Samadhi is a realm of consciousness. Many people have entered into samadhi, but realisation comes only when we have become one with the highest Absolute. We can enter into some samadhis without realising the Highest.
Entering samadhi is like knowing the alphabet, but realisation is like having a Ph.D. There is no comparison between samadhi and realisation. Samadhi is a state of consciousness in which one can stay for a few hours or a few days. After twenty-one days usually the body does not function. But once one has achieved realisation, it lasts forever. And in realisation, one’s whole consciousness has become inseparably and eternally one with God.
There are three stages of samadhi: savikalpa samadhi, nirvikalpa samadhi and sahaja samadhi. Savikalpa samadhi is an exalted and glowing state of consciousness, whereas realisation is a conscious, natural and manifesting state of consciousness. When realisation dawns, the seeker enjoys freedom from the human personality and human individuality. He is like a tiny drop of water which enters into the ocean. Once it enters, it becomes the ocean. At that time, we do not see the personality or the individuality of the one drop. When one realises the highest Truth, the finite in him enters into the infinite and realises and achieves the infinite as its very own. Once realisation has taken place, a Master can easily enter into savikalpa samadhi. Nirvikalpa samadhi, too, is not difficult for a God-realised soul to attain. Only sahaja samadhi, which is the highest type of samadhi, is a problem, even for the very highest God-realised souls.
Sahaja samadhi encompasses the other samadhis— savikalpa and nirvikalpa—and it goes beyond, beyond. Samadhi is like a big building with many floors. When one is in sahaja samadhi, he is the owner of the whole building. He has the height of nirvikalpa, and the heights far above that, and at the same time he has achieved the perfection, wealth and capacity of all the other floors. On the one hand he has encompassed within himself all the Doors, and on the other hand he is above them. Nirvikalpa is like one height, say the thirtieth floor; it is very high, but it has only its own limited capacity. It cannot bring any of its capacity to the basement. If one has nirvikalpa, he is afraid to go down into the basement, because he may not be able to go back up again. But sahaja consciousness is above the thirtieth floor and, at the same time, it can be in the basement also. Sahaja samadhi will not be satisfied with thirtieth floor; it will be satisfied only when it touches the basement, the first floor, the second floor, all the floors. The power of sahaja samadhi is such that it can take one to any floor.
Staying in Nirvikalpa Samadhi
A liberated soul can safely stay for twenty-one or twenty-two days in nirvikalpa samadhi if the Divine wants that particular soul to continue on the path of dynamic manifestation. If the Divine wants the individual to remain in the Brahman of static realisation, then his soul will not return to the earth-consciousness after he has attained nirvikalpa samadhi and he will have to leave the body. But if the Divine wants, after eleven, twelve or thirteen days, He will say: “I want you to work for Me in the world. You must go back.”
The name of the plane from which the Masters come back is the Supermind. This is where the actual creation starts. Higher than this is the level of Sat-Chit-Ananda: Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. The spiritual Masters who want divine manifestation here on earth are trying to manifest first the Supermind, which is the golden Consciousness from which the creation descended. When that is manifested, the spiritual Masters who are here to bring down the highest Consciousness will then bring down Sat-Chit-Ananda. These three qualities can never be separated. They have to come together here on earth. The Supreme wants the whole divine manifestation to take place here on earth, not in Heaven or anywhere else.
In our Indian scriptures it is said that man is greater than the cosmic gods because the cosmic gods are satisfied with the Bliss of Heaven, whereas man is not satisfied until he actually achieves liberation. If the cosmic gods want to make progress, if they want liberation or manifestation, even they have to take human form and come to earth. Manifestation cannot take place anywhere else. In India there are thousands of gods, and we appreciate, we admire, we adore them because right now they are superior to us. When we suffer from a headache, if we soulfully invoke a god, then he will come and take it away. But the cosmic gods can do nothing further than that. When man realises God, at that time these cosmic gods are of no help to him. At that time man is superior, because he is attaining constant and conscious union with the absolute Supreme.
The Three Samadhis
There are various minor samadhis, and among the minor samadhis, savikalpa samadhi happens to be the highest. Right after savikalpa comes nirvikalpa samadhi, but there is a great yawning gulf between savikalpa and nirvikalpa. However, even though savikalpa samadhi is one step below nirvikalpa, we do not use the term ‘lower’. We do not call savikalpa samadhi lower than nirvikalpa; they are two radically different samadhis. Again, there is something even beyond nirvikalpa samadhi called sahaja samadhi. But savikalpa and nirvikalpa samadhi are the most well-known samadhis.
In savikalpa samadhi, for a short period of time you lose all human consciousness. In this state the conception of time and space is altogether different. With the human time you cannot judge; with the human way of looking at space you cannot judge. In that samadhi, for an hour or two hours you are completely in another world. You see there that almost everything is done. Here in this world there are many desires still unfulfilled in yourself and in others. Millions of desires are not fulfilled, and millions of things remain to be done. But when you are in savikalpa samadhi, you see that practically everything is done; you have nothing to do. You are only an instrument. If you are used, well and good; otherwise, things are all done. But from savikalpa samadhi everybody has to return to ordinary consciousness.
Even in savikalpa samadhi there are grades. Just as there are brilliant students and poor students in the same class in school, so also in savikalpa samadhi some aspirants reach the highest grade, while less aspiring seekers reach a lower or a middle rung of the ladder, where everything is not so clear and vivid as on the highest level.
In savikalpa samadhi there are thoughts and ideas coming from various angles, but they do not affect you. While you are meditating, you remain unperturbed, and your inner being functions in a dynamic and confident manner. But when you are a little higher, when you have become one with the soul in nirvikalpa samadhi, there will be no ideas or thoughts at all. Here nature’s dance stops. There is no nature, only infinite Peace and Bliss. The Knower and the Known have become one. Everything is tranquil. Here you enjoy a supremely divine, all-pervading, self-amorous ecstasy. You become the object of enjoyment, you become the enjoyer and you become the enjoyment itself.
Nirvikalpa samadhi is the highest samadhi that most spiritual Masters attain, and then only if they have achieved realisation. It lasts for a few hours or a few days, and then one has to come down. When one comes down, what happens? Very often one forgets his own name. One forgets his own age. He cannot speak properly. But through continued practice, gradually one becomes able to come down from nirvikalpa samadhi and immediately function in a normal way.
There were spiritual Masters in the hoary past who attained nirvikalpa samadhi and did not come down. They maintained their highest samadhi and found it impossible to enter into the world atmosphere and work like human beings. One cannot operate in the world while in that state of consciousness; it is simply impossible.
Generally, when one enters into nirvikalpa samadhi, one does not want to come back into the world again. If one stays there for eighteen or twenty-one days, there is every possibility that he will leave the body. But there is a divine dispensation. If the Supreme wants a particular soul to work here on earth, even after twenty-one or twenty-two days, the Supreme takes the individual into another channel of dynamic, divine consciousness and has him return to the earth-plane to act.
Sahaja samadhi is by far the highest type of samadhi. In this samadhi one is in the highest consciousness, but at the same time he is working in the gross physical world. One maintains the experience of nirvikalpa samadhi while simultaneously entering into earthly activities. One has become the soul and at the same time is utilising the body as a perfect instrument. In sahaja samadhi one walks like an ordinary human being. One eats. One does the usual things that an ordinary human being does. But in the inmost recesses of his heart he is surcharged with divine illumination. When one has this sahaja samadhi, one becomes the Lord and Master of Reality. One can go at his sweet will to the Highest and then come down to the earth consciousness to manifest.
After achieving the highest type of realisation, on very rare occasions one is blessed with sahaja samadhi. Very few spiritual Masters have achieved this state—only one or two. For sahaja samadhi, the Supreme’s infinite Grace is required, or one has to be very powerful and lucky. Sahaja samadhi comes only when one has established inseparable oneness with the Supreme, or when one wants to show, on rare occasions, that he is the Supreme. He who has achieved sahaja samadhi and remains in this samadhi, consciously and perfectly manifests God at every second, and is thus the greatest pride of the transcendental Supreme.
by Sri Chinmoy