Chapter 7: The Highest Stages of Samadhi
The most difficult thing that a seeker will face during the effort to ascend from one state of consciousness to another state is the inveterate habit of imagining that everything is a solid form or object, one differentiated from the other, implying thereby that one thing may not have any real, vital connection with the other. This vision, this idea, this presupposition in our perception of anything goes contrary to the effort at yoga union. You cannot unite yourself with anything, as it is standing outside you. The location which is associated with the solidity and particularity of things is trying to be obviated in savichara samadhi, to which I made reference last time, where an intense attempt is made to visualise the so-called things of this world as centres of moving force, eddies of a large sea of energy.
Every little thing in the world is an energy potential. There is an immense magazine of power imbedded at the core of everything in the world, even in a particle of sand. This energy can be liberated by intense concentration, either physically by bombardment or mentally by concentration. This nuclear energy is present in everything. You cannot bombard the atoms of the whole cosmos except by intense concentration of the mind, relating everything to everything else, and melting down objectivity into a liquefied form, as it were, of ubiquitous energy—force billowing like the waves of a large ocean—including your own self who is contemplating or meditating.
It does not mean that when you practice meditation on the universal sea of fluidity of power or force, you sit cosily apart from it as a solid individual observing the movement of these tempestuous forces of energy. Samadhi is not a perception. It is a melting down of yourself together with that on which you are meditating. The subject and the object, yourself and the other thing, are on a par always, and they both stand on an equal footing. Both have equal validity. Hence, the object is considered as a force, and you do not remain as a solid object independent of that force because the wave of this sea of force will sweep you also with it and take you inside it, transforming you into the same stuff out of which the sea is made. A difficult concept it is! Unless the mind is sufficiently purified, you will not be able to understand what it is that is being said.
How is it possible for a person to abolish the concept of one’s own existence as a person, and then go with that thing which is universally pervading as a force? At that time, where are you, actually speaking? Where are you at that time? The fear that you are not there is the worst of fears. The adamantine attachment of the individuality of a person is so hard that whatever instruction is given and whatever effort is made, it will persist. They call it ego consciousness, or the affirmative principle, which asserts itself in one particular form and refuses to collaborate with the conditions prevailing outside, much less unite itself with them.
If you have any desire in your mind which is unnecessary, disturbing, and pulling you inwardly or outwardly to a target which you consider as desirable, this object of meditation ceases to be so desirable. The condition of meditation is whole-souled attention, entire absorption, and a conviction that it is all and everything. It is not something; it is everything. Therefore, the somethings of this world go with this everything. Persistent educational instruction is to be given to the mind in order that it may not again and again move in the subconscious mind, the subconscious level, towards the old notion of the isolation of the world from the object of meditation. The object of meditation is not standing above the world; it includes the world. As nobody can think the whole world at one stroke, it is difficult to imagine the transmutation of the world substance into the universal power or force on which you are trying to meditate.
The whole sea is before you. It is not before you; it is before that which beholds both yourself and that at the same time. There is a transcendent perception, we may say, which ceases to accept your existence as the seer of this wonderful phenomenon. The seer is not you, not that which is beheld, but another thing which beholds both this side and that side. Strength of imagination is necessary to posit oneself in this condition. This is explained as savichara samadhi, which is not an introverted condition, as people wrongly imagine, but a universalised condition. In samadhi you are not going inside, nor are you going outside, but you become universalised. Rarely can one imagine that this is so. People say, “I sit in samadhi.” They go to a corner and brood over something, and think that they are in samadhi because they are going inside.
There is no inside in samadhi. It is also not outside. It is a blending together, as I mentioned, in a sea of commingling of forces which were originally considered as subjective and objective. The highest purity of mind, great dispassion, and tremendous love for this achievement are necessary to have success in this meditation. Suffice it to say that this is the state of experience known as savichara samapatti, also known as savichara samadhi.
The higher state is nirvichara, wherein the idea that forces are moving in space is again obviated. This universal force is not moving in space. It is not like the ocean that you see with your eyes, which is a body of water with space above it. Can you imagine anything without locating it in space? Here a greater effort is necessary. The space that you are forcefully compelled to imagine, even in this condition, has also to get melted into this force of which the space is not merely a part, but from which it is totally inseparable.
Space is a barrier to the thinking of the totality of things. It always sees to it that one thing is cut off from another thing and distance is created. The abolition of even the concept of distance between two things is possible only if the notion of space also enters into the notion of the all-pervading energy, which is not to be confused with electrical energy but is something deeper.
When you study these things, they provide information, but they cannot become part of your experience. Years of practice are necessary to achieve any success. The space complex is the worst of all things. As the mind which is thinking is itself conditioned by the complex called space and time, it is difficult to imagine how it is possible to arrange the consciousness in a situation where space and time are not conditioning it. Philosophers have argued that there is no way out of being conditioned or restricted by the space-time complex. As the mind is also a part of the phenomena, how would that phenomenon enter into the noumenon—which is the samadhi process? It is by Self-identification. When the self enters into the Self, the space between is absorbed into this unity. This is a super-philosophical experience, and it is not meant to be argued logically. Logic is a poor substitute for this kind of affirmation, which is not thinking in terms of syllogism, but an experience which is a tremendous unification of being and becoming, process and reality, we may say.
In no book will you find an elaborate description of these kinds of experiences. There are commentaries on the Sutras of Patanjali which describe these experiences in one paragraph, and only a literal annotation is given. The substance of it, which is actually a devastating experience, cannot be written in a book, and cannot be known except by a direct communion and communication from a competent, experienced person to one who is eager to have it.
In nirvichara samadhi a great, incomprehensible joy bursts forth which is not comparable to any kind of joy that you can imagine in this world. It is a joy not because you have obtained something, but because you have become the thing. Do you know the difference? When you obtain something that you want, you feel happiness and joy, but here you have entered into the very existence of the thing that you want. Can you imagine what kind of joy it is? In all experiences of happiness there is a contact of the object with the subject that needs the object. Contact is different from union. You can contact anything, but you cannot unite yourself with anything because union means becoming the very thing which you want to contact.
Can anyone think of this state? This is the power of thought, which can rise beyond itself. Mind is not a poor thing, as it appears on the surface. It is a direct representation of Absolute existence. As you can conceive levels of reality, degrees of experience, you can also conceive the levels of mental operation. The mind is a kind of ocean; it has a tremendous potential for comprehensiveness. It can touch anything, obtain anything, and become united with anything. It can instantly touch even the heavens without moving through distance.
The mind, so-called, is employed as a means to practice this meditation. It rises gradually, stage by stage, from the lower stage to the higher stage, corresponding to the stage in which the object of meditation is. The lower mind cannot meditate on a higher substance, just as lower frequency operations cannot touch higher frequency activity. But, in this connection, we need not have any fear about it because the notion of a higher universality automatically charges itself upon the meditating consciousness, and pulls it along with it, so that the mind goes with that object which is the Universal Being. The joy mentioned is called ananda, bliss Absolute. Not bliss particularised, not bliss externalised, not bliss extroverted or objectivised—it is bliss experienced in itself.
It is not someone experiencing bliss as something coming from somewhere else. Pure Being itself is bliss. If pure Being is consciousness, it is also bliss. This indescribable blend of existence, consciousness and bliss is what is commonly known as sat-chit-ananda. Sat-chit-ananda, which means existence, consciousness and bliss, are not three ingredients of a super substance; they are three designations of one and the same experience. Existence which is itself consciousness is blissful. It is not that there are three different qualities. Existence, consciousness, bliss are not qualities or attributes of anything; they are themselves substances. We can never imagine that bliss is a substance. We always think bliss is a kind of accretion growing by contact of one thing with another thing, but it is Being itself. Sananda samadhi, bliss experience, is superior to all the samadhis mentioned earlier.
Has anyone in the world experienced inexpressible bliss at any time? Were you so happy at any time that your whole personality was bursting? Can it be even imagined? Are you liquefying yourself, melting down into the joy that you are experiencing? Or is it a fleeting phenomenon, like scratching the skin? Such a super experience is sananda samapatti, divinity dancing on itself. In the Puranas and the epics we hear of Lord Siva dancing his cosmic performance. When Lord Siva dances his Tandava, as it is called, everything melts into liquid. The sun and moon fall down, the stars liquefy, the earth melts into water, as it were, and nothing is there except one all-pervading, indescribable That Which Is. This Tandava, this dance of Lord Siva, is nothing but your own dance in the ecstasy of your melting down into the unity of the cosmos in its true essence. This is not a visible dance, with the movement of limbs to music. It is all this combined. The entire cosmos dances. Every atom starts rising up from its own self. When you rise from your own self, what do you experience at that time? You are always yourself. Suppose you become more than yourself. What do you call it? As nobody can become more than oneself, this explanation cannot enter the mind. There is a larger you than what you are here at the present moment. That largeness goes on expanding its dimension more and more, until it becomes the largest inconceivable inclusiveness.
There are levels of joy, which are described in the Upanishad. The lowest kind of joy is what would be associated with an emperor of the whole world, though there was never an emperor of the whole world. This emperor is young and healthy, and has everything. Can you imagine such a king who is youthful, healthy, vigorous, and the whole world is under his control? This is one kind of happiness. Though it is unimaginable, the Upanishad considers this as the lowest category, like a drop in the ocean.
There are higher levels of happiness described in the Taittiriya and Brihadaranyaka Upanishads. The next stage, which is associated with astral existence, is supposed to be one hundred times more intense than the imagined joy of the emperor of the whole world. Beyond that there are celestial vibratory movements called Gandharvas, whose joy is a hundred times more than the lower one. This hundred times happiness multiplies itself eight times—a hundred multiplied by a hundred eight times—and that is meagrely conceived as the bliss of the Absolute. We are happy with a cup of tea, what to say of being emperor of the whole world. Compare your pithy longing and the joy that you have by scratching your nervous centre with this mystery which is before you. This is sananda samapatti.
Beyond that there is something more. Yoga is not going to leave you so easily. It pulls you, pulls you, pulls you, until you reach the centre of the universe. There is no experience of bliss at that time; it is only ‘I am I’. There is no ‘I’ experience in the bliss of universality. The universal bliss is conscious of itself only as ‘I am what I am’.; ‘I am I’. Your head will reel with giddiness if you think of these things. The brain cannot conceive of these things. The universal I has no you, he, she, it, etc.; it is just the one I which is self-identical universal existence. This is sasmita samadhi, attended with universal affirmation of I. It is not the I that is used in grammar and language. It is the potential of universal affirmation as one thing only: That Which Is. Generally, great thinkers call it ‘That’; that’s all. ‘That’, ‘Suchness’, ‘Whichness’, ‘Thatness’ are the words used to describe this condition.
When that ‘I am I’ is also transcended in something else which is pure Absoluteness, we have attained moksha. We have attained kaivalya.