Virama Pratyayabhyasa Purvah Samskaraseso’nyah
Virama: complete cessation | Pratyaya: content of mind (mental modification) | Abhyasa: by the practice | Purvah: of the previous | Samskara: impressions | Sesah (seso): remain | Anyah (nyah): the other [samadhi]
“[U]nderstand the nature completely, then bring it under your control and then push it aside and get liberated…There is no other way except to understand it, handle it properly and then rise above it.”-Sri Swami Satchidananda
In Yoga, to “be in this world, but not of it,” is to be in (or to have consistently, spontaneously, naturally and/or consciously attained) a state of consciousness referred to as Samadhi, or total Self-collectedness.
It is important, however, to remember that, according to Patanjali, there are two types of Samadhi that are the cornerstone for reaching different stages of enlightenment through inner purification and concentration in/on the Self (and numerous levels within these two different states as well).
In Yoga, there is Distinguished Samadhi (Samprajnata Samadhi), and Undistinguished Samadhi (Asamprajnata Samadhi), which have nothing to do with the common use of the word distinction that we often use to elevate something to a more honorable place than something else in our Western societies. The difference between Distinguished Samadhi and Undistinguished Samadhi is simply in the technicality of how identity, or the “I” sense (Ahamkara), is present or not present/perceived within the two given states.
In Distinguished Samadhi, one is simply distinguished as an individual with a sense of personal “I” identity as he/she navigates through the world, while in Undistinguished Samadhi, no “I,” or separate ego identity (not even buried in the subconscious mind to potentially be aroused) is present in the final/highest stage. In Undistinguished Samadhi there is no distinction between the human-being expressed in physical human form and his/her True Self, beyond form-identification, connected to all that is.
Distinguished Samadhi, therefore, is a state in which a person is in the world, but not of it’s trappings and illusions (although he/she may still have the seeds of Samskaras (impressions) present within him/her that could potentially grow into mental distortions or suffering in the future, or at any time, since there is still an “I” to which any past impressions could get attached. In the early stages of Asamprajnata Samadhi, as noted in Sutra 18, these past impressions remain as well, but, it is important to note that they are less likely, due to the deepening orientation of/with the Self beyond physical form, to drag one back into Samsara/suffering (or for extended periods of time).
At the final stage of Undistinguished Samadhi (which we will discuss in more detail later in our studies), however, all Samskaras become nullified as one goes deeper into his/her purer Self expression. At this final stage, one cannot even potentially get attached to any ego identity, or its trappings, since the ego will no longer be present, having been dissolved completely by one’s “convicted practice,” or clear focus/concentration.
In this state, a person is in this world, but is truly beyond it, and is, therefore, free from suffering within it. In this state, one’s perceptive point of view directly and clearly reflects knowledge of the True Reality and of the True Self.
Undistinguished Samadhi is the state in which a person becomes fully Self-Realized and then effectively progresses to free him/herself from the trappings and illusion of Maya (the illusory appearance of the lower fluctuating, ever-changing reality, as Real).
IMPORTANT STUDY TIP! Reaching Undistinguished Samadhi is the aim of contemplating the four different aspects of form discussed last week.
Once the personal “I’ is completely dissolved, “[o]nly the consciousness is there and nothing else. Once this is achieved, the individual is completely liberated and there is no more coming into the world and getting tossed” (Sri Swami Satchidananda).
In this state, there is only peace and the experience of the Purusa, or Pure Self/Pure consciousness, and one lives out the rest of his/her days as a Jivanmukta, or one who exists in physical expression but is simultaneously liberated from it, while present on the Earth.
For last week’s Reflection, I introduced this week’s prompt/activity, which I hope some of you have already begun practicing:
Last week, I introduced how “Samadhi reminds you that you are nothing and everything simultaneously. If selfishness is present, then you are still lacking in self awareness.”
The “goal” in Yoga is to always first seek to know your True Self, removing all false-self-identifications by intently (with single-focused, concentrated effort) practicing with this aim in mind. Once your false-self-identifications (to form, subtle and tangible) are dissolved, only the Truth of Sat (existence), chit (consciousness), Ananda (pure, impersonal, Love/Bliss) is present, and then, you can “serve” fully from that place…In service to your True Self, and the Truth, connected to all of creation, not as a person(a), but as the eternal, boundless, being.
This week, I invite you to integrate this intention into your practice:
Set the intention to drop all of your false selves while practicing the eight limbs of Yoga.