Nirvikalpa samadhi happens on which chakra? 'Baptism on spirit' happens on which chakra? "Born on spirit" happens on which chakra? Is "born on spirit" same as nirvikalpa samadhi?

—Mathew, India


Dear Matthew,

Nirbikalpa samadhi takes us beyond any of the chakras, though it would be fair to say that the rising of kundalini energy through the chakras up to the spiritual eye – and, at a certain point, through a subtle, psychic channel to the sahasrara and beyond – has its place in the description of nirbikalpa samadhi.

Yogananda describes the process of enlightenment and of liberation as going consecutively through each of the three aspects of the spiritual eye (outer golden ring being the astral realm; the inner circle of blue or indigo, the causal realm and the inner circle a silvery-white that leads to cosmic consciousness, aka samadhi). But he also taught that when one has achieved self-mastery [fixity of consciousness at the spiritual eye], a subtle, psychic channel opens from the spiritual eye up to the crown chakra (sahasrara).

Because samadhi itself is a process and a progression through various stages, for increasingly long periods,  etc, it would be no contradiction if at first, one goes through the spiritual eye and later with deeper involvement towards nirbikalpa samadhi that the crown chakra is at last opened. So the “answer” is first, the spiritual eye; and second, the crown chakra. All of the chakras must be “awakened” before nirbikalpa samadhi is achieved. After nirbikalpa, one is forever free even if not yet liberated by virtue of past karma. This past karma can be worked out from the state of enlightenment with relative ease and without regard to time and place.

Those terms, “baptism in spirit” and “born in spirit” are not phrases or terms that Yogananda employed, unless just in passing, casually. But he did describe immersion into the subtle spine (astral spine, or the sushumna) as a kind of spiritual baptism. This isn’t simply a one-time experience. It is an increasingly deep immersion and would be best to describe that as entering into the breathless state (which is what happens when one’s consciousness enters fully into the sushumna). This surely is an experience of “baptism in spirit.” It is not, however, either enlightenment or liberation, technically.

The phrase “born in the spirit” is a bit of an oxymoron since our soul has always been “in the spirit,” as a spark of the Infinite Spirit. We are, as it has been said, “as old as God!” As Jesus said: “Before Abraham was, I AM.”

However, and admitting that the phrase is unknown to me in any technical sense, I could say that one interpretation of being “born in the spirit” might be to describe the human birth of an avatar in the sense of that soul being born NOT by karmic compulsion of desire but by the grace and direction of God. I’m sure that there could be other interpretations of this phrase especially if take in the sense of being “reborn” as in the description of baptism above, or enlightenment or in any number of lesser but deeply spiritually transforming experiences.

I hope this explanation will be useful to you. In the end, our job is to “know, love, and serve God.” The process of our freedom, its means, time and place, are in His hands. As Yogananda put it, “You will know when you will know!”

Blessings and joy in Spirit!
Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA