How to achieve the
states of samādhi

Contd from Knowledge Sheet 14

The four types of samādhi that we discussed are vitarkānugama samādhi (the calmness that you get from specialized logic), vichārānugama samādhi (an equanimous state where you are aware of your thoughts, yet they are not disturbing you), ānandanugama samādhi (blissful state), and asmitānugama samādhi (deep experience of meditation with just the awareness that 'you are'). All four are called sampragnātaḥ.

Now, how to achieve these states of samādhi? The next Patañjali Yoga Sutrā says it is very simple.

virāmapratyayābhyāsapūrvaḥ saṁskāraśeṣo'nyaḥ ॥18॥

विरामप्रत्ययाभ्यासपूर्वः संस्कारशेषोऽन्यः ॥१८॥

The practice of deep rest consciously happens (naturally) in some people due to old impressions. Just by doing something, you cannot achieve this awareness. You cannot bring up the intelligence or alertness in you by effort. This happens without effort, by relaxation, by reposing in the Self.

                   - Patañjali Yoga Sutra 1.18


Virāma means to put a full stop, to put an end to all the content in the mind. Saṁskāraśeṣo’nyaḥ is another type of samādhi where through practice you put an end to all the chattering that is happening in the mind. This is also a practice. 

For some people, this comes through old samskaras, due to some old impressions of past lives, while others have to do a lot of practice in order to be calm and equanimous; in order to bring up more awareness in them.

Some people start opening up right from their birth while some suddenly open up to a spiritual experience after they are 30 or 40 years old. But unfortunately, most of them get misguided. The experience becomes so real to them that they think they see visions. And they begin to make prophecies about the end of the world, that they may have read about somewhere.

This is because they have no knowledge of the root of yoga. They may see a white light coming down, and they will claim that something is happening. People get misled by such experiences. But, someone who knows the roots will be aware of all such experiences.

Do you know that when you do tai-chi, qi-gong, and yogāsanas mindfully, what you are doing? You are putting an end to all the chattering in the mind. When you listen to the big metallic gong of a Buddhist temple or to the bells in a Hindu temple, at that time, all other thoughts and constraints in the mind are put to rest. Everything stops. And, though there may be some old impressions in the consciousness, it definitely leads you into a deeper samādhi.


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(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)