Simultaneous Concentration, Meditation and Samadhi

Yoga Sutras, Chapter 3 on Raja Yoga (Royal Union) continued.

Previously:

Concentration
III:1  Concentration (dharana) is the binding of the mind-stuff (chitta) to one place.

Meditation
III:2  When definitely established with certainty in that one place, concentration (dharana) becomes meditation (dhyana).

Samadhi

III:3  By this (meditation) samadhi is attained, and objects shine forth of their own light, in their own form, void of physical substance.

Today, sutras 4-7:

Samyama

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

Concentration, meditation and samadhi ultimately bind together as a unit called samyama—they operate simultaneously.

Samyama means ‘restrained’, but what is being restrained? What is being restrained are the senses and the mind.

In our chart of The Eight Limbs of Yoga, you will notice that Step 5, pratyahara, is the withdrawal of the senses from the objects of sense. This is a major turning-point in the practice of yoga. Not only are the senses withdrawn from their objects, but the attention and prana, both of which are features of the mind, are withdrawn along with the senses, causing both the senses and the mind to be held in check, restrained from moving outward.

As pratyahara develops, the sense faculties (your inherent ability, or power, to know, to perceive) disengage from the physical sense organs, placing the practitioner in the position of being able to perceive directly. The practitioner of yoga does not make this happen, it is the natural result of having achieved an adequate degree of development of pranayama and pratyahara. For a practitioner of the path of surrender, all of this occurs spontaneously.

Kripalu equates samyama with samadhi when he says . . .
“The trio of dharana, dhyana and samadhi is called samyama…When samyama is fully achieved, it is called sabija samadhi, wherein the mind, which is the seed of desire, yet remains.”

III:5  Victorious in winning that [samyama and sabija samadhi], one sees with the wisdom of divine sight.

The story of the Bhagavad Gita is a narration of a conversation between Krishna (God) and Arjuna (You). The narrator is Samjaya (‘victorious’). Samjaya is minister to a blind king to whom he describes what is taking place from afar by means of Divine Sight.

III:6  This progresses by degrees.

This sutra is saying that samyama develops and advances by degrees, or stages. Yoga itself progresses by degrees, with one thing leading to the next. No limb, step or stage, is all-or-nothing. There are transitions and overlaps. This sutra is reminding us that this is also the case with samyama. It has three principle stages—concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and samadhi—which develop by degrees until samyama is fully achieved and sabija samadhi is attained.

III:7  These three—dharana, dhyana and samadhi—are inner limbs and surpass the previous [five] limbs.

The previous five limbs—yama, niyama and the three limbs of sun-moon union, asana, pranayama and pratyahara—are yoga kindergarten in comparison to samyama and sabija samadhi.

Swami Kripalu says . . .
“With the help of the gross kundalini, one is able to attain sabija samadhi. The subtle kundalini is the form of shakti or prana through which nirbija samadhi (the higher state of samadhi in which the mind dissolves, or becomes non-mind) is realized. Those who know yoga propitiate Lord Shiva in the gross kundalini form, and Shakti in the subtle kundalini form. It is because of this that their conjoined forms are known as ardhanarishvara (half-male-half-female-God).”

The suggestion has been made that we are not yet finished with the subject of samadhi. There is a higher samadhi known as nirbija. We will take this up next week.

Love,
Durga Ma
durgama.com

__________ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ __________

Samadhi — The Final Result of Yoga

Yoga Sutras, Chapter 3 on Raja Yoga (Royal Union) continued.

Previously:
Concentration

III:1  Concentration (dharana) is the binding of the mind-stuff (chitta) to one place.

Meditation
III:2  When definitely established with certainty in that one place, concentration (dharana) becomes meditation (dhyana).

This week:
Samadhi

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 Samadhi
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 Samadhi
Samprajnata – with a knowable. Samprajnata refers to what is perceptible, or knowable, the ‘objects’ referred to in the sutra.

Savikalpa Samadhi
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.

Love,
Durga Ma
durgama.com

__________ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ __________

Dhyana — The Meditative State

Yoga Sutras, Chapter 3 on Raja Yoga (Royal Union) continued.

Last week:
Concentration
III:1  Concentration (dharana) is the binding of the mind-stuff (chitta) to one place.

This week:
Meditation
III:2  When definitely established with certainty in that one place, concentration (dharana) becomes meditation (dhyana).

The word dhyana refers to a true state of meditation, not just sitting like a pretzel and trying to make your mind shut up, or listening to ringing bowls, or sitting in the silence, as if there were nothing to know or learn about meditation.

Dhyana is a Sanskrit term that means “meditation.” The true state of meditation is a result of yoga sadhana, the regular practice of yoga. Yoga not only means union with God, but is the means of attaining union with God.

Look at this chart of the eight limbs of yoga as presented by the great sage, Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutras. You will notice that meditation (dhyana) is nearly last in the sequence, yet we westerners presume to begin here, unaware (or ignoring) that there is actually something to be learned and which must take place before true meditation can begin. Of the eight limbs, meditation is number seven:

Dhyana is a true meditative state that, as you will see as we go along, is not all that different from the highly sought-after samadhi. Everything that comes before meditation is what makes meditation not only possible, but effective. What do I mean by “effective”? I mean that true meditation will take you to samadhi and ultimately, to the end of all your troubles, freedom, fulfillment and endless joy. (Was there something else you wanted?)

Yoga, Meditation and Samadhi are Synonymous Terms

In the practice of meditation, initially the control of the physical senses is achieved through meditation with movement. As meditation evolves, the control of the mind is attained by means of meditation in which there is no movement. In this meditation, the mind is concentrated—the chitta is concentrated, bound to one thing, one place, as described in the sutras above. This is the natural order of the development of meditation to its maturity.

The mature state of meditation is samadhi, a state of super-conscious bliss in which the mind gets dissolved into nature, prakrti, the first cause, the original source of nature as we know it. The chief role of meditation is to bring about samadhi, which can be only be achieved through meditation.

A mind dissolved into nature becomes non-mind, devoid of any change. This changeless state ensures eternal happiness, peace and joy, and one becomes free from the duality of pleasure and pain, the final relief from all miseries. This is salvation, liberation, the end product of yoga.

The purification of the body and mind come to one through regular practice, but this alone is not enough. Once this task begins, one must be constantly on the alert to see that no new impurities creep in. Yama and niyama (restraints and observances) are aids to this, and help to make the journey simpler. If they are neglected, obstacles crop up and have to be removed. To save time and energy, one resorts to yama and niyama.

There are several yamas and several niyamas, but Patanjali has conveniently narrowed them down to five yamas and five niyamas most suited to yoga sadhana (whew!).

Next week, we’ll have a look at…SAMADHI.

Love,
Durga Ma
durgama.com

Learn how to understand and use the yamas and niyamas in, Ten Keys to Success (scroll down the page).

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