[spiritual ecstasy; state of God-union experienced as the ultimate goal of meditation] is a joyous experience, a splendid light in which you behold the countless worlds floating in a vast bed of joy and bliss. Banish the spiritual ignorance that makes you think this mortal life is real.
The end of the world is realized in samadhi, or divine ecstasy. There are two kinds of samadhi. When at first you try to sit and meditate, your mind runs away in all directions. You think it is impossible to go deep. But if you sit still and persist long enough, you will begin to feel that wonderful silence of God. When your mind is withdrawn, centered in Him, the world is forgotten and you find in that silence a happiness greater than any worldly pleasure. That state, when you are totally absorbed in inner awareness of God, no longer conscious of the world, is called sabikalpa samadhi. It is "partial dissolution of the world" because, when you return to ordinary consciousness, the delusions of the world will again somewhat affect you, unless you are highly evolved and free of all desires and attachments.
The second and highest state of samadhi is when you are in the world but not of it — carrying on your duties, but every moment conscious of God. That is nirbikalpa samadhi. It is the end of all limiting desires and attachments. Delusion is vanquished, and that is the true end of the world. (dr)
I wrote, in my later years, the following poem, "Samadhi," endeavoring to convey a glimpse of its glory:
Vanished the veils of light and shade,
Lifted every vapor of sorrow,
Sailed away all dawns of fleeting joy,
Gone the dim sensory mirage.
Love, hate, health, disease, life, death:
Perished these false shadows on the screen of duality.
The storm of maya stilled
By magic wand of intuition deep.
Present, past, future, no more for me,
But ever-present, all-flowing I, I, everywhere.
Planets, stars, Stardust, earth,
Volcanic bursts of doomsday cataclysms,
Creation's molding furnace,
Glaciers of silent X-rays, burning electron floods,
Thoughts of all men, past, present, to come,
Every blade of grass, myself, mankind,
Each particle of universal dust, Anger, greed, good, bad, salvation, lust,
I swallowed, transmuted all
Into a vast ocean of blood of my own one Being.
Smoldering joy, oft-puffed by meditation
Blinding my tearful eyes,
Burst into immortal flames of bliss,
Consumed my tears, my frame, my all.
Thou art I, I am Thou,
Knowing, Knower, Known, as One!
Tranquilled, unbroken thrill, eternally living, ever-new peace.
Enjoyable beyond imagination of expectancy, samadhi bliss!
Not an unconscious state
Or mental chloroform without willful return,
Samadhi but extends my conscious realm
Beyond limits of the mortal frame
To farthest boundary of eternity
Where I, the Cosmic Sea,
Watch the little ego floating in Me.
Mobile murmurs of atoms are heard,
The dark earth, mountains, vales, lo! molten liquid!
Flowing seas change into vapors of nebulae!
Aura blows upon vapors, opening wondrously their veils,
Oceans stand revealed, shining electrons,
Till, at the last sound of the cosmic drum,*
Vanish the grosser lights into eternal rays
Of all-pervading bliss.
From joy I came, for joy I live, in sacred joy I melt.
Ocean of mind, I drink all creation's waves.
Four veils of solid, liquid, vapor, light,
I, in everything, enter the Great Myself.
Gone forever: fitful, flickering shadows of mortal memory;
Spotless is my mental sky—below, ahead, and high above;
Eternity and I, one united ray.
A tiny bubble of laughter, I
Am become the Sea of Mirth Itself.
* Aum, the creative vibration that externalizes all creation.
Excerpt from Autobiography of a Yogi
Patanjali defines these states in his classification of the various stages of interiorized meditation. In Yoga Sutras 1:17-18, he refers to two basic categories of samadhi:
(1) samprajnata and
As applied to advanced stages of realization, samprajnata refers to savikalpa ("with difference") samadhi, or divine union in which there remains some distinction between the knower and the known, as in the realization "Thou and I are One." In greater or lesser degree, some modifications of nature remain. But in asamprajnuta samadhi, all differentiations of nature are resolved into the one Spirit. The consciousness of "Thou and I are One" becomes "I am He, who has become this little form of 'I' and all forms." This is not the egotist's proclamation, "I am God!"—the brass crown of megalomania—but rather the full realization of the absolute truth: God is the only Reality. Thus asamprajnata, in its absolute definition, is nirvikalpa ("without difference") samadhi, the highest yoga or union manifested by fully liberated masters or those on the threshold of soul freedom. (...)
Patanjali divides samprajnata samadhi into four stages:
(1) savitarka ("with doubt or conjecture"): intuitive experience mixed with argumentative or doubt-ridden mind;
(2) savichara ("with reasoning or pondering"): intuitive experience mixed with discrimination-guided intellect;
(3) sananda ("with joy"): interiorized intuitive experience interpreted by chitta or joy-permeated feeling; and
(4) sasmita ("with 'I-ness'" or individuality): intuitive experience mixed with a pure sense of being.
These four states, which come after interiorization (pratyahara), are the result of deep concentration (dharana), or superconscious perception as limited to the body. (Yoga Sutras 1:17)
When these four stages of samprajnata have been resolved one by one into the next higher state, the yogi goes beyond them and attains asamprajnata samadhi. This comes in deep meditation (dhyana) in which concentration (dharana) is continuous, with no flicker of interruption; then the object of meditation (i.e., a particular concept or manifestation of God) is experienced as manifested not only in the body but in omnipresence. Beyond these states, in the advanced stages of realization, samprajnata and asamprajnata are understood to mean, respectively, savikalpa and nirvikalpa samadhi. Patanjali says that attainment of the highest samadhi is possible "by profound, devoted meditation on (the Lord) Ishvara (1:23).... His symbol is Aum (1:27)." (Chapter I, God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda)