The most difficult things appear and sound difficult when they are removed from experience. But when it comes to oneself, the most difficult things look simple. When you read scriptures about Samadhi it appears very difficult. But I tell you, every individual experiences glimpses of Samadhi in life and that is why there is joy. Unfortunately, we don’t pinpoint or identify it and we don’t know how to maintain, retain it or recreate it.
Patanjali gives us a scientific step by step methodology of recreating this experience. It is not experience of the object but experience of the experiencer which is the self referral value of our own inner divinity.
Let us once again go through the four types of Samadhi which Patanjali Maharishi has mentioned. They are Savitarka Samadhi, Nirvitarka Samadhi, Savichara Samadhi and Nirvichara Samadhi.
Savitarka Samadhi is the Samadhi in which there is a dialogue or argument in one part of consciousness with the other part of the same consciousness. Here, there is a dialogue happening between the knower, known and knowing, meaning a dialogue with logical subtle reasoning happening within oneself.
Nirvitarka Samadhi is the one which has no dialogue where there is no reasoning.
Savichara Samadhi is the Samadhi in which there is some knowledge flowing. In this state of deep Samadhi some faint thoughts move through.
Nirvichara Samadhi is the one where there is no thought .This is a thoughtless state which is the experience of nothingness or just emptiness.
Now comes the question — why did Patanjali Maharishi make this distinction considering a dialogue cannot happen without words? This is due to reasoning where there is a little logic flowing through and you are trying to grasp something. Logic always has a tendency to grasp. Even in Samadhi there could be a slight tendency to grasp the experience and that is called Savitarka Samadhi, which is not a very deep Samadhi. In Nirvitarka Samadhi that desire to grasp is not there.
Our consciousness is much older than the stones. Our consciousness has impressions of so many life times. So, when we go deep in Samadhi, some faint thoughts or ideas that have no logic may arise. Just like in dreams you get thoughts and ideas which have no logic. Your experiences in dreams have no logic. Sometimes you don’t even need to have a language to understand the Vichara. It is just a feeling. A subtle or faint feeling arises and that is called Savichara and when there is no feeling or no trace of faint thought, it is Nirvichara Samadhi. These two samadhis take you deeper because they continue to exist in the subtlest levels of the consciousness.
For logic to come across, you need an object. If the mind has to understand or to reason, it needs an object. In fact it needs not just one object but many objects. But if the subject itself is the object it becomes self referral and that is called Nirvitarka Samadhi. In this state there is no dialogue where just the seer is left. But in this Samadhi there is subtle understanding about very subtle things. These subtle objects continue even to the primordial nature of the universe where you cannot even point your finger and say “this is this”. It takes you towards a realm of unknown beyond the logic. Subtle objects of perception continue even beyond identifications. That means it is the journey from the known to unknown. These four kinds of Samadhi can be only understood when we go deep into experience.
Many people experience things in meditation but they don’t know what to make of it. That is where Patanjali’s beautiful guidance becomes very valuable. Five different experiences of the senses — sight, smell, sound, taste and touch — these five modes of experience continue at a very subtle primordial nature. Though there is no object of touch, when you go deep in Samadhi, you can feel some sensations of touch, you can hear some sound or you can see some light. Though there is no thought, the experience is also considered as thought and these experiences continue till there is “shoonyatha” or nothingness.
So, in meditation don’t sit and wait for something. When you experience these things, do not try to hold on to it. This is what he mentions as “Sabeeja Samadhi”.
When you are experiencing bliss or a vastness of consciousness, there can be traces of sound or light or touch or fragrance. This is a common phenomenon when people get into meditation. From this, Sabeeja Samadhi we skilfully go to the Nirbeeja Samadhi where there is no duality. The purpose of Samadhi is not just Samadhi itself but “adhyatma prasada”, which means spiritual awakening or spiritual grace. Samadhi is one of the means to attain the grace of spirituality.