About the Author:
Born on the 8th September, 1887, in the illustrious family of Saga Appayya Diskhita and several other renowned saints and savants, Sri Swami Sivananda had a natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of Vedanta. Added to this was an inborn eagerness to serve all and an innate feeling of unity with all mankind. His passion for service drew him to the medical career; and soon he gravitated to where he thought that his service was most needed. Malaya claimed him. He had earlier been editing a Health Journal and wrote extensively on health problems. He discovered that people needed right knowledge most of all; dissemination of that knowledge he espoused as his own mission. It was divine dispensation and the blessing of God upon mankind that the doctor of body and mind renounced his career and took to a life of renunciation to qualify himself for ministering to the soul of man. He settled down at Rishikesh in 1924, practiced intense austerities and shone as a great Yogi, Saint, Sage and Jivanmukta. In 1932 he started the Sivanandashram. In 1936 was born The Divine Life Society. In 1948 the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy was organized. Dissemination of spiritual knowledge and training of people in Yoga and Vedanta were their aim and object. In 1950 he undertook a lightning tour of India and Ceylon. In 1953 he convened a 'World Parliament Reliogions'. He is the author of over 300 volumes and has disciples all over the world, belonging to all nationalities, religions and creeds. To read his works is to drink at the fountain of Wisdom Supreme. On 14th July, 1963 he entered Mahasamadhi.
It was in the year 1934 that a small pamphlet "Samadhi in Six Months" was written by Sri Swamiji Maharaj and printed and published at Madras. This booklet had a very warm reception and many enquiries poured in for a deeper understanding of the Ancient Secret contained in the Yoga Sastras. The subject was however touched upon in most of the later writings of the Swamiji, but still the revered author cherished a desire to bring out a profounder work on this subject. This work is thus the direct outcome of such a Sankalpa, and its appeal should be far-reaching in giving such Sadhakas, as are fit to enter the portals of the Blissful Union, many direct hints and instructions on practical experiences, and point out the way to the desired illumination.
In placing this book before all thirsty aspirants and seekers of Samadhi, we feel that a thorough understanding of the subject, after a perusal of the other writings of the Swamiji along with sincere spiritual practices and with the grace of the Guru and God, will surely lead them to the summum bonumof existence.---THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY
Mind and breath are like milk and water. Raja Yoga is
control of mind. He who wants to become a perfect Yogi and
to experience the wonderful Samadhi must control mind and
breath. He must continuously practise Yoga and observe the
rules. He must thoroughly overcome the five Tattvas.
Restraint of the mind (Nirodha) leads to Jnana. Nirodha is
the culmination of Sankhya and Yoga. It is Nirodha which
underlies all the Sadhanas or spiritual exercises. Restraint of
the mind is the essence of all worship. This is Jnana and
Dhyana. The highest end is attained by restraint of the mind.
The mind should be completely restrained from the objects.
The mind should be restrained till it attains dissolution in the
Atman or Brahman is your immortal Self. It is the only
blazing reality. If you know this Atman only you can attain
perfection. Perfection can be yours in this very life. Atman is to
be recognised, to be known as your innermost being through
Samadhi. If you know this Atman, which is the Ultimate
Reality, which is Perfection, then only your life becomes useful
and real existence. The knower of the Atman, the inner
perfection, crosses all sorrows and becomes free. If you do not
know this Atman, then there is great loss for you.
Samadhi is not a mere emotional enthusiasm or an
exhilaration of feeling. It is the direct unique intuitive
experience of Truth or Absolute Consciousness or the Ultimate
Reality. It is beyond all feeling, throbbing and thrill. There is
perfect awareness in Samadhi which is beyond expression and
feeling. The aspirant rests in his centre now-the goal of his
search and realises the absolute freedom, independence and
Just as a man who anxiously seeks the means of escape
from the midst of a burning house, so also the aspirant should
have a burning desire to free himself from the fire of Samsara.
Then only he will be able to enter into deep meditation and
The mind becomes the very Brahman, when it is purified
and brought into Samadhi state. In Samadhi there is no
perception of duality, which is the cause for fear. Avidya is
absent in Samadhi.
Samadhi installs you in the Atman. Through Samadhi the
finite self is absorbed in the Infinite or Absolute
Consciousness. In Samadhi there is no mental tension. There is
perfect stillness or perfect poise. There is total mental
inhibition. Samadhi follows meditation. Deep meditation is
Samadhi. The mind that is endowed with a finished discipline
in intensive contemplation can enter into Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
In Samadhi the mind withdraws from its natural or habitual
occupation and gets itself fixed upon the Atman which is not
touched by the mind. The mind does not at all function in
Samadhi. It gets absorbed in Brahman. If you can consciously
induce a state like deep sleep, it is no longer deep sleep, but it
is Samadhi. It is sleepless sleep wherein the senses and the
mind entirely cease their functioning, and the veil of ignorance
is destroyed by the fire of knowledge. The aspirant enjoys
perfect joy of freedom and infinite, supra-cosmic, vast
experiences and the supreme silence of the Imperishable.
In Samadhi the purified mind withdraws itself from the
external objects, looks within and concentrates on the
Innermost Self or the Atman. It resolves itself in the Atman, its
source, and becomes Atman itself. It takes the form of Atman,
just as camphor becomes the fire itself. Knowledge of Brahman
or Atman is real experience and not mere knowing. To know
Brahman is to• become Brahman "Brahmavid Brahmaiva
bhavati"-this is the emphatic declaration of the Upanishads.
In Samadhi there is revelation or insight or intuition. The
Jnana Chakshus or Divya Chakshus is opened. The third eye of
wisdom opens by itself when the Brahmakara Vritti is raised.
The sage born of Samadhi-experience gets established in his
own Self. He is endowed with cosmic vision and transcendental
As long as you are in Samadhi Nishtha there is only
Brahman or the Absolute. Nirantara Samadhi does not mean
sitting blind-folded but the renunciation of attachment to the
body and regarding individual soul and supreme Soul as one
and knowing that the practitioner himself is Paramatman and
acting upon this knowledge. Samadhi means the annihilation or
absorption of the mind. Wherever he goes, he beholds the one
Self everywhere. Neither self-abnegation nor Self-knowledge is
enough but the co-existence of both self-abnegation and
Self-knowledge constitutes Nirantara Samadhi. Self-knowledge
is Brahma-Nishtha. He who has acquired this has no body.
The state in which the mind remains free from sensations is
Mukti. Vishaya means the function of the senses. Therefore
the state of the mind remaining unconnected with the senses
or with the mind's own functions or actions, viz., hopes, fears,
etc., is Mukti. Mind without mingling with Brahman cannot be
disconnected with sensations. Mind becomes one with
Brahman. This is Mukti. This is the state of Nirvishaya.
Individual soul becomes Supreme Soul. This is Mukti. Just
as salt mingled with water becomes water, so mind mingled
with Brahman ultimately becomes Brahman Itself. When the
mind becomes Brahman, this world which is the creation of the
mind also melts away in Brahman and becomes Brahman Itself.
Therefore, All this is Brahman will come home only to him
who has practised this Nishtha.
According to Vedanta, annihilation of Avidya or ignorance
leads to Samadhi. According to Patanjali Rishi, the aspirant
attains Samadhi by removing the hold of Prakriti by practice
The Vedanti enjoys the' eternal bliss and natural easiness of
Sahaja Samadhi. He remains as a Sakshi or silent witness. He
does not make any serious attempt to control the psychic
stream or thought-current. He raises the Brahmakara Vritti by
meditating on the significance of "Tat Tvam Asi" Mahavakya.
The Chitta is modified in the form of Brahmakara Vritti. All
other modifications are withdrawn. This Vritti annihilates the
ignorance and dies by itself and Brahman shines out as the
aspirant realises his identity. When the Vritti is continuous, the
highest form of Samadhi, i.e., Nirvikalpa Samadhi is attained.
When it is intermittent, the sage attains Savikalpa Samadhi.
The Samadhi in the Jnani is effortless and spontaneous.
"Yatra yatra mano yaati tatra tatra samadhayah "-wherever the
mind goes, there it experiences Samadhi. He rests in Samadhi
always. There is no 'In Samadhi' and 'Out of Samadhi' for a
sage. He experiences Samadhi always without any effort.
Hence it is called Sahajavastha or Sahaja Samadhi. He enjoys
freedom, bliss and peace, in all moments of his life. He drinks
the nectar of immortality in this very life.
Yogic Samadhi is analytical and discriminative. In this
Samadhi greater stress is laid upon the discrimination between
the Prakriti and the Purusha. In Jnana Samadhi, no
discrimination is needed. Brahmakara Vritti, raised by an
attempt to become identical with the Supreme Self or Brahma
Chintana, destroys Avidya and dies by itself.
Be courageous friends! You will come across various
obstacles when you endeavour to control the mind and enter
into Samadhi. You will have to conquer Laya (mental
inactivity), Vikshepa (distractions), Kashaya (passion) and
Sukharaga (taste for pleasure).
Laya or mental inactivity is a state which is equivalent to
deep sleep. This is as much a source of evil as passion.
Wake up the mind in Laya. Even though you have
conquered over Laya and distraction by repeated practice, by
Vairagya, and Jnanabhyasa or Brahma Chintana, yet the mind
will not enter into a state of perfect balance or serenity. It will
be in an intermediate stage. The mind is still not freed from
Raga or attachment which is the seed of all its activity in the
direction of external objects. There is still lurking passion or
hidden Yasanas or Kashaya. You will have to restrain the mind
again and again by Vichara and do rigorous meditation and
practice of Samprajnata or Savikalpa Samadhi. Finally you must
rest yourself in Asamprajnata or seedless Samadhi (Nirbija
You are not able to enter into Samadhi, because you are
not able to practise meditation. You are not able to do
profound meditation, because you are not able to fix the mind
steadily or concentrate. You are not able to concentrate
properly, because you are not able to practise Pratyahara or
the withdrawal of the senses from the objects thoroughly. You
are not able to practise Pratyahara thoroughly, because you
have not obtained mastery over Asanas and Prana through
Pranayama and you are not established in Yama and Niyama,
which are the foundation of Yoga.
The aspirant who wants to attain Samadhi should have
patience like that of the bird Tittibha which tried to empty the
ocean with its beak. Once he makes a firm resolve, gods will
come to his help in the same way that Garuda came to the
help of Tittibha. Help invariably comes from all beings in a
righteous act. Even the monkeys and squirrels helped Rama to
rescue Sita. He who is endowed with self-control, courage,
prowess, fortitude, patience and perseverance, strength and
skill, can achieve anything. You should never give up your
attempt even if you face insurmountable difficulties.
Whenever desires trouble you, try to attain Vairagya by
looking into the defects of sensual life. Cultivate dispassion or
indifference to sensual pleasures. Think that enjoyment
produces pain and various troubles and everything is
perishable. Withdraw the mind again and again from the
objects and fix it on the Immortal Self or the picture of the
Lord. When the mind attains a state of equanimity, when it is
freed from distraction and Laya, do not disturb it.
You must wean the mind from the pleasure of Savikalpa
Samadhi which is called Rasasvada. Rasasvada also is an
obstacle. This prevents the aspirant from attaining the
Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Some aspirants get false contentment from
attaining this happiness and stop their Sadhana. They do not
attempt to attain the irvikalpa state.
He forcibly controlled his mind. With great difficulty he
separated the senses from the objects. He disassociated himself
completely from all external objects. He closed the avenues of
the body. He fixed his mind in the heart. His mind was freed
from all the Vikshepas. He destroyed all thoughts of objects
just as a warrior kills with his sword his foes who rise against
him again and again.
He saw before him a radiant light. He dispelled Moha. He
passed through the stage of darkness, light, sleep and' Moha.
He eventually reached the stage of irvikalpa Samadhi and
enjoyed perfect calmness. After six months, he woke from his
Samadhi. He would spend in one sitting days, months and even
years in deep Samadhi and then wake up.
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