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Samadhi is a philosophical concept as the highest goal of human life
Samadhi is a philosophical concept as the highest goal of human life

Samadhi is the ultimate goal of life for many yogis. This film is an essay describing the concept of samadhi, the means of achieving this state and its study from the point of view of a philosophical understanding of thought processes and changes in the state of consciousness.

Samadhi - Part 1. Maya, the illusion of the detached self

Samadhi - Part 2. This is not what you think

The desire with which a person enters into meditation plays the role of a key factor. A fool, falling asleep, is awakened by a fool. But if a person plunges into meditation with the only desire for enlightenment, he leaves meditation as a sage.

Swami Rama, Life Among Himalayan Yogis: Spiritual Experiences

The state of samadhi. How to achieve samadhi

The state of samadhi is a state of enlightenment in which the very idea of ​​individual consciousness disappears, and a person passes into a pure state of beingness, uniting the observer and the observer in himself, or, otherwise, ceasing the existence of the very concept of separation. We find a mention of samadhi already in the ancient texts of the Upanishads, which refer to the philosophy of Vedanta, but not in the first ten Upanishads, but in the Maitrayni Upanishad, and later the term “samadhi” was already included in the Upanishads added by the yogic tradition. Thus, samadhi is even more connected with the school of yoga and Patanjali than with the ancient Vedic knowledge.

In the Zen tradition, this concept is also known, but it is believed that samadhi, as well as nirodhi - a state similar to samadhi, when the metabolism of the physical body slows down so much that the temperature drops, all perception of time disappears - does not lead to higher knowledge. In nirodhi, the body functions due to the energy accumulated before the onset of this state. Before, it would have been enough for a couple of hours of life, but when staying in nirodhi, it is distributed, and it becomes enough to maintain the physical activity of the body for several days without any external source of renewal of energy.

However, in Zen, samadhi is not at all the highest form of enlightenment. Followers of Zen do not believe that the eradication of falsehood, false knowledge is possible through the achievement of samadhi, therefore for them "death of the Ego" remains the highest goal, and samadhi acts as one of the possible stages on the path to this goal.

And yet, this is an opinion of a different direction, and we will return to the yogic tradition, which says that the attainment of the state of samadhi is possible with the help of the practice of dhyana (meditation), and in order to approach this stage, you need to go through the entire eightfold path of the raja tradition. yoga, starting with the practice of yama, niyama, moving on to practicing asanas and pranayama, and which will eventually lead to higher levels of raja yoga - the practice of dhyana (meditation) and samadhi.

Samadhi levels. Types of samadhi

There are several types of samadhi. It only seems to the uninitiated eye that there is only one samadhi. Enlightenment is associated with the state of samadhi. This is both true and false at the same time. Samadhi as the highest stage of Raja Yoga, the main goal of all practitioners is perceived as something difficult to achieve, and therefore rarely anyone seriously devotes himself to the study, albeit theoretical, of this aspect of yoga.

It is too distant for us, high up, inaccessible. It is the difficulties of achieving it, associated with the transition from one mental and spiritual level to another, with the practice of regular meditation and with the observance of celibacy, that make the attainment of the state of samadhi so desirable and at the same time difficult to achieve in practice.It happens that years pass before a person first comes into contact with this state even for a short moment, but after that he will never forget an amazing experience and will strive to repeat it.

This is understandable and expected. But what you came in contact with, looking beyond good and evil, was only the first stage of samadhi. Within the state of samadhi there are several of them:

  • savikalpa samadhi,
  • nirvikalpa samadhi,
  • sahaja samadhi.

Kevala nirvikalpa samadhi (kevala nirvikalpa samadhi) is a temporary stage, while sahajanirvikalpa samadhi (sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi) will continue throughout life. The preceding stage of savikalpa samadhi is only an approach to real enlightenment and disidentification with self-awareness and ego. Such a state can last from several minutes to several days, the consciousness has not yet been dissolved in it, it has not become one with the Absolute, but has already touched and saw it.

Nirvikalpa samadhi is the next level of enlightenment, when the practitioner (yogi) has completely merged with the Absolute, his consciousness has ceased to be separate from the Supreme. The absolute and the yogi have become one. This is truly the state when a person has discovered the Atman in himself. He not only understood this, but also realized and manifested the Atman, while still being in the physical body.

We use terminology borrowed from ancient teachings. Patanjali himself used names such as Samprajana Samadhi (upacara samadhi) for what is known as savikalpa, and Asamprajata Samadhi (apana samadhi) for nirvikalpa. Savikalpa is determined by knowledge through the presence of consciousness, and nirvikalpa is characterized by complete dis-identification with the so-called own consciousness and comprehension of knowledge directly, intuitively, with access to transcendence, complete absorption and dissolution in the Absolute.

Nirvikalpa samadhi and savikalpa samadhi are the states of enlightenment of the lower level

Before we talk in more detail about the states of "savikalpa" and "nirvikalpa", we will consider what "vikalpa" (vikalpa) is, because in both words you can notice this component. Studying and understanding the etymology of words ultimately helps to comprehend the essence of the phenomenon, albeit speculatively, since the practical achievement of these states is associated with time, and therefore it can take years to realize what samadhi is. So a theoretical basis for the logical understanding of these phenomena is needed.

Vikalpа- This is one of the types of thoughts, or, in other words, vrittis. Vicalpa refers to the movements of the mind that are associated with imagination and fantasy, but also for our topic, it can be understood as generally distracting thoughts. The other 4 types are:

  • Pramana- direct knowledge, empirical, obtained from experience.
  • Viparyaya- wrong, erroneous knowledge.
  • Nidra- movements of the mind, which can be described as "sleep without dreams." The mind is still present, it has not gone into nirodhah, but there is emptiness, inertia in it, the other 4 types of thoughts or movements of the mind are absent at this time. Nidra, however, is not the same as yoga nidra.
  • Smriti- these are movements of the mind, which can be called memory and memories of the past, with a clear awareness of the goals of outer life and the spiritual path.

If we are talking about nirvikalpa (nirvikalpа), then from the word itself you can understand that there is a cessation of the movement of thoughts. Instead of vikalpa comes nirvikalpa, which is characterized by a complete absence of thoughts, divine Nothing, complete union with the Absolute, when inner and outer thoughts are stopped. This is the state of delight, which in Hinduism is called Ananda, but it is not identical with the delight that we already know in earthly life. This is a completely new type of spiritual ecstasy that is inexpressible in words.

The state of nirvikalpa samadhi itself can be even less expressed through the means of verbal communication, although in order to somehow present this state to the reader as at the same time a spiritual and philosophical concept, we have no other means, except for the use of words. But in general, none of the states of samadhi can be fully conveyed by building a chain of verbal logical discourse.

These are states that can be understood and realized only in the process of direct living, through the experience of being in samadhi.

Savikalpa samadhi is a samadhi of this type, when in the process of concentration on some object, that is, meditation on an object or image, the Absolute is revealed to a person, but only for a certain period of time, with an inevitable return to the usual state of mind. Savikalpa can be experienced several or even many times during the practice of meditation. If you practice meditation regularly, then the first level of "samadhi savikalpa" will soon open for you. At the achievement of savikalpa samadhi, there is still effort. Only when the end of efforts comes, it is possible to enter the state of nirvikalpa samadhi.

By the way, speaking of savikalpa samadhi, it must be added that the attainment of this state is not exclusively related to the type of meditation on the object. It can be meditation of a higher order, when the practitioner no longer uses his attention, focusing on external objects to enter the state of meditation. It is enough for him to focus on the inner state - it can be the mind itself, the awareness of "I am", the energy channels of nadis, etc.

Samadhi practice: how to achieve the state of samadhi. Sahaja Samadhi

There is a fundamental difference between the two states of samadhi described above and sahaja samadhi as the highest state of samadhi. It consists in the fact that the state of oneness with the Supreme, which was achieved in nirvikalpa samadhi, is not lost, and a person, being in gross physical reality, retains the state of the highest enlightenment, dissolution in being. It can no longer be lost. In this type of samadhi, the adept does not lose the state of enlightenment even while performing the most mundane affairs. “His body became the instrument of the soul,” as some gurus explain. He is one with the Absolute, and the soul became Atman, he left the circle of samsara. Even though he is still in this world, but for this purpose his soul was sent here, in order to fulfill some inherent mission only to it.

Sahaja samadhi, in contrast to savikalpa and nirvikalpa samadhi, no longer needs to either attain or enter into it - a person abides in it constantly. Few spiritual teachers have been able to achieve this. Usually even nirvikalpa is already a state to which one is going, perhaps, for several lifetimes, and only in this earthly incarnation, after 12 years of continuous meditation practice, it is potentially possible to achieve nirvikalpa samadhi with the subsequent achievement of sahajasamadhi.

When we use the word achievement, we do not mean the ego's desire to achieve anything. Simply in the absence of more suitable words to describe the higher states of consciousness, one has to use more materialistic terms when the description concerns a sphere not only ideal, but even transcendental.

Samadhi and enlightenment

It should be noted that in the philosophical concept of Buddhism there is Buddha's enlightenment, called Annutara Samyak Sambodhi, which is similar to the concept of “samadhi”. It is more consistent with the Sahaja Samadhi in the tradition of yoga and Hinduism. Only after reaching sahaja samadhi, the movement of thoughts is completely stopped. But one has to wonder why we are constantly attacked by thoughts. The answer lies in the concept of karma. As long as a person is working through karma, it is impossible to completely stop the flow of thoughts.

During meditation, a skilled practitioner stops the flow of mental activity, but only for a while, namely, during meditation. Then, when he returns to his daily activities, thoughts come back as inevitability. If we are able to control them and especially the process when there is an emotional response to some thought movements, then this is already a great achievement. This is where the wisdom of man is manifested.If he has truly achieved a certain degree of awareness in his life, he is better at controlling his emotional reactions and directing the work of the mind.

However, with all this, one does not attain enlightenment or samadhi. The state of samadhi, sahajasamadhi is characterized by the fact that there are no more karmic attachments left, as a result of which the unconscious stream of thoughts has nowhere to appear. Only under the condition of a total stop of the unconscious, uncontrolled flow of thoughts is it possible to talk about the state of higher enlightenment - sahaja samadhi.

Instead of an afterword

There are different views regarding samadhi, and the reader is free to decide how he should relate to these philosophical and psychological concepts, and yet let us remember what Sri Ramana Maharshi once said: “Only samadhi can reveal the Truth. Thoughts cover Reality, and therefore it is not perceived as such in states other than samadhi."

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