14 – Drg Drsya Viveka (21-29): Two Kinds of Superimposition – Yoga vs Advaita Vedanta Meditation


Lecture 14 speaks about Nirupadhika/Sopadhika Adhyasda. Without knowing both, person thinks Enlightenment is Nirupadhika. Mithya has 2 types: pratibhasika-mithya & vyavaharika-mithya. First Step in Vedanta: Reduce Pratibhasika, then analyze Vyavaharika to come to Paramarthika. MEDITATION: Samadhi, About Meditation, Yoga vs Vedanta Meditation.

Source: Drg Drsya Viveka


  • Knowing all that is here is Ishvara, whose truth is sat-cit, does perception change? No. Because superimposition (adhyasa) is of 2 types:
    • Nirupadhika adhyasa:
      • EG: Someone tells you wrong information about person X. When you see person X, a superimposition of “inappropriate person” is formed. Moment you hear the truth, that superimposition drops, and your perception changes. Or snake-rope; upon closer inspection, the snake perception disappears.
    • Sopadhika adhyasa:
      • After correcting the false notion / error (EG: earth is not flat, but round), the perception doesn’t change. Only changes in reference to knowledge. So knowing the truth is sopadhika-adhyasa (experience is same, but understanding different). The value is you’re no longer fooled.
    • Not knowing these 2 types, person believe after enlightenment, the world appears different.
  • How do you know that understanding truth is sopadhika-adhyasa? Besides scriptures stating it, there is a logic. Mithya has 2 categories:
    1. Vyavaharika mithya: Has an empirical reality. EG: Can’t say “box” front of me is illusion. It’s publicly perceived object, with useful function. Universal error is giving vyavaharika absolutism. In reality, it has a dependent reality on paramarthika (final reality which has no dependence on anything). 
      • “It is, therefore I see it”.
      • Everytime you correct an error in reference to empirical reality, it’s sopadhika-abhyasa. Perception doesn’t change.  EG:
        • When scientists recognizes water is H2O, your perception of water doesn’t change to gases. Similarly, this world can give you perception that it’s solid and dualistic. When correct notional error, duality remains, but relationship to world changes.
        • Can’t change the sun, nor the mind’s limited capacity. Desire to make it limitless is impossible as mind is vyavaharika (Ishvara-creation).
      • Truth of vyavaharika-mithya is sat-cit, before and after liberation.
    2. Pratibhasika mithya: Not empirically true, but I still see it. Subjective addition to empirical fact. At beginning, subjectivity seems to be truer then vyavaharika. EG: Snake is taken as rope, without questioning it.
      • “I see it, therefore it is”.
      • Nirupadhika-abhyasa is pratibhasika-mithya.
  • So first step Vedanta asks, is to distinguish between pratibhasika and vyavaharika. Otherwise, can’t ever arrive to pratibhasika.
    • For example, Vedanta wants you to analyze that rope is nothing but atoms > particles > concepts. However one’s perception/emotional makeup is still attached to level of snake.
    • Whole Yoga Shastra in Bhagavad Gita helps move from snake to rope. Neo-Vedanta skips pratibhasika & vyavaharika. Therefore need mind that has sufficiently managed pratibhasika so it can appreciate vyavaharika, thus appreciate paramarthika.
      • In short: Can’t move from “I’m no good” to “I’m limitless”. Kindergarten to PHD.
    • Everyone starts out in pratibhasika (own notions about world, enlightenment, liberated person, etc). The most you can do with pratibhasika, is reduce it down to vyavaharika. It can’t be reduced to paramarthika (formless), as pratibhasika only operates from notions (forms). Yet paramarthika is formless. So the only way to paramarthika is through vyavaharika.
  • EG OF MOVING FROM PRATIBHASIKA > VYAVAHARIKA: Instead of “World is out to get me, it’s evil” > “There is a cause-effect relationship to everything existent in universe, thus people do act out of their pressures helplessly, due to past causes”.


Verse 22-29: Meditation Techniques: To Help Integrate the Knowledge

VERSE 22: Introduction to Meditation (Nididhyasana Dhyanam)

उपेक्ष्य नाम-रूपे द्वे सत्-चिद्-आनन्द-तत्परः | समाधिं सर्वदा कुर्यात् हृदये वा अथवा बहिः ||
upekṣya nāma-rūpe dve sat-cid-ānanda-tatparaḥ | samādhiṁ sarvadā kuryāt hṛdaye vā athavā bahiḥ ||
Being indifferent to both name and form, and devoted to the Truth, one should always practice meditation both in the heart and outside.

[COMMENARY: Verses 22-29 deal with assimilation of knowledge through nididhyasana or meditation. Mere intellectual knowledge is not enough. Emotional transformation requires internalization of teaching. Nididhyasana means dwelling on the teaching in real life contexts. It can be done through repeated listening, reading, writing, discussing or teaching. Sitting meditation is one form of nididhyasana. Posture is incidental, mental focus is primary. In nididhyasana, words Brahman/Atma should be replaced with ‘I', the meditator. Nididhyasana is focusing on the changeless sat-chit-ananda and filtering out changing name-form.]


VERSE 23: Varieties in Meditation

सविकल्पः निर्विकल्पः समाधिः-द्विविधः हृदि | दृश्य-शब्द-अनुविद्धेन सविकल्पः पुनः-द्विधा ||
savikalpaḥ nirvikalpaḥ samādhiḥ-dvividhaḥ hṛdi | dṛśya-śabda-anuviddhena savikalpaḥ punaḥ-dvidhā ||
The practice of meditation within is of two kinds: with duality (savikalpa samādhi)  and without duality (nirvikalpa). Meditation with duality (savikalpa samādhi) is again of two kinds, that which is associated with the seen [objects] and with words.

[COMMENTARY: [1] Savikalpa — In this samādhi, the practitioner concentrates his mind on Brahman without completely losing such distinctions as the knower, knowledge, and the known. Savikalpa samadhi uses an aid (objects or internal auto-suggestion) for concentration. This is the initial step in the practice of concentration.  [2] Nirvikalpa—In this samādhi the practitioner makes himself free from all thought of distinctions, as the knower, knowledge, and the known.]

VERSE 24: Savikalpa Meditation: Using Inner Objects to Trigger Inquiry Into Reality

कामाद्याः-चित्तगाः दृश्याः तत्-साक्षित्वेन चेतनम् | ध्यायेत् दृश्य-अनुविद्धः अयम् समाधिः सविकल्पकः ||
kāmādyāḥ-cittagāḥ dṛśyāḥ tat-sākṣitvena cetanam | dhyāyet dṛśya-anuviddhaḥ ayam samādhiḥ savikalpakaḥ ||
Thoughts arising in the mind like desires, etc. are the seen. One should meditate on Consciousness as their witness. This is the meditation with duality (savikalpa samādhi) associated with the seen.

[COMMENTARY: Verse explains the first type of samadhi – internal object-based savikalpa samadhi. This uses thoughts in the mind as objects of meditation. Thoughts like desire, anger etc arise in the mind and are witnessed by consciousness (Atman). Meditate on Atman as the witness of thoughts. Don't try to remove thoughts. Focus on Atman by entertaining thoughts about its nature as witness, pervading, changeless etc. Start with focusing on Atman as illuminator of thoughts.  Progress to seeing it as ‘I', the meditator. Replace Atman with ‘I' to assimilate the knowledge emotionally. Like the light in a room illuminates arriving and departing objects, Atman illuminates thoughts in the mind.]

VERSE 25: Savikalpa Meditation: Vedantic Auto-Suggestion, Eyes Closed, to Inquiry Into Reality

असङ्गः-सत्-चिद्-आनन्दः स्वप्रभः द्वैत-वर्जितः | अस्मि-इति शब्द-विद्धः अयम् समाधिः स-विकल्पकः ||
asaṅgaḥ-sat-cid-ānandaḥ svaprabhaḥ dvaita-varjitaḥ | asmi-iti śabda-viddhaḥ ayam samādhiḥ sa-vikalpakaḥ
‘I am unattached, Existence-Consciousness-Fullness self-shining, free from duality’, this is the practice of meditation with duality (savikalpa samādhi) associated with words.

[COMMENTARY: Thoughts about Atman's nature using Vedantic statements are entertained in this meditation. Such as: [1] “asanga” (unattached; I have no relationship with anything in creation), [2] “svayam jyoti” (I am self-effulgent), [3] Consciousness is self-evident, does not require a special state. I am free from duality, being the non-dual witness. [4] World's mithya nature must be assimilated first to know I am non-dual.  Yoga vs. Vedanta Meditation: Stopping thoughts is Yogic meditation. Entertaining Vedantic thoughts is Vedantic meditation.]

VERSE 26: Nirvikalpa Meditation: Effortless, Closed Eyed, Absorption in Self as Self

स्व-अनुभूति-रस-आवेशात् दृश्य-शब्दऔ उपेक्ष्य तु | निर्विकल्पः-समाधिः-स्यात् निवात-स्थित-दीपवत् ||
sva-anubhūti-rasa-āveśāt dṛśya-śabdau upekṣya tu | nirvikalpaḥ-samādhiḥ-syāt nivāta-sthita-dīpavat ||
But, the non-dual state of meditation (nirvikalpa samādhi)  is that in which the mind becomes steady like the (unflickering flame of a) light kept in a place free from wind, in complete absorption in the wholeness of Self-realisation, having ignored (become indifferent to) both the seen (V24) and the words (V25).

[COMMENTARY: This is effortless abidance in self as self. In nirvikalpa samadhi, the vṛtti or thought continues in the subconscious without will or effort. Because the mind has gained momentum from deliberate meditation before. The thought now flows by itself like a flame in an enclosure untouched by wind. Here, there is no subject-object division or tripuṭi (pramata, premeya, pramana). It appears similar to deep sleep. But it differs from sleep in that a jñāna-vṛtti or thought “I am Brahman” continues in the mind. Conversely, in sleep only an ajñāna-vṛtti or absence of knowledge is present. The presence of the jñāna-vṛtti is inferred later from the recollection upon waking up. Just as one says “I did not know anything” on waking up from sleep indicating a thought was present. Unlike sleep, complete absorption in the bliss of the Self is experienced due to the knowledge. There is no ego or duality. The mind absorbs the teaching and remains immersed in the Self.]


VERSE 27: Savikalpa Meditation: Using External Objects to Trigger Inquiry Into Reality

हृदि इव बाह्य-देशे अपि यस्मिन् कस्मिन् च वस्तुनि | समाधिः-आद्यः सत्-मात्रात् नाम-रूप-पृथक्-कृतिः ||
hṛdi iva bāhya-deśe api yasmin kasmin ca vastuni | samādhiḥ-ādyaḥ sat-mātrāt nāma-rūpa-pṛthak-kṛtiḥ ||
The first kind of samādhi (savikalpa) is possible with the help of any external object  (eg: sun) or internal object (eg: desire). In that samādhi, the name and form are separated from what is Pure Existence (Brahman).

[COMMENTARY: Verse introduces the first of three external savikalpa samadhis – the object-based one. Just like the internal samadhi uses thoughts as objects, the external samadhi uses any external object. An object like the sun, a tree, etc – can be taken as the support. Every object has the five factors – asti, bhati, priyam, nama, rupa. The nama (name) and rupa (form) belong to the changing aspect of the object.  Asti refers to pure existence or sat which can never be negated from an object. By concentration, the name and form should be separated from the existence aspect. Existence is not a part, product or property of the object but an independent principle. The mind should dwell on this pure existence or sat which is the same as Brahman. This dissociation from name-form and absorption in existence is external object-based savikalpa samadhi. It is an open-eye meditation using any external object as a support to recognize Brahman.]

VERSE 28: Savikalpa Meditation: Vedantic Auto-Suggestion, Eyes Open, to Inquiry Into Reality

अखण्ड-एक-रसं वस्तु सत्-चिद्-आनन्द-लक्षणम् | इति अविच्छिन्न-चिन्ता इयम् समाधिः-मध्यमः भवेत् ||
akhaṇḍa-eka-rasaṁ vastu sat-cid-ānanda-lakṣaṇam | iti avicchinna-cintā iyam samādhiḥ-madhyamaḥ bhavet ||
‘The Reality (Brahman) is undivided, and is of nature of Existence-Consciousness-Limitlessness’. Such uninterrupted contemplation is meditation of the middle kind, that is the savikalpa samādhi associated with words.

[COMMENTARY: Verse explains the second external samadhi – the word-based one.  After shifting to pure existence in the object-based samadhi, its nature is dwelled upon in this samadhi. Words from scriptures describing existence are used, so it is word-based. Existence is one indivisible whole, not limited to objects, all-pervading. It continues to remain even when the entire universe is resolved. Features like partless, relationless, eternal are dwelled upon using scriptural words. Existence outside is non-different from consciousness inside. This undistracted thought flow on existence-consciousness is external word-based samadhi.]

VERSE 29: Nirvikalpa Meditation: Unbroken Recognition of Final Reality

स्तब्धी-भावः रस-आस्वादात् तृतीयः पूर्ववत्-मतः | एतैः समाधिभिः षड्भिः नयेत् कालं निरन्तरम् ||
stabdhī-bhāvaḥ rasa-āsvādāt tṛtīyaḥ pūrvavat-mataḥ | etaiḥ samādhibhiḥ ṣaḍbhiḥ nayet kālaṁ nirantaram ||
The total stillness within due to the experience of fullness is the third kind of meditation (nirvikalpa) as described previously (V26).

[COMMENTARY: Nirvikalpa samadhi naturally happens as a consequence of deliberate savikalpa samadhi practice.  It is not directly under the control of the meditator, depends on several factors including past karma. Savikalpa samadhi can be deliberately practiced but nirvikalpa happens when conditions allow. Nirvikalpa samadhi is not compulsory for liberation. Knowledge comes from shravana alone. Meditation only prepares the mind for clear shravana by removing obstacles. Even after nirvikalpa samadhi, one has to come back to shravana for direct and permanent recognition. Proper shravana gives aparoksha jnana or direct knowledge, not any mystical experience. Nirvikalpa samadhi may or may not happen, but keep doing samadhi and shravana. Ultimately aparoksha-jnana (also called sahaja-samādhi) dawns only through shravana with a capable teacher on mahavakyas.]

  • Samādhi: Samadhi, in this context, means contemplation (whether before or after knowledge takes place). It’s is two types:
    • Savikalpa:
      • PURPOSE OF MEDITATION: Ancient orientations don’t easily go even after Vedanta. So must correct them with persistent effort for integration.
        • Lot of times when people listen to Vedanta, they say “This is all intellectual understanding. I have to do something”. However Vedanta is praptasya-prapti (something that's already here; thus only knowledge can reveal it; doing is only for things I don’t already have now). Doing is for maturity of mind. Knowledge is for moksha.
      • VENDATIC MEDITATION: Thoughts create division. EG: Me and world. That’s why in yoga, emphasis is on removing thought/silencing the mind, as that gives illusion of removal of division. However Vedanta says, don’t get rid of thoughts (as they’re neither good nor bad, and they’re not taking you away from your nature), but use them to help you understand reality. Dwell upon the nature of reality through thoughts that are keeping with what-is.
        • REALITY: Use form to recognize all knowledge-power sustaining it, and the content of the knowledge-power is sat-cit. Form is true. Intelligence is true. I am true. One reality appearing from 3 standpoints (jiva, jagat, Ishvara).
        • FAIR WORLD: If see unreasonable behavior in world, bring in Ishvara infallible order. Many past causes contribute to any behavior.
        • BGITA: Bhagavad Gita has several models to help reduce pratibhasika (subjectivity) and prepare mind for self-knowledge: Raga-dvesha management, Karma-Yoga, Dhyanam, 20 values (CH13), SRT (CH14).
          • Karma-Yoga = (1) bringing in samanya/svadharma in reference to likes/dislikes (2) results obtained are governed by and coming from an unbiased/impartial laws.


Course was based on [1] Drig Drishya Viveka book by Swami Tejomayananda [2] Book by Swami Nikhilananda [3] Neema Majmudar.

Recorded 19 Jan, 2024

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