Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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What Are We Aiming At?

Hari OM

Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.

We shall look a bit more at the process of meditation very soon. Maintaining practice as given already in terms of aasana, praana and seeking to minimise interfering thoughts is all that is required at this stage.

A few posts back there was a list given regarding aspects of samaadhi - that state of internal stillness from which we can rise to the highest state of existence. Let us now take a look at the definitions given. This is done for the purpose of understanding that samaadhi itself is not the end of the spiritual road (and as we will learn much later, there are considered to be seven stages even within that condition), but that it is a 'thresh-hold' state. These are glimpses of the goal at which all true meditators are aimed.

Several of the terms given are differentiated only by semantics and therefore can be grouped together.

We begin with the more functional aspects as we approach the 'gateway';
"set; settlement; assent; agreement; adjustment;" - this grouping indicates that, once we have worked our way through all our internal impediments, we have still to steady ourselves in practice and also to find out the remaining vestiges of vaasanas withing. We have come to the junction between the world of plurality and the final road to yoga, union with Self. It is here that things can become unsettled once more and the hasty or careless 'traveller' may find that, after all, they are unprepared for those final steps. Obstacles will arise. The external world will raise its demands in order to not be forgotten. The courageous ones will set their sights on the True Goal; they will make settlement with the world that there is to be a compromise, permitting this shift; there will, perhaps, have to be the assent of close ones and an agreement that this seeker must follow this path… it takes a special ring of family and friends to support such 'high faluting' spirituality! This requires their adjustment to you, as seeker, being less available to them; but it is also a stage of huge adjustment for the seeker as it is discovered that everything experienced up to this point really holds not particular clue to this and what follows.

The next grouping relates to moving into the 'gateway';
"putting together; concentration of thoughts; setting to rights; justification of a statement; attention/intentness" - having recognised the falling away of the external, yet recognising that there is still some way to go, this is the place to correlate all learning thus far gained. Putting together all salient points, keeping the mind dedicated to this task alone, examining statements made to and by the seeker in light of the learning and 'setting to rights' anything which appears to be disjointed or incongruous. This is mananam at its best and can only come about with such intentness that is relentless.

This is followed by movement of the gate itself;
"concentration of mind; intense application of mind/contemplation of singular item; profound or abstract meditation; aggregate; proof; bringing into harmony" - When the body-awareness has dropped away (and it surely has at this stage), we are left with our antah karana, the mind portion of our physical existence. This is now honed and tempered and wrangled as it deals with what it thinks it knows and what it is now expected to know. Constantly each of the manas (feeling mind), buddhi (analytical mind) and ahankaara ("I" mind) will battle as the chitta (universal mind), which is within us all, seeks to dominate and bring about an aggregation of all knowledge resulting in the desired harmony.

Finally, there is breakthrough;
"deep concentration/meditation; absorption as if in trance; joining/combining with; completion/conclusion/accomplishment; whole; union;" - all sense of individuality merges with the Greater Reality and true bliss is attained. This is a truly rare condition, few rise to it. When in the fullness of samaadhi, practitioners have been known to go for extended periods of time (months sometimes) without moving. Their body is still alive, but all functions are reduced to absolute minimum. Such a one, who condescends to return to transactional life to shed the love and the light amongst all with whom contact is made, never again loses the Higher connection. At any given moment they can move freely between Maya and Brahman and remain untouched by the first whilst revelling in the second.

There are two definitions on the list not mentioned in the groups. These are both physical descriptions; one relates to a neck joint, which may seem strange, but when one considers how important gaining correct aasana is and that there is a strong connection of the upper chakras with the lower chakras through the neck region, it makes a little more sense. The other is 'sanctuary or tomb of saint'; as mentioned, when a sadhu has attained full samaadhi (the turiiya state), their body remains in aasana awaiting a return to function.  This place is itself called their samaadhi.  Further, when such an enlightened being leaves the body (reaching Maha Samaadhi - the Great Union), it may be interred by devotees as a token of their reverence as well as a focus for their own endeavours.

As you will note, all this is rather esoteric for the majority of us struggling with staying in aasana and breath-focused for even half an hour a day!  It is given as a carrot, a sign that there are 'places to be' other than where we are now and that they are desirable. The vast majority of meditation practitioners will not attain in this life. The attempts made now, however, will add to the next life of devotion and meditation. All efforts made are worthwhile.

Do not be disheartened. Even that half an hour a day of total peace is a tremendous gain! 

Image result for nirvikalpa samadhi
Sri Jagadeeshwara
Master of Meditation

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Hari OM
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