Meditation is the pinnacle of different kinds of spiritual practices. Why is meditation the pinnacle of all spiritual practices (Saddhanas)?
To understand this we must first understand the nature of knowledge that we gather through our lifetimes and the source of this knowledge. First is the knowledge we gain through the perception of our senses, Pratyaksha is knowledge of the eye, what we see in the manifest world.
Then comes Paroksha knowledge wherein besides the senses, it is the result of inference, deduction and logic. Mind works supreme here- the mind and intellect (antakarna). Different from both these is the third kind - knowledge called aparoksha.
In this knowledge it is neither the senses nor the mind, the knowledge comes directly ( a direct perception). It is direct, unprocessed, spontaneous. And Truth is revealed only through this knowledge. This is transcendental knowledge.
Awareness of this knowledge will bring you face to face with the knower within you.In all spiritual practices our aim is to gain this transcendental knowledge. A glimpse of it first, then a union with it .This knowledge is not read about but personally experienced and will make sense of "I" am God (the "I" in me is itself the ultimate reality ).
You may say the worlds existence and its explanation is wrong, you may also say there is no god or creator. But can you say the same about yourself and deny the existence of the "I". Then you negate yourself completely. Are you just a conglomeration of parts - a robot?
Is not there a you even when you forget your body and mind? How can a negator negate his own existence. That is why Vedanta takes up ultimately the search for the Atma, the "I", the self.Vedanta says the self is satchitananda.
Sat because the self is ever existing. Cit refer to that which shines as awareness or knowledge. Cit is the revelation of self. The knowing of the state like sleep is because of this mysterious self. Thirdly Atma/self/ "I" is ananda. One who realize this self is blissful
To reach the "I" and thereby an experience of Sat Chit Ananda-a method is essential, that method is meditation which takes you from plurality to singleness. The Indian (Brahmanical and Buddhist) doctrine of the two selves (the small i and the larger I) mortal and immortal that dwell together in us. In all is literature the nature and character of the two selves are dealt with at length and the importance of the resolution of their inner conflict emphasized.
No man is at peace till it is resolved which of the two selves shall rule. In this philosophy we are unfree to the extent that we are determined to a large extent by the desires of the small self but we are free to the extent that this outer man can learn to act not for himself but on behalf of the inner man our real selves.
From the plural experience of the seers to single pointedness. This single pointedness is remembrance of the truth. What thought do we select which is suggestive of the truth.
Soham is one such mantra (Spiritual idea) - "Infinite reality am I, Badhoham is another-I am the nature of awareness." Om is more a symbol than a mantra. The remembrance of such mantras in the mind without interruption becomes Vedantic meditation. Meditation is only a preparatory stage towards Samadhi.
Beyond even that single thought of the mantra, is pure consciousness (cetna ) the unmodified consciousness (chitta) In meditation our thought remains one pointed and then, even that thought vanishes. "
You are under the power of no other Enemies, are held in no other captivity and want no other deliverance but from the power of your earthly self.
That self is the small self. From it emerges a new man but never if it insists upon remaining "itself". And this "I" or Self is truthful, nonviolent, non-grasping and not in the grip of the senses.