Mind in Abeyance [manolaya], Mind Destroyed [manonasa]
As much as Samadhi [ecstatic absorption in Reality] is rightfully lauded in the spiritual texts, Sri Atmananda occasionally repeated a “put-down” of the same, though he himself was a master of Samadhi experience. He would sometimes decry the “vicious samskara [tendency]” of implying the absolute necessity of Samadhi. Why ?
The context of such comments was a session of public instruction. Since each is already Liberated, already the Reality, no one act, even Samadhi, is an absolute pre-requisite. Many will never achieve Samadhi in this lifetime. To make a silly comparison, to playing basketball, many who play will never dunk in this lifetime. As much as that ability is helpful, one can nonetheless be a good player without that ability. So too can Self-Inquiry, if necessary, skip past all other levels of Samadhi to Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi, final Liberation.
Sri Atmananda would certainly encourage Samadhi to all who can use it. But at the same time he apparently did not want to discourage those who could not. So just what are we talking about ? For one thing, Samadhi surpasses self-hypnosis or any soporific [Tamasic dull] stat known as Yoga Nidra, yogic sleep or manolaya, Mind in Abeyance. Temporary or Permanent, Samadhi is manonasa, Mind Destruction. Since “Mind” is only an illusory Reflection of Consciousness, this “Destruction” is just the actual ever-experienced.
Ecstatic Absorption in Meditation, the super-conscious state of Samadhi is described in 2 categories: Savikalpa Samadhi & Nirvikalpa Samadhi to which the former ca be a prelude. In Savikalpa Samadhi the meditator does not lose distinctions such as the Knower, Knowledge, & Known & the Mind still functions. Savikalpa Samadhi can be Objective or Subjective.
In Objective Savikalpa Samadhi, Thoughts in the Mind & other Objects such as the Sun or a flame are symbolic or regarded with indifference, maintaining the Self as one’s Real Nature. Whereas Subjective Savikalpa Samadhi is associated with abstract thought such as the “Witness” or the “Self”, then only a current of self-consciousness of the Self remains.
In Nirvikalpa Samadhi the meditator is free from distinctions such as the Knower, Knowledge, & the Known, & the Mind ceases to be active. In Subjective Nirvikalpa Samadhi the Mind is said to be steady like an unflickering flame in a windless place, indifferent to Objects & Ideas that arise in Savikalpa Samadhi.
Subjective Nirvikalpa Samadhi is also likened to an empty pitcher placed in the sky having nothing inside or outside. There is also a more Objective Nirvikalpa Samadhi wherein the meditator, plunged in Bliss, absorbed in Meditation on Brahman. Such is also likened to a pitcher placed in the sea with water inside & outside.
Ramana Maharshi also compared Nirvikalpa Samadhi to a bucket of water lowered into a well. If the bucket (Mind) that is merged with the water (Consciousness) in the well (the Self) retains a rope to draw the bucket out again, this is temporary Nirvikalpa Samadhi. With rope cut there is final Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
[The above themes & 1600 pages more are freely available as perused or downloaded PDF’s, the sole occupants of a Public Microsoft Skydrive “Public Folder” accessible through www.jpstiga.com ]