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Samadhi: Merging with the Oneness of Creation
by Swami Krishnananda

(Spoken on September 28, 1995)

I have introduced you to the fundamental principles on which the highest form of meditation is to be practised according to the Yoga System of Patanjali – which, as I mentioned during the previous session, is a practical application of the basic philosophical foundations of Samkhya philosophy. I also said that the categorisation of these basic principles enumerated by the Samkhya philosophy agrees with the doctrine of the Vedanta philosophy, and scriptures which are wholly Vedantic in their nature, such as the Bhagavadgita, the Mahabharata and the Manu­smriti, entirely accept and wholly accom­modate themselves to the principles of Samkhya as it enumerates the position of an all-knowing consciousness which is named purusha according to the Samkhya, or you may call it by any other name. What is intended is an all-comprehensive awareness that is commensurate with the all-comprehensive material base, which is known as prakriti.

Now, yesterday I stopped with the mentioning of three important principles which are all cosmic in their nature: namely, an all-knowing consciousness called Purusha; an all-inclusive material substance called prakriti; and a dominating universalised consciousness operating through the medium of this ultimate material substance called prakriti, that being called, in the language of Samkhya, Mahat or Great Consciousness, which is all-knowing, all-powerful, and present everywhere. When it becomes self-conscious, it becomes “I am the Supreme Inclusiveness”. It assumes a new form of affirmation – not the generalised omnipres­ence of the Mahat-tattva, but the specially affirmed aspect of it. According to the Samkhya, this particular affirmative Universal Being is known as ahamkara. It is unfortunate that the same word 'ahamkara' is used for the universal self-affirmative consciousness as well as the egoism of human nature. I do not know why the same word is used to indicate two entirely different things.

I ended yesterday by saying that this self-affirming universal existence suddenly assumes a threefold, tripartite character objectivity known as adhibhuta, subjectively known as adhyatma, and positing as an intervening principle between the subjective side and the objective side, a divine operative power known as adhidaiva.

There is a superintending divinity taking care of the functions of the sense organs. All the five senses of knowledge and the five organs of action, ten in number, are supposed to be guided and operated by some unknown divinity, of which we have absolutely no knowledge. That divinity which superintends over the functions of knowledge as well as action, that wonderful interconnecting divinity between the subjective side and the objective side, is adhidaiva. If you do not want to use these Sanskrit words, you can use English words: the subjective consciousness, the objective externalised form of perception, and the interlinking awareness between the subject and the object.

Now, a very important event takes place, which is directly connected with the deep meditations according to the system of Patanjali. There is a manifestation of space. There is no space in the universal Self-affirming principle, “I am what I am.” There is no space and time; it is pure self-assertive Absolute, we may say. In God, to put it in a religious style, there is no space and time. God does not exist in space and time. He is superior to spatiality, temporality, and causality. The three operative factors in ordinary experience – space, time, and cause – do not apply to this Supreme Absolute Essence mentioned up to this time.

The objective side concretises itself gradually from the subtle layer to the more and more concrete layers. First there is the manifestation of space only. According to the Upanishads as well as the Samkhya and the Yoga System, the first manifestation in creation is space. In the Taittiriya Upanishad, wherein we have an enumeration of cosmology, it is said tasmād vā etasmād ātmanah ākāśas sambhūtaḥ (T.U. 2.1.1). Ākāśas sambhūtaḥ: From this Universal Atman, pure infinite Self-essence, space was manifested. Akasat vayuh: There was a vibration suddenly, which took place in the empty space, as it were, and that vibration took the form of air. Vayor agnih: This vibration intensely taking place in the movement of air caused friction, and it generated heat, which is called fire. Agneh apah: The condensation of the heat slowly, gradually, down to the further lower levels, becomes liquified in the form of water. Adbhyah prithivi: Solidified liquid becomes the earth principle.

These elements – space or sky, air, fire, water, and earth – though called by different names and appear to be entirely distinct substances, are really not distinct in their essential nature. They are only gradational solidifications, concre­tisations and objectifications of one ultimate principle, space-time. When there is space, there is time also, so space-time is the origin of the externalised manifestation of the whole physical universe we call this world. We have come down to the earth principle.

Now, as pointed out previously, this body of ours is also constituted of these elements only. There is a physical earth principle in our body, there is the water principle, there is heat, there is air, and there is also space inside our body. So, all the objectified universal elements mentioned are the building bricks of this personal individuality. If that is the case, why do we regard these five elements as being outside us? We see space outside, but we do not see space inside. We see air and fire and water and earth principle outside; we cannot believe that we ourselves are made up of these five elements.

Now starts meditation. I am getting down to brass tacks, without going into the procedural details, which I shall take up later on. The highest meditation commences now. The meditational process is the process of rectifi­cation of erroneous thinking. This error is that we regard the world as outside us, and objects as external to us, while actually we ourselves are part and parcel of these objects and the physical world outside, because the same elements also constitute our personality. That we are unable to appreciate the organic relationship obtaining between our personal existence and the world outside is what is called avidya, the total basic ignorance of a human being.

How will we rectify this wrong thinking that we are outside the objects of the world? The removal of the idea of the externality of an object, and the attempt to unite oneself with the object which is really not distinct from oneself, is the process of meditation. The first meditation, which is known as samapatti or samadhi according to the system of Patanjali, is a strenuous attempt on the part of this so-called individualised consciousness to feel itself as present in the objective world, also. It requires great power of will to do this work because through centuries of previous lives, we have accumulated wrong impressions of this erroneous way of thinking; congealed in our present experience as a human individual isolated from all things outside, this impression prevents us from thinking in this manner. However much we may struggle to think we are not actually different from the world substance because the substance in us is the same as the world substance, though we may hear it one hundred times, we will never be able to actually unite our consciousness with the existence of the world outside.

The space that is apparently dividing us from the world outside prevents us from succeeding in our attempt at unifying ourselves with the world appearing to be outside. We feel that the world is outside, and also we feel that the world is in time. The world is in space and in time. We forget that we are also, as an individual, in space and in time. If both these so-called distinguishable aspects of subjectivity and objectivity are entirely involved in the space-time complex, there is a basic blunder in the root thinking of our personality. We are thinking in a topsy-turvy manner.

The world is the subject, rather than an object of perception, because of the fact that the so-called subjectivity of yourself, which you regard as very independent from everything else, is inseparable basically, under deep analysis, from the substance of the world. Can you intensely feel the possibility of thinking in terms of this inseparability of your so-called personal existence with world existence? This is the first stage of meditation.

I am confining myself purely to Patanjali's System, and I am not touching any other system of thought. So, according to this methodology prescribed in the System of Patanjali, the first union in samapatti or samadhi is the intensified affirmation of a consciousness which has to accommodate itself to the fact of its inseparability from world existence, because world existence includes the individual who imagines that he is isolatedly thinking the object.

Do you catch what I am saying? One series of lectures is not enough to understand these things. You have to listen to this twenty-five times. However much water is poured on a rock, the rock will not absorb the water. But, by continuous friction caused by the pouring of water endlessly, even a hard rock becomes round and smooth, like the rocks in the Ganga. In the Ganga there are stones; they are soft, like butter. How can water convert that rocky element into a butter-like, smooth substance? By intensely bombarding and flowing over the rocks for centuries, the Ganga water has been able to convert them into beautiful, buttery-smooth stones. Likewise, the mind, which is very crude at the present moment because of having lived a totally unspiritual life, is unable to grasp this kind of thinking, which is not merely philosophical in the ordinary sense of the term; it is a deeply mystical approach into the whole fact of things.

I understand why this is difficult to grasp. You are hearing it for the first time. It is as if I am telling you something that belongs to some other world, but actually it is not of another world; it is of this world only, because this world and another world are not two different worlds, which also I am going to tell you shortly.

Samadhi is a word that you have heard many times: In yoga you have to attain samadhi. Patanjali calls it samapatti also. It is utter unification of your being with the object of meditation. The Patanjali System prescribes, in the beginning, a single isolated object for the purpose of concentration. You cannot easily concentrate on the whole physical substance of the cosmos. Actually, that is what is intended finally; then only, samadhi ensues. As this is a little difficult in the beginning, you are asked to concentrate on one particular object and think deeply that the very substance of that object is also the substance of your existence. It is easy to think one isolated object, and it is not so easy to think everything together, simultaneously. So, like a good teacher and schoolmaster, Sage Patanjali prescribes this samapatti to be practised on one particular object, whichever you like, according to your predilection or aspiration.

You can concentrate on a candle flame, a rose flower, or an Ishta Devata, a god whom you are considering as your divinity for the purpose of meditation – whatever you like. The basic point is that the substance of the object that you are meditating upon cannot be different from the substance that you are made of. This is the whole doctrine of Samkhya and of prakriti-purusha samyoga: The substantiality of your being cannot be outside the world substance. That you are unable to appreciate this fact is due to the interference of space-time, which you have to defy in your meditational process.

How would you defy the interference of space and time in medi­tation? By becoming the object itself – then, there is no space between you and the object. What is meant by this 'becoming the object'? Analogically, by way of example, I will tell you. You are looking at something, as if it is facing you; this is how you consider an object to be in front of you. Now, it is up to you to convert it into a subject. You should enter into it in your deep thought in such a way that you think as the object would think. Your eyes should take a round-about turn, placing the object not in front of you, but placing it parallel to you. The object should be side by side with you, in the beginning stages. That is to say, the eyes of the object and the eyes of yourself are parallelly operat­ing, and one is not looking at the other. This is the first stage of removing the objectivity of the object so-called, and trying to turn it into the subjectivity which is its real nature.

You must know that everything you regard as an external object is also a subject from its own point of view, so you have to endeavour to bring about a rapprochement and unity with its own being, its selfhood, by first of all imagining that it is here, not there. It is by your side; it is parallelly observing the pheno­menon of creation, as you are observing it. Then you intensify your thought: “It is coming nearer to me, nearer to me, nearer to me. It has touched me. It has entered me. It has partially become me. It has become fifty-percent me. It has touched my heart. It has gone further. It has completely merged itself into me, so that I am seeing through the eyes of the object.”

You are not seeing anything outside with your eyes; you are seeing the object through the eyes of the object. You have become the object; therefore, the space or time factor which was separat­ing you from yourself is abolished completely, because the question of space and time intervening does not arise, since that which appeared to be standing in front of you has become yourself. And who are you? Who is thinking now? That which you want to achieve is itself thinking; that which you want to call your god, that itself is thinking; that which you consider as your beloved object, that is thinking. You are not thinking, because your self has identified itself with the self of that object. So, who is there, finally? You are not there at all. That thing which you really want is there, whatever that thing may be, from the smallest to the highest. That which you really want is thinking, not you.

Mesmerism, telepathic communication, distant healing – these things are all methods that adopt this very technique. That is why they are able to control the object, even a person, from a long dis­tance. It may be London or America; it does not matter. The telepathic communication is discharged in the manner of the proce­dure adopted. Distance does not count here, because distance is nothing but the operation of space and time. That is exactly the thing that you are trying to obviate. So, let the person be in the stars; what does it matter? You have become the stars, or the thing that is in the stars, that which is in the United States, that which is in London, or anywhere. Then that object ceases to be away from you. Then, what you think, it thinks, and what it thinks, you think.

The commingling of these wonderful principles is explained by Patanjali in a very easily understandable example of two tanks of water. They are on an equal level – not one high and one low – with a connection between them. The water of one tank is moving towards the other tank: the tank on the left has its water moving toward the tank on the right, and vice versa, so that there is a harmonious mingling of water from both sides. You do not know which water is moving to which tank because it is one continuous flow. There are no two-tank waters; they are indistinguishable.

In this way, in the earlier stages, you must identify your thought or consciousness with whatever you have considered as the object of meditation. This is samadhi in terms of the object you have chosen. Samadhi is nothing but an identification of conscious­ness with consciousness, thing with thing, object with object, yourself with anything, so that the old habit of thinking in terms of that which is external ceases, and you think in terms of yourself only – not in terms of the individualised self, but the self which is suffused with the existence of what you earlier called an object. You have become me, and I have become you. Two persons become one person, and then we can think the same thought. What I think, you think; and what you think, I think. This process enables you to conquer the distance supposedly existing between yourself and other things.

But you are frightened: “I want something and it is so far away; how will I get it? God is so many kilometres away, so many light years away. Perhaps it is an impossible task. God is very far.” Don't you think like this? Nothing is far. Because of the space-time intervention in the middle, everything looks distant, but there is not even one inch of distance between yourself and other things if this wrong notion of there being what is called space is abolished. This is yoga, really speaking.

This is very difficult to hear and understand, but it is also the most easy, because it is natural. To under­stand truth is easier than to understand what is wrong and false. But, we have been living a false life from the beginning onwards, and perhaps we have carried this impression of error of thinking from centuries of previous lives. Now, great effort has to be put forth. We may say that it is a very difficult thing: “I have been trying to do this, but the result has not come.”

The Bhagavadgita says that there is no loss of effort that is put forth in the right direction. Even if you have taken only one step in the right direction in thinking and meditating in this manner, it will be a great blessing to you. Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt (B.G. 2.40), says the Bhagavadgita: You will be freed from the great fear of life by taking one step at least in the direction of this unification of yourself with the whole world substance, gradually from the lower categories to the higher categories.

The first and foremost thing that you have to do is to disentangle your mind from the idea that the object is exactly as you are thinking it to be. Why should you imagine that? The object outside need not necessarily be as you are appearing to see it. Yesterday, I mentioned that all the qualities of the object are foisted upon it by the perceptual process, called secondary quali­ties. Remove them. The objects have no name, really. You have given the name. And, they appear to have a particular localised form, due to separation established between parts of nature by the intervention of space and time. Nature is one ubiquitous prakriti. There is no distance of one part from another part. This is to be maintained in the mind.

In the beginning, take to meditation on any partic­ular thing, your god. It may be your devata, your Narayana, Vishnu, Jesus, whatever it is, but that god should not stand in front of you. If you feel that your god is in front of you, that is not samadhi. It is only concentration; it is dharana. It is not even deep meditation. Samadhi is not feeling the presence of your god in front of you, not even feeling that it is near you; it is insep­arable from you. You think through the eyes and the mind and the feeling of that god, so that the god is thinking, not you. This is samadhi, from the point of view of an Ishta Devata.

But, Patanjali takes you very high up, not merely leaving you at the level of a particular isolated Ishta Devata, or an object which you have to think. The whole physical world is taken into consideration as a single object, because the entire physical world, including space, time, and the stars, is one mass of all-pervading material substance; therefore, you can regard the whole world of appearance as one object only. The whole physical nature is the object of meditation. But, again bring this point: the object which is nature in total is not standing outside you, looking at you.

Now you are feeling the world is looking at you: “The mountain is seeing me, the sun is seeing me, the tree is seeing me, the rivers are seeing me, and people are seeing me.” No such thing is taking place. Whoever sees you, let them become you. Then, somebody seeing you ceases. Nobody sees you. You see everything.

Can you catch what I am saying? What do you say? Nothing has entered your mind? Come to this Ashram and let there be an occasion for you to hear this one hundred times. Then the rock will become smooth like butter, and you will find so great joy in yourself: I have achieved what I want; I don't want anything in this world, because I have got it. The thing has become me!

It may be any little silly thing; that is with you only. When you affirm a thing as having become one with you, you shall be sure that it will come to you. You need not be afraid that you will not get things. When you really ask for it in the manner mentioned, it shall come to you, because the whole world is with you. It is not away. The idea that it is outside you, far off, so many light years away, prevents you from getting anything in the world. You look like a poor man; really, you are the richest of the rich. Do not think that you are poor. The whole world is at your back. It is with you. Why are you weeping? “I have got nothing. I am a poor fellow; nobody cares for me.” Do not say all these things. You will be cared for by the sky, the heavens; the horizons will care for you. You do not require anybody else to protect you. The very angels that are guarding the universe will be at your beck and call. They are in your body itself. The divinities are controlling all the sense organs, even the skin itself.

Do you catch what I am saying, or I am talking nonsense? I am trying to decondition your minds gradually from the ordinary human social and sensory way of thinking, and introduce you into a perfectly divine, godly way of thinking, which will destroy all your sins. Even if you have committed any mistake, all the effects of these mistakes will be wiped out if you can think like this, because truth triumphs, and this is the truth of things. Untruth will not succeed, and all that you are thinking in your mind is untruth; therefore, it does not succeed. You fail everywhere. If you maintain this truthfulness of the true nature of things, you will lack nothing; you will be the wonderful sovereign of the world.

You will be wondering, “What is this Swami telling me? I am a poor fellow.” I am telling you that you are not a poor fellow. You have got the iron muscles of the whole universe, because the gods of the universe are inside you. They are operating through you, but you are thinking they are external.

Thus, samadhi, or samapatti, is the subjectivisation, so-called, of the objectified objects which you have been thinking of as standing outside. Nothing is outside you – not even a tree, what to talk of God? The God that you think of in your mind in whatever manner is also with you, beside you, in you, and yourself. Whoever thinks in this manner shall be provided with everything – everything, whatever you can conceive. Here is a verse from the Bhagavadgita: ananyāś cintayanto māṁ ye janāḥ paryupāsate teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ yogakṣemaṁ vahāmy aham (B.G. 9.22). Everything that you need will be provided to you – not tomorrow, today itself – if your mind is united with the endless resourceful universal content which is inseparable from you. Do not say it is outside you. Remove this slogan that every­thing is far away. Nothing is outside. The samadhi that is spoken of in the Yoga System is nothing but the removal of the idea that things are far away. They are not even one millimetre away from you. There is no distance of spatial nature between you and anything.

This is samadhi, the first initial stage. Various stages of samadhi are there, which will stun you. I don't know whether it is proper for me to stun you again and again, more and more, or if this is enough. I have given you a shock, and that shock will suffice to remove all the sins and errors that you have committed. Even at this moment you have heard something which is like nectar falling on your head, and that nectar will remove all your sins. Believe today that all your sins are destroyed. You are not a papi [sinner]; you are a soul, you are a spiritual aspirant, you are a potential divinity. Just now start thinking like that, and you will be that. Do not distrust me; whatever I say is correct. Do you believe? Today I shall conclude with this. I will continue this subject again.