The Elevated State

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  By this (meditation) samadhi is attained, and objects shine forth of their own light, in their own form, void of physical substance.

III:4  These three (concentration, meditation and samadhi) bind together as one.

III:5  Having victoriously won that (samyama), one sees with the light of wisdom.

III:6  This progresses by degrees.

III:7  These three (concentration, meditation and samadhi) are inner limbs, and surpass the previous five limbs.

The Highest Samadhi
III:8  Moreover, they (concentration, meditation and samadhi) are external and subordinate limbs as compared to nirbija (without-seed).

The Elevated State
III:9  Due to the cessation of the mind in nirbija, an impression of cessation is produced in the mind-stuff which overpowers other impressions, and the elevated state (vyutthana) ensues immediately following.

An Elevated State follows nirbija and lasts for as long as prana remains stable. Swami Kripalu uses the term stable, or stabilization, which I rather like, especially when discussing the Elevated State, which could not come about if the prana were not stable beyond emerging from nirbija.

During ordinary consciousness, prana and the mind, though they are different, are inexorably connected and follow each other around—a busy mind makes for busy prana, busy prana makes for a busy mind. However, in the Elevated State, prana remains stable even though the mind is functional.

At the point of emerging from nirbija, the breath and the mind resume their normal activities but the prana remains stable. This stability of prana is not lost even though the body begins to move again, and the mind, while functional, continues to maintain an undisturbed state in which there is no intent, no aim or purpose, no goals, no desires or ambitions.

What is this state like? It is not ecstasy, but a softly blissful state that is not incompatible with everyday affairs. One feels as light as air and is calm, even-tempered, and dispassionate. There is perfect equanimity, even in a difficult situation. This is our natural state.

Once one has experienced something, it is easier to experience it again because it is familiar—it has left an impression in the mind-stuff. This is true in ordinary life, and it is especially true of samadhi in general and nirbija in particular. 

Because of the powerfulness of the impression left in the mind-stuff by nirbija, one finds it easier to enter into nirbija again, for this most powerful impression overrides other, weaker impressions that would otherwise challenge it. Also, because of the profound nature of nirbija and the cessation of the mind, the overriding nature of the impression this leaves is instrumental in the diminishing and ultimate eradication of undesirable impressions that reek havoc with our lives and interfere with attaining samadhi and our ultimate purpose for living: union with God.

When the Elevated State finally gives way to the ordinary state of consciousness of everyday life, one can’t help being a little disappointed. On the other hand, one remains elated and inspired at having reached Absolute God and fulfillment. This is why we have been going through all of this yoga business in the first place—eight steps, many years and questionable conditions—and why we will persist to the end: complete and final liberation.

Now, I know you are all waiting to hear about all those powers—after all, this chapter is called Vibhuti, Powers—but I’m going to leave you hanging for one more week.

Durga Ma

One thought on “The Elevated State

  1. Pingback: Powers | Mystical Tidbits

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