Saturday, October 17, 2015

Samadhi by Swami Chidananda

Anandamayi Ma!
by Swami Chidananda

Through the constant practice and through perfect establishment in Vairagya (dispassion) concentration increases and it becomes more continuous and unbroken, when we reach a stage of deep intense absorption, and this deep intense absorption is the eighth stage in Raja Yoga. It is called Samadhi. I think this word ‘Samadhi’ is by far one of the most widely misunderstood terms. What is Samadhi? Everyone knows the word and everyone is apt to know the meaning of the word wrongly. There are many things you have to know of Samadhi if you want to know what it actually implies.

Firstly, Samadhi is the eighth stage in Raja Yoga. It is only a stage in Yoga. Samadhi itself is not Realisation. That is the point which you have to understand, especially in Raja Yoga: It does not mean that a person who has attained Samadhi is a realised sage. He has to proceed further. 

This Samadhi is not peculiar to Raja Yoga alone. Jnanins speak of Advaita Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Hatha Yogins have got their Samadhi through the union of Prana and Apana and forcing it through Sushumna. These Pranas are forced up by means of Mudras and Kriyas through the various Chakras (plexus or centres of psychic energy) and you get Samadhi. Devotees refer to as going into Bhava Samadhi. So we find that the eighth stage of Raja Yoga, viz., Samadhi, is found everywhere in Hatha Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga. What is the difference between these various Samadhis? Is there only a distinction in name, or is there real difference? And in what sense these several Samadhis are used? Are these used in the same sense or are they used in different senses?

Swami Chidananda
In Raja Yoga, when concentration becomes deep and continuous and the Yogi attains a state in which through the intensity of concentration, he acquires the ability to hold the mind perfectly still, that state is called Samadhi. It is a state of intense absorption. It is a state of deep inward absorption when the mind is perfectly collected and calm (Samyak Dharana). Holding of the mind is very intense and perfect. This state of holding the mind perfectly is called Samadhi. That is the Sanskrit derivation of the word, and this state of perfect absorption need not necessarily be a state of transcendental Illumination. Beyond a certain duration if the Yogi is able to hold the mind continuously—say ten minutes or twenty minutes or thirty minutes—the time limit fixed in the Yoga texts—he may be said to have reached the stage called Samadhi. You should try to practise this day after day and enter into a state where you hold the mind steadily for a long time. As you go on persisting on this practice of Samadhi you will attain Illumination. It takes you to the highest state of super-consciousness and transcendental Illumination where you get the final Liberation. There are various kinds of Samadhis discussed in Raja Yoga, which one has to practise until the state of perfect Illumination is reached. Illumination where you are deeply absorbed with consciousness of your individuality still persisting—that is Samadhi of one kind. And when you rise higher, even the consciousness of your being lapses into the experience of Cosmic Consciousness. That is the perfection of spiritual realisation. That is a different stage. This is the way in which Raja Yogi looks at Samadhi.

 In the Samadhi of Hatha Yogins, through processes like Mudras and Pranayama, certain occult states are produced in the mind and the mind gets totally absorbed. In that Samadhi, they say the Vrittis are not completely destroyed once for all. Complete eradication of Vrittis does not take place. So, that Samadhi is not that which leads to Illumination. It is only a state of suppression. It is perfect suppression, but the total annihilation of the Vrittis is not achieved. So what happens? When he returns back to his normal consciousness, the Vrittis are still there. These Vrittis which are suppressed during Jada-Samadhi, as it is sometimes called, may spring up again to some extent. Therefore, this Samadhi—the Jada-Samadhi achieved by certain Hatha Yogic techniques like Mudras, Pranayama, etc.,—cannot give perfect freedom, is the view held by some people.

The Samadhi of Jnana Yogins is more or less similar to that of Raja Yogins. Raja Yogins attain Samadhi by perfect concentration on the all-pervading Purusha. The Jnani meditates upon the nameless and formless transcendental Atman and it is the totally impersonal Samadhi that is attained by him. There is not a least trace of the meditator’s personality. The meditator’s personality is completely wiped out.

In the process of knowledge, you know, first of all there is the knower, secondly the object of knowledge and then the process of knowing. This triad is there. But when the knower himself is eliminated from that, what happens? When there is no knower, there is no question of knowing, and there is only one thing left. Whatever IS That alone exists. They call it Advaita Nirvikalpa Samadhi, where the knower, object of knowledge and the knowing process lapse into a transcendental experience which cannot be described, because who is there to describe It? When the experiencer himself has gone out of existence, who is there to experience? Suppose you have a beautiful doll made up of salt and you take it to the ocean. It suddenly gets a desire: “Let me know how this ocean is, how deep it is?” And so, it plunges into the ocean. The moment it gets into the ocean the salt dissolves, and it gets oneness with the ocean. What remains is the ocean alone. So, they say that this highest transcendental experience is Experience-Absolute. There is no relative touch at all.

In Bhakti this Nirvikalpa Samadhi comes as a result of Darsana of the Lord. The devotee is a worshipper, and when he comes face to face with his Ideal, then the process of dissolution of his personality starts. It does not happen in a single instant, but gradually his personality becomes thinned out and ultimately the Ideal alone remains. Mira approaches the Lord and disappears. They call it Sayujya according to Bhakti yoga. Becoming one with the Lord is Sayujya. When you break a pot filled with water, the reflection of the sun in the water of the pot gets absorbed in the sun. Similarly, when there is perfection of divine life, the personality of the devotee is completely absorbed in the Lord.

According to some philosophers, the process of absorption is like this. Suppose there is a Himalayan mountain of sugar and a small grain of sugar is put on the mountain. You cannot distinguish it. You cannot separate it. Yet, it retains its separate, existence, It is only a way of putting it.

Once a Bhakta or Jnani or Dhyani reaches the ultimate Realisation in the depth of Samadhi, he is once for all free. There is no more pain or suffering and no craving. He reaches a state of plenitude where there is no more desire. He becomes, as it were, an ever-free, immortal Being. The body may persist. He may live and move, yet he has attained perfection and supreme realisation. Even when he comes out of Samadhi, he remembers the experience in Samadhi.

Peace, love, harmony