Note: My maya-gaia website, evolving since 1997, is a chronicle of my passing all considered opinion
through the lens of my Nirvikalpa Samadhi with both an open-mind and healthy skepticism.

Skeptism Over Whether Yoga or Meditative Practices
Can Directly Attain Nirvikalpa Samadhi

It is clear that of the many ambiguities and conflicts regarding the anatomy of the body of Hindu yoga and Buddhist Dhyana meditation that the greatest challenge for establishing credibility is to overcome evidence suggesting that spontaneous transcendence is as likely as practice to result in realization of non duality and that for its history of over three millennia, the aphorism - "every thousand years a soul wakes up!" - expresses the measure of rarity for yogi who attain a genuine ultimate experience. With the advent of the Internet it is becoming clear that reporting of incidents of spontaneous transcendence are in the same order of frequency as those arising out of meditative practice whereas in historic times it was only accounts that emerged from within the religious community that became documented in the sacred literature and always in the context of whatever tradition was extant- therefore attributing cause to effect.

In the beginning- spontaneous realization events- always rare in every community, inspired religious orders to invent rituals designed ostensibly to enable initiates to attain similar experiences. Eleusinian mysteries and other mystical traditions were precursor models where ritual was slowly replaced by yogic practices in the non dual traditions. These evolved meditative exercises understood as paths to mystical reality- since no concepts of psychism or self-hypnosis would be available for another several thousand years. This single-minded mystical approach eventually perfected various Hindu, Buddhist, Tao models of reality and practices leading to their insight and realization- absent any awareness that intrapsychic elements might interfere with transnuminous transcendently orchestrated events.

However, even after thousands of years, the most definitive and respected authority on the science of the yoga traditions is- The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Yoga and Freedom - My excerpts from a reconsideration of Patanjali's classical yoga by Ian Whicher, Deputy Director of the Dharam Hinduja Institute of Indic for Advanced Religious and Theological Studies at the University of Cambridge - InfoTrac search "interpretations yoga sutras" library access. Patanjali's Classical Yoga school of Hinduism should be viewed as a responsible engagement of spirit and matter rather than as excessively isolationist. The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali and the Yoga-Bhasya of Vjasa are authoritative sources of Classical Yoga revealing the union of spirit and matter's resulting state of liberated selfhood. Whicher presents an exceptionally lucid examination of what he sees as ontological and epistemological misinterpretations, reductionist hermeneutics and misleading definitions of Sanskrit yogic terms in many scholarly interpretations of Patangali's Yoga Sutras. I cut and pasted excerpts from this 272 page exposition that provide a detailed synopsis of what I judged to be areas of special interest and Sanskrit terms I need to return to, to clarify my appreciation of yoga anatomy.

Although presenting a reasonably coherent exposition of philosophy and practice, The Yoga Sutras nevertheless incorporate information that can only be characterized as superstitious nonsense with the same conviction as its more plausible features - for example, in its chapter on siddhis where it advocates visualizing elephants to acquire their strength or to focus on cotton balls to attain the yogic ability to fly. Recently, even his holiness the Dali Lama when asked whether there were any siddhu who could actually fly, opined that was true in the past (thanks to their celibacy) but that "zero lamas today could do so".

In addition- the what, how and when that defined the realization event in the diverse non dual maths are filled with ambiguity and contradiction that arise from the same over-extrapolation that plagues the integral spiritual/psychology communities today that inflate philosophical speculation drawn from a plethora of any substantial evidence outside of phenomenological accounts of numinous events. As example of convergent silliness arising in both traditions- there is the episode where Ken Wilber is hooked up to an EEG apparatus that shows a "flatline" response when he goes into a meditative state and "stops" his brain waves- then proclaims "that is samadhi"! That this corresponds to the psychic process whereby yogins perform siddhis or bhugarbha samadhi is obvious.

The teachings in the Vedas; Advaita; Dvaita; verses of the Bhagavad Gita, the aphorisms of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and those of the Buddha present a variety of fairly plausible philosophical versions for ultimate reality. All are soteriology evolved from adaptive extrapolation of ineffable and therefore ambiguous data presented in the founding scriptures but there is precious little forensic evidence to judge the effectiveness of one praxis over another so one can judged whether various disciplines actually yield practical results for treading the razors edge that leads to the transmutation to moksha, nirvana, Brahman or Bodhi realization. Despite their impressive philosophical bodies, introvertive yogas such as jnana and raja (bhakti excepted) and dhyanas gloss over the principle embraced by the Dao and Tantras as imperative- that attaining a state of conscious desirelessness may be the key that opens the door to transcendent grace.

Hypnotist Ron Diamond Session Is there a legitimate skepticism that yoga and all forms of meditative practice particularly Kundalini are merely kinds of self hypnosis? The fundamental purpose of the Upanishads are to instruct in methods and goals to attain liberation. Does the extensive consideration of kundalini yoga in the Kundalini Upanishad suggest that the yoga tradition has evolved ignorant of the magesteria of psychic epiphenomena that could account for the effects of its practices? Do these issues put into question the credibility of the entire theoretical body of yoga and its core belief that its practices can attain Nirvikalpa Samadhi?

Tantra and Kundalini Origins, Evolution and Neo-Tantra Derivatives I maintain my skepticism that Kundalini employs a contrived scenario that through its self hypnotic praxis may yet attain a shaman-like state of consciousness. Here, as with both introvertive or extrovertive states emanating from other forms of yoga and dhyana, the experiencer may - arrive at a state of desirelessness that- by grace- may rupture out into supreme samadhi. As with all forms, the method will be attributed the cause for the effect. more

It appears that the various forms of jnana yoga were inspired by the paucity of success resulting in frustration for those using conventional yoga to actually reach the intended ideal of a direct experience of transcendent Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Jnana yoga methods- most notably Ramana's "self inquiry" and Aurobindo's attainment of "superconsciousness"- teachings adapted from Advaita and Tantra traditions respectively but who themselves may never have experienced anything comparable to a Nirvikalpa Samadhi yet are certified the highest spiritual credentials (viz. Ramana as a Jivanmukta)- actually disparaged Nirvikalpa Samadhi which they referred to as "trance" and substituted their super-introvertive concept of Recognizing the Self  or Superconsciousness  as their isomorphisms for the "direct experience" of Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

An Interview with David Godman by Rob Sacks for Page 2 - DG: ..."About twenty years ago I met a foreigner here who had come to the ashram for advice on how to do self-inquiry properly. For several days he couldn't find anyone who was practicing it, even in Ramanasramam. The people he asked in the ashram office just told him to buy the ashram's publications and find out from them how to do it. Eventually, he had what he thought was a bright idea. He stood outside the door of the meditation hall at Ramanasramam, the place where Sri Ramana lived for over twenty years, and asked everyone who came out how to do self-inquiry. It transpired that none of the people inside were doing self-inquiry. They came out one by one and said, "I was doing japa," or "I was doing vipassana," or "I was doing Tibetan visualizations." (mg commentary: It was apparent that Ramana's intensely introvertive, mind-mediated, jnana process that had such intellectual appeal for praxis-hungry Western disciples was simply altogether too abstract as a practical practice for realization.

No doubt, all the literature of the non dual traditions are undergoing a more rigorous and rational appraisal that is the process undertaken by the integral spirituality community but those areas with the greatest uncertainty are the most fundamental to defining ultimate reality and methods for its experience.

Does Godhead refer to an atheistic or theistic ultimate and is that both transcendent and immanent and omniscient - omnipotent - personal? Does practice actually have the potential for raising consciousness to union with Godhead or is authentic realization dependent on grace alone? Is Nirvikalpa Samadhi the best description of Godhead experience? Is Sahaja Samadhi a superior experience or simply a superior integration of Nirvikalpa Samadhi experience? What is Javanmukti and what are the qualities that distinguish a Jivanmukta? Does Nirvikalpa Samadhi automatically imbue a knower with certain virtuous qualities or is the result a matter of free will? Is Nirvikalpa Samadhi merely a transient event and valueless unless vāsanā and kleshas are burned away? Inasmuch as Kevela Samadhi is defined as-without seed and one of many perspectives on Nirvikalpa Samadhi distinguishes two forms- Kevela Nirvikalpa Samadhi and Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi wherein Sahaja infers all vāsanā and kleshas have been burned away permanently- are we to assume the only distinction between the two forms is that in Kevela the "without seed" is temporary while in Sahaja it is permanent. (In Patanjali's Yoga philosophy the five klesas (poisons, afflictions) are named: avidya (ignorance), asmita (egoism), raga (desire), dvesha (aversion), and abhinivesa (tenacity of mundane existence). Ramana uses the term vāsanā as the only attributes that must be burned away- (or at least the "bad ones".)

Additional synonyms for Nirvikalpa Samadhi and interpretations regarding its place in the samadhi hierarchy and what the "without seed" refers to. "Without seed" has also been called "burnt seed" and the "seed" as synonym for vāsanā and klesha, thought, effability, form, poisons, afflictions, duality, ignorance, karma, etc. Samadhi is also understood as meditation itself or (from Ernest Wood) "contemplation."

There are numerous synonyms for defining the state of consciousness implied by Nirvikalpa. In The Yoga Sutras, Patanjali uses nirbija (without seed); kaivalya (coming from kevala, meaning "alone" or "aloneness") Vijnana Bhiksu insists (YV IV.34, p. 141) that kaivalya is a state of liberation for both purusa and prakrti, each reaching its respective natural or intrinsic state.

Lectures on Vedanta Philosophy By Swami Bodhananda. In Asamprajnata Samadhi- Nirvija or Nirvikalpa (without thought) all seeds of action become roasted or burnt and lose power of germination, all your Karma becomes extinct and there is no cause for further incarnation. These aphorisms are only short mnemonic sentences; they are intended not to teach the practice or expound the philosophy, but to enable the student to memorize the principle by the briefest possible sentences.

According to Mircea Eliade- yoga and shamanism are two poles of religious experience. The defining element of the shaman is ecstasis (literally "standing without"), extrovertive or numinous. By contrast, the yogi concerns himself with enstasis ("standing within") introvertive or cessative (cessation of egoity- prakrti unveiling purusa- Self).

But these definitions seem to mix up the qualities of Nirvikalpa Samadhi that arrives spontaneously as a numinously orchestrated transcendent event resulting in non dual unity with Brahman. It would seem a non-phenomenal, ecstatic transportation to godhead would fit the terms ecstasis, extrovertive or numinous but is the very event that yoga strives to attain by what is being defined as introvertive, self-hypnotic, psychically mediated practice. Ronald Havens proposes that cosmic consciousness (Nirvikalpa Samadhi) can be attained through self hypnosis that further conjoins meditation and hypnosis.

I realize that I had intially misconstrude and inverted the qualities Eliade and W.T. Stace associated with their categories of extrovertive and introvertive. Neither considers- as I do- that mystical experiences have two origins- "bottom up" from psychic, mentated process (I term intrapsychic) and "top down"- transcendently graced and orchestrated journeys (I term transnumious that the Upanishads describe in the cosmography and revelation of the soul's journey at physical death - or ego death as in samadhi.

Are not shamanic episodes more like NDEs- journeys of dual consciousness mediated exclusively with psychic scenarios wherein the shaman is devoured and then reborn and returned with messages from the spirit world? Shamanic episodes result from intrapsychic processes that relate more to occult events rather than to acosmic, transnuminous transcendent Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Similarly yoga's intravert jnana practices may fall short of breaking out of the self-induced psychic realm into an authentic transnuminous transcendently graced samadhi.

Feuerstein refers to dharmamegha-samadhi as both transcendent and the highest form of "supraconscious ecstasy" (asamprajnata-samadhi) that can even be understood as the consummate phase of supracognitive samadhi or "enstasy". The nirodha-samapatti distinction within yogic traditions and the vipasyanasamatha distinction in Buddhist meditation exemplify the dynamic tension between the cessative and the numinous. (m-g commentary: It would seem the terms "supraconscious ecstasy" and "enstasy" pertain to opposite categories in the conventional terminology.)

Astral Projection - an example of intrapsychic epiphenomenon. The problem with neologisms like extrovertive/introvertive is that each can have several- sometimes conflicting meanings and particularly when applied to the character and qualities of something as shape-shifting as states of altered consciousness. For example I would classify virtually all altered states below the level of Nirvikalpa as intrapsychic in the sense that they are manifested by our brain activity such as in NDEs, psychical projection, hypnosis, some meditation (particularly kundalini), shamanic flights, hallucinations, psychoses and all samadhi in the hierarchy below the level of Nirvikalpa (Kevala). I would use the term transnuminous to describe a Nirvikalpa Samadhi journey, experienced as it arrives fully orchestrated from its transcendent field that transports the soul into a temporary union with non dual Brahman consciousness and returns it for integration into phenomenal life. (See Upanishad Synchronicity). There are rare episodes of the intrapsychic class that entangle in the duality phase of a transnuminous Nirvikalpa Samadhi in which case the total experience could exhibit both intrapsychic and transnuminous qualities. I also hold that there are almost totally unexplained psychical events such as my Goombay episode that manifest spontaneously and may fall into my category of "qua transnuminous" in that they do not arise from the transcendent field but from an inexplicable "Overmind" that can somehow precipitate from within an ecstatic state of consciousness. Another baffeling manifestation in rare reports of transnuminous accounts is the experience of "Knowing Everything" as if an entire collective consciousness is momentarily entangled (but immediatly becomes irrelevant and all details forgotten). These last two effects join an unknown category of mystical experience virtually unexamined by transpersonal researchers at the extremity of the terra incognita of psychical reality.

Here is an example of ontological overreach of introvertive and extrovertive to distinguish Nirvikalpa and Sahaja samadhi. The Problem of Pure Consciousness: Mysticism and Philosophy By Robert K. C. Forman. Suggesting that Nirvikalpa Samadhi is introvertive (temporary) while Sahaja Samadhi is extrovertive (permanent) A silent level within the subject is maintained along with (simultaneously with) the full use of the human faculties. Introvertive mysticism denotes a transient state (after all, no one who eats and sleeeps can remain entranced forever), whereas extrovertive mysticism denotes a more permanent state, one that lasts even while one is engaged in activity.

Is skepticism warranted that jnana yoga and self inquiry can result in realization anywhere comparable to a transcendently orchestrated experience of Nirvikalpa Samadhi by grace or is their value solely in their potential to provide insight in the integration of such an episode should it incidentally occur?

See also my 200% Reality Model and Godhead Experience for additional perspectives on yoga credibility.

Update 07 31 2011: I am currently evolving a Primordial Rhythm Meditation page outlining a tentative model for an active meditation by which I can practice communion with my Panendeism God. I've created a youtube audio/video in which I perform a synopsis demo of the sounds and moves in my meditation. I describe my practice as an improvised Bhakti Yoga in that it is intended to provide a sense of communion so that meditators can transmit their love and gratitude to the supreme consciousness for the gift of life rather than a medium to pray for blessings or favors. I also believe it has as much potential for evoking moksha as any other traditional yoga discipline. End Update

May divine grace be the determining factor for experiencing God realization?

There is a alternative Vedic tradition that supports the notion that moksha is not attained via the effort to satisfy any dharma protocol but requires grace from the personal form of God. The bhakti tradition proposes that a devotional surrendering as in Kirtan is a yoga for inviting grace.

Divine Grace is Required to Attain Moksha Bhakti Yoga Meditation teachings of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj. Ultimately, final liberation (moksha) is attained through divine grace. Nondual realization is impossible until a jnani adds bhakti or devotion into his practice. The reason for this is that maya is of two kinds: Vidya maya or swaroopavarika maya and Avidya maya or gunavarika maya. As described in the description of samadhi, vidya maya is the original veil of maya, obscuring our essence as soul. Avidya maya is that aspect of maya that causes us to form attachments in the world. Another way to understand this is there are three qualities in maya: satva, rajas, tamas. Rajas and tamas are avidya maya. The jnani can transcend these two through his own effort. After this point, a jnani becomes an atma jnani or self-realized, a knower of his self (the soul). But he is not yet a brahm jnani, a knower of the impersonal aspect of God. Non-dual realization only happens after he transcends the quality of satva, which is vidya maya. But this quality of satva is only overcome through God's grace, not through a jnani's personal effort of any kind. Thus, through gyan practices, a jnani could terminate his avidya maya, but he can't eliminate vidya maya. The jnani who practices devotion to a personal form of God receives God's grace and then his maya ends. If his maya doesn't end, even if he has reached the height of self-realization, he is bound to lose this spiritual accomplishment because he is still under the influence of maya. Grace is only received from the personal form of God. God is one and whatever powers God possesses, He possesses in all His aspects. However, the impersonal aspect of God is called avyakt-shaktik brahm . Avyakt-shaktik means His shaktis, powers, are concealed and inactive. They are there, but dormant. It is merely a nondual divine existence. The giving of grace is a quality of sakar brahm, the personality of God. If a practitioner desires nondual realization, in order for him to transcend maya completely, he must receive grace from this aspect of God, and that is accomplished through bhakti or devotion.

Links to Resources Relating to Credibility of Yoga Concepts and Practices

Kevala Samadhi Literally kevala means alone, solitary, isolated, pure or absolute, nirvikalpa means devoid of differences, diversity, variation, imagination or thinking, and samadhi means fixed attention, intense contemplation or complete absorption of mind, so kevala nirvikalpa samadhi actually means the state in which the mind is completely absorbed in absolutely undifferentiated or thought-free self-contemplation. As such it is a term that can be used to describe either the practice of pure atma-vichara or the experience of true self-knowledge. However, since this term kevala nirvikalpa samadhi is also used by some people to describe the state of manolaya or temporary subsidence of mind that is achieved by artificial yogic techniques such as pran?ayama (breath-restraint), it can cause confusion, and can therefore potentially distract us from our real aim, which is just to know clearly "who am I?"

Maya Causes 5 Kinds of Suffering The Five Sheaths Pancha klesha: 5 afflictions: see diagram pancha_kosha.jpg

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras - (an overview) by Octavian Sarbatoare. There are only two categories of samadhi viz. sabija ('with seed') and nirbija ('without seed'). Sabija samadhi in its own turn is of six kinds viz. samprajnata, asamprajnata, savitarka, nirvitarka, savicara, nirvicara depending on the object of experience of awareness. Chapter I ends up in sutra 51 by clarifying that seedless awareness (nirbija samadhi) is obtained by blocking of all cittavrittis.

The Yoga-Sutras of Patanjali and The Cloud of Unknowing library access A Preliminary Step in Assessing the Ontological Accuracy of the Mystical Experience (1996) Mark I. Vuletic. Proponents of mysticism sometimes offer the alleged uniformity of mystical experiences across time, distance, and culture as evidence of the epistemological value of the insights into reality one supposedly acquires from having an experience of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. This paper presents two representative mystical texts from as radically different cultural contexts as can be found, and a survey of some of the epistemological issues involved in assessing what kind of evidence, if any, they offer for the ontological accuracy of the mystical experience. The first text, collectively ascribed to the authorship of Patanjali, coming out of a cultural backdrop of Hinduism. The second text is The Cloud of Unknowing - written by an anonymous late-fourteenth century Englishman who was "a thoroughgoing medieval, steeped in the spirit of his time and imbued with its tradition", a tradition that included not only orthodox Christianity, but "a great current of medieval spirituality" that generated such mystical luminaries as Meister Eckhart and Thomas Ó Kempis extending from Dionysius to St. John of the Cross. As such, it is a useful text to use in a comparison with the texts of Eastern mysticism, to see whether significant correlations between East and West exist. Specifically, this paper will attempt to do three things: (1) compare the metaphysics of mystical union as described in each text, (2) compare the methods advocated for attaining the union as described in each text, (3) consider several hypotheses concerning mysticism and how well they fit with the data gleaned from the comparison.

Vrittis and Kleshas Vrittis are waves in the mind. They are caused by many things - emotions, kleshas, our reactions to life. A samskara is an impression or groove created in the mind from a vritti. A vasana is a strong groove (or habit pattern) created in the mind by repeated and strengthened samskaras. Our samskaras and vasanas are stored in the causal body (soul). This is the seed which has the momentum to be reincarnated again and again - the 5 kleshas.

What is Nirvikalpa Samadhi by C.V.Rajan. In Hinduism, the goal of an earnest seeker in spirituality is to realize God or realize his true Self. The experience of this highest attainment is known as Samadhi. This state is also known as Nirvana in Buddhism. It is also called atma-sakshatkar, attainment of Brahma-Gnyana, liberation, moksha or mukti. In Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali, it is the eighth and final state of attainment in Yoga. (distinguishes Nirvikalpa by Kevela Nirvikalpa Samadhi and Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi) Then you have the category of Ishwarakotis. Great Gnyanis, Avatars (incarnation of God) and a couple of very close and direct disciples of Avatars - those who come to earth along with the avatars to assist him in his mission are the Ishwarakotis, according to Sri Ramakrishna. They attain Nirivikalpa samadhi in their life (i.e. the experience the union with Brahman, i.e. non-duality); their experience gets "solidified". When they regain consciousness to the world again, they do not regain their ego; they do not see the world and creations with a dualistic view.

They see everything verily the manifestation of Brahman; If they see their body, what they see is Brahman; if they eat, it is Brahman that eats; if they act, it is Brahman that acts through their body. They have no sense of doership. Brahman and their atman are one and the same. Hence their atman is nothing but brahman. There state is Sahaja (ever existing) Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Such persons are known as jivan muktas (Liberated-while-alive). (mg commentary: as mentioned elsewhere - the notion that jivanmukta can function in a perpetual state of literal nonduality is absurd as there is no 'other' object or beings to be apperceived - so there would have to be a meta-mystical capability exceeding the state of those afflicted with hysterical blindness - who cannot see yet are capable of navigating an obstical course without colliding into objects.)

Sudden and Gradual: Approaches to Enlightenment in Chinese Thought By Peter N. Gregory page 129: Traces Ch'an movement as it evolved through a Sino-Indian qua-Buddhist soteriology to classical Ch'an practices- such as meditation that would supersede even no-thought. (Bodhi is a Sanskrit word meaning enlightenment; it is awareness. Nirvana is a Sanskrit word meaning calm-extinction ; it is calmness.) Early Ch'an meditation movement collapses samadhi and prajna seeking to define a single, overarching experience in which the entire Buddhist path (mārga) would be subsumed. But Ch'an emphasis on direct insight left little place for the progressive development of samahdi and prajna. Ultimately, what need was there to retain such terms if they were collapsed into one another, or were said always to be present? The conceptual baggage that inevitably accompanied the use of these Indian concepts was so overwhelming that Ch'an eventually discarded both of them. Samadhi and prajna were condemned as having only provisional value for dullards who were as yet unprepared spiritually for the more sophisticated techniques of the later Ch'an.

Gujarati Book Sadhak and Sathi by Shri Atmanandji (Dr. Soneji) Chapter - 7 Silence (Mauna) Silence is abandonment of speech, conversation etc. with a right knowledge and spiritual advancement in view. This is a very important part of spiritual progress. It is being analyzed here, not only in its conventional meaning, but in a very wide perspective, so as to be useful to the aspirant.

Soul, Self and Samadhi (Atma Parasivah Samadhischa) Maturation Of the Soul: Meditating in oneness, I realized the Siva-state.
You become everything when you merge in Siva, but you are no longer you. The final destiny of the soul is to fully mature its soul body, at which time it would be identical to Siva. This process leads the soul through three states or avasthas: kevala, sakala and shuddha. Once having been spawned, the soul exists in a quiescent condition, not being aware of itself. This is the kevala state. Eventually it hits matter, magnetizes matter around its first etheric body. This etheric body slowly develops into a mental, then emotional and astral body, and finally a physical body. This begins the sakala state -- soul being aware of the mental plane, astral plane and finally the physical world. It is in the latter stages of the sakala state that religion begins, when the soul has completed enough of this process to realize its individual identity, apart from the mental matter, the emotional or astral matter and the physical matter.

As with sages and tathagata of millennia past, post modern authorities continue to wrestle with issues regarding the manner and qualities that a being attains apon full realization.

In Dharmamegha-samadhi in the yogasutras of patanjali: a critique by T.S. Rukmani, Philosophy East and West 57.2 (2007): InfoTrac Religion and Philosophy eCollection (library access).

Both Eliade and Aranyaka seem to suggest that dharmamegha is the last stage of samprajnata Dharmamegha is endless; "the yogi dwells only in his own essential nature." On the other hand, Georg Feuerstein, while admitting that dharmamegha is "the precursor to ultimate liberation," also mentions that "The dharmamegha-samadhi is the highest form of 'supraconscious ecstasy' (asamprajnata-samadhi). "It is the final moment in the ... yogic journey when the primary constituents of nature resolve into their transcendental matrix." And he equates this to liberation or self-realization. Feuerstein is not clear as to whether dharmamegha-samadhi stands for "the precursor to ... liberation" or "liberation" itself. And Ian Whicher, like Feuerstein, understands dharmamegha to be a synonym of asamprajnata-samadhi: "Thus dharmamegha-samadhi is more or less a synonym of asamprajnata-samadhi and can even be understood as the consummate phase of supracognitive samadhi or enstasy, the final step on the long and arduous yogic journey to authentic identity and 'aloneness.'"

Patanjali continues and in sutra IV.30 (12) only mentions that at this point there is a cessation of all klesas (afflictions) and all karmasayas (samskaras of activity), the commentators all infer that this cessation of klesa and karma means jivanmukti.

So we have two positions on hand: (1) where prasamkhyana is equated with dharmamegha, and (2) where prasamkhyana leads to dharmamegha. The third question as to whether the dharmamegha state is a jivanmukti stage can be dealt with after trying to disentangle the first question.

Dharmamegha-samadhi in the yogasutras of patanjali: a critique.(Essay by T.S. Rukmani). Philosophy East and West 57.2 (April 2007): p131 (from library Infotrac) There is no uniform understanding of this important stage in samadhi among Yoga scholars. Eliade identified asmitanugata-samprajnata-samadhi (samadhi accompanied by the sense-of-I) as dharmamegha-samadhi, calling it: "the cloud of dharma," a technical term that is difficult to translate ... but that seems to refer to an abundance ... of virtues that suddenly fill the yogin.... [H]e has a feeling of "Enough" in respect of all knowledge and all consciousness--and this complete renunciation leads him to asamprajnata-samadhi, to undifferentiated enstasis.

(m-g commentary: It would seem this relates to the expression- "chasing the basis to the ontological depths" that applies to my pursuing my samadhi chronicle. But I don't believe this is at all a "stage" of the mystical transformation of consciousness (dharmamegha or sahaja) but a purely post-samadhi, free-will intellectual and philosophical matter. In my case, the practical motivation for my continual questing for relevant perspectives is to leave as broad and in-depth a chronicle as possible to create a work I can turn for my further contemplation to advance my own integration and as a legacy of my ongoing mission to help fulfill God's desire to be known for the benefit of readers after I'm gone.)

Yoga and Freedom: a reconsideration of Patanjali's classical yoga by Ian Whicher. (This page a synopsis of excerpts from the full text available in InfoTrac (library access) Abstract: Patanjali's Classical Yoga school of Hinduism should be viewed as a responsible engagement of spirit and matter rather than as excessively isolationist. The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali and the Yoga-Bhasya of Vjasa are authoritative sources of Classical Yoga revealing the union of spirit and matter's resulting state of liberated selfhood. (mg commentary: An exceptionally lucid examination of what the author sees as ontological and epistemological misinterpretations, reductionist hermeneutics and misleading definitions of Sanskit yogic terms in many scholarly interpretations of Patangali's Yoga Sutras.)

The Yoga-Sutra of Pata˝jali: A New Translation and Commentary by Georg Feuerstein Ph.D., 1989. Book Review: Very insightful by unknown: Inspired by the great Romanian scholar Mircea Eliade, who, in his monumental Yoga: Immortality and Freedom (1958), set the standard for all scholarly works on yoga, Feuerstein translates the most important Sanskrit word in Patanjali's scheme, "samadhi" as "enstasy," eschewing the usual and inadequate "ecstasy." Enstasy was Eliade's coinage. Both he and Feuerstein were understandably dissatisfied with "ecstasy" since it does not adequately convey the complex meaning of samadhi. Unfortunately neither does enstasy, and worse yet, the word is practically unknown in English. Webster's Unabridged Second International Dictionary, which was the standard at the time, doesn't even list it. The solution of course is to avoid any attempt at a direct word-for-word translation of "samadhi" and instead allow the context to define it. That is the usual practice today. I make this point because I think it illustrates the kind of mistake that Feuerstein, who has gone on to become perhaps the world's leading academic authority on yoga, would not make today. Indeed in his The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga (1997), relying upon a number of different yogic traditions, Feuerstein defines "samadhi" using various modifications and qualifications of "ecstasy" and does not employ the word "enstasy" at all.

Yoga Sutra Patanjali This article has been an account of the yoga philosophy systematized by Patanjali, whose formulation is considered to be the most coherent and comprehensive handbook of the science of yogic contemplation. Yoga presents an integrated approach for objective as well as transcendental knowledge enabling the human being to overcome ordinary human condition, which is the source of unhappiness and suffering in life.

The human condition is overcome as a result of direct contemplative experience of kaivalya, oneness of all beings through ultimate reality. In this state, the only existence one perceives is that of ultimate reality. Even a momentary experience of this ideal changes one's living through the development of an enlightened and practical perspective between the relative positions of prakriti, nature and purusha, spirit. One then lives in the world knowing firsthand that nature is for the purpose of the spirit, and not the other way around.

Samadhi: The Numinous and Cessative in Indo Tibetan Yoga by Stuart Ray Sarbacker (S U N Y Series in Religious Studies) 2005 - downloadable E-Book - Explores yoga and meditation in Eastern religions, incorporating psychological and social aspects of these practices. This book, which is an elaboration of the author's doctoral dissertation, purports to develop a new methodological approach to the study of yoga and meditation in the religions of South Asia, most notably in the context of Hinduism and Buddhism. Perhaps most importantly, Sarbacker corrects the prevalent understanding of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra as advocating a narrow path solely concerned with the cessation of all worldly activity, leading to an end goal of complete isolation (kaivalya) from the material world and from all other individual selves.

Kleshas in Patanjali by Erich Schiffmann. Kleshas are mentioned in key sutras throughout the yoga sutras forming a key element to Patanjali's Yoga system in eliminating vrtti. In fact patanjali says that by understanding the kleshas, we become free of karma and suffering. It is also basic to understanding samskara (another key ingredient to the Yoga Sutras. In this sense klesha, karma, samskara, and vasana, are all obstacles to liberation and samadhi but they have specific qualities. The cit-vrtti, characterized by specific thought patterns and activities, are our past programs and patterns of conditioning which limit our experience of the now and hence it is the vrtti (which have concomitant samskaras, kleshas, vasana, and karma) which are the operating principles of avidya (ignorance) which are the causal constituents of the spiritual disconnect/discontinuity. Authentic yoga practice in turn cancels out and annuls (nirodha) these vrtti and then we are thus enabled to reconnect -- reuniting eternal spirit with our embodiment -- as a manifestation of living love in the present, thence it is said that we abide in our own true self nature (swarupa). This is how Patanjali begins the Yoga Sutras.

Yoga Sutra Patanjali Complete Lesson based on The Yoga-Sutras of Patanjali (Translation and Commentary in English from the Sanskrit) by I.K. Taimni - Published by the Theosophy Foundation - philosophy of klesas

Five Klesas Patanjali In Patanjali's Yoga philosophy the five klesas (afflictions) are named: avidya (ignorance), asmita (egoism), raga (desire), dvesha (aversion), and abhinivesa (tenacity of mundane existence).

Fundamentals of the Yoga System of Patanjali by Swami Krishnananda. Ignorance (Avidya) is the breeding ground of all the sorrows of mankind, due to which there is attachment to immediate perception. There is Raga and Dvesha, attraction and repulsion. We are unable to connect ourselves with the true state of things. The inability to understand or grasp the relation between appearance and Reality is called ignorance. This is the cause of our present experience, Klesa, etc. These difficulties which are wholly psychological have to be obviated root and branch; this is the purpose of Yoga. The very root of the disease has to be dug out and brought to the surface of consciousness and one has to be made perfectly healthy so that the total reality can be reflected in the personality. That condition in which Reality gets reflected in one's personality is called the Jivanmukti state; that is the liberated state. Towards this end the Yoga technique endeavours to bring forward the various sides of human nature in its vital connections with the different aspects of Reality manifest as this cosmos.

Yoga: immortality and freedom by Mircea Eliade, Willard R. Trask, 1970. This book really is a "full exposition" (insofar as that is possible) including the ideas, symbolism and methods of yoga "as they are expressed in tantrism, in alchemy, in folklore, in the aboriginal devotion of India." The text, which includes lengthy chapters such as, "Yoga and Brahmanism," "Yoga Techniques in Buddhism," "Yoga and Tantrism," "Yoga and Alchemy," etc. runs for 362 dense pages. Sixty-six pages of notes follow, and then a most extensive and valuable bibliography.

The Science of Yogaby william J. Broad, 2012. The book focuses mainly on pranayama and asana ... obviously a narrow slice of "yoga" as practiced everyday by millions of Devotees, Babas, Sannyasis and Yogis who are a vital part of cultural and spiritual life in India. It's a tad Western-centric to use "Yoga" in the title when the focus of the book is a narrow slice of an otherwise rich and multifaceted spiritual practice. Broad describes how the modern form of Western yoga is a "cleaned up" version of a centuries-old Tantric practice. The modern postures were developed in Mysore in the early 1900's as part of India's press for independence from the British. This clean, gymnastic & more regimented form of asana and pranayama practice developed by Krishnamacharya is what eventually caught on in America. In India, yoga remains a source of great National pride in both its modern scientific foundations as well as its relationship to ancient Indian culture and religion. The risks focus on heart attack, neurological and physical injuries whose statistics seem no worrisome with than many other workout regimins. There's no mention about evidence that some forms of more mystical yoga like kundalini can occassion long-lasting psychological trauma.



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