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The truth about Samādhi

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

16 August 2021

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The truth about samādhi is that it is only a step in the pursuit of Truth. It is just a means, though indispensable. The end, the finale, is different and it lies far away. Tattva-jnāna (knowledge of the Ultimate Truth) is the finale.

…Sage Vasishtha introduced the theme of eka-samādhāna, asking Sri Rama to attain it for himself. Sri Rama immediately asks the Sage to explain the concept. Sage Vasishtha explains it, illustrating his explanation with the story of Suraghu and Parigha and the conversation between them.

He who has attained eka-samādhānatva does not need to resort to samādhi. The cat is an animal, which has the unique capacity of falling always on its four legs and thereby remaining unhurt. In the same way, the well illumined Knower will have his mind collected and composed at all times. Whatever he is doing externally and whatever is caused to him from any quarter, his mind’s samādhāna will never dwindle or suffer.

Practice of samādhi is indispensable for a sādhaka. For only during samādhi, as in deep sleep, his mind will remain free of all associations and workings and then stabilize itself in stillness and peace. Spells of samādhi will be necessary for him to know and realize firsthand that he is not the body, but the self-knowing Awareness or Consciousness. During samādhi, his understanding will dissolve into the self-luminous Spirit, which animates the body, so much so, that when he wakes up from samādhi, he will be led to think that he is the Spirit, not matter. His insight will deepen and the outlook about the world and his life will change. The feeling that he is the body will begin to dwindle and finally leave him.

However, to think that the practice of samādhi is the finale in spiritual life is wrong. The man of perfection is not one who is permanently immersed in samādhi. Even samādhi is a state or avastha, brought by the antaḥ-karaṇa (inner consciousness, the mind). Like any other state, it surges up and after a while, governed by the same law that brought it forth, it subsides or disappears. In other words, it is a state which will come and go. Therefore, one who courts samādhi, has also to break away from it subsequently.

If the samādhi state is held to be the mark of spiritual perfection, the seeker can never hope to attain it, for it does not endure forever. That means his sādhanā will be a wild-goose-chase, a never-fructifying pursuit. No intelligent man can take to such an abortive venture.

The truth about samādhi is that it is only a step in the pursuit of Truth. It is just a means, though indispensable. The end, the finale, is different and it lies far away. Tattva-jnāna (knowledge of the Ultimate Truth) is the finale. Samādhi experience helps and promotes the dawning of tattva-jnāna. When knowledge of Truth is really attained, there will be no rise or fall for the sādhaka. His attainment will remain uniform, ever the same. Under all conditions it will sustain itself.

Tattva-jnāna does not depend upon any condition of the mind or body for its prevalence. As long as memory prevails, Knowledge will endure intact. That Knowledge will be, in this case, not of the mortal body but of the Immortal Self, the Supreme Consciousness. The process is simple to understand. Do not complicate it by a wrong approach or due to lack of boldness…

– From the book — Quietitude of the Mind

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“ If the samādhi state is held to be the mark of spiritual perfection, the seeker can never hope to attain it, for it does not endure forever. ”

“During samādhi, his understanding will dissolve into the self-luminous Spirit, which animates the body.”

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