Question: Is there a difference between trance and meditation?
Yes, meditation is totally different. I will try to give a few words about this. In India this trance is known as 'bhava samadhi'. English word 'trance' is the nearest word - that is why it is used probably. I don't know exactly the meaning of 'trance' in English. Perhaps, what I have heard that 'trance' would give the meaning as if you are being possessed by another soul, this type of thing. This is not correct actually - spiritually this has no significance, and this has no truth also. Bhava Samadhi means; 'bhava' means your mind's feelings, emotional feelings, 'samadhi' is total stand-stillness.
'Meditation' is you rise above all type of bhava, go into a true Samadhi. But if one person is emotional, is trying to go on a bhakti marga so such a person, if long time devotional practice has happened, such a person can go into a bhava samadhi. This means his mind can go into stand-stillness into one type of imagination. Just like for example if you become suddenly devoted to Baba on your own, unknown to you, you have developed a devotion, you are highly emotional out of devotion; so when a song is sung in front of Baba or when you come in front of Baba, so you are likely to become more excited but yet you might be having a vision of Baba within your mind - all these things might be happening. At that time a person might be having a jerk and excitement and the body might move with so much blissfulness. This is like a preliminary round before going to the actual meditation. In meditation you have to achieve total composure of the mind, beyond all these emotions. The body movements also have to become totally composed. So through meditation you achieve the highest thing. In simple words - 'bhava samadhi' is like giving chocolate to a child to make it to go to school - to give you a lollipop to make you to go to the spiritual school and eventually practice meditation. So one has to understand that is what it is. Very often people might get stuck with lollipops only and not go to the spiritual school - so such people cannot reach the spiritual heights. Meditation is the thing that can help you to achieve the right things.