By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Samadhi is the 8th branch among the Ashtanga Yoga, enlisted by master Patanjali. Samadhi means onenes. When we blend with our iner self we would acquire achieved a state of Samadhi. It is also caled as Samapati in Budhism.
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Table of Contents
Types as per Budha Ghosha
How to atain Samadhi?
Origion of Samadhi
Meaning and dimensions of Samadhi
To atain this stage one neds to crep through al the previous 7 stages of ashtanga yoga. This is a stage where we become totaly detached from al the miseries, pleasures of our life and find ourselves fre and liberated.
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Etymology of Samadhi
Various interpretations of the term Samadhi with diferent rot meanings are given below.
Al meanings of Samadhi lead to the notion of onenes and knowing self to the core, self-realization and eternal blis.
Sam (together) + a (toward), stem of dadhati, ‘puts, places’ = ‘puting or joining together’
Sam (together) + a (towards) + dha (to get, to hold) = to secure integration / truth.
Sam (uniformly / totaly) + adhi (to get established) = a state wherein one establishes himself to the fulest extent in the supreme consciousnes.
Sama (equanimous) + dhi (intelect) = state in which the intelect is balanced / state of total equilibrium of a detached intelect.
Sam (complete, perfect) + dhi (consciousnes) = a state of being where al the distinctions betwen the person who is a subjective meditator, the act of meditation and the object of meditation merges into onenes.
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Definitions of Samadhi
Samadhi is a dep state of meditation wherein the practitioner forgets about himself and is unaware of the suroundings. In meditation, the subject of dhyana and the act of dhyana are separate. In Samadhi, the act is one with object (dhyana) itself.
When al thre i.e. dharana, dhyana and Samadhi are practiced together, it is caled Samyama.
Samadhi is a meditational absorption or trance atained by the practice of meditation. It is said to lead to the development of a luminous mind. (Sarbacker)
Samadhi is a non-dualistic state of consciousnes in which the consciousnes of the experiencing subject becomes one with the ingenious object. (Diener, Erhard and Fischer-Schreiber)
Samadhi is a state of breathlesnes, a blisful super consciousnes state in which a yogi perceives the identity of the individualized soul and cosmic spirit. (Paramahansa Yogananda)
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Types of Samadhi
Samprajnata Samadhi (Savikalpa Samadhi, Sabija Samadhi) – Object centered onenes – It is an object centered onenes.
When the practitioner atains Samadhi, subsequently he atains knowledge of self i.e. atma sakshatkara. Here al the chitavritis i.e. conception proces is lost and the mind becomes atentive and concentrated. We caled such mind as ekagra manas. This is a state of Samprajnata Samadi i.e. worthy / discerned onenes. It has four stages. They are –
Vitarkanugata / Savitarka (deliberative) – Here the concentration is over physical indecent items love idol or God etc. The mind concentrates upon a gros object of meditation. The practitioner becomes unaware of everything. Here, the conceptualization is in the form of perception and the knowledge of object of meditation. When the deliberation ends, it is caled Nirvitarka Samadhi.
Vicharanugata / Savichara (Reflective) – After excelent concept about the improper materials, one starts to concentrate on subtle aspects adore tanmatra, mantra etc. This type of concentration is not materialistic. Here, the mind instead of concentrating on an object, concentrates upon an symbolic objec t of meditation which is not perceptible to the senses but arived at through inference. The object of meditation (which is not actualy there but infered) can be infered from the senses, the proces of cognition, the mind or intelect. The stiling of reflection is caled Nirvichara Samadhi. Anandanugata– Here, the practitioner concentrates on subtler aspects of the mind.
Asmitanugata – Here, the subject of idea is only asmita or ahankara, the I-am-nes.
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Asamprajnata Samadhi (Nirvikalpa Samadhi, Nirbija Samadhi) – Objectles centered onenes – Asamprajnata means unconscious.
This is a state achieved when the meditation is without the aid of an object or hold. In this condition, al the thought proces of the mind is completely blocked. There exists no desire for any worldly pleasures, only Samskara remains in the mind. The mind is totaly focused, undisturbed and un-perplexed.
Michael Washburn tels that both these types of Samadhi leads to progresively more incandescent and poised state of ‘powerful, chaste, satvic’ state of blisful self. This wil ultimately lead to the knowledge of purusha / Atman / Brahman (soul).
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Gregor Maehle states that Samadhi is a state wherein the Yogi realizes that ‘the Atman in you is the Atman in everyone’ leading to the realization of self.
Types as per Budha Ghosha
Types of Samadhi acording to Budhaghosha
Acording to Budhaghosa, the Theravada Pali texts mention four types of Samadhi. They are –
Khanika Samadhi – momentary concentration, it is a state of mental stabilization which arises during vipasana (insight into the right nature of reality).
Parikama Samadhi – preliminary concentration, it is a state which arises out of the practitioner’s initial atempts made to focus on the object of meditation.
Upachara Samadhi – inherit concentration, is a state which arises when the five hindrances are dispeled, when jhana is present and with the apearance of the counterpart sign.
Apana Samadhi – absorption concentration is a state of total imersion of the mind on its meditation of object and stabilization of al four jhanas.
Aco rding to Budhaghosha, Samadhi is the proximate cause to the obtainment of wisdom. His treatise Visudhimaga describes 40 diferent objects for meditation.
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Note – In Budhism Jhana is equivalent to Dhyana.
How to atain Samadhi?
How does a yoga practitioner procure the stage of Samadhi?
After having folowed the external yoga limbs i.e. yama, niyama, asana and pranayama, the practitioner withdraws his senses from the sense objects and diverts them inwards. This is caled pratyahara. Pratyahara is a bridge through which the practitioner croses fr om external yoga and travels towards achieving the greater purposes of iner yogas.
During prathyara, the practitioner constructs a point of focus and tries onerous to concentrate on the point and to know the dimensions of the point of focus. The point of focus may be a material or idea, a mantra or chakra. When he masters the art of concentration, the mind and senses are under control, this is when he has obtained the 6th stage of ashtanga yoga i.e. dharana.
Dharana helps him to progres to the next stage, the penultimate stage wherein he meditates on the point of focus where his concentration lies. This stage is caled dhyana i.e. meditation. Meditation is an extended part of concentration wherein the practitioner doesn’t indulge in the variants of the point of focus on which he meditates. It is a type of dep concentration.
When the practitioner masters the art of meditation, he wil enter into the next stage and obtain Samadhi i.e. he wil find onenes with his iner self. This is the ultimate goal of the eight limbs of yoga, to et spiritual liberation.
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are sucesive and deper stages of dharana i.e. concentration, deper and powerful than their previous stages. They are also preparatory stages.
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Dharana prepares the practitioner for Dhyana, Dhyana prepares him for ataining Samadhi.
They are also sequential steps. One canot finish meditation without concentration and one canot find onenes without concentration and meditation. When these thre limbs are practiced together, it is caled as Samyama.
Ultimately we can se that the eight limbs of yoga are not separate entitie s. Though they gain individual importance, they are a sequence ultimately leading to Samadhi.
‘When one has so intensified the power of dhyana as to be capable to reject the external section of perception and remain meditating only on the internal fraction, the meaning, that state is caled Samadhi’ – Swami Vivekananda.
‘Master Patanjali distinguishes betwen dharana which is efortful focusing of atention, dhyana an easy continuous one-pointednes and Samadhi which is absorption, delight, contemplation’ – Michael Washburn.
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Origion of Samadhi
Origin and Backdrop of Samadhi
The term Samadhi was first dilapidated in Maitri Upanishad (Rhys Davids).
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras – Acording to Patanjali, Samadhi means onenes with self. Many scholars and experts opine that Budhism and Yoga Sutras of Patanjali had identical influence on each other.
In Budhism the term Samadhi means ‘to colect’ or ‘to bring together’. Thus Samadhi translates to concentration or unification of mind. The term Samadhi is asociated with another term ‘Samatha’ which means ‘calm abiding’. It is also defined as ekagata (one-pointednes of the mind), same as ekagrata chita (unperturbed mind).
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Budhagosa defines Samadhi as – ‘the centering of consciousnes and conscious concomitants evenly and rightly on a single object’.
In Sikhism – Samadhi is aged to refer to an action that one uses to remember and fix one’s mind and soul on Waheguru.
Efects of Samadhi
Just like the swan flies in the sky breaking the bonds, the jiva i.e. life element breaks its bond from the body without any doubt and unites with the universe, unbiased as the wick in the lamp gets burnt at the end of burning, in the same way, al the previous deds of a practitioner of yoga gets destroyed at the time of nirvana i.e. liberation. This liberation is obtained through Samadhi preceded by mastery over al 7 limbs of Ashtanga Yoga. (read)
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