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Samadhi - communion with God

Dr. Reet Priiman

Light and Love 
   Many parts of Swami's Teaching are concentrated to the explanation the essence of  humans' real Self, humans' goals on the Earth, the relations between human beings, between human beings the nature and God (Brahman, Atma, Absolute). Among them, the significant global role plays the spiritual development and educare of a humanity. Without spiritual development of humanity there is needless to expect to reach to the higher state of society - 'Golden Age'.
     The spiritual development begins from a person's spiritual, moral, ethical values and skills as Swami has many times has mentioned. One of the skills is a personal awareness. How to reach to this?  It is possible when there is a will through different Sadhanas, rituals, scholarships, worships. There are many ways and methods, about what I will hope to write time-by-time.
     Swami indicates:
     "Samadhi is as the ocean to which all Sadhana flows. The seven streams of Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Prathyahara, Dharana and Dhyana all find their consummation in it. Every trace of name and Form disappear in that Ocean. He who serves and He who receives the service, he who meditates and He who is meditated upon, all such duality is dispelled and destroyed. One will not experience even the experience, that is to say, one will not be aware that he is experiencing! Oneself alone, naught else - that will be the Samadhi. If there is aught else, it cannot be Samadhi. It is something like a dream, a fantasy, a passing vision at best. Samadhi can admit of nothing other than Brahman."(Excerpts from: Sathya Sai Baba."Prashanthi Vahini," p. 60).


    Samadhi is as the central point for spiritual awareness about what is interesting to contemplate by the guidance and help of Swami's quotations.
      "What is Samadhi? In common parlance, in the eyes of worldly people and in the books written by worldly individuals, Samadhi may be described in various ways. One may be a state of trance during meditation. But this cannot be called Samadhi. Samadhi means merging the mind in the Atma. In that state there are no two entities. Samadhi is a state of equal-mindedness. It is the state in which the oneness of everything is experienced." (Excerpts from: Sri Sathya Sai Baba. SSS. Vol. 23. Chapter 21).
      Swami explains the inner meaning of Samadhi:  "It is not a state of unconsciousness or some kind of consciousness. Samadhi is "Sama-Dhi" - the state in which the intellect has achieved equanimity. Whether in pleasure and pain, in praise or blame, in gain or loss, in heat or cold, to be able to maintain in equal mind in Samadhi." (Sri Sathya Sai Baba. SSS. Vol. 22. Chapter 21).
    The essence of Samadhi one cannot easily to understand. Various spiritual circles have a little different explanations and approaches to Samadhi.
     By my insight the most clear for Westerns are explanations made by Swami. He indicated to the variety of approaches to Samadhi and concluded that the ways may be many however, the God is One.
    "Samadhi is ordinarily mistaken to be an emotional state in which a person acts abnormally, as if in a state of high excitement or trance. You may think that Samadhi is something different from the waking, dream or deep-sleep states. But, truly, Samadhi is something common to all three states.  A person who is immersed in Samadhi, whose mind is in equanimity, will always be in a state of bliss, whether he is in the waking state immersed in his every-day life, or whether he is in the dream-state or in the deep-sleep state. To attain it, a great deal of spiritual practice is necessary.

    After describing the noble characteristics of a truly wise man, Krishna told Arjuna, "Arjuna, Follow my commands! Discharge your duties while all the time thinking of me. Then you will be able to experience and enjoy the divinity that is everywhere. This divinity is the unity which underlies all the diversity in the world. Base your actions on that. Constantly concentrate on that divinity. I am that divinity and you are very dear to me. When you concentrate on me, then I will be fully concentrated on you." ( Exerpts from: Sai Baba Gita. XXII, page 222).

     The first advice to humans for the sake their awareness through meditation and its final state Samadhi is constantly concentrate to the God and to dedicate all actions to Him as through this is possible to experience the divinity everywhere.

     Devotion and faith has a profound importance in the development of meditative states and Samadhi Oneness of the Self, God. Devotion draws the interest of the God and attracts spiritual initiation. Devotion focuses the mind more intently and gives for meditation feeling and power. It allows one to turn mind completely within. Faith is implicit in devotion.

     Without devotion one will has no results. A great saint can achieve Samadhi without a formal meditation. Devotion brings meditation naturally. However, all happens by the Divine Will.

         By Swami suffering is caused because there is lack of faith that Divine is in person. The religions and beliefs are different, but Brahman is the One. 
    The human life path is expressed through actions in past and present lives.  However, it is an illusion. When a person acknowledged it he/she achieve to Brahman, to own real Self, Samadhi.

     By Yoga-Sutra, the three main practices that produce Samadhi are austerities*, "self study," and "devotion to the Lord."  There is mentioned that Samadhi is more easily understandable through the cultivation of wisdom (jnana). Wisdom is the knowledge about the Self, the divine inner Self as the 'self study' (1, 2).

    (*The Vedic word for austerities is "tapasya" meaning to burn. Austerities purify the physical and astral bodies and burn away karma that obstructs practice. The true austerities are: Sexual Restraint, Meditation, Pure Food, Pranayama, Fasting, Silence, and Solitude).
     Obtained wisdom, one comes to the realization that the outer material world is not more real than our nightly dreams and not any more important. This knowledge makes it easier for the mind to turn inward and the world represents as a beautiful dream of the Divine.
      The modern science has discovered tens of years ago that there is abyss of 'emptiness' between atoms' nucleons and electrons. Practically all around us so-called material world in fact consists in 'emptiness' by scientific term - consists in physical vacuum).  Humans bodies are also practically consist in physical vacuum where 'swim' the particles of atoms formed molecules. The structure of atoms today knows any student of high school. This scientific truth as underlines the Vedic wisdom by what "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form." (1).

     The recent discoveries made under guidance of CERN (The world's largest particle physics laboratory) show the that two entangled photons can be far away from each other and still yield correlated results for measurements.  A more exotic scenario, and one that has recently been measured, is when a photon hits a beam splitter and turns into what are effectively two versions of itself in two different places, which display the same sort of correlations between its two manifestations. Is it not an indirect scientific proof that all is the same Atma, Brahman? By the same research, the bizarre predictions of quantum mechanics really do hold in our universe (3). In this bizarre illusion the nature of life is not a life, not a death, there is no coming, no going only being in one state or another...what in essence are only appearances of eternal Atma. 

   However, the predictions of quantum mechanics being connected with spiritual wisdom alias parts from Swami's Teaching are not bizarre at all.
    What is life's meaning without devotion, faith, spiritual awareness? 

    "To a superficial observer, the life of man appears as an endless round of eating and drinking, toiling and sleeping. But, verily life has a much greater meaning; a much deeper significance. Life is a sacrifice, a yagna. Each little act is an offering to the Lord. If the day is spent in deeds performed in this spirit of surrender, what else can sleep be except Samadhi? Man commits the great fault of identifying himself with the body. He has accumulated a variety of things for the upkeep and comfort of the body. Even when the body becomes weak and decrepit with age, he attempts to bolster it up, by some means or other. But, how long can death be postponed? When Yama's warrant comes each has to depart. Before Death, position, pride and power, all vanish. Realizing this, strive day and night, with purity of body and mind and spirit, to realize the Higher Self, by the service of all living beings." (Sathya Sai Baba. Prema Vahini, p. 5).

    Below is brief general information about Samadhi what helps more properly to understand this state of being and significance of Swami's explanations on this topic. 
     The word Samadhi the first is mentioned in the Maitrayni Upanishad (6.18, 34) and in some of the Yoga and Sannyasa Upanishads of the Atharvaveda.
     Samadhi as a term became more properly known to Western world on the end of the 1930s. Two known thinkers, Aldous Huxley and Christopher Isherwood, were impressed by Indian ancient philosophy. Swami Vivekananda and his followers, monks of the Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Order of India were founded the Vedanta Society in California in the late 1930s.

     By encyclopedia of Britannica Samadhi is the highest state of
mental concentration that a person can achieve while still bound to the body and which unites him with the highest reality. Samadhi is a state of profound and utterly absorptive contemplation of the Absolute that is undisturbed by desire, anger, or any other ego-generated factor.

     By thesaurus: Samadhi is Happiness, Nirvana Parinirvana  (Sanskrit meaning: establish, make firm).

     Different thesaruses give little different explanation to this state of being. I selected the more complete of them (by my opinion).

     Samadhi includes a non-dualistic experience in which the consciousness of the experiencer becomes one with consciousness itself. This occurs when all other mental functions pause except consciousness. Concentration is not Samadhi. Rather, concentration helps create a mind capable of experiencing Samadhi by strengthening the mind.
      Often in spiritual literature Samadhi as the highest form of prayer is called the "Holy Union", "Holy Communion", "Satori", "Enlightenment", "Dhawq", "Tao", "Mystical Union", "Gnosis", "Sat-Chit-Ananda", "Beingness-Awareness, Bliss", etc. To refer to the state of samadhi often is used terms: nirvana, gnosis, trance, ecstasy, nirodha. But these terms are often used loosely, referring to states that may or may not be true Samadhi.
     The Yoga philosophy of Patanjali distinguishes between two stages of Samadhi: Samprajnata-Samadhi and Asamprajnata-Samadhi, corresponding nearly to Savikalpa-Samadhi and Nirvikalpa-Samadhi in Vedanta. In the first stage mental activities, such as desires, feelings, thoughts and behaviors, are still present. The individual's desires exist and reemerge. The second, highest stage is desirelessness, feelinglessness, thoughtlessness and behaviorlessness. Limitations, desires and the cycle of unhappiness have overcome.

    Swami completed:
    "Samadhi is of two types, Savikalpa, Nirvikalpa. In Savikalpa, the Thriputi, or the Threefold nature of Knower, Knowing and Knowee will still persist. When it is realised that the Knower is Brahmam, Knowing too is Brahmam and the thing to be known is also Brahmam, then there is no more Vikalpa or Agitation or Activity; that is the Nirvikalpa Samadhi." (Sathya Sai Baba. Prashanthi Vahini, p. 60).
     "When Form is ignored and Meaning alone is felt, that is Samadhi. This is the opinion of Pathanjali. This can be explained in another manner also. When the person engaged in Dhyana (meditation) forgets both himself and the fact that he is engaged in Dhyana, then it becomes Samadhi. That is to say, when he is merged in the thing he meditates on, he enters into the stage called Samadhi. Dhyana fulfils itself, becomes complete, in Samadhi. Dhyana strives, proceeds through effort, but, Samadhi comes effortlessly. It is the culmination of the eight-fold discipline, the Ashtanga." (Sathya Sai Baba. Prashanthi Vahini, p. 59).
  "They are eight in all, Ashtanga, in fact - Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Prathyaahaara, Dhaarana, Dhyana, Samadhi - these are the names of the eight.
     Samadhi means the fixing of the mind, free from all impulses and agitations, on the Lord, or on one's own Reality. It indicates the state in which one is in one's own real nature. Samadhi is when one is free from all duality. “(Excerpts from: Sathya Sai Baba. Prasnottara Vahini. XV - Ashtaanga Yoga).
   "When the mind has been brought under control by these eight disciplines, the Will can easily be developed thereafter. The will is the Nature of the Lord; it is also referred to as the Lord's Ordinance. The Lord, by mere willing, can do anything immediately and easily. But man cannot realize his will as soon as he entertains it. The Power of the Will is the deciding fator. In Man the Will is not so overpoweringly strong; when he achieves that Power, he gets something equal to the Power of the Lord. That is the meaning of Laya, Merger. Such Merger is made possible through Dhyana." (Sathya Sai Baba. Dhyana Vahini, p. 16). (Sanskrit word dhyana, derived from the verbal root dhyai "to contemplate, meditate, think").
   "When one knows that there is absolutely no iota of distinction between the Jiva and the Atma, that they are One and the Same, then it is the highest Samadhi. It is the fruit of ripest Dhyana, the dearest moment of Yogis, the destroyer of Ajnana, the signal of the Grace of God. Incessant thirst to know the Atman as all, is worthy to be encouraged and welcomed, for, it is the path through which all doubts can be eliminated." (Sathya Sai Baba. Prashanthi Vahini, p. 60).
     By the Yoga-Sutras Samadhi is the third of three stages of mental concentration. The first stage is Dharana, which means simple concentration. One attempts to focus the mind repeatedly for example on the Divine Incarnation. (This is why the divinity takes human form: a human being relates easily to another human form; can feel more powerfully attracted to same).

    The second stage is Dhyana. This is where the mind achieves steady concentration on the object. In Dhyana the thoughts of the object flow continuously and uninterrupted. Some say that only the stage of Dhyana is a true meditation.

    The third stage comes soon after, and is Samadhi. Here the mind merges with the object, takes on the object's own nature, and becomes still. If the object has been a transcendental divine object, one merges in God. This is the goal and the attainment for the spiritual seeker. If the concentration has been on some lower object, the meditator attains perceptions and powers related to that object.

    The hardest stage to pass through is Dharana, simple concentration. The mind of everyone naturally wanders. The task of making it stay on an object seems very difficult until practice improves concentration. But when one arrives at Dhyana, Samadhi is near.

     Yoga-Sutra verses 1, 2 and 3 from the third chapter:
     Sutra III.1 Dharana is binding the mind to a place.
     Sutra III.2 Continuity of the mind there is Dhyana (meditation).
     Sutra III.3 That same (meditation), when it comes to shine forth as the object alone, apparently empty of its own nature as knowledge, is called Samadhi (2).

     Samadhi has definite physical patterns. The first level of Samadhi Savikalpa involves the natural cessation of breath and heartbeat, or kumbhaka. The life force reverses itself up the spine to its Source (pratyahara). If inclined, the aspirant then becomes able to see the astral plane, consciously leave the body, and engage consciously in astral activities. 

     The second level Nirvikalpa (in Sanskrit it means "Ecstasy without form or seed) is the realization of the Self, Parasiva, a state of Oneness beyond all change or diversity; beyond time, form and space. Nir means "without." Vi means "to change, make different." Kalpa means "order, arrangement; a period of time." (1).
     However, Samadhi is the state of undifferentiated Beingness, there are not really different kinds of Samadhi. Savikalpa refers to the beginning state of Samadhi, Nirvikalpa is the end result.
     Swami gives practical advices how reach to Samadhi in a form of a popular scholarship in: Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba. SSS. Vol. 22. Chapter 21, "Self -control and Self-realization." 

     Beside practical advices, Swami tells (excerpts from the mentioned chapter):

     "Many image that all Dhyana calls for is sitting in the padmasana (lotus pose). But one does not know where his mind is wandering at the time. The concentration is disturbed by a mosquito sitting on the nose.

      Meditation in these days is often confined to the puja room. As soon as one emerges from the shrine, one is filled with all sorts of mental agitations. This does not mean giving up all worldly affairs. Fulfill your duties. But in all these activities, use your Dharana power (the power of concentration). In the process, you develop your powers of Dhyana (meditation). Dhyana means single- pointed contemplation. Dhyana means absorption of thought. It should be centred on only one specific subject. This is described in Vedantic parlance as Saalokyam. This means concentrating your thought on what you desire, whatever is the object or subject."
     Swami points to the internal method of meditation.
     "There is also an internal method of practicing Dharana. When you close your eyes, a small dark spot appears before the inner eye. You may concentrate on this spot for 12 seconds without letting it move.  By this practice, the power of meditation can be developed." (Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba. SSS. Vol. 22. Chapter 21).
      There is a warning by Swami not to fall into imaginable state what is far from real Samadhi:
     "The state of inertia into which one is driven by despair cannot be called Samadhi; or one might even indulge in day-dreaming in order to escape from present misery; or one might start building castles in the air. All this is due to attachment, to the temptations of the outer world. There is another type of attachment too, the attachment to the inner world ... the planning within oneself of various schemes to better oneself in the future as compared to the past. Both these form part of what is called Kshaya. The basis for both is the attraction of the outer world." (Sathya Sai Baba. Jnana Vahini, p. 3).
     Swami's outlook to the various types of meditation:
     "The various types of meditation practiced today are concerned with the trivial. Through these methods the Divine cannot be realized. The very first requisite is control the vagaries of the mind. Only then meditation can be effective.

    The practice of meditation leads to the proximity to the Lord. This leads to the next stage  - Saroopyam (experience of the vision of the Lord). This may be compared to the arrival of a river to merge in ocean. Spiritually, this process of merger of the jivatma (the divine spark) with the Paramatma is described as Saayujyam (mergence in the Divine).

     The first stage in the process is Salokyam - continuous contemplation of the Divine. Think about the Lord in whatever action you do. Then you achieve Sameepyam - nearness to the Lord. Coming nearer, develop closer relations with the Divine. The state of Saroopyam is attained.  The realisation that "you and I are one" dawns.  Then Sayujyam is experienced - complete oneness with the Divine.

    This fourfold approach to the Divine is to be found in any philosophy of religion. The creeds may vary, but the spiritual process is one."
(Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba. SSS. Vol. 22. Chapter 21).
   ”All forms of worship and meditation, which are regarded as spiritual exercises, are in fact mental excursions intended to please the mind. God is described as father, mother, brother, friend and so on... But all these are unnecessary epithets if it is recognized that we and God are one. You are in God and God is in you. There is no room for feeling of duality. " (Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba. SSS. Vol. 23. Chapter 21).
 "In the state of Samadhi Atma is the 'seer' and intellect, 'the seen'. There is nothing that can see the Atma. Hence it is always the 'Seer' and never the 'Seen':" (Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba. SSS. Vol. 24. Chapter 11).
    The experience of Samadhi often brings the development of spontaneous siddhis, or esoteric powers. This is a natural result of the meditator's direct contact with the Divinity. God is miraculous, steel merges with fire for a long time it becomes like fire. Siddhi the source of law and power, so this is a natural outcome.

     All siddhis take place in the outer world when the consciousness of the practitioner is outward turned. So even siddhis are seen as only more worldly phenomena, albeit using higher laws. Thus siddhis  are not made a goal by the wise. The attitude of the wise is to spurn conscious pursuit of siddhis, and allow the Divinity to do whatever it lists. Most of the miracles that have happened around great saints are not a product of their conscious will but it is the product of the Divine Will.
     Below are some my thoughts, experiences concern to Samadhi and inspired by Swami's Teaching and His ardent devotees - Swami's Messengers.

     There are two aspects of Samadhi. One is after passing the world - when a person is 'entered' in the Atmic reality as unity of the God, Absolute.

    The other aspect is a state what is possible to experience through meditation, through devotional longing, or any type of rituals in order to reach to Samadhi. Sometimes the voices and images of people can hear or see, but  they are as not relate to the world, what disappears into some 'thick' trancidental light what insists quiet, peace, bliss and inner joy. It is possible to feel that oneself is as fuse into the infinite sky of light and acts as one with this infinite and bright sky. This brightness is not clearly seen but feeling is such and thereafter all thoughts as has fallen into 'black hole.' However, the much more difficult is to leave 'black hole' than to fallen in it. It is an attempt to describe 'feelings' before and after falling into 'black hole'.  Such are my experiences, but I do not know how real they are in comparison  with true Samadhi. I obtained this as a 'method of personal protection' in early childhood (in age three - four) being in unliberty. At that time, this experience was alone what belongs to me as my parent, friend... (Naturally, at that time I had no idea about spirituality, Swami, God... it happened at that time spontaneously and till today my friends are these 'fields of Nature'. I think now that this spontaneous skill, experience helped me not to die. A few little children remained in such conditions alive). It seems that everyone has his/her own experiences near to Samadhi or real Samadhi what can quiet the mind and lead to the peace in mind.

    "In the Sastras, Vedas and the Upanishads have they not declared how they have realised God in their Dhyana Samadhi, each in his own way, according to his attitude and devotion and worship; how each has been blessed with the vision of the Lord and the actual consummation of union with him." (Sathya Sai Baba. Sandeha Nivarini. Dialogue III).
     I seems that state Samadhi has not influenced to mental functions, as it is beyond the mind, beyond mayaa reality. It cannot be explained exactly by words which are only pale and indirect pinpointers of such feeling. However, this state seems to have an additional property to spread around the saint the special divine vibrations (energy, aura) which as calls for spiritual action those who is in the field of its influence. 

     When to observe images (idols) of great ancient saints it is possible to feel the energy what spread from them and inspired the (observer) person to catharsis. This Divine energy as calls ones for actions to express the divinity within through spiritual and worldly activity.

     The same kind vibrations are always around Swami, His Form in physical body. It is the purpose why millions of people long for His direct Darshan. His Omnipresent Cosmic form has the same energy but for normal human beings this is more difficult to access through 'fields of Nature'.

     I imagine that true Swami's devotees is not only spread Swami's Teaching among the seekers of Truth, but they spread Swami's Divine energy, what calls for actions...The role of Swami's devotees is pictorially to be as transformations stations. The last are responsible for spreading electrical current and bringing the light to distant regions...
    2. "Sankara on the Yoga Sutras," by Trevor Leggett  Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1981.
   3. Cern-Curier Vol. 44, Number 6. 2004. "Entangled photons show interference and biolocation."
    For additional information, not practically used in this story telling.
    Namaste - Reet