The eighth and final limb identified in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, SAMADHI represents the glorious state and final stage of any authentic spiritual path. Even if we call it in different ways – Satori in Zen practice or Nirvana in Buddhism – it is actually the same supreme human condition.
The actual real state of SAMADHI must be lived: it isn’t enough to be informed or to try to imagine it, because, anyway, this is impossible. The truth of its existence outside the actual living state is just a shred of truth.
Samadhi, super-conscious state of divine ecstasy, represents the full fusion between knowing, the known object and actual knowledge.
Thus, meditation (dhyana) can be represented by a triangle: here is the consciousness of the knower (the tutor), what is to be known (the object of meditation) and the action of knowing the object of meditation. These three are distinct. In SAMADHI (divine ecstasy), they merge completely into each other, becoming one and the same reality.
The person being in this state withdraws her consciousness from the object of meditation, doubling it in herself. In doing so, the being establishes a state in which the object of knowledge becomes the knower, the knowledge process itself. This condition is sometimes described as “void” (sunyata), because of the contrast with the apparent fullness of objectivity that preceded it.
Levels of Samadhi state
In essence, this condition can be grouped into two categories: SAVIKALPA SAMADHI and NIRVIKALPA SAMADHI. The first one represents the state of super-consciousness in which there still exists changes of the mind. In this phase analysis and synthesis occur, together with investigations, searches and abstract reasoning. However, negative thoughts exist no more, because the mind is already fully purified.
Bliss is attained in this setting, but this can be an obstacle in achieving enlightenment because the aspirant, believing that he came to an end, may stop. Now meditation must be practiced even more intense for him to enter the next stage, NIRVIKALPA SAMADHI, the state of super-consciousness in which there are no more changes of the mind and which, in fact, defines the infinite freedom of spirit.
The ultimate goal of any spiritual seeker is a full communion with God, characterized by the absence of any fluctuation of the mind, of imagination or of any exterior changes. This is when the mind ceases the game, the doubts disappear and the consequences of our past and present actions are destroyed.
Image source – flickr