The real meditation means to think of Kṛṣṇa.
Lecture on BG 4.9 -- Bombay, March 29, 1974:
At the present moment our mind is so disturbed, we are disturbed in so many ways. Meditation is not possible in this age. Maybe there may be one or two persons who can meditate. The real meditation means to think of Kṛṣṇa. Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru (BG 18.65). That is real meditation. So in this way, if we engage our life, that means bhakti-yoga, then Kṛṣṇa reveals, ataḥ sri-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ (CC Madhya 17.136). If you simply speculate, tax your senses to understand Kṛṣṇa by so-called scholarship, that will not help you. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau. You engage your tongue in the service of the Lord, then He'll reveal.
Impersonal meditation is a bogus invention of modern days. In none of the Vedic literatures is impersonal meditation recommended.
SB 4.8.45, Translation and Purport:
(The form of the Lord is described herein.) The Lord's face is perpetually very beautiful and pleasing in attitude. To the devotees who see Him, He appears never to be displeased, and He is always prepared to award benedictions to them. His eyes, His nicely decorated eyebrows, His raised nose and His broad forehead are all very beautiful. He is more beautiful than all the demigods.
This verse clearly explains how one has to meditate on the form of the Lord. Impersonal meditation is a bogus invention of modern days. In none of the Vedic literatures is impersonal meditation recommended. In Bhagavad-gītā, when meditation is recommended, the word mat-paraḥ, which means "pertaining to Me," is used. Any Viṣṇu form pertains to Lord Kṛṣṇa because Lord Kṛṣṇa is the original Viṣṇu form. Sometimes someone tries to meditate upon the impersonal Brahman, which is described in Bhagavad-gītā as avyakta, meaning "unmanifested" or "impersonal." But it is remarked by the Lord Himself that those who are attached to this impersonal feature of the Lord suffer a very troublesome task because no one can concentrate on the impersonal feature. One has to concentrate on the form of the Lord, which is described here in connection with Dhruva Mahārāja's meditation. As will be apparent from later descriptions, Dhruva Mahārāja perfected this kind of meditation, and his yoga was successful.
What is the purpose of meditation?
Lecture on BG 3.27 -- Madras, January 1, 1976:
Indian (6): What is the main purpose of meditation?
Prabhupāda: What is that? Meditation? (break) Dhyānāvasthita-tad-gatena manasā paśyanti yaṁ yoginaḥ (SB 12.13.1). This is meditation, that by meditation that they try to find out Kṛṣṇa within your heart because Kṛṣṇa is situated everyone's heart. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe arjuna tiṣṭhati (BG 18.61). So that is dhyāna—find out. In the śāstra we understand, "Kṛṣṇa is within my heart." And if you meditate, try to find out Kṛṣṇa, then, if you are fortunate, you'll be able to see Him. This is meditation.
Yoga system is approved, but nobody can follow the rules and regulations strictly, neither there is suitable place for executing it, and everyone is always full of anxiety, so how they can concentrate?
Letter to Brahmananda -- Los Angeles 20 November, 1968:
It is very nice that you shall speak on this at the yoga group program. Subala should read carefully that Hatha yoga received in the Bhagavad-gita is very difficult in this age. Yoga system is approved, but nobody can follow the rules and regulations strictly, neither there is suitable place for executing it, and everyone is always full of anxiety, so how they can concentrate? So best thing is to chant Hare Krishna which is forced meditation. In this way make nice speech, and conclude with declaring that the topmost yogi is he who surrenders to Krishna, and worships Krishna with all thoughts, activities, and intelligence.
The meditation you can do, just like we are also doing meditation, chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. But meditation as it is, to absorb the mind fully in God's vision, that is very difficult nowadays, at the present moment. People's mind is very disturbed. They cannot actually meditate. Therefore in this age, meditation, chanting the holy name of the Lord, that is recommended, congregationally.
Room Conversation with Banker -- September 21, 1973, Bombay:
Prabhupāda: We don't find anything in the Bhagavad-gītā that "You should concentrate, meditate in darkness." We take it as bogus. No religious system, even in Christianity, there is no such thing as darkness. Christian churches are very much illuminated. They pray. Prayer is there. The necessity. Why in darkness? That is his invention. Neither in Hinduism, neither in Buddhism, there is such recommendation that "You pray in the darkness." Therefore it is bogus. Not standard. Why darkness? Naturally, if you make this room dark, you will feel sleepy. That is natural tendency.
Lady: (indistinct) meditation?
Prabhupāda: The meditation you can do, just like we are also doing meditation, chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. But meditation as it is, to absorb the mind fully in God's vision, that is very difficult nowadays, at the present moment. People's mind is very disturbed. They cannot actually meditate. Therefore in this age, meditation, chanting the holy name of the Lord, that is recommended, congregationally. Just like we do, Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare, Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma... So there is no need of dark room. Just like this boy. He is also a responsible officer in New York. He is also chanting. All these sannyāsīs. And we have got all these beads. So there is no need of meditating in darkness. We are going on the open street. We are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare Hare Rāma... There is no difficulty. Neither we have to select a dark place. Anywhere. Just like I am talking with you, they are chanting. Their chanting is not stopped. So why should you go to a dark room? It is open thing. And it is open for everyone, in any moment. There is no hard and fast rule, that "You have to do like that, do like that." Simply you have to chant, anywhere possible. Suppose if you leave this room, you go on the street, you can chant, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare... Nobody... There is no taxation. There is no loss. But the gain is very great by chanting. And this is recommended in this age, not sophistically to find out a dark room. No. It may be suitable for a particular person. But for mass of people, where is the facility of getting a dark room while going on the street? Suppose you are going on the street or in a car to your office, can you arrange for the dark room? But you can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa without any dark room. So which is better? For concentrating your mind, for meditating, if you have to make so many facilities arrangement, and without any arrangement, if you can do, which one is better? Without any arrangement. That is Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Without any arrangement, immediately you can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Without any consideration of your age, of your religion, of your country, of your nationality, of your color, caste, anything. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. And that is being done, and the whole world is accepting. We are not recommending that "Go to a dark room." Neither it is required. Everything must be for mass benefit. That is only this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. What do you think?
Meditation Of A Formal Nature Does Not Have Much Effect
Sarangati by Srila Sridhar Maharaja
Student: When performing bhajan and kirtan, what should be our attitude?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Meditation of a formal nature does not have much effect here. We shall try saranagati - surrender. Our whole attention should be concentrated on surrender. Once, a gentleman, a zamindar, took Harinama initiation from our Guru Maharaj and asked, "While I count on the beads, what should I think of in my mind? Is there any portrait of Krsna or Sri Murti? How can I engage and utilize my mind at that time while counting the beads?"
Our Guru Maharaja answered, "The mind has nothing to do in the supra-mental area. The mind is like a vulture. As a vulture goes to the cremation ground, so mind and other senses will try to fall there and make it mundane � a cremation ground. This is all mortal. They have got all mortal experience. The mind, the eye, the ear, etc. � everything has got mortal experience.� So, whenever you take the Holy Name, the other senses, including the mind, will try to make it a mortal field with their prejudices and experiences of this relative world. They fall on it and make it a cremation ground. Do not allow it. Instead, we must try to understand. "I have got some spiritual sound which is completely different from this mortal world, and that sound will gradually evolve a spiritual figure or colour.�
By Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada.
At first, remembrance of Krsna may be interrupted at intervals, but later remembrance proceeds uninterrupted. When remembrance is uninterrupted, it becomes concentrated and is called meditation. When meditation expands and becomes constant, it is called anusmrti. By uninterrupted and unceasing anusmrti one enters the stage of samadhi, or spiritual trance. After smarana-dasa or samadhi has fully developed, the soul comes to understand his original constitutional position. At that time he can perfectly and clearly understand his eternal relationship with Krsna. That is called sampatti-dasa, the perfection of life. "
We Should Always Meditate On Sri Gurudev
Sri Guru And His Grace by Srila Sridhar Gosvami
“I bow down to the lotus feet of Śrī Gurudev. By his grace, we achieve the grace of Kṛṣṇa; without his grace, we are lost. Therefore, we should always meditate on Śrī Gurudev, and pray for his mercy.” This is the position of Śrī Guru, by whose grace we can get everything, we can get the grace of Kṛṣṇa, and without whose grace, we have no other prospect. So, in this way, we must have reverence for he who has given us our first connection with Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Only Meditate On Him And All Your Troubles Will Be Finished
Golden Volcano by Srila Sridhar Maharaja
The Srimad-Bhagavatam explains, “That same personality who came as Ramacandra and Krishna has again appeared. He has come to direct you to the real fulfillment of life. He is drawing the sweetest nectar from above for the sake of everyone. Only meditate on Him and all your troubles will be finished. He is the agent purifying all the holy places of pilgrimage and saintly persons by His touch, by His sankirtana, by His drawing the highest things down from the highest plane. And even Brahma and Shiva arepuzzled by His noble gift, will begin to praise Him. They will eagerly aspire to take shelter under His lotus feet in surrender. The pains of all who come to serve Him will be removed, and their inner necessities will be fulfilled.