Stages of Samadhi

Samadhi – equanimity, a uniform state of mind, union (yoga) with God, fulfillment. 

The First stage of samadhi — sabija, savikalpa, samprajnata.

The Highest samadhi — nirbija, nirvikalpa, asamprajnata.

Raja Yoga

Raja Yoga begins when Kundalini makes her home above the throat chakra, making the highest form of samadhinirbija (without-seed), possible. This is also called nirvikalpa (without-difference) samadhi. Prior to this, one experiences sabija (with-seed) samadhi, also called savikalpa (with-difference) samadhi.

These different names for the same things, arrived at by different people of different lineages, in different locations and times over centuries, provide us with multiple clues for understanding samadhi.

The First Stage of Samadhi

Direct experience of Truth.

‘Seed’ refers to desire in a dormant state. A seed is something in a potential state that is not manifest. So in sabija, with-seed samadhi, a seed of desire is present, and makes the experience one in which there is a distinction between the individual and what is being experienced: savikalpa. Another term for this samadhi is samprajnata samadhi, ‘with-a-knowable’.

Sabija – ‘with-seed’. Dormant desire is present.
Savikalpa – ‘with difference’. Differentiation between the individual and the experience.
Samprajnata – ‘with a knowable’. An object of knowledge is present and knowable, perceptible.

The Highest Samadhi

Absorption into The Absolute, unfathomable bliss and independence without separation.

As samadhi develops, the next stage, in which difference is not present, is nirbija, nirvikalpa, asamprajnata samadhi. There is no difference because there is no desire, not even a desire in a potential state—there are no desires at all. There is no sense of self, no object to know, to perceive, and no experiencing going on. The knower, the knowing and the known are differences that are not present with this highest samadhi. It is asamprajnata, absorption into the Absolute.

Nirbija – ‘without-seed’. Without desire.
Nirvikalpa – ‘without-difference’. Without distinctions.
Asamprajnata – ‘without-a-knowable’. Absorption.

Kundalini & Samadhi

Before Raja Yoga beginsthe first stage of samadhi may be experienced even though Kundalini has not yet made her permanent home at the sixth chakra. This happens when, with sufficient purification, the energy shoots up into the head but falls back to the first chakra (do not underestimate the importance of this chakra).

Although this may happen very quickly, a mere fraction of a second, it can last for several minutes, or even hours, and will go through changes until Kundalini is able to move house and retire to the the sixth chakra. At this point, Kundalini takes a new name: Maruti, Goddess of the Wind. Now the evolutionary force is fully awake, and She means business.

Durga Ma



The Seventh Chakra

At the seventh chakra is the Window of God, from which a brilliant clear white light can be seen.

One mystical writing, the Shiva Samhita, describes this light as having the brilliance of tens of millions of suns and the coolness of tens of millions of moons. Strictly speaking, this chakra is outside the physical body, but when you get there, you can ‘see’ through this ‘window.’ A brief moment at this place destroys misfortunes. Staying here destroys death itself.

The Window of God
From Living the Mysteries, ©1999, Durga Ma and Terry Anne Preston, Ph.D. 

In deep meditation I once found myself taken into a three-story house by my Guide. In the center of this house was an elevator. We stepped into the elevator and went up to the top floor without stopping. We stepped out of the elevator into large, bright room. In the center of the room was a divan where there lay an infant sleeping. My attention was drawn to the infant, and as I watched, fascinated, this child, whose appearance resembled my own, woke and grew to maturity before my very eyes.

I looked around the room and was attracted to a bright light coming from a window. A woman was standing at the window looking out. She had fair skin and raven hair. I assumed it was the child’s mother, though she didn’t look like my own mother, the mother of this body. I could only see her from the back, so I walked over to where she stood. It was the Divine Mother whom I had met on my balloon ride to Heaven (siddhaloka) with Swami Kripalu. She directed me to look out the window. It was both exhilarating and frightening. I couldn’t take my eyes off of what I was seeing. We were in the midst of a brilliant light and traveling through space at the speed of light, and yet we were completely motionless at the same time.

I was in my own house, the body, and the elevator was the sushumna. The child had been me coming to higher and higher consciousness. The Divine Mother was God. The window was the brahmarandhra, the Window of God.


The brahmarandhra, the Window of God, is the seventh chakra, the sahasradalpadma, the ‘thousand-petalled lotus’. This chakra is associated with the central nervous system with its multitude of nadis and functions, and is beyond senses and elements, and of crystal brilliance. With mastery of the seventh chakra, you attain knowledge of Truth and are never born again. 

Large numbers, especially thousands, are interpreted as an unspecified vast number. The ‘thousand petaled lotus’ represents the multitude of us, all divine individuals. Upon unconditionally accepting everyone, one merges with the Absolute. This is nirbija (seedless) samadhi (equanimity), the highest samadhi. Because you have accepted everyone as they really are (divine, like you), you become a ‘savior’—anyone whose unconditional acceptance includes you, has accepted everyone through you. It is taught in Christianity that one is ‘saved’ by accepting Jesus. This is true, for Jesus had accepted everyone.

All misfortunes are destroyed and immortality is attained. You are no longer someone being conscious. You are not someone who is being conscious of someone or something other than you, not even yourself, not even God. You have merged with Absolute God, paramatman, and your sadhana is compete.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma

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Divine Sound

The Sixth Chakra, Continued. 

One of the most exciting, inspiring and reassuring things that can happen to you in Surrender Meditation is the experience of Divine Sound.

The experience of Divine Sound (nada, in Sanskrit) is an experience of direct perception that occurs spontaneously in Surrender Meditation when your inherent power manifests as your ability to perceive without the aid of the senses. Through this experience you discover something important: you begin to understand that you really do have power and can access it, and that the sense organs that you have thus far been limited to and dependent upon are the result of this power—you have eyes because you can see, ears because you can hear, and so forth with all five senses. Scientific tradition will tell you that this is backwards, but you will come to know the truth through your own experience of nada.

Normally, it is the vibrations of a medium, such as air, water or earth, that produce audible sound. With nada however, there is no medium, yet sound is heard. There is no medium because you are perceiving directly. 

With the experience of nada there is the perceiver, you, and there is something to perceive, something other than you. If you think of this as you in relationship to another individual, you have a situation in which there is something happening between the two of you. What is happening is energy, energy in a state of motion—vibration, oscillation—producing subtle sound that cannot be heard with the physical ears.

The Word of God

“In the beginning is the Word…”. The Word is OM (aum), the fundamental Divine Sound that manifests all forms. The vibrations of energy flowing between each of us is the Word, is this created world and everything in it. This is why the world is said to be an illusion (maya)—because we see it as stuff when what it really is is us and our relationship. And it all began with a song. The song is OM.

The Sound of OM
From Living the Mysteries, © 1999, Durga Ma and Terry Anne Preston, Ph.D.

While meditating in my hut, I sometimes heard groups of people walking by. This disturbed my solitude, so, one day I  decided to end my meditation and have a look to see what was  going on. There was no one there. Only the sound of people passing. Their voices trailed off as they went on into the  distance. I don’t know what that was. It was very strange. Perhaps groups of people had once walked that trail before and left residuals of their passing. I got used to it and  eventually it no longer disturbed my meditation.

One day when I was meditating and in a very deep meditative state, I heard what I assumed was this ghostly sound, so I didn’t really pay much attention to it at first. But  the sound changed.  

I perceived the vibrations of the sound at the base of my spine and ‘heard’ the sound in every cell of my body, even though the sound seemed to be coming from outside at the  same time. It became very loud and rumbled like the lowest note you could imagine on a big pipe organ in a big  cathedral. This rumbling sound turned into a tone of definite, but very, very low pitch. It shook my very foundations—literally. 

As it continued, the tone became more and more refined as it made its way up the central core of my body. This was  very real. I could ‘feel’ it, though not in the same way we feel the body being touched by something. The vibrations of the  sound were quite perceptible and changed as they rose higher and higher in my body at higher and higher frequencies. I  went from surprise, to fascination, to delight.  

I could hear it, I could feel it, and I could even see it. As its color finally changed into a pale, light-bright violet blue, the sound began to cease being a sound. The vibrations flat-lined and then complete silence prevailed. The colors became pure light. Delight turned to joy and then to ecstasy. 

What was remarkable was that, while all this was going on, I was again experiencing the paradox of Divine Sound … only this time it was in its pure form—all  pitches simultaneously (a ‘pitch’ is the highness or lowness of a tone), no single one more than any other, and yet, only a  single tone.


The next time you see something in one of my blogs, or a mystical text, having to do with sound, words, music, etc., remember nada, Divine Sound, the Song of God. See the “Resources” below.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that you really are),
Durga Ma


“On Music & Dance” by Swami Kripalu”
A search on this site for “OM” will get you several more articles.

Mystical Text:
Start with something simple and easy to read and digest: The original Bhagavad Gita, “The Song of God”.

Surrender Meditation:
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The Sixth Chakra

Your sixth chakra is your personal Command Center, your source of consciousness, your source of intuition, your unlimited power and your authority to access it.

The sixth chakra is located behind the center of the forehead between the two eyebrows. It is associated with consciousness, the pineal gland, the production of amrita, the nectar of immortality, and subtle sound. Its two petals are the two vibrational frequencies identified by the Sanskrit syllables hum and suh (ham हं and sa स), and the two channels associated with the outgoing and ingoing breaths and their energy forms (the upward-flowing warming energy, prana, and the downward-flowing cooling energy, apana, which terminate here). This chakras color is white. It is beyond the senses and the elements. 

The name of the sixth chakra is ajna ( आज्ञा ), which means ‘attention, perception, understanding; command, authority, and unlimited power’. Notice that this chakra is the location of our ability to perceive, even though it is ‘beyond’ the senses. The reason for this is that the type of perception available to us here does not require them. From this place, we perceive directly. In other words, perception requires no via, no indirect route through the eyes or the ears, etc. What is perceived is Real.

At the fifth chakra we experienced vocal sounds being made spontaneously in meditation, but now, with the sixth chakra’s vehicle of subtle sound, we hear sounds directly. This type of sound is called, nada. The word nada means ‘subtle spontaneous sound’. This phenomena is produced by Prana and can happen fairly early in Surrender Meditation.

From Living the Mysteries, © 1999, Durga Ma and Dr Terry Preston, Ph.D.

Nada became a frequent and common occurrence in my meditations and I experienced it in many ways. I discovered that nada came in many forms. Not only do the sounds heard in meditation become more and more refined, but the other senses—sight, smell, touch, and taste—are also experienced directly and become refined as well. 

One of my earliest experiences of … nada was the sound of thunder, or what I though was thunder. Thunder was not common where I lived. In fact I don’t believe I’ve ever heard thunder in that part of the world, but one day it brought me out of a very deep and pleasant meditative state. I lay there for a while amazed at hearing thunder. When I ended my meditation, I looked out the curtains to see if rain was on the way. It had been a nice day during our dry season, the middle of summer. Imagine my surprise when out the window I saw the same sunny blue sky. Inquiries verified that there had been no thunder or other sound of that kind in the area that day.

I had another nada adventure when I heard the sound of a train passing through my meditation room. I didn’t have to make any inquiries to confirm that I was indeed experiencing nada! Another time I experienced an earthquake, though there had been no earthquake.

Various kinds of nada continued to occur and become more and more refined until, one day, I experienced directly, the meaning of bells in church steeples: When union (yoga) occurs in the head, the steeple, a cacophony of wedding bells, large and small, can be heard and felt as the sound vibrates the body, the room, and seems to lift you right off your meditation mat.

Mastery of the Sixth Chakra

The sixth chakra has to do with consciousness, mind, understanding, and your perceptive ability. This is the seat of your inherent, unlimited power and your right to access it. The Divine Being who resides here is your source of consciousness and the giver of your salvation, your success in meditation, your freedom, liberation, and enlightenment. When you enter this place, you see the brilliant spiritual emanations of moon-lightening, see the ‘moon of mystery,’ experience the highest samadhi, and gain the respect of the adepts. All fear and all karma are destroyed, and you discover the secret of immortality (it doesn’t all happen at once).

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that you really are),
Durga Ma

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The Fifth Chakra

Chakra: Wheel, discus, circle, mystical diagram. Chakras are energy centers, intersections of nadis (channels) in the body. When activated, chakras spin, open out, expand, and present their good qualities along with their less desirable characteristics.

The fifth chakra is located in the region of the throat, has sixteen petals, sixteen vibrational sound frequencies identified by specific Sanskrit syllables, and is associated with purification. Its mystical diagram is the sphere, the color is blue (or smokey), the sense organ is the ears, the sense faculty is sound, the element is ether (space), the elemental color is green.

The name of the fifth chakra is vishuddha. The word vishuddha is from shuddha, meaning ‘cleared, purified’, with the prefix, vi, which intensifies the idea of purity, so ‘vishuddha‘ then, means ‘completely cleansed and purified’. Prana’s function is purification.

Prana’s function is purification.
Kundalini’s function is evolution.

Kundalini’s function is evolution. The word ‘evolution’, from the Latin, evolvere, ‘to roll out of’, means ‘unrolling, wheeling around, opening out, unfolding”. (Sound familiar?) Evolution is gradual. Things don’t happen all at once. The chakras are first activated by prana, spinning and opening out in any order for the purpose of purification. After prana has achieved a sufficient degree of purification, they are dealt with by kundalini in serial order for the purpose of evolution.

At the fourth chakra you had contact with the adepts; here, at the fifth chakra, you become one yourself. Once the energy can pass this chakra, patterns and conditionings that have run your life and affected your body can begin to change and lose their influence.

Vishnu Loka

After we pierced the Brahmagranthi, we moved from Brahma Loka, the World of Creation, into Vishnu Loka, the World of Sustenance. Vishnu is the Sustainer-Maintainer and this is Her world. Not only does She sustain and maintain life, but She also sustains our progress, so we definitely want to reach this landmark in our journey. Once here, She opens our hearts at chakra number four, and now, at chakra number five, this unconditional love becomes expressed through anahata nada,’unstruck sound’.

Anahata nada takes place when the energy arrives at the fifth chakra, with vocalizations, chanting and singing. What is meant by ‘unstruck’ here is that these sounds are not made by you, but are spontaneously generated in meditation.

Khechari Mudra 

The piercing of the fifth chakra allows for the energy to rise up through the throat to the sixth chakra. This stimulates the glands underneath the tongue, and the pituitary gland, so that the hormones of the pituitary begin to flow. At a certain stage, the hands will come up in cup fashion, and the tongue will roll up and go into the phaynx and block it. This is khechari mudra, the ‘flying-up seal’. It stops the breath completely.

Khechari (flying in the air) mudra (seal), is not the same as the breathless state that we talked about earlier. With khechari, one could actually die. If it is not done in a surrendered state, it is dangerous, but done fully surrendered, shakti handles everything, and shakti makes no mistakes. With the piercing of the Brahmagranthi, khechari mudra can take place and ‘upward flow’ can begin. By stimulating the pituitary, the nectar of immortality (amrita) coming from the pituitary, can be absorbed into the body. At this point, the transformation of the physical body begins.

When the energy flows upward, it must be pure, otherwise impurities will go up with the energy, and if the flow is intense enough, this can be dangerous. This is why willful kundalini techniques must be avoided. The use of willful techniques cannot bring the degree of purity necessary for upward flow to be safe.  

The solution to this is to practice Surrender Meditation until your surrender is adequate, and to have thoroughly gone through the preliminary steps (i.e., yama, niyama, asana, etc). Then, the whole body can be pervaded with the nectar and become transformed naturally into the Divine Body form. This is the last phase of kundalini.

Aches and Accomplishments

When the throat chakra is being pierced, your inherent power will become completely available to you. Latent talents will begin to turn on, and you will be able to sway and control people, make money, and get what you want. You have a choice at this point: you can either get caught up in these things, or you can give them back to God and continue with Surrender Meditation until you have purified these temptations out of existence. Then the flow of the energy through the throat chakra can get as intense as it wants until it is resolved.

With mastery of the fifth chakra, you will understand the scriptures and their mysteries, enjoy the bliss of the inner world, and thousands of years will appear as so many moments.   

Durga Ma

Phoenix Metaphysical Institute
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The Fourth Chakra

“Doctors are the discoverers of physiological functions. Yogis are the discoverers of the chakras … Just as modern science gives importance to the sense organs and their functions, likewise the ancient science of yoga gives importance to prana and its various functions in the chakras.” — Swami Kripalu, The Science of Meditation  

The fourth chakra is located in the region of the heart, has twelve petals, twelve vibrational sound frequencies identified by specific Sanskrit syllables, and is associated with respiration. Its mystical diagram is the hexagon, the color is emerald (or gold), the sense organ is the skin, the sense faculty is touch, the element is air (vayu, the air of the breath), the elemental color is smoky.

The first three chakras were in the created world, the Brahma Loka, and associated with the material plane, but now we are moving on to subtler things, and subtler affairs. This brings us to the meaning of the word, anahata, the name of the fourth chakra. 

Anahata means ‘unstruck’. What is being referred to here is the breathless state. The word anahata is made up of ana (breath, respiration) and ahata (an action happening without the normal attributes). The normal attribute of breath is breathing. So anahata fully defined means, breath without its normal attribute. The breathless state is just what it says—your body stops breathing. The fourth charka is the home base region of prana. Even in this state in which one is not breathing, life continues uninterrupted because prana is uninterrupted. It is prana, Life Energy, that keeps us alive, not the process of pumping air.

When you first experience the breathless state, you will become aware of it when your body starts breathing again. You will be a little surprised, but not alarmed, and definitely inspired (pun definitely intended here). I have mentioned this state before in the context of the need for absolute privacy and a secure place for the practice of Surrender Meditation. You really don’t want your meditation to be interrupted in this state because it is not good for the nervous system. But more to the point, you will not reach this state if there is any chance that your meditation will be disturbed. If you do not lock your door because you feel certain that no one in the house will walk in on you, lock it anyway, because subconsciously you will know that this possibility does exist. So lock your door.

Piercing the Brahmagranthi

In a previous post we took up the third chakra and talked briefly about the Brahmagranthi. Now we move into the Vishnu Loka, the world of Sustainment of Life. The Brahmabranthi, an obstacle to kundalini rising up the central channel, the sushumna, must be dealt with in order for the energy to be able to move on to the fourth chakra.

Anahata means ‘unstruck, produced otherwise than by striking’, like the eardrum is struck for a sound to be heard. When kundalini pierces the Brahmagranthi, you will hear it directly, not with your ears. When this happens, you will simultaneously hear it directly and feel it subtly within the body in the area of the diaphragm. It will be a loud sound as if it were in the room with you, like a very deep drum has been struck.

Aches and Attainments

When the fourth chakra is contracted, or aches, you feel lonely, separate from others, an outsider. When it is open and expanded, you love everyone regardless of other considerations, regardless of what others may do or feel towards you, and regardless of emotions you feel that are contrary to this state of unconditional love.

When the fourth chakra has been evolved by kundalini, you attain the gifts of prophesy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and levitation, and have contact with the adepts.

Durga Ma

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