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Yoga Sutra

Samadhi Pada

Sutra 1.44

एतयैव सविचारा निर्विचारा च सूक्ष्मविषया व्याख्याता॥४४॥ 
 etayaiva savicārā nirvicārā cha sūkṣma-viṣaya vyākhyātā ॥44॥
 etaya =  by this
eva = also
nirvicārā = devoid of deliberative thoughts
savicārā = with deliberative thoughts
cha= and
sūkṣma-viṣaya= subtle things
vyākhyātā= explained

By this, deliberative and non-deliberative thoughts with regard to subtle things are explained. 

In this manner, the deliberative (Savichara Samadhi)  and non-deliberative (Nirvichara Samadhi) consciousness with regards to subtle elements are explained.

Commentary by Maharishi Vyasha

By this, reflective and super reflective states of subtle objects are explained.

Savichara Samadhi refers to the apparent forms of subtle elements that have been manifested and characterised by the experience of place, time and cause. In this case also, the subtle element capable of being perceived by one idea and characterised by the manifested forms amenable to unitary consciousness.

In case of Nirvichara Samadhi, the subtle objects are free from the particularisation of all properties past, present and future and yet accompanied by all properties. The subtle elements having this featured form become the object that colours the form of meditative consciousness. When the consciousness losses its own identity and reflect solely the form of object, it is Nirvichara Samadhi.

Savitarka and Nirvitarka Samadhis pertain to gross elements and Savichara and Nirvichara pertains to subtle elements. Nirvitarka also described by the destruction of the fancy with regard to both.

Commentary by Swami Vivekananda

By this process (the concentrations) with discrim-ination and without discrimination, whose objects are finer, are (also) explained.

A process similar to the preceding is applied again, only, the objects to be taken up in the former meditations are gross; in this they are fine.

Commentary by Sri Osho


Then, Patanjali brings two other words, savichara and nirvichara. Savichara means with contemplation, and nirvichara means without contemplation. They are the higher states of the same phenomenon he calls savitarka and nirvitarka. Savitarka samadhi, if followed, will become savichara.

If you think about logically, and go on thinking, and go on thinking, logic has a boundary to it. It is not infinite. Logic cannot be infinite. In fact, logic denies all infinities. Logic is always in a boundary. Only then it can remain logical, because with the infinite enters the illogical; with the infinite enters the mysterious, with the infinite enters the miraculous. With the entry, the Pandora’s box is open. So logic never talks about the infinite. Logic says everything is finite, can be defined. Everything is within boundaries, can be understood. Logic is always afraid of the infinite. It looks like a vast darkness; logic trembles to move into it. Logic keeps itself on the highway, it never moves into the wild. On the highway everything is safe and you know where you are going. Once you step aside and move into the wild, you don’t know where you are going. Logic is a very deep fear.


If you ask me, logic is the greatest coward. People who are courageous always go beyond logic. People who are coward always remain within the confinements of logic. Logic is a prison, beautifully decorated, but it is not like a vast sky. The sky is not decorated at all. It is undecorated, but it is vast. It is freedom, and freedom has its own beauty; it needs no decorations. The sky is enough unto itself. It needs no painter to paint it, no decorator to decorate it. The very vastness is its beauty. But vastness is terrific also, because it is so tremendous. The mind simply boggles before it; the mind seems so puny. The ego gets shattered before it, so the ego creates a beautiful prison of logic, definitions – everything clean-cut, everything known, of the experience – and closes its doors to the unknown, makes a world of itself, a separate world, a private world. That world doesn’t belong to the whole; it has been cut. All the relationships with the whole have been cut.


That’s why logic will never lead anybody to the divine, because logic is human, and it has broken all the bridges with the divine. Divine is wild; it is mysterium and tremendum. It is a great mystery that cannot be solved. It is not a riddle that you can solve, it is a mystery. Its nature is such that it cannot be solved. But if you go on continuing logically thinking, there comes a moment when you reach to the boundary of logic. If you go on thinking more and more, then logical thinking changes into contemplation, into vichar.


The first step is logical thinking and, if you continue, the last step will be contemplation. If a philosopher continues, goes on moving, is not stuck somewhere, he is bound to become a poet someday, because when the boundary is crossed, suddenly there is poetry. Poetry is contemplation; it is vichar.


Think it this way: a logical philosopher is sitting in the garden and looking at a rose flower. He interprets it. He classifies it – he knows what type of rose is this, from where it comes, the physiology of the rose, the chemistry of the rose: everything logically he thinks about. He classifies it, defines it, works around and around – in fact, never touching the rose at all – moves just around and around, around and around, beating the bush around, leaving the rose there.


Because logic cannot touch a rose. It can cut it, it can put it into pigeonholes, it can classify, it can label it – but it cannot touch it. The rose won’t allow logic to touch it. And even if logic wants, it is not possible. Logic has no heart, and only the heart can touch the rose. Logic is just a head affair. The head cannot touch the rose. The rose will not allow its mystery for the head because the head is just like a rape. And the rose opens itself only for love, not for a rape.


Science is rape; poetry is love. If somebody continues, like Einstein, then the philosopher or the scientist or the logician becomes a poet. Einstein became a poet in his last days. Eddington became a poet in his last days. They started talking about the mysterious. They had come to the boundary of the logic. People who always remain logical are people who have not gone to the very extent, to the very end of their logical reasoning. They are not really logical. If they really go, then a moment is bound to come where logic ends and poetry starts. 

Vichar is contemplation. What a poet does? – he contemplates. He just looks at the flower, he doesn’t think about it. This is the distinction, very subtle: the logician thinks about the flower, the poet thinks the flower, not about it. And ”about it” is not the flower. You may talk and talk about it, but it is not the flower. The logician goes round and round, a poet goes direct and hits the very reality of flower. For a poet, a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose – not ”about”. He moves inwards, into the flower. Now the memory is not brought in. The mind is put aside; it is a direct contact.


This is a higher stage of the same phenomenon. The quality has become refined but the phenomenon is the same.


That’s why Patanjali says,



In savichara, the poet – and anybody who enters savichara becomes a poet – thinks the flower, not about it, but immediate and direct, but there is still division. The poet is separate from the flower. The poet is the subject and the flower is the object. The duality exists. The duality is not transcended: the poet has not become the flower, the flower has not become the poet. The observer is the observer, and the observed is still the observed. The observer has not become the observed; the observed has not become the observer. Duality exists.


In savichara samadhi logic has been dropped, but not duality. In nirvichara samadhi even duality is dropped. One simply looks at the flower, not thinking of himself and not thinking of the flower; not thinking at all. That is nirvichara: without contemplating, beyond contemplation. One simply is being with the flower, not thinking about, not thinking – neither like the logician nor like the poet.


Now comes the mystic, the sage, who is simply with the flower. You cannot say that he thinks about, or he thinks. No, he is simply with. He allows the flower to be there and allows himself to be there. In that moment of allowing, there comes suddenly a unity. The flower is no more the flower, and the observer is no more the observer. Suddenly energies meet and mingle and become one. Now the duality is transcended. The sage doesn’t know who is the flower and who is watching it. If you ask the sage, the mystic, he will say, ”I don’t know. It may be the flower who is watching me. It may be I who is watching the flower. It changes,” he will say, ”it depends. And sometimes, there is neither I nor the flower. Both disappear. Only a unified energy remains. I become the flower and the flower becomes me.” This is the state of nirvichara, of no contemplation but of being.


Savitarka is the first step, nirvitarka is the last step in the same direction. Savichara is the first step, nirvichara is the last step in the same direction, on two planes. But Patanjali says the same explanation applies. The highest, up to now, is nirvichara.


Patanjali will come to higher stages also, because few more things have to be explained, and he moves very slowly – because if he moves very fast it will not be possible for you to understand. He is going deeper and deeper every moment. He is leading you, by and by, to the infinite ocean, step by step. He is not a believer of sudden enlightenment – gradual, that’s why his appeal is so great.

Many people have existed who have talked about sudden enlightenment, but they have not appealed to the masses because it is simply unbelievable that sudden enlightenment is possible. Tilopa may say, but that is not the point – that Tilopa says. The point is: does anybody understand it? – that’s why many Tilopas have disappeared. Patanjali’s appeal continues, because nobody can understand those wild flowers like Tilopa. They suddenly appear just out of the blue and they say, ”Suddenly, you can also become like us.” This is incomprehensible. Under their magnetic personality you may listen to them, but you cannot believe them. The moment you leave them you will say, ”This man is saying something which is beyond me. It goes over my head.”


Tilopas have lived, talked, tried, but they have not been able to help many people. Rarely somebody will understand them. That’s why Tilopa had to go to Tibet to find a disciple – this vast country, and he couldn’t find a single disciple – and Bodhidharma had to go to China to find a disciple. This ancient country, for thousands of years working on the religious dimension, and he couldn’t find a single disciple. Yes... difficult for Tilopa, difficult for Bodhidharma to find a single disciple.


To find someone who can understand Tilopa is difficult because he talks of the goal, and he says, ”There is no path and no method.” He is standing on the hilltop and he says, ”There is no path,” and you are standing in the valley, dark, damp, in your misery. You look at Tilopa and you say, ”Maybe... but how, how one reaches?” You go on asking, ”How?”


Krishnamurti goes on telling people there is no method, and after each talk people ask, ”Then how? Then how to reach?” And he simply shrugs his shoulders and becomes angry that ”I have told you there is no method, so don’t ask how, because how is again asking for the method.” And these are not new people who ask. Krishnamurti has people who have been listening to him for thirty, forty years. Very old, ancient people you will find in his talks. They have been listening him continuously; religiously they listen to him. They come always – whenever he is there, they come always and they listen. You will find almost the same faces for years and years and years, and again and again they ask from their valleys, ”But how?n – and Krishnamurti simply shrugs his shoulders and says, ”There is no how. You simply understand, and you reach. There is no path.”


Tilopa, Bodhidharma, Krishnamurti, they come and go; they are not much help. The people who listen to them enjoy listening to them – even come to a certain intellectual understanding – but they remain in the valley. I myself have come across many people who listen to Krishnamurti, but I have never seen a single person who has gone beyond his valley by listening to him. He remains in the valley, starts talking like Krishnamurti, that’s all; starts telling to other people that there is no way and no path, and remains in the valley.


Patanjali has been a tremendous help, incomparable. Millions have passed through this world by the help of Patanjali because he doesn’t talk according to his understanding, he moves with you. And as your understanding grows, he goes deeper and deeper and deeper. Patanjali follows the disciple; Tilopa would like the disciple to follow him. Patanjali comes to you; Tilopa would like you to come to him. And of course, Patanjali takes your hand and, by and by, he takes you to the highest peak possible, of which Tilopa talks but cannot lead because he will never come to your valley. He will remain on his hilltop and will go on shouting from there. In fact he will irritate many people because he will not stop; he will go on shouting from the top that ”This is possible! And there is no way, and there is no method. You can simply come. It happens; you cannot dol” He irritates.


When there is no method, people get irritated and they would like him to stop, not to shout. Because if there is no way, then how to move from the valley to the top? You are talking nonsense. But Patanjali is very sensible, very sane, he moves step by step, takes you from where you are, comes to the valley, takes your hand and says, ”One by one, take steps.”


Patanjali said, ”There is a path. There are methods.” And he is really very, very wise. By and by, he will persuade you in the end that drop the method and drop the path – there are none – but only at the end, at the very peak, just when you have reached, when even Patanjali leaves you, there is no trouble; you will reach by yourself. At the last moment he becomes nonsensical. Otherwise, he is sensible. And he has remained so sensible the whole way that when he becomes nonsensical, then too he appeals, then too he looks very sensible. Because a man like Patanjali cannot talk nonsense. He is reliable.




By and by, the object of meditation has to be made more and more subtle. For example, you can meditate on a rock, or you can meditate on a flower, or you can meditate on the fragrance of the flower, or you can meditate on the meditator. And then things go subtle and subtle and subtle and subtle. For example, you can meditate on the sound aum. The first meditation is to say it loudly so it resounds all around you. It becomes a temple of sound all around you: aum, aum, aum. You create vibrations all around you – gross, the first step. Then you close your mouth. Now you don’t say it loudly. Inside you say, aum, aum, aum. Lips are not allowed to move, not even the tongue. Without the tongue and without the lips you say, aum. Now you create an inner atmosphere, inner climate of aum. The object has become subtle. Then the third step: you don’t even recite it, you simply listen to it. You change the position – from the doer, you move to a passivity of a listener. In the third state you don’t pronounce the aum inside also. You simply sit and you hear the sound. It comes because it is there. You are not silent; that’s why you cannot hear it.


Aum is not a word of any human language. It doesn’t mean anything. That’s why Hindus don’t write it in the usual alphabetical order. No, they have made a separate form for it just to distinguish it, that this is not part of the alphabet. It exists on its own, separate, and it means nothing. It is not a word of human language. It is the sound of the very existence itself; the sound of the soundless, the sound of the silence. When everything is silent then it is heard. So you become the hearer. It goes on and on, more and more subtle. And in the fourth stage you simply forget about everything: the doer, and the hearer, and the sound – everything. In the fourth stage there is nothing.


You must have seen ten ox-herding pictures of Zen. In the first picture a man is looking for his ox – the ox has gone somewhere in the wild forest, no sign, no footprints – just looking all around, trees and trees and trees. In the second picture he looks happier – footprints have been found. In the third he seems a little bewildered – just the back of the ox is seen near a tree, but difficult to distinguish. The forest is wild, thick. Maybe it is just a hallucination that he is seeing the back of the ox; it may be just a part of the tree, and he may be projecting. Then in the fourth, he has caught hold of the tail. In the fifth, he has controlled by the whip; now the ox is in his power. In the sixth, he is riding on the ox. In the seventh, he is coming back towards the home with a flute, singing a song, riding on the ox. In the seventh, the ox in the stable, he is in the home, happy; the ox has been found. In the eighth, there is nothing; the ox has been found, and the ox and the seeker, the seeker and the sought, both have disappeared. The search is over.

In the ancient days these were the eight pictures. It was a complete set. The emptiness is the last. But then a great Master added two more pictures. The ninth – the man is back, again there. And in the tenth not only the man is back, he has gone to purchase few things to the market, and not only things, he is carrying a bottle of wine. This is really beautiful. This is complete. If it ends on emptiness, something is incomplete. The man is back again, and not only back, he is in the market. Not only in the market, he has purchased a bottle of wine.


The whole becomes more and more subtle, more and more subtle. A moment comes when you will feel it is the perfect, the most subtle. When everything becomes empty and there is no picture, the seeker and the sought both have disappeared. But this is not really the end. There is still a subtleness. The man comes back to the world totally transformed. He is no more the old self – reborn, and when you are reborn, the world is also not the same. The wine is wine no more, the poison is no more poison, the market is no more market. Now everything is accepted. It is beautiful. Now he is celebrating. That is the symbol: the wine.


More and more subtle becomes the search, and more and more stronger becomes the consciousness. And a moment comes when the consciousness is so strong that you live like an ordinary being in the world, without fear. But move with Patanjali step by step. The objects of meditation are more and more subtle.

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