How is Ānanda of Self Known (or) Recognized? And 7 Definitions of Nirvikalpa Samādhi (48)
How is Ananda of Self Known? And 7 Definitions of Nirvikalpa Samadhi (48) – Andre Vas

Summary:

Lesson 48 brings further clarity/detail HOW to meditate to establish oneself permanently in Self as Self. We also remove myth of chasing mystical experiences, and answer what it ACTUALLY means to know oneself as limitless ananda (cheerfulness, fullness, not missing anything).

Source of teaching: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, verse 20, 21, 22, 23 and Patañjali Yoga Sūtras


Revision of Vedantic Meditation:

  • Krisna been talking about Vedantic meditation, and we've been using aṣṭāṅga-yoga of Patañjali, to enumerate Vedantic process of meditation and it's culmination.
    • CAUTION: We are NOT using not interested in Patañjali's Yoga Philosophy side within the Yoga Sūtras. Because Advaita Vedānta rejects Yoga philosophy, owning to it's dualistic nature of reality and exclusion of Brahman. Vedanta ONLY endorses and borrows Patañjali's 8 steps process (how-to) of meditation, because it's such a comprehensive system.
  • What is the culmination of Meditation?
    • It is mental absorption in the object of meditation (ātma-svarūpa / nature of Self)
  • How is Mental absorption defined?
    • Flow of same/similar thoughts (sajātīya; similar – pratyaya; thought – pravāhaḥ; flow)
    • Flow of thoughts should be dealing with nature of ātma (Self).
  • Ātma (Self) has several features. Meditator can change thought between ātma features. But not change to anātma (family, work, money, desires, etc).
  • Boundary of meditation of ātma-features is called: ātma-caitanya-svarūpaḥ (Nature of Self/Consciousness)
  • What are some examples of Ātman features in Sanskrit?
    • ātma-nityaḥ (permanent), ātma-ekaḥ (One), ātma-asaṅgaḥ (independent/non-attached), ātma-sarvagataḥ (omnipresent)
    • All features already discussed in chapter 2 (verse 12-25), 4, 5.
    • Features only known if study scriptures/guru. That's why Krisna only introduces Meditation after chapter 5. Meaning a non-Vedāntic student can NOT practice ātma-dhyānam correctly, because he/she won't know the features accurately. And even if one does, it'll have conflicting ideas between each due to not being explained as is to Vedāntic student.
      • EG: Non-Vedātic student may wonder what is different between Awareness and Consciousness? While a Vedāntic student has been clearly shown how they are one and the same words approached from different angle.
  • Vedāntic student has already heard how Ātma is the nature of Consciousness. And because of this, student may confidently meditate without burden of answering “Who am I?”. The “Who am I? question should've been answered sufficiently already in śravaṇam (listening stage) and mananam (self-inquiry/contemplation stage).
  • Further examples of Ātma (YOUR) nature:
    • nityaḥ (permanent/eternal), satyaḥ (truth), asaṅgaḥ (independent), nirvikāraḥ (unchanging), ekaḥ (one), akarta (non-doer), abhokta (non-enjoyer/experiencer)
  • What is PURPOSE of Meditation?
    • Purpose is to relive/recollect whatever we have collected earlier (in scriptures/class). Just like one has to FIRST experience the first kiss, in order to accurately recollect the first kiss. Else it's imaginative. Same way, one has to FIRST hear the teachings in order to ACCURATELY recollect the teachings of Ātma in meditation.
    • So meditation is not for NEW thoughts. It's for recollecting the ALREADY-LEARNED thoughts. And solidifying the ALREADY-LEARNED into the subconscious, so it's a normal living-breathing-embodied reality.
    • Thus Vedantic student mentally goes back to class in meditation. And says “I am witness of thoughts. I am not affected by thoughts”. Etc.
      • When such thoughts are being constantly dwelt upon, it's called: sajātīya-pratyaya-pravāhaḥ
  • sajātīya-pratyaya-pravāhaḥ: Through time becomes habitual and automatic. Thus less effort is needed to constantly think ātman-related thoughts. Eventually this absorbs one into similar thoughts throughout day and entire life.
  • Yoga śāstra categorizes absorption into 3 grades:
    1. Dhāraṇa: Attempt to focus
    2. Dhyānam: Success is coming (as result of effortful attempt to focus)
    3. Samādhi: Fully absorbed! (autopilot due to momentum)
      • Savikalpa: Absorbed deliberately. Will power required.
      • Nirvikalpa: Absorbed spontaneously. Will power not required.
        • This is supposed to be culmination of aṣṭāṅga-yogaḥ.
          • 8 stages are called: aṅga
            • 8 steps are only stepping-stones to 9th below.
          • Nirvikala-samādhi called: aṅgi
            • 9th is culmination: aṣṭāṅga-yoga-phalam
            • Defined by Krisna in verse 20-23, 7 definitions are given.

 

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verse 20:

2 definitions of nirvikalpa samādhi (also refers to nature of Self and/or attributes of a jñāni's mind and/or nirvikalpa attained in meditation) are given:

  • A mind established in samādhi is like an Equanimous/quiet waveless lake. This is a jñāni's mind owning to sincere prior efforts. Meaning, EFFORT is required on your part each day to replicate this kind of mind by spirit of Karma Yoga, śravaṇam, mananam and nididhyāsanam. Be patient. If one attempts to break open a closed flower bud, it's beauty will never see the light of day. In same way, attempt NOT to artificially accelerate Vedantic meditation.
  • DEFINITION 1: citta uparamaṇam: Total tranquillity/relaxation of mind, Abidance in tranquil mind
    • Tranquillity born out of mental restraint.
    • Direct translation: State in which mind is tranquil.
    • Such tranquil mind is withdrawn from anātma roles in life (citta nirudddham). Thus roles needs to roll away in meditation.
    • Anātma role-identification (I AM ___) is cause for ripply-mind. In meditation one detaches from anātma roles, which quietens the mind. A quiet mind reflects the fullness of Consciousness, just like a quiet lake reflects fullness of the sunshine. This benefit passes even after meditation ends.
    • How to withdraw mind? By practice (yogasevayā)
      • By practice of 1-5 steps in aṣṭāṅga-yoga, called: bahiraṅga/antaraṅga sādhanam
  • DEFINITION 2: ātma-darśanam (Knowing Self as Self)
    • Silencing mind is not Vedāntic aim. Only gives temporary tranquillity.
    • INSTRUCTION: In silent mind, bring Vedāntic thoughts into it (sajātīya-pratyaya-pravāhaḥ). Ātman-related.
    • ātmānam paśyan: See ātma in mind (recollect teaching) as revealed by guru/śāstra during śravaṇam.
      • Again: can only meditate on Ātma if know WHAT IT IS. Else if don't know, mind will meditate on imaginative ideas of Ātma.
    • CAUTION: There are three different similar words in line 2 of verse 20. Don't get confused:
      • ātmānam: In Ātma/Self
      • ātmanī: In the Mind
      • ātmanā: With help of mind itself
      • Put all words together: With help of mind, one should see Ātma/Self in the Mind itself.
        • Ātman resides in mind as witness of thoughts. NOTE: Ātman is ONE pervading entire Universe. Hence don't think “my” Ātman is different from “your” Ātman.
        • Ātman means: When universal consciousness (Brahman) pervades matter, then Brahman changes name to Ātman. So “Ātman” just means: Consciousness (formless) + matter (form). But remember, matter itself is Consciousness also.
  • What is benefit of samādhi?
    • EXAMPLE 1:
      • Suppose have clock. It ticks. During daytime it ticks. But don't notice. World sounds are overwhelming it. When sit in meditation/bed, and all sounds gone, suddenly ticking of clock appears to be more prominent. I can't say “ticking has become prominent”. Because ticking intensity is same in day/night.
      • Similarly in nididhyāsanam:
        • I removed all noises from mind (father “I”, worker “I”, mother “I”, friend “I” all silent). Thus having removing all worries, the teaching has bigger impact in silent mind. And joy of fullness is recognized.
    • EXAMPLE 2:
      • In evening, full moon is visible. But to see it, you have to LOOK for it, because it's not very bright. As night fall, moon becomes brighter, more visible. You don't need to look for it. Can we say “moon has become brighter during night? No. In evening, it's light is overpowered by daylight. As obstacle recedes, the moonlight becomes more powerful.
      • Similarly, in nididhyāsanam:
        • Student brings śravaṇam teaching (moon at evening), to nididyāsanam (moon at night), thus same teaching becomes MORE POWERFUL.
  • What is recognized during samādhi?
    • tuṣyati: One feels joy of pūrṇatvam.
      • Why?
        • All personalities have complaints/needs (EG: father is never 100% happy with family).
        • Only ātma has no complaints because it is full. Thus one recognizes ones fullness (pūrṇatvam), and recognizes tuṣyati (cheerfulness).

 

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verse 21:

  • DEFINITION 3: ātyantikam sukham (limitless ānanda)
    • One owns up to the highest ānanda.
    • Limitless” is totally different to sense pleasures, which are all finite. In terms of: quality, time, place.
      • Evident finitude:
        • Time: It ends. Thus people always say “That day, I had best joy!”.
        • Quality: EG: That day he sang best! Afterwords, never again.
    • Thus “ānanda” doesn't come under experiential pleasure at all. If it is ānanda gained in samādhi, then it's still limited. Thus still not “ānanda” we're talking about.
    • Then what is ānanda? It is ānanda born of knowledge/intellect/wisdom.
      • What knowledge? I am pūrnaḥ (full/whole/complete), during meditation I am pūrnaḥ, I was NEVER not pūrnaḥ, upon death I am pūrnaḥ (continue existing as consciousness which is full and self-luminous by itself and is limitless). Despite this short lived body-mind not being pūrnaḥ, the truth is I (Consciousness) AM pūranaḥ. And the body-mind is only incidental while it's sentient. I need not give reality to this limited shell called body-mind, because the reality of who and what I am is LIMITLESS FULLNESS, infinite ānanda.
      • Meaning whatever cheerfulness undergoes within jñāni's body-mind, is entirely arising out of well assimilated Knowledge of pūrnaḥ. It is independent cheerfulness arising out of the simple, ordinary fact of AM-ness. “I AM” = automatic Cheerfulness.  🙂
        • (NOTE: “AM-ness” needs further explanation in Tattva Bodha, what it actually means. Will cover 100% when expound the text).
      • Thus only ānanda born of knowledge is permanent. Because knowledge can't be displaced by time, nor worldly experience.
        • EG: When unhappy experience, the knowledge of 2 + 2 = 4.  When happy experience, the knowledge of 2 + 2 = 4. Thus no experience can displace knowledge.
    • Conclusion: If ānanda comes from wisdom, the knowledge can't ever be shaken. Thus the sense of fulfillment born of wisdom is called: ātyantikam sukham (limitless ānanda), which is buddhigrāhyam (of intellect), and it's atīndriyam (beyond sense pleasures; finite).
    • vetti:
      • Krisna says “He Knows this ānanda”. And not “experiences”. Indicating “ānanda” is in form of knowledge/wisdom.
      • Meaning: One has simply come to KNOW what was/is always the case, yet was covered by false idea which apparently limited ānanda. Just like cloud only apparently dims out the brightness of sun, not actually.
  • DEFINITION 4: tattva-niṣṭhā (firmly established in self as self) OR sthita-prajña (CH2)
    • yatra (I am) sthitaḥ na tattvataḥ calati (tattva: ātma, calati: deviates): I am one who doesn't deviate from his Higher nature.
    • Remaining in “THIS”. Meaning “in this absorption”. Abiding in THIS ātma, one does not deviate in anātma.
    • Bicycle Example:
      • Just like learning to ride bicycle in non-distracting place. At start, constantly fall. After some time, abide in cycling knowledge. Then can cycle in noisy worldly environment, and no distraction can cause you to forget cycling knowledge, plus talk on phone with one hand.
        • Non-distractible bicycle knowledge is called: niṣṭhā (steadiness, familiarity with)
        • For non-distractible Self-knowledge, called: tattva-niṣṭhā (firmly established in self as self)
    • Meaning, one who practices ātma-dhyānam, never forgets in any crises. Never lose centre of gravity. Never deviates from true-nature.
    • If one does not deviate from ātma-svarūpa DURING world transactions, it's called: sahaja-samādhi
      • EG: Cyclist is in sahaja-samādhi, because it's on auto pilot. Able to exercise the knowledge in most chaotic traffic, while also on phone.

 

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verse 22:

  • DEFINITION 5: ādhyāntika-lābhaḥ (Highest gain in front of which all other gains are insignificant)
    • When person owns up pūrvantvam of ātma (I am full, I don't lack/need anything in life to be complete), one doesn't miss anything in life. Then whatever one enjoys in worldly sense, is only a luxury, but unneeded.
      • Luxury: Enjoy when available. And not miss when unavailable.
      • Opposite: That which I don't recognize when it's there. And badly miss when it's not there. For example, one gets free lift once in a while and it's enjoyed. But when gets it everyday, one stops appreciating the driver.
    • For jñāni, everything in life is luxury. When things around, thoroughly enjoy. When not, doesn't miss.
    • SUMMARY: Having owned up pūrnatvam, anything in life is neither a gain nor a loss. Only luxury. Meaning worldly gains become insignificant before the eyes of jñāni.
  • DEFINITION 6: adhyāntika-duḥka-nivṛttiḥ (Gītā verse: yasmin stitaḥ): Total freedom from sorrow
    • Remaining in this ātma-niṣṭhā (self-abidance). Not shaken by even worst tragedy in life. “What > So What!”. Knows all things are subject to arrival/departure.

 

Another Revision of Meditation:

  • Krisna has been talking about Vedantic meditation, as means of assimilating Self-Knowledge. Adi Shankara points out in Brahma Sūtra bhāśyam: “Self-Knowledge must take place from guru-upadeśa, or systematic Vedantic teaching given by a guru”. Meaning Self-Knowledge must first come from a valid source before it can be assimilated properly. This is why śāstra and guru are BOTH important. Else the Self-Knowledge will have no life transforming power behind it.
    • Śankara words to above statement: vedānta vakya deva ātma jñānam udeti
  • Meditation is not prescribed for gaining Self-Knowledge. But internalizing/assimilating knowledge, which has already been gained. Meaning assimilated knowledge alone nourishes you.
    • Metaphor: When eat food, what nourishes body is not what you eat, but what body DIGESTS (assimilates/internalizes). For example, some people have problem with absorbing power. Nothing gets digested. Person suffers from malnutrition. In same way, if mind fails to digest the knowledge, the person continues feeling spiritually malnutritioned.
  • Meaning: What we listen is NOT what blesses one with mokṣa. It is assimilating the listened that blesses. Swami Chinmayananda used to say “You've gone though 10 Upanishads. How many Upanishads have gone through YOU?”. In other words, assimilating is accomplished by dwelling upon received teaching. Śravaṇam replayed mentally is nididhyāsanam.
  • REVISION of Nididhyāsanam:
    1. Dhāraṇā: Withdraw mind from worldly personality. Bring mind to Vedantic teachings.
    2. Dhyānam: Trying to dwell upon teaching continuously. (Not problem solving or doubt clearing as done in mananam, but dwelling upon what's ALREADY understood)
    3. Samādhi: Absorbed in the teaching which talks about higher nature. I forgets my relative personality (father/brother/sister). I let mind be exclusively flooded by aham brahmāsmi.
  • Purpose of Meditation: To internalize “aham brahmāsmi” as normal living reality. Just like it's a normal living reality that “I am male, I am female”.
    • You are not a human being with a spiritual experience. But a spiritual being with a incidental human experience. Thus DON'T look for spiritual experience.
    • Meaning I don't want to seek a spiritual experience, but own up fact that I am spiritual being all the time. Human experience is something that comes and goes. Thus need to reverse our wordly experience to match this.
  • Ultimate culmination of THREE STEPS MENTIONED ABOVE: Total absorption in “I am satcitānanda svarūpaḥ asmi”. Called nirvikalpaka (knowledge not dependent on senses)-samādhi, which is yoga-phalam.
  • What is point of Meditation? Adi Shankara says:
    • “Reflection (manana) is 100x superior to listening (śravaṇa); meditation (nididhyāsana) is 100x superior to reflection; nirvikalpaka-samādhi is infinitely superior.

 

REVISION of 6 Definitions of Nirvikalpa-Samadhi:

  1. Quiet Mind: citta uparamaṇam
    • Mind relaxed, tranquil, at home.
    • Does NOT mean “thoughtless state”. But no disturbing thoughts.
    • Mind thinks of higher nature.
    • Self-Knowledge is a thought, but not disturbance. Else you'll say “I'm disturbed” in every class, while knowledge is being imparted.
    • SUMMARY: Quiet mind with Vedantic thoughts.
  2. Taking a STAND in Awareness: ātma-darśanam
    • State where one is invoking in his mind, knowledge received in class. EG: “I am not BMI. I am Conscious principle pervading and illumining the body”.
    • Owning up one's nature.
  3. Fulfilment Ananda) born of Knowledge: ātyantikam sukham (verse 21)
    • Nirvikalpa is highest happiness which I own up the fact that my very nature is Happiness. It is NOT experiential happiness (finite/time bound).
    • Happiness born out of knowledge, that I don't miss/lack anything. I have no imperfections. This understanding alone gives one fulfillment.
    • SUMMARY: Knowledge born fulfilment.
  4. Abiding Permanently in True Nature: tattva-niṣṭhā
    • State in which person abides in true nature, that he won't slip out of his svarūpam, even during transaction.
    • Not loosing center of gravity. EG: When experienced cyclist moves, he doesn't get out centre of gravity.
    • Life center of gravity is: aham satcitānanda svarūpa asmi
    • SUMMARY: sahaja-samādhi
  5. Coming home: adhyāntika-lābhaḥ
    • Greatest accomplishment in life. Which is coming back to myself.
    • Discover peace/happiness is my nature. Coming home.
  6. Total FREEDOM from sorrow: adhyāntika-duḥka-nivṛttiḥ
    • Total freedom from sorrow.
    • That gaining which person doesn’t know how to grieve in life. No more sorrow in life. Worst crises doesn't shake him. Because aware that anātma consists of mind/world.
    • Aware of unpredictable fluctuations of Body-mind-world.
    • Nothing comes as shock. What > So what!

 

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verse 23:

  • DEFINITION 7: duḥkha saṃyoga viyogam: Disassociation from association with unnatural sorrow.
    • Given to avoid confusion, which comes in 3rd Definition.
    • Person may think that Self-Knowledge and practice of samādhi will bring highest happiness in life.
    • If think that happiness will come from meditation, committing mistake. Because anything born in time, will end in time. Any happiness (1) Sense pleasure, or (2) born out of Meditation, then it will last as long as Meditation lasts. When over then samādhi-ānanda will end also.
      • For above reason, Vedanta says: Never seek mystic pleasure. Will be subject to loss.
      • Even people in nirvikalpa samādhi will say: “I HAD greatest pleasure in nirvikalpa“.
    • Infinite ānanda is that which NEVER arrives in time/place/condition. Only possible if it is here and now.
  • How to get infinite ānanda? If you get it, you will lose it!
    • What is meant in above question is: One will “get” it by removing superimposed sorrow upon one's svarūpam. Meaning owning up obstacles/false-notions of who I am.
      • Just like no doctor gives you health, because body nature is healthy. Doctor only removes obstacles preventing health. Disease is incidental which we have acquired.
      • When get health again, I haven't accomplished health, but obstacle/intruder has been removed.
      • That's why in Sanskrit, health is defined as: Being natural / remaining in one's own nature (svasthaḥ)
    • ānanda is our nature. Thus to enjoy ānanda, is not to acquire anything, but to abide in natural state. Sorrrow is acquired by wrong thinking/misconceptions.
    • Thus all Vedanta does is REMOVE sorrow-bacteria/microbes, thought antibiotics called: ātma-jñānam.
  • duḥkha saṃyoga viyogam: (Answers what is samādhi)
    • ANSWER: Disassociation from association with unnatural sorrow.
    • samādhi is remaining in natural state of pūrnatvam by negating unnatural sorrow.
    • If analyse sorrow, will discover it's unnatural, because it always belongs to world/body/mind.
    • One needs not associate with happiness, because happiness is our svarūpam.
  • saḥ niścayena (with perservance) yoktavyaḥ: Krisna gives advice to all Vedāntic students
    • Means: One should practice this Yoga. Else study will be mere verbal gymnastics. What is point of another text.
    • Point of Gītā: Transformation of personality.
  • anirviṇṇa-cetasā: How is it to be practiced?
    • With a mind which doesn't develop pessimism. With an enthusiastic/optimistic mind.
    • Because worries comes out in meditation out of subconscious. Which creates frustration. Thus Krisna says “Never get frustrated“.

Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching is given to Swami Paramarthananda

Recorded 7 May, 2019

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