may also acquire some ‘siddhi’. As told in ‘Puranas’, God may become visible. Penance does not give liberation. Only the humble ones can acquire love, peace and happiness through penance, and such humble persons are very rare. Despite acquiring love and peace, the egoistic mind would lead us to the cycle of rebirth. No matter how advanced one may be in meditation, possessing ego can be extremely damaging.
Meditation is completely different from penance. In meditation, the meditator has only to watch his mind. The thoughts that pass through the mind will eventually vanish and the meditator will have a detached mind. Such a mind will be transparent like a mirror when it moves towards “shoonya”.
The experience of this detached mind is love towards the Almighty and is also the experience of living with the Lord. Here, everything happens by itself. The one who acquires this state, is free from ego, and may not take rebirth.