Yoga Sutras, Chapter 3 on Raja Yoga (Royal Union) continued.
III:1 Concentration (dharana) is the binding of the mind-stuff (chitta) to one place.
III:2 When definitely established with certainty in that one place, concentration (dharana) becomes meditation (dhyana).
III:3 Through meditation, samadhi is attained and objects shine forth of their own light in their own form, void of physical substance.
In other words, with the mind in this condition, objects shine forth of their own light because there is no need for light to reflect off of them in order for them to be seen—they are self-illuminating, they have no physical substance and cast no shadows. They are directly “seen” for what they really are.
The state of samadhi is an extraordinary state of citta (mind-stuff). Attainment of this state is dependent on the repeated practice of true, authentic meditation. The mature state such meditation (dhyana) is samadhi, a state of super-consciousness, by which the mind is ultimately dissolved into prakrti (nature). Samadhi is the final result of yoga.
“Now we see through a glass darkly (ordinary perception) but then
(when meditation become samadhi), face to face (directly).”
By “directly” I mean without the aid of the senses. The senses have withdrawn and have become introverted through pratyahara, allowing for the mind to settle down, else we would have all kinds of ripples on the lake of the mind (chitta). Why? Where the attention (mind) goes, the life energy (prana) goes; where the energy goes, the attention goes. Whatever the attention does, the life energy does, and vise versa—they normally work in tandem. So when the mind is active, the energy is active; when the energy is active, the mind is active.
Where the attention goes, the energy flows.
In advanced stages of samadhi the senses not only withdraw from external sense objects, but the sense faculties (your perceptive abilities) separate from the physical sense organs, and one can see, hear, feel, taste and touch without the use of the physical organs. At this point, direct perception takes on new meaning: direct perception exposes the true nature of what is perceived, and wisdom is gained.
Samadhi is sabija, samprajnata, or savikalpa. Samadhi is known by various names based on its various features: It has the potential to become disturbed by the rising up of latent things in the mind; there is something knowable, or perceptible; there is distinction between the knower and the known, the meditator and the object perceived.
Sabija – with-seed. In samadhi, the mind is present but in a uniform state because of the concentration of the attention and prana at one place. A seed is something in its potential state. In this case the seed is the mind itself with its ever-present potential to become agitated again.
Samprajnata – with a knowable. Samprajnata refers to what is perceptible, or knowable, the ‘objects’ referred to in the sutra.
Savikalpa – knower-known distinction. Savikalpa refers to the distinction between you, the meditator, the ‘knower’, and the object of meditation, the ‘known’. In other words, there is a distinction between self and other-than-self, “the seer and the seen.” Because the mind is present, vrittis (thoughts) will also be present but in a uniform state—similar or serial, and consistent with the singular object (the ‘known’).
In meditation, when the mind is on only one thing, the prana in only one place, the mind becomes calm because there isn’t anything else going on. When this lasts for a sufficient length of time, meditation becomes samadhi and takes on the characteristics mentioned before: perception is direct—the physical senses organs are not employed, the object is self-illuminating, has no physical substance and casts no shadow. Consequently, what is perceived, or known, is known for what it really is.
Thus, through samadhi, wisdom is attained.
More on samadhi next week.
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