We studied the four stages of concentration in our previous article. As we learnt, those stages were all concentration with object, which is called samprajnata samadhi.
In his next aphorism, Sage Patanjali describes concentration without any object which is called asamprajnata samadhi.
In this state not only the gross and subtle thoughts, but also the senses and thinking instruments of mind are in a concealed or unmanifested state. It is a very high state of realizing which cannot be explained by an individual to others. It is something to be experienced by self to feel the bliss.
To explain this state of meditation, The Sage Patanjali quotes,
virama pratyaya abhyasa purvah samskara shesha anyah
Objectless samadhi (asamprajnata samadhi) is the other form of deep concentration wherein no object is focused upon, fluctuations of mind have ceased and only imprints in the subconscious remain.
In this state of asamprajnata samadhi, concentration is on no object, there are no thoughts or vruttis. The sense of Self is surpassed, leaving impressions called Samskaras– the result of every action, thought, attachment and aversion. Samskaras are triggered by specific experiences, recall or through meditation.
As learnt in aphorism 1.17, we begin meditating on physical attributes, concentrating without fluctuation. this is lower Samadhi. Then begins meditation without content, without object, only Bliss as stated in our current aphorism 1.18, where concentration becomes more and more subtle until you reach the final state of meditation, which is absolute openness uniting with your true nature.
It takes you to a state of residing only in this pure consciousness which is then a permanent state of being.
Attainment of this state is preceded by the constant practice of allowing all the gross and subtle fluctuations of mind to retreat back into the field from which they arose.
Let us look more closely at the Sanskrit term “nirvikalpa.” The root “kalpa” means passage of time, Vikalpa is thus “change over time.” Nirvikalpa means literally “no change over time;” however, in common usage it translates as “thought-free meditation.” Applying the transliteration to common usage we see that the experience of nirvikalpa will be that of unchanging stillness free of perturbation from chitta vritti or samskara. This is an important point because this sutra says that in asamprajnata samadhi, samskaras remain.
It is important to understand that the objectless-ness is not simply quieting the noisy conscious mind as in beginning meditation. Allowing that noisy mind to gradually calm itself is an important step. Due to this, thee impressions that are normally not seen are allowed to come forward, along with awareness of the sensing the subtle energies, and the subtle building blocks of mind and matter. Basically, you become a spectator to your own thoughts and impressions. By this technique, you become a third person to your own impressions allowing you to stay detached to them, thus giving yourself a way out to flush unwanted samskaras out of your system! Bottom line, this entire process focuses on replacing existing old patterns with new appropriate patterns.
There are two levels to asamprajnata samadhi:
1.the aspirant oscillates like a pendulum in and out of states of nirvikalpa where unmanifested impressions will arise.
2.After a long period of practice of samskaras take the form of baked seeds, which never bear the fruits (thoughts & distractions) in the mind again. This second stage of asamprajnata samadhi also called kaivalya: liberation, the ultimate goal of a Yoga aspirant.
Let us all hold our oars tight, get on this wonderful boat of yog-meditation and set on to our journey to realizing our true self.
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