Lesson 20 - Samadhi

In the Lesson 19 you learnt about Dhyana or meditation. You now know that Dhyana involves merging of three fields of consciousness namely consciousness of object of meditation, bodily consciousness and concesiousness of the process of meditation. This stage is not, however, the final destination. Dhyana further evolves into Samadhi which is the subject matter of this lesson.

In the state of Dhyana though there is merging of the three fields of consciousness each type of consciousness still has independent existence. For example, when you put a spoonful of sugar in a glass of water, both of them unite but for some amount of time the sugar still has an independent existence. Only when you stir the water with a spoon the sugar completely dissolves in it and can no longer hold an independent existence. The same thing can be said about Dhyana also. When your Dhyana becomes so deep that your consciousness (i.e. the last two fields of awareness) vanishes completely and what remains is the consciousness of the object alone. This state is called as Samadhi. Remember that in Samadhi there is no role for the "physical" object what remains is the "Bhava" or "Artha" of the object expressed by its consciousness.

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are, thus, progressive stages of the same process. You may choose different techniques for Dharana and Dhyana as explained in the previous lessons or you may choose just one object for all these three stages. If you practice Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi on the same object this trio is referred as Samyama. Samyama is said to give the practitioner various Siddhis or supernatural powers. However, a real Yogi ignores such Siddhis and continues his practice further.

Samadhi itself is a progressive step. It further undergoes a series of progressions before a Yogi reach its final destination. These stages or type of Samadhi are explained below:

  • Samprajnata Samadhi
    • Savitarka Samadhi
    • Nirvitarka Samadhi
    • Savichara Samadhi
    • Nirvichara Samadhi
  • Asamprajnata Samadhi

Samprajnata Samadhi

The word Samprajnata is combination of Sam + Prajnata. Sam means "with" and Prajnata means "knowledge with awareness". Thus Samprajnata Samadhi is a state where there exists knowledge with awareness. This awareness is in the form of reasoning, reflection, bliss and individuality.

Asamprajnata Samadhi

Asamprajnata Samadhi is the next stage in which there is no mental activity such as reasoning etc. However, some traces of Samskara or impressions still exist.

Savitarka Samadhi

Savitarka Samadhi means "Samadhi with reasoning" (Sa + Vitarka). In this stage word, its meaning and knowledge of that meaning exists.

Nirvitarka Samadhi

Nirvitarka Samadhi is the next stage where mind becomes pure and expresses the object of meditation alone. Thus there is no process of reasoning in Nirvitarka Samadhi.

Savichara Samadhi

Savichara Samadhi means "Samadhi with mental reflection" (Sa + Vichara). Vichara is more accurate and subtle than Vitarka. In this stage the object expresses itself as a reflection.

Nirvichara Samadhi

Nirvichara Samadhi means "Samadhi without any reflection".

All the above type of Samadhi are called as "Sabija" or "with seed" because they involve a seed in the form ones ego or individuality. The final stage is called Nirbija Samadhi which does not involve even a seed. It is total absorption of mind.

In is important to remember that knowing this classification is fine but what is more important is to experience the state of Samadhi. Don't bother too much about various types of Samadhi and their meaning. Keep practicing with full efforts and you yourself will experience them.

May the peace be with you.

Bipin Joshi is an independent software consultant and trainer by profession specializing in Microsoft web development technologies. Having embraced the Yoga way of life he is also a yoga mentor, meditation teacher, and spiritual guide to his students. He is a prolific author and writes regularly about software development and yoga on his websites. He is programming, meditating, writing, and teaching for over 27 years. To read more about him go here. More details about his Kriya and Meditation online course are available here.

Posted On : 17 May 2007

Tags : Yoga Patanjali Raja Yoga Ashtanga Yoga Meditation Courses