Meditation (part 2)

Updated: Jun 17, 2019

asaṅgaḥsaccidānandaḥ svaprabho dvaitavarjitaḥ ।

asmīti śabdaviddho'yaṃ samādhiḥ savikalpakaḥ II 25 II

“The unattached Satchidananda, self-shining and free from duality, thus I am”. This, associated with these words, is called “Attribute-less meditation with Words.”

In the first kind of meditation, the thoughts are used to arrive at the witness. In this meditation, the features of the witness are focussed on. As we understand now, consciousness is attribute-less, how do we dwell upon attribute-less consciousness? From the Vedānta teaching itself we can draw certain numbers of features. The words from Upanisads, Bhagavad Gītā or prakarana grantham like Drgdrsyavivekah itself can be dwelled upon. Different words describes about ātmā can be used in each session, the most important we need to understand about the meaning of the words. In the first type of meditation, thoughts are used in to arrive at the sāksī, and here the features of the sāksī are focussed on. It is like meditating upon the light without the help of the hand.

We are taking one example, "asangah aham"- "I am unattached". I ātmā do not have any relationship with anything in the creation. The notion of I-ness and my-ness are delusions which cause sorrow. Because of I-ness, I attach with this body-mind-sense-complex, and because of my-ness, I attach with my country, my people, etc. "Saccidānandarupah aham" - "I am of the nature of sat-cit-ānanda", I am pervading all pleasures in the world. All pleasures is me alone, I don't need to pursue any of them.

In this way we are ascertaining our true nature in meditation therefore we are not running after the worldly pleasure which is one form of samsāra. This is an internal meditation connected with Vedāntic words.

Next is the meditation without attributes.

svānubhūtirasāveśāt dṛśyaśabdāvupekṣya tu । nirvikalpaḥ samādhiḥ syāt nivātasthitadīpavat II 26 II

On account of complete absorption in the blissful experience of the Self, having ignored both the ‘seen’ and the ‘words’, the Non-dual state of meditation is like a flame in a place free from wind.

Meditation without attributes is described here. In the meditation with object of thought as attribute and mediation with words of Vedānta as attribute, I entertain the thought "I am Brahman". I present as a meditator in these two stages. I require will and effort during the whole process of meditation. But after staying with that same thought in a length of time, our mind has the capacity to register it. Effortlessly the very same thought just stays without intervene by me the meditator. Just like a bike being paddled for a while, it goes on its own even the paddling has stopped. In the mind, there is thought which ahankāra and will are more involved, and there is thought without their intervention, which is sub-conscious.

In the meditation, I the meditator (with active ahankāra) put the Vedāntic thoughts in the mind and dwell upon them sufficiently creating a momentum. Thereafter ahankāra is not require for the thoughts to continue. Because the ahankāra is being suspended, therefore there is no duality between meditator and the object/sound which meditated upon. Ahankāra is dormant here just like in deep sleep. The difference is in the deep sleep, ignorance is presents. But in nirvikalpaḥ samādhiḥ, the sub-conscious though of "I am Brahman" is present.

Sifting the attention from object of meditation to the sāksī consciousness as the illuminator of the thought is the first kind of meditation. Second meditation is dwelling on the nature of sāksī. The characteristic of the sāksī such as unattached, all pervasive, whole, are focussed upon. And very important is to claim the sāksī as myself. Then this knowledge will become direct knowledge.

In the first two stages, my will and deliberate effort are involved. Therefore the ahankāra (I-ness) as the meditator is active, and the subject-object division is there. Then when the meditator deliberately entertains the thought for sometime, a momentum causing the thought to register is there. The sub-conscious mind dwells upon on my true nature by itself, without requiring the will and effort of the ahankāra. There is no division between the meditator, the activity of meditation and object of meditation. I am not aware of I am entertaining the thought, but the thought un-distractedly continues. compare to a flame of light which is kept in an enclosure place not effected by wind. Such flame does not flicker, similar to the mind in nirvikalpaḥ samādhiḥ remains in an undistracted thought flow.

Question arises here. If ahankāra being dormant in nirvikalpaḥ samādhiḥ, just like in deep sleep, how does one know that the though of one's own nature is continue present in this state? As we said, it is just like in deep sleep state, one doesn't know while one is in the nirvikalpaḥ samādhiḥ because of ahankāra being dormant, but after comes out from samādhiḥ, the recollection of the though "I am Brahman" in sub-conscious mind is there. Because the recollection is there, proves the presence of the sub-conscious thought in nirvikalpaḥ samādhiḥ. How about there is no recollection of the happening in deep sleep? Actually the recollection is there, but we recollect the experience of nothingness.

Next, 3 external samādhiḥ are presented.

hṛdīva bāhyadeśe'pi yasmin kasmiṃśca vastuni । samādhirādyaḥ sanmātrāt nāmarūpapṛthakkṛtiḥ II 27 II

As in the heart, so in any outer place as well that is associated with objects. The first type (with seen) is this: from Existence the name and form of objects are separated.

Previous three samādhiḥ are internal meditation focussing on the consciousness obtained in the mind. Focussing on the witness-consciousness has to be necessarily internal because consciousness can be recognised only inside. One can never experience consciousness anywhere outside. Therefore when we experience a conscious being, we are not experience the consciousness in that being, but we are experiencing the nāma-rūpa. I only can experience consciousness in my body, not others. And the consciousness in my body can not but being experienced. Although consciousness is all pervading, but it does not shine in everything. It is only manifest in the inner instrument.

In this verse explains about the external meditation which is focus on the existence. The method is the same as the internal meditation, nāma-rūpa of the external object is used as a support to shift the attention to the existence. We can take a book as example. We see a book, "book is". From the "book-ness" we shift our attention to "is-ness". From the existence of book, left only existence. It is not possible to focus on consciousness here because consciousness is not manifest in the book, but existence is very much present.

akhaṇḍaikarasaṃ vastu saccidānandalakṣaṇam । ityavicchinnacinteyaṃ samādhirmadhyamo bhavet II 28 II

“Undivided and of the same essence is the Reality, of the nature of Existence- Consciousness-Bliss.” This is uninterrupted contemplation of the middle type of meditation.

After the first stage of shifting from nāma-rūpa to existence, now the attention should be focused on the features of existence. Existence is not part, product, or property of the object, and it is not limited to the object only. Any given object is limited by another object, but existence has no limitation. Existence may not be perceived not because it is not present, but because the medium for it to manifest is not there. Just like the existence of the wave is always there in the water body of the ocean, but it need particular condition to manifest as wave. Numbers of waves can be counted, but water is only one, similarly objects can be counted, but existence is only one and undivided. Existence is one indivisible whole. Some features of existence like all-pervasive, indivisible, all-supporting, etc., should be dwelled upon.

I am the existence present in all the objects outside, and also the witness-consciousness in every thought inside. The existence outside is not different from consciousness inside. There is no different between sat and cit. This kind of thought should continue when the external objects are seen.

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