Types Of Samadhi In Yoga
Patanjali Yoga Sutras describe various types of Samadhi. The experience of a meditator goes from gross to the subtle, from external to the internal. Each stage of Samadhi is a progression into our own inner true reality, which is beyond name and form. With each stage, the experience is subtler and subtler. In the initial stages, our inner impressions or habitual mental formations or Vasanas remain. These stages are classified under Sabija Samadhi. Bija means seed. In Sabija Samadhi, the seed of inner impressions remain. After due practice, these impressions get wiped out. Then one reaches the seedless state of Nirbija Samadhi or the seed-less state. From the Nirbija stage, the final state of liberation or Kaivalya is just a small step away.
It is difficult to explain each stage of Samadhi in yoga in detail. But given below is a simplified explanation of each stage.
Samadhi A State Of Bliss May Seem Impossible To Reach Or Even Think Of But This Heightened State Of Awareness Is More Accessible Than You Might Think
Well, here we are at Samadhithe 8th and final step in Patanjalis eight-limbed path of yoga.
This is the pinnacle of a yogis practice. The word Samadhi means putting together, as in this is where the sum total of the 8-limbed path comes together in the final result.
Samadhi is an equal state of consciousness where all aspects of our being are joined: physical, spiritual, mental and emotional. Samadhi is complete bliss, total consciousness, and super enlightenment.
Sabija Samadhi / Savikalpa Samadhi / Samprajnata Samadhi
Here there is generally still some distinction between the meditator and the object of meditation. These are considered the earlier stages that are more attainable to dedicated practitioners. The commonly described stages of this category and their meditation objects are:
1. Savitarka samadhi Gross object2. Nirvitarka samadhi Transition stage without separation between self and object3. Savichara samadhi Subtle object4. Nirvichara samadhi Transition stage without separation between self and object5. Ananda samadhi Sense organs and/or joy6. Asmita samadhi I-am-ness
Knowledge In Yogic Terms Always Carries A Sense Of Distinguishing The Real From The Unreal
In savitarka samadhi all three of these components are part of the process of contemplating the object of meditation, just as they are part of our cognition of any object we choose to pay close attention to in ordinary consciousness. Words are used as a support for concentrating on and obtaining knowledge about our meditation object. Thoughts about the object seem to flow spontaneously into the mind; sometimes these thoughts represent correct and newly revealed knowledge about the nature of the object that was not previously known to the meditator; sometimes they are products of what was already known or thought about in everyday awareness. For example, one of my guru sisters once commented that when she meditated on the sound of OM thoughts would spontaneously arise about the nature of OM, and that these thoughts seemed to deepen her meditation rather than distract her. Another person, describing an experience of this same stage, lost awareness of body and breath while meditating on a specific mantra. While the awareness of the mantra repeating itself remained in the mind , as did her understanding of the mantras purposes for healing and liberation , she experienced the artha, or essence of the mantra, as the healing energies of light and peace permeating different subtle body centers.
Samadhi In Yoga Sutras
Yoga Sutras defines Yoga as Samadhi. Yoga as Chitta Vritti Nirodha or control of the mind is a definition of Samadhi. Its ultimate result of Tada Drashtu Svarupe avasthanam or then the Seer abides in its own Self-nature , is a definition of Nirvikalpa Samadhi, the highest Samadhi.
Every section of the Yoga Sutras has Samadhi as its main topic.
- The first of the four sections of the text begins with Samadhi Pada, the section relating to Samadhi, which describes its nature and necessity.
- Samadhi is the goal of Yoga practice or Sadhana as defined in the second section of the Yoga Sutras as Sadhana Pada which prepares us for Samadhi.
- Samadhi, also called Samyama, is the basis of the yogic powers and accomplishments that form the third section or Vibhuti Pada of the text.
- Samadhi in its fully developed or Nirvikalpa form, taking us beyond all thought, is the basis of Kaivalya or the natural state of the Purusha or inner Self that constitutes the fourth section and culmination of the text.
Samadhi, like many yogic terms, is difficult to translate because it has no equivalent in English or other languages. It has been loosely and wrongly defined as some sort of trance, ascetic state, mystical experience, altered consciousness, or even psychological delusion. Samadhi in truth is a state of direct awareness in pure consciousness beyond all concepts, motivations and experiences of the mind. It cannot be put into mere words, logic, information or theories.
Yoga Is The Calming And Quieting Of All The Self
Samadhi is the practice of equalitydoing things that feed and nurture each aspect of your being. Feeding your physical body with the practice of asana and your emotional self with the practice of self-love first .
Its feeding your soul with truly caring for othersservant leadership. Its feeding your mind with daily knowledgelearn a new language, try a new recipe, take a continuing education class.
How To Know You’ve Achieved Samadhi
Keeping Chitta vritti nirodha in mind, the telltale sign of samadhi is the ability to stop the turning wheel of thoughts. For anyone who’s tried their hand at meditating, you likely know this doesn’t exactly come easily.
“When you start to see people, or yourself, being able to focus on one thought,” Sundaram says, “a thought that doesn’t lead to another thought,” that is a sign of getting closer to or achieving samadhi. Other signs include:
- a resounding stillness as you go about your day
- a transcendence of basic senses
- a lasting feeling of connection to all
- calm concentration
- the ability to control your sensory intake
The Stages Of Samadhi According To The Ashtanga Yoga Tradition
Sometime after 350 B.C. a great yogi whom history knows as the sage Patanjali wrote an expositionon yoga, now regarded as the defining text for the traditions that have become known as classical yoga. This text, the Yoga Sutra, is one of the most detailed maps of higher consciousness ever produced on this planet; it deals primarily with the nature of mind, and with how mind is transformed through different stages of samadhi until the liberated state, or kaivalya, finally appears. It is also extraordinary in its integration of theory and practice. Patanjali mentions two systems of yoga in the Yoga Sutra: kriya yoga, and ashtanga yoga, the well-known eightfold path. Together they systematize and explain yoga practice in a manner that makes both the goal of yoga practices and the way in which the practices lead to the goal exceptionally clear.
How To Attain Samadhi:
If there were a simple answer to this, everyone would be walking around as enlightened beings.
But the truth is, attaining samadhior at least getting closer to itwill look different for everyone. With the eight limbs in mind, all of those associated practices and disciplines can help you train your body, mind, and spirit to be in a state of calm oneness, but it takes dedication.
Many believe samadhi can only be attained through the mental discipline of yoga, Sundaram notes , but that’s not to say it isn’t accessible to anyone. In theory, the potential is within all of us, and the eight limbs are the most straightforward “steps” to reaching it.
Sundaram notes mantras like “” are very helpful as well because they train the mind to be focusing on just one thing. “You get to the point where you can control what kind of intake of sensory information you’re taking in,” she adds.
In the stages of enlightenment, which we’ll outline next, we understand that the basis of enlightenment is the ability to detach from the ego and otherworldly attachments, to the point where there is only consciousness and a feeling of “being one with permanence,” Sundaram says.
Higher And Lower Samadhis
Samadhi exists on all levels of the mind . There are lower non-yogic Samadhis, as well as higher yogic Samadhis. The lower Samadhis are of the dull , disturbed and distracted levels of the mind, influenced by the gunas of tamas and rajas. These lowThe higher yogic samadhis are of the one-pointed mind and the mind in its merged state . These yogic Samadhis form the main concern and practice of Yoga.
Samadhi of some sort occurs whenever the mind loses itself in something and experiences happiness, bliss or Ananda. Sensory experiences from watching a movie to contemplating a beautiful sunset involve a temporary absorption of the mind into its object of perception that are lesser or fleeting Samadhis. Sleep is our natural daily Samadhi of peace and renewal but does not occur at a conscious level that we can abide in.
Samadhi as seeking lasting unity and happiness is the very nature and motivation of the mind, which is empty and unhappy in itself. Ordinarily we seek outward-looking Samadhis that are transient in nature, based upon getting entranced in the illusory world of Maya. This is what we call the pursuit of enjoyment, happiness or achievement. When we reach our desire-based goal we gain a sense of fulfillment, happiness or accomplishment that form lower Samadhis, but these quickly disappear and leave us with yet more unfulfilled desires. The mind remains a problematical entity until we learn the yogic practice of Samadhi to resolve it altogether.
Level 1: Savikalpa Samadhi
This first level of Samadhi has within it four different stages. The beginning stages of Savikalpa Samadhi are where, during meditation, you transcend all mental activity. Patanjali says that, for a short period of time, you lose all human consciousness. In this state, the concepts of time and space are altogether different. For a minute, an hour, or more you are in another world. Now you see that practically everything happens spontaneouslyyou have nothing to do. Thoughts and ideas do not affect you. You remain undisturbed, and your inner being functions in a dynamic and confident manner.
However, this is not yet a permanent state and everybody has to return to ordinary consciousness. As you begin to integrate this undisturbed state of silence along with the disturbed states of waking, dreaming and sleeping, Patanjali describes the four stages of Savikalpa Samadhi that are possible.
False And Lower Samadhis
Like a flitting butterfly, samadhi is elusive to those who directly seek it. Yet, this eternal bliss is something we all seek. Many who seek heavenly bliss turn to drugs, alcohol, pornography, excessive eating or shopping, gambling, or incessant play of video games. While all of these activities can take us to pleasurable present moments, which may seem transcendent, these are known as false samadhis. They actually create a karmic deficit that brings us to lower lows even though the highs feel so good.
Lower samadhis, which dont create deficits, are experiences we can have in peak experiences, such as climbing up to a mountain peak, a runners high, or intimacy with a loved one. These experiences create momentary oneness and help us to understand transcendence.
How Is Samadhi Achieved
The short answer: IT JUST ARISES!
Haha, okay, maybe that doesnt seem so helpful yet, but let me explain.
If you recall from my previous post, you cant actually just do dhyana, it is a state that arises on its own through consistent practice of dharana.
Make sense? Great! Because its the same thing with samadhi!
Samadhi is actually a non-practice because it arises naturally, spontaneously, and organically from dhyana.
Both dhyana and samadhi cant be forced and its even believed that the better approach is yielding or allowing them to occur.
This means that of the final three limbs of Patanjalis eight-limbed path , the only one with active doing is dharana.
Okay, great, Brett, so what does this mean?
It all starts with concentrating!
To attain samadhi, we practice dharana regularly. Dharana may naturally mature into dhyana and then into samadhi in time.
That being said, while you cant simply do or achieve samadhi, what you CAN do is create the conditions for samadhi to arise.
Some things to help create the conditions for samadhi according to the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita:
- Clear your karma by practicing kriya yoga
- According to the Bhagavad Gita, prepare the mind and the physical body with a balanced diet, balanced exercise, balanced thinking, balanced sleep, and performing your actions with balanced understanding
- Live in alignment with your dharma
- Learn from each stage of Samyama while not attaching to any of them
Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali
The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali is a collection of Sanskrit sutras on the theory and practice of yoga – 195 sutras and 196 sutras . The Yoga Sutras was compiled in the early centuries CE, by the sage Patanjali in India who synthesized and organized knowledge about yoga from much older traditions.
The Yoga Sutras are best known for its reference to ashtanga, eight elements of practice culminating in samadhi, concentration of the mind on an object of meditation, namely yama , niyama , asana , pranayama , pratyahara , dharana , dhyana and samadhi . However, its main aim is kaivalya, discernment of purusha, the witness-conscious, as separate from prakriti, the cognitive apparatus, and disentanglement of purusha from prakriti’s muddled defilements.
The Yoga Sutras built on Samkhya-notions of purusha and prakriti, and are often seen as complementary to it. It is closely related to Buddhism, incorporating some of its terminology. Yet, Samkhya, Yoga, Vedanta, as well as Jainism and Buddhism can be seen as representing different manifestations of a broad stream of ascetic traditions in ancient India, in contrast to the Bhakti traditions and Vedic ritualism which were prevalent at the time.
Samadhi A Taste Of That Which Is Not
When one dies and is buried, that place will be given the name of that person. But when one attains to a certain state in a particular place, the name of the place will be given to the person. That is why you see many yogis named after a certain place. This is how Sri Palani Swami got his name, because he sat in a state of samadhi in a place called Palani. People just called him Palani Swami because he never introduced himself to anyone. He never told them what his name was because he did not carry one. Because he attained in that place, people called him Palani Swami. Any number of yogis and sages have names like this.
Sabija Samadhi In Yoga
All stages of Samadhi, where the inner impressions of the mind are still functioning are classified under Sabija Samadhi. There are four stages of Sabija Samadhi Tarka, Vichara, Ananda and Asmita, each representing a progressively subtler form of our inner existence. In Sabija Samadhi, when there can be a particular content of mind called Pratyaya, which can be an object, thought, feeling, etc.; then, it is grouped under Samprajnata Samadhi. The content disappears when you transition from one stage to another. Those stages are grouped under Asamprajnata Samadhi or Samadhi without any content of mind. A broad description is given below of all the above said stages:
Samadhi Samdhi: 44 Definitions
Samadhi means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi, Hindi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.
How Does Samadhi Fit In Your Daily Life
At first it may seem like this is something too far to even try to bring into our daily life. But traveling towards Samadhi does not mean you have to permanently move to a far-away Ashram.
You can live your life as it unfolds, and start to recognize this pure spirit in yourself, and in everyone and everything around you. If you are a divine light, a soul that is part of the Universe, then so are others. The people you love and the people you don’t like. The animals around you and the nature.
When we can move past the mind and the ego which wants to judge, possess and compare, and when we can see that others are divine as well, we are moving closer to a state of connection.
Samadhi does not come upon anyone by accident. It takes dedication and effort. ~Kaisa Kapanen
Every moment can become an opportunity to practice this great journey towards Samadhi. To feel the connection, to try to be intensely present, and to feel the love that comes with it. According to the great yogis, connection like Samadhi is something that every soul knows in its core.
In our essence we are it, therefore we don’t need to learn it as something new, instead we’ll need to take off layers, un-learn and find our way back.
Nirbija Samadhi / Nirvikalpa Samadhi / Asamprajnata Samadhi
Here there is no longer the distinction between the self and the meditation object, there is only consciousness. These are considered to be the later stages of samadhi that are more attainable for spiritual masters:
7. Nirvikalpa samadhi The initial stage of more fully abiding in pure consciousness8. Dharma megha samadhi The transition stage before kaivalya where the meditator is said to lose even the desire to know God or to be enlightened9. Sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi The state of nirvikalpa samadhi that the yogi can maintain while functioning normally in the world 10. Kaivalya Permanent absolute oneness, emancipation, aloneness, perfect detachment, directly experiencing the infinite. Believed to free the yogi from the chains of cause and effect and to be a permanent state that leaves consciousness forever altered
As the meditators mind becomes more engrossed in the object of meditation, they progress through the stages. For example, in earlier stages, 70% of awareness might be engaged in meditating while the remaining 30% might still be aware of a sense of self and the meditation object. With practice, 100% of consciousness can become absorbed in the object of meditation so that no faculty of mind remains to be aware of anything else.
Some things that reportedly happen during samadhi:
The Words The Yogi Uses To Describe The Experience In These Samadhis Come Later When The Yogi Recollects The Experience
As Baba Hari Dass explained: In desh , kal , nimita no way to think. The object is subtle, but it takes place by itself. The more the concentration deepens, the more the mind gets sharp and penetrates. Because of the experiential knowledge gained in this samadhi, the yogi practicing at this level comes to view the universe as one of subtle energies and subtle forms. Nirvitarka and savichara samadhis can also make the mind more receptive to various tanmatric experiences, such as the darshan of deities or other subtle entities, the inner sounds , the divine taste, the divine smell, or the inner feeling of divine touch . Because of the fascinating nature of this stage it can create strong attachment; therefore some meditators find it difficult to go beyond savichara to attain the next stage, nirvichara, which requires relinquishing all subtle differentiation.
As savichara samadhi deepens, the yogi may begin to develop an understanding of the true nature of time and space and may also gain knowledge of certain aspects of the mahat, or cosmic mind . In the words of one practitioner: seeing in the light-field the origin of thoughts, of form, of different energies, and of how it manifests outward in the waves of prana emanating from one undifferentiated source and ending with condensed differentiated objects.
Why Samadhi Is Important To Your Health
The Yoga Sutras teach us not only what Samadhi is, but how to get to it. Now you may be asking, what is Samadhi? The Sanskrit word samadhi is made up of two terms, sama meaning equal and even, and adhi meaning to adhere or stick with. When you put them together they mean equal states of consciousness and the joining of all aspects of our being: physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional. It also means supreme bliss, super consciousness, and enlightenment. I was just talking to an old friend the other day and he told me how he wanted to get healthy again. I told him there is no time like the present to reclaim your health and he asked me, Are you talking about mental or physical health? I replied that they are connected and we need to treat our health from all aspects: physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional. So, the question is where and how do we begin?
In Each Stage Of Samadhi The Aspirant Must First Fully Experience What That Stage Can Reveal And Then Lose Attraction For It Before He Or She Can Advance To The Next Stage
Third, samadhi is not a single state, but rather a series of stages that unfold in a progression. Every stage of samadhi invariably yields two kinds of fruit: some type of directly experienced knowledge and some degree of non-attachment. As the yogi advances on the path of sadhana the knowledge gained is increasingly profound, and the non-attachment has a more deep and lasting effect on the mind. Each stage may take months or years to achieve and even more time to stabilize. How long this will take can vary enormously, depending on the intensity of the meditators desire for liberation, the intensity and regularity of the practice, and ones samskaras from meditation practice performed in past lives. And, as Patanjali reminds us, samadhi is also achieved through surrender to God. In each stage of samadhi the aspirant must first fully experience what that stage can reveal, and then lose attraction for it before he or she can advance to the next stage. Progression through the stages of samadhi is also a process of purification. Each stage purifies the mind, making it subtler and thus capable of penetrating deeper into the levels of cosmic existence in order for the next stage to be achieved.
What Happens In Samadhi
There are MANY stages of samadhi according to Patanjalis Yoga Sutras .
There are two broad categories of samadhi:
Within each of these main categories of samadhi are multiple stages. There is some debate among scholars as to how the yogi progresses through these stages. Ill share two schools of thought here.
The first school of thought is that the meditator progresses through all stages of the first category before ultimately arriving at the second category . The second school of thought is that the meditator will dip into the second category as they transition between stages of the first category.
Stay with me here!
Because the good news is that both schools agree that the highest Samadhi is the second category where there is no longer a sense of the meditation object, of the self, or even of the meditation process, and that this is the pinnacle of yoga practice.
Heres an idea of what the stages look like based on the second school of thought.
Different Stages Of Samadhi According To Yoga Sutras
The meeting of Atman with the Paramatma in simple terms is Samadhi. It is a joyous state of Yoga and is often considered the precursor of enlightenment. Each of us is a part of the universe. No matter what we begin as we end up in the oneness, the void, or the unconsciousness. Samadhi is said to be achieved by using one of the various types of meditation techniques.
When the mind is fixed for understanding the self, it is said to be in Samdhi. According to Paramahansa Yogananda, Samadhi is a soundless state of breathlessness. The word can be broken down as sam, together or integrated; , towards; dh, to get, to hold: to acquire integration or wholeness, or truth A blissful super consciousness state in which a yogi perceives the identity of the individualized Soul and Cosmic Spirit.
Hindu, Buddhists both have their own versions of attaining Samadhi, while yoga has its own path. Patanjali lists Samadhi as the eighth and final step on the path of yoga. Samadhi is often achieved through meditation. In this state, the three aspects of meditationmeditator, an act of meditation, the object of meditation known as Godare finally united.
Samadhi is regarded as the climax of all spiritual and intellectual activity. The power to attain Samadhi is a precondition of attaining release from the cycle of death and rebirth . Hence, the death of a person having this power is also considered a samadhi.