Samadhi

समाधि - səˈmaːd̪ʱi

Perfect union of the individualized soul with infinite spirit. (1) A state of oneness; complete absorption. (2)

Samadhi, which literally means “to direct together,” is the state in which the yogi perceive the identity of his soul as spirit. (3) It is an experience of divine ecstasy as well as of superconscious perception; the soul perceives the entire universe. (4) In other words, human consciousness becomes one with cosmic consciousness. (5) The soul realizes that it is much more than the conditioned body. (6) Christian saints have previously described this experience as “mystical marriage,” in which the soul merges into God and becomes one with Him. (7)

Although human consciousness is subject to relativity and dual experience, samadhi is the state in which experience is whole, infinite, and single. It is the eighth and final step on the path of yoga described by Patanjali. Samadhi may be attained through deep, continuous, and correct meditation. In this state, the three aspects of meditation — meditator, act of meditation, the object of meditation known as God — are finally united. Just as the wave melts into the sea, so too the human soul becomes one with the supreme spirit. (5)

Sabikalpa and Nirbikalpa Samadhi

There are two stages of samadhi: sabikalpa and nirbikalpa. Sabikalpa samadhi is a state of conditioned oneness. The meditator experiences the merging of his soul with infinite consciousness; however, he cannot preserve the experience outside of meditation. (6) Although sabikalpa samadhi is the first break from delusion, in which the meditator realizes that God alone exists, the soul is still bound by ego-consciousness. Some souls who achieve this state may return to delusion if they hold onto the belief that “I” have access to infinite power. (8)

Beyond sabikalpa samadhi, nirbikalpa samadhi is the state of unconditioned oneness. The soul rises above all ego bondages and realizes that it is eternally one with God; it becomes a jivan mukta. (8) Nevertheless, in order to achieve full liberation from ego-involvements, it must work through the memories of its ego attachments in the world. While working or speaking, for instance, the soul maintains its divine consciousness without any chance of returning to delusion. (6)

There are different kinds of samadhi depending on the object of meditation; for instance, AUM samadhi is the state experienced when one merges with God through the cosmic sound AUM. (9) “Samadhi” may also refer to a poem by Paramhansa Yogananda, which describes samadhi as experienced by the yogi. (10)

References

  1. Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda. p.121.
  2. Paramhansa Yogananda: A Biography, by Swami Kriyananda. Chapter 25, “The Eightfold Path of Patanjali.”
  3. Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda. p. 107.
  4. Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda. p. 121.
  5. a b Whispers from Eternity, by Paramhansa Yogananda. p. 116.
  6. a b c The Essence of Self-Realization, by Paramhansa Yogananda. Chapter 20, “Self Realization.”
  7. The Path, by Swami Kriyananda. p. 196.
  8. a b Demystifying Patanjali, by Swami Kriyananda. Book 1, Sutra 17.
  9. Demystifying Patanjali, by Swami Kriyananda. Book 3, Sutra 3.
  10. Whispers from Eternity, by Paramhansa Yogananda. “Samadhi.”