Chapter XIII – 7 – 8
7. SAHAJ SAMADHI
The different forms of meditation practised before consciously entering the Path, as well as the different forms of general and special meditation, adopted after becoming an aspirant, are preparatory to the attainment of the highest state of Sahaj Samadhi or spontaneous meditation, in which the aspirant becomes permanently established when he realizes the ultimate goal of life. The Sahaj Samadhi of the Siddha or God-realized person is continuous with all prior forms of meditation and is a culmination of them. But it is different in kind and belongs to an entirely different order.
The spontaneity or effortlessness of Sahaj Samadhi must be distinguished from the pseudo spontaneity present in the “meditations” of the man who has not entered the Path. The mind of the worldly man is engrossed in objects of sense, and he experiences no sense of effort in the “meditations” concerning these objects. His mind dwells upon them because of a natural interest in them, and not because of any deliberate effort on his part. The sense of effort arises, not in allowing the mind to dwell upon these objects, but in trying to dissuade it from them. So the pre-spiritual forms of “meditation” seem to have some similarity with the culminating Sahaj Samadhi of the Siddha. in having a sense of spontaneity. But this resemblance between the initial phase of meditation and its final phase is superficial, since Sahaj Samadhi and pre-spiritual “meditations” are separated by vital differences of great spiritual importance.
The sense of spontaneity, experienced in the pre-spiritual “meditations” concerned with worldly objects and pursuits, is due to the interests created by sanskaras. The pre-spiritual “meditations” are the working out of the momentum of accumulated sanskaras of the past. They are not only far from being the expression of true freedom, they are symptoms of spiritual bondage. At the pre-spiritual level, man is engulfed in ignorance concerning the goal of infinite freedom; and, though he is far from being happy and contented, he gets so deeply identified with sanskaric interests, that he experiences gratification in their furtherance. But the pleasure of his pursuits is conditional and transitory, and the spontaneity that he experiences in them is illusory, because through all his pursuits his mind is working under limitations.
Freedom and spontaneity in Sahaj Samadhi
The mind is capable of genuine freedom and spontaneity of action only when completely free from sanskaric ties, which is possible only when it is merged in the state of the Sahaj Samadhi of the Siddha. It is, therefore, important to note that though there may seem to be a resemblance between the Sahaj Samadhi of the Siddha and the pre-spiritual “meditations” of the worldly man, this resemblance hides the difference between illusory and true spontaneity, bondage and freedom, pleasure and abiding happiness. In the pre-spiritual meditations, the movement of the mind is under unconscious compulsion, and in Sahaj Samadhi, mental activity is released under conscious initiative.
The different forms of meditation that characterize the life of the spiritual aspirant are midway between the pre-spiritual “meditations” of the worldly man and the Sahaj Samadhi of the Siddha, and constitute the link between them. When a man’s acquiescence in sanskaric interests is profoundly disturbed by any set back, defeat or suffering, or is shaken by an imparted spark of spiritual understanding, he becomes conscious of his bondage and the falseness of his perceptions, and the different forms of meditation that are resorted to arise out of his struggle towards emancipation from the bondage of receptive desires. The forms of meditation that are spiritually important begin when a person has become an aspirant or Sadhaka.
The meditation of the aspirant in all its forms counteracts instinctive or other tendencies inherent in the mind. He adopts different forms of meditation as a means to an end, because he looks upon them as avenues to the Truth. They are intelligent and deliberate effort. The mind interested in the various aspects of the Truth, which the different forms of meditation are concerned with, finds these forms of meditation increasingly spontaneous. In none of the meditations of an aspirant is the element of spontaneity more pronounced than in those forms of personal meditation that require the expression of love. But full spontaneity and freedom remain unattained until the goal of meditation is achieved; until then there is a mixture of deliberateness and spontaneity. The reaching out towards spiritual freedom is throughout accompanied by a sense of effort, which persists until all false perceptions are overcome. Though effort may vary in its intensity, it never disappears until there is reached the tranquillity of final attainment.
Progress towards Sahaj Samadhi
In Sahaj Samadhi there is no effort because there are no obstacles to overcome or objectives to achieve; there is the infinite spontaneity of unfettered freedom and the unbroken peace and bliss of Truth-Realization. Progress towards Sahaj Samadhi consists of transition from unquestioned acquiesence in the momentum of sanskaras to a desperate struggle with sanskaric limitations, and ends in complete freedom, when consciousness is no longer determined by the deposits of the past but is active in the perception of the eternal Truth.
The Sahaj Samadhi of the Siddha is different from the meditation of the aspirant, not only in respect of freedom and spontaneity of consciousness, but also in other respects. All the different forms of meditation in which the aspirant may be engaged aim at securing a merging of the mind in the infinite Truth. They only partially succeed and fall short of the annihilation of the individual mind. They represent varying degrees of approximation towards the spiritual goal, but not its realization. In Sahaj Samadhi, however, there is realization of the spiritual goal, for the limited mind is completely annihilated and has arrived at the total merging in the infinite Truth.
Exaltations in Meditation
The aspirant’s meditation in its higher forms often brings a sense of expansion and freedom, as well as the joy and illumination of the higher planes; but neither the sense of expansion and freedom nor the joy and illumination are abiding, because when the aspirant comes down from his exalted state he is again what he was, viz., a person held up in the shackles of sanskaric limitations.
Just as a prisoner who looking out of the window of his prison at the expanse of the sky may get lost in the vision of space, so the aspirant who enters into a trance-meditation may temporarily forget limitations immersed in the light and bliss that it brings. But though the prisoner may have forgotten the prison, he has not escaped from it: neither has the aspirant absorbed in the trancemeditation lost the chains that hold him to the world of illusion. The prisoner becomes conscious of his bondage as soon as he turns his mind to his surroundings, and the aspirant becomes conscious of his failings as soon as he returns to normal consciousness. The ascending forms of trance-meditation may bring increasing occult powers, but not the unending knowledge and bliss accessible in the Sahaj Samadhi to the Siddha who has attained emancipation by breaking through the chains of Maya. There is still another difference between the trance-meditations of the aspirant and the Sahaj Samadhi of the Siddha. The trance-meditation is usually sustained by some phenomenal object capable of exercising attraction. The lights, colours, tastes, smells and sounds of the subtle sphere have their part to play in helping the mind to withdraw from worldly things. Thus the trance-meditation of the aspirant is not selfsustained being dependent upon the objects to which the mind directs itself.
Sahaj Samadhi is self-sustained
The Sahaj Samadhi of the Siddha is self-sustained and in no way dependent upon any object of the mind. It is a state of wakefulness which has the steadiness of true perception.
The different forms of general and specialized meditation resorted to by the aspirant are valuable within limits. They must not be looked upon as having the same value for all or as being equally necessary for all. They are among the ways that lead towards the divine destination. For the few who are in an advanced spiritual state the ordinary forms of meditation are unnecessary. Those who are in direct contact with a God-realized Master may find the special forms of meditation unnecessary. It is enough to be under the guidance of the Master and to have love for him. Those rare beings who have attained selfrealization and are always in the state of Sahaj Samadhi not only do not need any form of meditation, but themselves become objects of meditation when they are able to give their help to others.
8. THE ASCENT TO SAHAJ SAMADHI
When the mind is tuned to the object of meditation it merges in the Truth and experiences Sahaj Samadhi, or state of spontaneous enjoyment of uninterrupted self-knowledge, in which the aspirant loses his limited individuality to discover that he is identical with God. The Sahaj Samadhi is a culmination of the earlier forms of personal and impersonal meditation, not their product.
All forms of meditation followed by the aspirant, as well as his other spiritual efforts, have but one aim, to realize his longing to be united with the Infinite. When this union is effected the Sadhaka (aspirant) becomes Siddha (one who has attained the goal). The union with the Infinite, which the Siddha achieves is referred to by the Sufis as Vast. It is this state of union with God which is described by Christ in the words: “I and my father are one”. Many have written about this highest state of consciousness, but it remains indescribable. It cannot be expressed in words, and therefore cannot be explained. But though it can never be explained it can be experienced. This highest state of the Siddha is called the state of Sahaj Samadhi.
To dwell in Sahaj Samadhi is to experience the God-state, in which the self knows itself to be God, because it has shed all limiting factors. The God-state of the Siddha is in contrast to the body-state of the worldly man. The worldly man concerned with eating, drinking, sleeping and the satisfaction of other bodily desires, does not extend his consciousness beyond the body, and thinks in terms of the body. He lives and moves and has his being in time and space.
The life of energy
The first step towards the God-state of Sahaj Samadhi is taken when the body-state is transcended. The shedding of the bodystate means entering the sphere of existence that is comprised of energy. The self is not subject to time and space. It is lifted to the domain of energy. Body or form is a solidification of energy; and to rise from the world of forms to the sphere of energy amounts to an advance towards a pure state of being. The energy-state is free from many of the limitations that obtain in the world of forms. Consciousness then vibrates in and through energy. In the energy-state, the eating and drinking of the body-state are paralleled by the absorption and assimilation of energy. The self at this level exercises control over energy. It is through the use of energy that it seeks fulfilment. But its actions are still within the domain of spiritual limitation. It can see, hear and smell things that are inaccessible to the body-state, and can perform many things (such as producing light in the dark, or living for thousands of years only on the drinking of energy), which appear to be miracles to those who are in the body-state. But the sphere of its existence is that of energy, and its life is completed by energy. The energy-state is the state of the spiritually advanced, but is far from being the state of perfection, which expresses itself through the Sahaj Samadhi of the Siddha.
The life of the mind
The second important step towards Sahaj Samadhi is taken, when the self transcends the domain of energy and enters the domain of the mind. All energy is an expression of the mind, therefore the transition from the energy-state to the mind-state constitutes an advance towards the God-state of Sahaj Samadhi. In the mind-state, consciousness is directly linked with the mind. Here consciousness is in no way fettered by the body or energy. The saints who are in the mind-state have full control over the body and energy, they can read and influence the minds of others and even raise the dead. However, the mind-state is still within the domain of duality and illusion and has to be transcended before the attainment of union with the Infinite.
The entire advance from the very beginning consists in gradually curtailing and transcending the working of the individual mind. The mind functions in the body-state and the energy-state. In the body-state the mind thinks in terms of the body, in the energy-state in terms of energy, and in the mind-state in its own terms. However, even when the mind thinks in its own terms it does not attain knowledge and realization of the Infinite, because itself is the veil between its thought and the Truth. Though the mind may be unencumbered by the life of the body or the life of energy, it is still limited by separate consciousness. The mind has to be merged and dissolved in the Infinite before it is possible to experience the God-state of Sahaj Samadhi. Form is solidified energy, energy is an expression of the mind, the mind is the covered mirror of Eternity, and Eternity is the Truth, which has thrown off the mask of the mind.
To discard the limiting mind is no easy thing. The chief difficulty lies in the fact that the mind has to be annihilated through the mind itself. One indispensable condition is the most intense longing for unity with the Infinite Reality. But patience is equally necessary. One Master told his disciple that to attain the highest state he had to be bound to a wooden plank, with his hands and feet tied, thrown into a river, and then to strive to keep his garments dry. The disciple could not understand the meaning of this. He went from place to place until he came to another saint and asked the meaning of the injunction given by the Master. The saint explained that it meant that to attain God he had to long for union with him, as if he could not live another moment without it, and yet to have the inexhaustible patience that could wait for endless years. If there is lack of intense longing for unity with God, the mind lapses into its usual sanskaric working, and if there is lack of infinite patience, the very longing that the mind
entertains sustains the working of the limited mind. Only when there is a balance between infinite longing and infinite patience can the aspirant hope to pierce through the veil of the limited mind; and this combination of extremes comes only through the grace of the Master.
To dwell in Sahaj Samadhi, is to dwell in Truth-consciousness. This state cannot be grasped by anyone whose mind is active. The God-stale is beyond the mind; for it dawns when the limited mind disappears in the final union with the Infinite. The self now knows itself through itself, not through the mind. The worldly man knows that he is a human being, not a dog; in the same way, in Sahaj Samadhi the self knows that it is God, not finite. The worldly man does not have to keep repeating to himself that he is not a dog, and in Sahaj Samadhi, the self does not need any inducing of God-Gonsciousness through repeated suggestions; it knows itself to be God through effortless intuition.
The life in Eternity
He who has Sahaj Samadhi is established in the knowledge of the self. This knowledge does not come and go. In the state of ignorance the aspirant looks upon himself as a man or woman, as the agent of limited actions and the experiencer of joys and pains; but in the state of knowledge he knows himself as the self, which is not limited by these things, and is untouched by them. Once he knows his own true nature, he does not get involved in ignorance. This state of God-consciousness is infinite, characterized by unlimited understanding, purity, love and happiness. To be initiated in Sahaj Samadhi is to arrive at the endlessness of life in Eternity.
Two forms of Sahaj Samadhi
Sahaj Samadhi has two forms: (i) Nirvana or absorption in divinity; and (2) Nirvikalpa or divinity in expression. When consciousness is withdrawn entirely from all the bodies and the world of creation it leads to Nirvana or the beyond state; but when consciousness is made to function through the bodies without attachment or identification, it leads to Nirvikalpa Samadhi or the Sadguru-state, in which though consciousness is attached to the bodies as instruments, it is detached from them inwardly by nonidentification. The piercing of the mind amounts to the complete
withdrawal of consciousness from the universe and its absorption in God. This is the state where the universe becomes zero; it is Nirvana. Most of those who attain Nirvana do not come back again to the consciousness of the universe. The few who descend to the consciousness of the universe experience it as nothing but God, and remain constantly in the Nirvikalpa state. Nirvikalpa means a life where the mental activity of false imagination has come to an end, and where the oscillations of the limited mind are stilled in the realization of Eternal Truth.
The Sahaj Samadhi of the Nirvikalpa state comes to those who descend from the seventh plane. It belongs to the Sadgurus and the Avatars. The poise and harmony of this state remain undisturbed even while giving energetic response to the changing circumstances of life. He who has this state sees God everywhere and in everything; he sees nothing but God. His God-state is therefore in no way lessened while dealing with the things of this world. In the battlefield, while flying in an aeroplane, or talking to people, or engaged in any other activities, he is still in the conscious enjoyment of the Truth.
The state of Nirvana and the Nirvikalpa state are similar to the state of Mukto or Moksha in representing the merging of the individual soul in God and in yielding the eternal bliss and infinite knowledge of super-consciousness. But Mukti or Moksha is experienced after the soul has dropped its bodies; and the state of Nirvana as well as the Nirvikalpa state can both be experienced before giving up the bodies. However, though the state of Nirvana and the Nirvikalpa state are similar in this respect and though they are also the same in essence there is a difference.
When the self leaves the ego-shell and enters into the infinite life of God, its limited individuality is replaced by unlimited individuality. The self is God-conscious and preserves its individuality. The important point is that individuality is not extinguished, it becomes spiritualized. However, though the unlimited individuality of the self is retained in union with the Infinite, it may remain eternally quiescent in the experience of self-contained divinity. None returns to world consciousness from this state of Nirvana or absorption. Sometimes, however, the self that has just entered the infinite life of God establishes its unlimited individuality through the release of dynamic divinity. This is the Sahaj Samadhi of the Nirvikalpa state.