This question was asked on Quora, I thought of putting my answer (http://www.quora.com/Ashish-Lal-5) here also as a blog post because this question brings out many important points that modern day people would want to know. I don’t know much but will try to express myself in the way I do. Please share your opinion on the same.
“Who gave this fine technique called Meditation to the world?”
Meditation is not a technique, it is a way of life. If you were one who observes life carefully, even if you were living alone in a jungle, at some stage of your life, you would ask questions such as how do I seek happiness. Some day you would get the answer that happiness comes from the internal, not from the external.
Meditation is just the journey within, towards the internal, the innermost. The techniques that you call meditation is just a tool to initiate you in that journey. From looking at a dot for sometime, chanting mantras, concentrating at an idol, focusing on breath, on nose or any other million different ways, all are meditation techniques. However, that is not all.
You can yourself form a meditation technique if that helps you silence your mind and turn inwards. Many wise people, thousands of years back, must have devised their own ways. Hence, it is impossible to say who ‘gave’ this technique. Let us try not to look meditation like an exercise or dance form that has has been ‘given’ by somebody.
If you want one line answer to what is meditation, here it is – it is being COMPLETELY focused, through your thoughts-words-actions, every moment of your life on whatever you are doing at any particular moment. It does not matter whether you are talking or writing or sweeping or doing a job or studying or practicing a meditation technique. This is what meditation is, nothing more, nothing less! Meditation techniques just help you get you to that point and then during the later stages dissolve your ‘self’ completely to make you realize that you’re one with everything in the world.
Hope at least some part of what I’ve written can be understood. Keep meditating, probably there’s nothing more serene and beautiful than this! I’m initiated in the journey but the journey is really long, really hope to get ‘there’ one day!