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Yoga Sutra

Samadhi Pada

Sutra 1.43

स्मृतिपरिशुद्धौ स्वरूपशून्येवार्थमात्रनिर्भासा निर्वितर्का ॥४३॥
smr̥ti-pariśuddhau svarūpa-śūnyeva-arthamātra-nirbhāsā nirvitarkā ॥43॥
smr̥ti = memory
pariśuddhau = on purification
iva = as it is
śūnya = devoid of
mātra = alone
nirbhāsā= radiance
svarūpa = own form
artha= meaning
nirvitarkā = without discrimation

On clearing the memory,  the mind sheds lights on the meaning of the object only and appears as if it has lost its own form. This is Nirvitarka Samadhi, the Samadhi without discrimination.

Memory is the force behind the functioning of the mind. When the mind is devoid of memory, it appears as if it has lost its own form and sheds lights on the meaning of the object only. The choices of words and their ideas will not be there, because of the absence of memory or the absence of inference and testimony.

The main difference between the Savitarka Samadhi and Nirvitarka Samadhi is the presence of memory. In Nirvitarka, the operating cause (memory) behind the mind is lost and it reflects the object alone.

Commentary by Maharishi Vyasha

In Nirvitarka Samadhi, on dissolution of memory, the meaning alone is apparent and the mind appears as if it has lost its own identity.

All the verbal ideas and imagination with regard to knowledge of testimony and inference having been dissolved, the consciousness becomes solely the form of object forsaking its own form. This is Nirvitarka Samadhi and it has been explained earlier.


For the example, the word cow or the water Jar is the formation of mental object. In essence it is the conglomeration of atoms which is the apparent form. It is common to subtle elements which are inferred from its phenomenal effects. It presents itself as phenomenal form and disappears when other apparent form arises. The same property is called as whole and by means of components all the business is done.


For one to whom the particular agglomeration is nothing and to whom the minute cause is not-cognisable, to him there is no component whole, all knowledge is false. The false knowledge is the notion abiding in the form which is not that of object. Having no object, then what could be the true knowledge? Whatever object is perceived has been decided as component whole. Hence it must be admitted that there is the component whole that becomes the object of Nirvitarka Samadhi.

Commentary by Swami Vivekananda

The Samadhi called without reasoning (comes) when the memory is purified, or devoid of qualities, expressing only the meaning (of the meditated object)

It is by practice of meditation of these three that we come to the state where these three do not mix. We can get rid of them. We will first try to understand what these three are. Here is the Chitta; you will always remember the simile of the lake, the mind-stuff, and the vibration, the word, the sound, like a pulsation coming over it. You have that calm lake in you, and I pronounce a word, “cow.” As soon as it enters through your ears there is a wave produced in your Chitta along with it. So that wave represents the idea of the cow, the form or the meaning as we call it. That apparent cow that you know is really that wave in the mind-stuff, and that comes as a reaction to the internal and external sound-vibrations, and with the sound, the wave dies away; that wave can never exist without a word. You may ask how it is when we only think of the cow, and do not hear a sound. You make that sound yourself. You are saying “cow” faintly in your mind, and with that comes a wave. There cannot be any wave without this impulse of sound, and when it is not from outside it is from inside, and when the sound dies, the wave dies. What remains? The result of the reaction, and that is knowledge.

These three are so closely combined in our mind that we cannot separate them. When the sound comes, the senses vibrate, and the wave rises in reaction; they follow so closely upon one another that there is no discerning one from the
other; when this meditation has been practiced for a long time, memory, the receptacle of all impressions, becomes purified, and wwe are able clearly to distinguish them from one another. This is called “Nirvitarka,” concentration without reasoning


Commentary by Sri Osho


MIND IS MEMORY; it is like a computer. To be exact, it is a bio-computer. It accumulates all that is experienced, known. Through many lives, through millions of experiences the mind gathers memory. It is a vast phenomenon. Millions and millions of memories are stored in it. It is a great storehouse.

All your past lives are stored in it. Scientists say even in a single moment thousands of memories are being collected continuously – without your knowing, the mind goes on functioning. Even while you are asleep, memories are being formed. Even while you are asleep... somebody cries and weeps, your senses are functioning and collecting the experience. You may not be able to recall it in the morning because you were not conscious, but in deep hypnosis it can be recalled. In deep hypnosis, everything that knowingly and unknowingly you have experienced ever, can all be recalled  back – your past lives also. The simple expanse of mind is really vast. These memories are good if you can use them, but these memories are dangerous if they start using you.

A pure mind is that mind who is master of its own memories. An impure mind is that mind who is continuously impressed by the memories. When you look at a fact, you can look without interpreting it. Then the consciousness is in direct touch with reality. Or, you can look through the mind, through interpretations. Then you are not in touch with reality. The mind is good as an instrument, but if the mind becomes an obsession and the consciousness is suppressed by the mind, then the reality will also be suppressed by the mind. Then you live in a maya; then you live in illusion.

Whenever you see a fact, if you see it directly, immediately, without the mind and the memory coming in, only then it is a fact. Otherwise, it becomes an interpretation. And all interpretations are false because all interpretations are loaded by your past experience. You can see only things which are in tune with your past experience. You cannot see things which are not in tune with your past experience, and your past experience is not all. Life is bigger than your past experience. Howsoever big the mind may be, it is just a tiny part if you consider the whole existence – so small. The known is very little; the unknown is vast and infinite. When you try to know the unknown through the known, then you miss the point. This is the impurity. When you try to know the unknown by the unknown inside you, then there is revelation.


Anything is true if it fits with your past experience. If it doesn’t fit, it is a lie. You cannot believe in God because it doesn’t fit with your past experience. You cannot believe in meditation because you have always lived in the market, and you only know the reality of the market, of the calculating mind, of the business mind. You don’t know anything about celebration – pure, simple, with no reason at all, uncaused. If you have lived in a scientist’s world, you cannot believe that there can be anything spontaneous because the scientist lives in the world of cause and effect. Everything is caused; nothing is spontaneous. So when the scientist hears that something is possible which is spontaneous – when we say spontaneous we mean that it has no cause, suddenly out of the blue – the scientist cannot believe. 

But those who have worked in the inner world know that there are phenomena which are uncaused. Not only that, that they know this, they know that the whole existence is uncaused. It is a different, totally different world from the scientific mind.

Whatsoever you see, even before you have seen it, the interpretation has entered. Continuously I watch people; I am talking to them – if it fits, even they have not said anything, they have given me an inner nod, ”Yes.” They are saying, ”Right.” If it doesn’t fit with their attitudes, they have not said anything, the ”no” is written on their face. Deep down they have started saying, ”No, it is not true.” Just the other night I was talking with a friend. He has come just few days before, very new. He believes in fasting, and when I was talking to him, that ”Fasting can be dangerous. And you should
not go on your own; you should ask an expert. And if you listen to me, I’m not for fasting at all, because fasting is a sort of suppression. The body is real. The body’s hunger is real; the body’s need is real. Don’t eat too much, because that too is against the body and a sort of suppression.

And don’t go on a fast, because that too is unreal and that too is suppressing. That too is not in accord with nature. That’s why I call it unreal.” Somebody is obsessed with eating food – he is mad, and somebody is obsessed with not eating food – he is also mad. Both are destroying their body – enemies – and the fasting has been used as a trick.

Whenever you go on a fast your energy becomes low, has to become because the food is needed to keep it constantly flowing. After three, four days of fasting, your energy is so low that the mind cannot get any quota out of it, because mind is a luxury. When the body has too much, then it gives to the mind. Mind is a later, very late arrival in the world. Body is basic and primary. First, body needs should be fulfilled – only then mind.

It is just like when you are hungry; you cannot support a philosopher in the town. When you are hungry the philosopher has to move from there; he cannot live there. Philosophy comes only when the society is affluent, rich. Religion comes only when the society is rich, when the basic needs are fulfilled. And the same is the economy in the body: first the body, second comes the mind. If the body is in trouble and is not getting the necessary quota for it, then the quota for the mind will be immediately cut.

And this is the trick that people have been playing with their own bodies: when the quota with the mind is cut, the mind cannot think because thinking needs energy. And people think they have become meditative because the mind has no more thoughts. It is not true. Give them food and thoughts will come back. When the energy is not flowing, the mind becomes like a summer river bed – the river is not flowing but the banks are there, everything is ready. Whenever there will be rain, again the river will flow. Whenever there will be energy, again the serpent will raise its head.

The serpent is not dead – simply in a coma because the energy is not being supplied. Fasting is a trick to create a false meditative state. And fasting is also a trick to create a bogus brahmacharya, celibacy – because when you fast, energy is not high, and the sex center cannot get energy.

There is again a question of economy: the individual lives through food; the society lives through sex, the race lives through sex. You are here because your parents loved each other, moved into sex. Your children will be here, you will be gone, if you move into sex. If you don’t move into sex then no more future. You don’t help the race to be here. If everybody becomes a brahmachari, a celibate, then the society will disappear.

Through food the individual body survives; through sex the body of the race. But the first is individual, because if the individual is not there, then how can the race survive? So individual is primary, race is secondary. When you are full of energy and the body is feeling good, then immediately the energy is supplied to the sex center. Now you have enough and you can share with the race. When the energy is flowing low, sex disappears. Just go on a fast of ten days, and by the tenth day you will feel that you are not interested in women. If you go on a longer fast of fifteen days, by the fifteenth day, even  very beautiful playboy and playgirl magazines are there, you will not be able even to open them.

They will lie there and dust will collect on them. You will not be tempted. By the twenty-first day, if you continue fasting, even nude women may be dancing there, and you will sit Buddha-like. Not that you have become Buddha-like... just good food for one day, and the next day you are interested in the playboy and the playgirl. And by the third day energy is flowing again; you are interested in women.

In fact, psychologists have made it a criterion: if a man is not interested in woman, then something is wrong. If a woman is not interested in man, then something is wrong; energy is flowing low. And out of hundred cases, ninety-nine cases – they are true, they are right. Only with the hundredth case they will not be right, because he will be a Buddha – not that energy is flowing low; energy is the highest, at its peak, at its greatest. But now he is a different man moving in a different dimension where he is not interested in the other because he has become so satiated with himself. There is no movement for the other – not that the energy is lacking.

When I was talking to this newcomer, I could see on his face that he is nodding ”no”. He has not said a single word but I know that he is saying that ”I cannot trust this.” And then he said, ”But I am a believer in fasting, and I have come here because I believe in fasting. And whatsoever you are saying, I cannot feel in tune with it.”

You cannot listen because of the memory; you cannot see because of the memory; you cannot look at the facticity of the world because of the memory. Memory comes in – your past, your knowledge, your learning, your experiences – and they color reality. The world is not illusory, but when interpreted, you live in an illusory world. Remember this.

Hindus say the world is maya, illusory. When they say it, they don’t mean the world that is there, they simply mean the world that is inside you, the world of your interpretations. The world of facticity is not unreal; it is the brahma itself. It is supreme reality. But the world that you have created through your mind and memory and in which you live, which surrounds you, like an atmosphere around you...and you move with it and in it. Wherever you go you take it around you. It is your aura, and through it you look at the world. Then whatsoever you are looking at is not a fact, it is an interpretation.

Patanjali says:

Interpretation is the obstruction. Interpret, and the reality is lost. Look without interpretation and the reality is there, and always has been there. The reality is every moment there. How it can be otherwise? Reality means that which is real. It has not moved from its place even for a single moment. Just you live in your interpretations and you create a world of your own. The reality is common, illusion is private.

You must have heard the story, very old, ancient Indian story. Five blind men came to see an elephant. They had never seen it; it was absolutely new in the town. Elephants didn’t exist in their part of the country. They all touched, they all felt the elephant, and they all interpreted whatsoever they felt. They interpreted through their experience. One man said, ”An elephant is like a pillar,” because he was touching the legs of the elephant – and he was true. He touched, himself, by his  own hands, and then he remembered the pillars – and exactly like the pillars. And so on, so forth, they all interpreted.

It happened in a primary school in America: a teacher told this story to the boys and girls without telling them that the five persons who came to the elephant were blind. And the story is so well known, and she expected that the children will understand. Then she asked, ”Now tell me, who were those five persons who came to see the elephant?” One small boy raised his hand and said, ”Experts.”

Experts are always blind. That boy was really a discoverer. This is the essence of the whole story. In fact, they were experts because an expert knows too much about too little. He becomes more and more narrow, narrow, narrow – almost blind to the whole world. Only in a particular direction he is with eyes; otherwise, he is blind. His vision becomes narrower and narrower and narrower. The greater an expert, narrower the vision. An absolute expert must be completely blind. They say that an expert is a man who knows more and more about little and little.

Few centuries before there were physicians, doctors, who knew everything about the body. There were no experts. Now, if you have something wrong with your heart then you go to an expert, something wrong with your teeth, you go to another expert. And I have heard a story that a man came to a doctor and he said that ”I am in much difficulty. I cannot see properly. Everything seems to be misty.” The doctor said, ”First things first. First you tell me which eye is in difficulty, because I am the expert only of the right eye. If your left eye is in trouble, you go to another expert just in front of me.” Soon, the left eye experts and the right eye experts will be separate. It has to be so because expertise becomes narrower, and narrower, and narrower. All experts are blind, and experience makes you an expert.

To know reality you don’t have to be an expert. To know reality you don’t have to be narrow, exclusive. To be in tune with reality you have to put down all your knowledge, put it aside and look at it with the eyes of a child, not with the eyes of an expert-because those eyes are always blind. Only a child has real eyes wide looking, looking everywhere, all around in all directions – because he doesn’t know anything. He is moving in all directions all the time. The moment you know, and you are hooked somewhere. If you can become a child again and can look at reality without any obstruction, interpretation, experience, knowledge, expertise, then Patanjali says, nirvitarka samadhi is attained Because when there is no interpretation, memory is purified and the mind is able to see the true nature of things.

Patanjali divides samadhi into many layers. First he talks about savitarka samadhi. It means samadhi with reasoning. You are still a reasoning person, logical. Then he calls second samadhi nirvitarka, samadhi without reasoning. Now, you are not arguing about reality. You are not even looking at reality with your knowledge. You are simply looking at reality.

The man who looks at reality with logic, reasoning never looks at reality. He projects his own mind on the reality. The reality works like a screen for him to project himself. And whatsoever you project, you will find there. First you put it there, and then you find it there. It is a deception because you yourself put it there, and then you find it there. It is not real.

Why you go on putting into reality something from your mind? – because you are afraid of reality. A deep fear of reality is there. It may be that it is not of your liking. It may be that it is against you, your mind. Because the reality is natural; it doesn’t bother who you are. You are afraid: the reality may not be your wish-fulfillment, so it is better not to see it; go on seeing whatsoever you desire.

This is how you have lost many lives – fooling around. And you are not fooling anybody else, you are fooling yourself, because by your interpretations and projections the reality cannot be changed. Only you suffer unnecessarily. You think there is a door and there is no door; it is a wall and you try to pass through it. Then you suffer, then you are shocked.

Unless you see the reality, you will never be able to find the door out of the prison in which you are. The door exists, but the door cannot exist according to your desires. The door exists; if you drop the desires you will be able to see it. And this is the trouble: you go on wish-fulfilling; you just go on believing and projecting, and every time, a belief is shattered and a projection falls. Because it will happen many times, because your daydreams cannot be fulfilled by reality. Whenever a dream is shattered, a rainbow falls down, a desire dies, you suffer. But immediately you start creating another desire, another rainbow of your wishes. Again you start making a new rainbow bridge between you and reality.

Nobody can walk on a rainbow bridge. It looks like a bridge; it is not a bridge. In fact, a rainbow doesn’t exist; it only appears. If you go there you will not find any rainbow. It is a dreamlike phenomenon. The maturity consists in to have come to the realization that ”Now no more projections, interpretations. Now I am ready to see whatsoever is the case.”

Wittgenstein, one of the very keen intellects of this age, starts his tremendously valuable book TRACTATUS with the sentence, ”The world is all that is the case. You can go on dreaming around it; it will not help. You stop dreaming and see. The world is all that is the case.” You unnecessarily don’t waste your life and time and energy in trying to see something that is not there. Stop dreaming and look at reality. That is the meaning of nirvitarka samadhi, samadhi without any reasoning. It is just a pure look. You don’t reason about it, you simply look at it. You don’t do anything about it, you simply allow it to be there and penetrate you. In savitarka samadhi you try to penetrate into reality. In nirvitarka samadhi you allow the reality to penetrate you. In savitarka samadhi you try the reality to be according to you. In nirvitarka samadhi you try yourself to be according to the reality.

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