Yoga Sutra

Samadhi Pada

Sutra 1.17
वितर्क विचारानन्दास्मिता रूपानुगमात् संप्रज्ञातः

Samaadhi with consciousness happens in four forms: with reasoning, deliberation, bliss and self-consciousness. 

vitarka = reasoning, arguementation
vichaara = discrimination, deliberation
aananda = bliss, happiness
asmitaa= self-conciousness
rupa = form 
anugamaat = happen
samprajnaatah = with consciousness

Samprajnaata Samaadhi means Samaadhi with consciousness. In Samprajnaata Samaadhi, the consciousness of meditator and mediated or the object of meditation are there. 

It happens in four forms: Savitarka, Savichaara, Saananda and Asmitaa. Savitarka is the Samaadhi with reasoning. Savichaara is the samadhi with deliberation. Saananda is the Samaadhi with bliss. Asmitaa is the Samaadhi with self-consciousness alone. In Asmitaa, the other three types are not found whereas Asmitaa is found in all of them. Asmitaa is the subtlest and the highest in the order. Other types are finer and higher than the previous ones.

Commentary by Maharishi Vyasha

Conscious, because attended with the forms of arguementation, deliberation, bliss and egoism.

Argumentation is the gross perception of the object as perceived by the internal organ. Deliberation is the subtle perception. Bliss is the joy. Egoism is the partial cognition of the Identity.


Savitarka Samadhi is the Argumentative meditation followed by the others. The second one is devoid of Argumentation  and known as Nirvitarka Samaadhi or Savichaara Samaadhi. The third one is devoid of deliberation and hence is called as Nirvichaara Samaadhi or Saananda Samaadhi. The fourth one is purely egoistic: Asmitaa Samaadhi. All these forms of Samaadhi are concrete.

Commentary by Swami Vivekananda

The concentration called the right knowledge is that which is followed by reasoning, discrimination, bliss, unqualified ego

This Samadhi is divided into two varieties. One is called the Samprajnata, and the other the Asamprajnata. The Samprajnata is of four varieties. In this Samadhi come all the powers of controlling nature.


The first variety is called the Savitarka, when the mind meditates upon an object again and again, by isolating it from other objects. There are two sorts of objects for meditation, the categories of nature, and the Purusa. Again, the categories are of two varieties; the twenty-four categories are insentient, and the one sentient is the Purusa. When the mind thinks of the elements of nature by thinking of their beginning and their end, this is one sort of Savitarka. The words require explanation.


This part of Yoga is based entirely on Sankhya Philosophy, about which I have already told you. As you will remember, egoism and will, and mind, have a common basis, and that common basis is called the Chitta, the mind-stuff, out of which they are all manufactured. This mind-stuff takes in the forces of nature and projects them as thought. There must be something, again, where both force and matter are one. This is called Avyaktam, the unmanifested state of nature, before creation, and two which, after the end of a cycle, the whole of nature returns, to again come out after another period. Beyond that is the Purusa, the essence of intelligence. There is no liberation in getting powers. It is a worldly search after enjoyment in this life; all search for enjoyment is vain; this is the old, old lesson which man finds it so hard to learn. When he does learn it, he gets out of the universe and becomes free. The possession of what is called occult power is only intensifying the world, and in the end, intensifying suffering.


Though, as a scientist, Patanjali is bound to point out the possibilities of this science, he never misses an opportunity to warn us against these powers. Knowledge is power, and as soon as we begin to know a thing we get power over it; so also, when the mind begins to meditate on the different elements it gains power over them. That sort of meditation where the external gross elements are the objects is called Savitarka. Tarka means question, Savitarka with-question. Questioning the elements, as it were, that they may give up their truths and their powers to the man who meditates upon them. Again, in the very same meditation, when one struggles to take the elements out of time and space and think of them as they are, it is called Nirvitarka, without question.


When the meditation goes a step higher, and takes the Tanmatras as its object, and thinks of them as in time and space, it is called Savichara, with-discrimination, and when the same meditation gets beyond time and space and thinks of the fine elements as they are, it is called Nirvichara, without discrimination.


The next step is when the elements are given up, either as gross or as fine, and the object of meditation is the interior organ, the thinking organ, and when the thinking organ is thought of as bereft of the qualities of activity, and of dullness, it is then called Sanandam, the blissful Samadhi. In that Samadhi, when we are thinking of the mind as the object of meditation, before we have reached the state which takes us beyond the mind even, when it has become very ripe and concentrated, when all ideas of the gross materials, or fine materials, have been given up, and the only object is the mind as it is, when the Sattva state only of the Ego remains, but differentiated from all other objects, this is called Asmita Samadhi, and the man who has attained to this has attained to what is called in the Vedas “Videha: bereft of body.” He can think of himself as without his gross body, but he will have to think of himself as with a fine body. Those that in this state get merged in nature without attaining the goal are called Prakrtilayas, but those who do not even stop at any enjoyments, reach the goal, which is the freedom.

Commentary by Sri Osho


He divides samadhi, the ultimate, in two steps. The ultimate cannot be divided. It is indivisible, and there are no steps, in fact. But just to help the mind, the seeker, he divides it first into two. The first step he calls samprajnata samadhi – A samadhi in which mind is retained in its purity. 

This first step, the mind has to be refined and purified. You simply cannot drop it, Patanjali says – it is impossible to drop it because impurities have a tendency to cling. You can drop only when the mind is absolutely pure – so refined, so subtle, that it has no tendency to cling.

He does not say that ”Drop the mind,” as Zen Masters say. He says that is impossible; you are talking nonsense. You are saying the truth, but that’s not possible because an impure mind has a weight. Like a stone, it hangs. And an impure mind has desires – millions of desires, unfulfilled, hankering to be fulfilled, asking to be fulfilled, millions of thoughts incomplete in it. How can you drop? – because the incomplete always tries to be completed.

Remember, says Patanjali, you can drop a thing only when it is complete. Have you watched? If you are a painter and you are painting, unless the painting becomes complete you cannot forget it. It continues, haunts you. You cannot sleep well; it is there. In the mind, it has an undercurrent. It moves; it asks to be completed. Once it is completed, it is finished. You can forget about it. The mind has a tendency towards completion. The mind is a perfectionist, and so whatsoever is incomplete is a tension on the mind. Patanjali says you cannot drop thinking unless thinking is so perfect that now there is nothing to be done about it. You can simply drop it and forget.

This is completely the diametrically opposite way from Zen, from Heraclitus. First samadhi, which is samadhi only for name’s sake, is samprajnata – samadhi with a subtle purified mind. Second samadhi is asamprajnata – samadhi with no mind. But Patanjali says that when the mind disappears, then too there are no thoughts, then, too, subtle seeds of the past are retained by the unconscious.

The conscious mind is divided in two. First, samprajnata – mind with the purified state, just like purified butter. It has a beauty of its own, but it is there. And howsoever beautiful, the mind is ugly. Howsoever pure and silent, the very phenomenon of mind is impure. You cannot purify a poison. It remains poison. On the contrary, the more you purify it, the more poisonous it becomes. It may look very, very beautiful. It may have its own colour, shades, but it is still impure. 

First, you purify; then you drop. But then too the journey is not complete because this is all in the conscious mind. What will you do with the unconscious? Just behind the layers of the conscious mind is a vast continent of the unconscious. There are seeds of all your past lives in the unconscious. Then Patanjali divides the unconscious into two. He says sabeej samadhi – when the unconscious is there and mind has been dropped consciously, it is a samadhi with seeds – sabeej. When those seeds are also burned, then you attain the perfect – the nirbeej samadhi: samadhi without seeds.

So conscious into two steps, then unconscious into two steps. And when nirbeej samadhi, the ultimate ecstasy, without any seeds within you to sprout and to flower and to take you on further journeys into existence... then you disappear. 


In these sutras he says:


But this is the first step; many are misguided – they think this is the last because it is so pure and you feel so blissful and so happy that you think that now nothing is there to be achieved more. If you ask Patanjali, he will say the satori of the Zen is just the first samadhi. It is not the final, the ultimate; ultimate is still far away.

The words that he uses cannot be exactly translated into English because Sanskrit is the most perfect language; no language comes even near to it. So I would have to explain to you. The word used is vitarka: in English, it is translated as reasoning. It is a poor translation. vitarka has to be understood. Tarka means logic reasoning: then Patanjali says there are three types of logic. One he calls kutarka – reasoning oriented towards the negative: always thinking in terms of no, denying, doubting, nihilistic.

Whatsoever you say, the man who lives in kutarka – negative logic – always thinks how to deny it, how to say no to it. He looks to the negative. He is always complaining, grumbling. He always feels that something somewhere is wrong – always You cannot put him right because this is his orientation. If you tell him to see to the sun, he will not see the sun. He will see the sunspots; he will always find the darker side of things: that is kutarka. That is kutarka – wrong reasoning – but it
looks like reasoning.

It leads finally to atheism. Then you deny God because if you cannot see the good, you cannot see the lighter side of life, how can you see God? You simply deny. Then the whole existence becomes dark. Then everything is wrong, and you can create a hell around you. If everything is wrong, how can you be happy? And it is your creation, and you can always find something wrong because life consists of a duality.

In the rose bush there are beautiful flowers, but thorns also. A man of kutarka will count the thorns, and then he will come to an understanding that this rose must be illusory; it cannot exist. Amidst so many thorns, millions of thorns, how can a rose exist? It is impossible; the very possibility is denied. Somebody is deceiving.


Then there is tarka – simple reasoning. Simple reasoning leads nowhere. It is moving in a circle because it has no goal. You can go on reasoning and reasoning and reasoning, but you will not come to any conclusion because reasoning can come to a conclusion only when there is a goal from the very beginning. You are moving in a direction, then you reach somewhere. If you move in all directions – sometimes to the south, sometimes to the east, sometimes to the west – you waste energy.

Reasoning without a goal is called tarka; reasoning with a negative attitude is called kutarka; reasoning with a positive grounding is called vitarka. vitarka means special reasoning. So vitarka is the first element of samprajnata samadhi. A man who wants to attain to the inner peace has to be trained into vitarka – special reasoning. He always looks to the lighter side, the positive. He counts the flowers and forgets the thorns – not that there are no thorns, but he is not concerned with them. If you love the flowers and count the flowers, a moment comes when you cannot believe in the thorns, because how is it possible where so beautiful flowers exist, how can thorns exist?

There must be something illusory. The man of kutarka counts thorns; then flowers become illusory. The man of vitarka counts flowers; then thorns become illusory. That’s why Patanjali says: vitarka is the first element. Only then bliss is possible. Through vitarka one attains to heaven. One creates one’s own heaven all around.

Your standpoint counts. Whatsoever you found around you is your own creation – heaven or hell. And Patanjali says you can go beyond logic and reasoning only through the positive reasoning. Through the negative, you can never go beyond because the more you say no, the more you found things to be sad – no, denied. Then, by and by, you become a constant no inside – a dark night, only thorns and no flowers can flower in you – a desert...When you say yes, you find more and more things to be said yes. When you say yes, you become a yea-sayer. Life is affirmed, and you absorb through your yes all that is good, beautiful, all that is true ”Yes” becomes the door in you for the divine to enter; ”no” becomes a closed door. The door closed, you are a hell: doors open, all doors open, existence flows in you. You are fresh, young, alive; you
become a flower.

Vitarka, vichar,ananda: Patanjali says if you are attuned with vitarka – a positive reasoning – then you can be a thinker, never before it. Then thinking arises. He has a very different meaning of thinking. You also think that you think. Patanjali will not agree. He says you have thoughts, but no thinking. That’s why I say it is difficult to translate him.

He says you have thoughts, vagrant thoughts like a crowd, but no thinking. Between your two thoughts, there is no inner current. They have uprooted things; there is no inner planning. Your thinking is a chaos. It is not a cosmos; it has no inner discipline. It is just like you see a rosary.

There are beads; they are held together by an invisible thread running through them. Thoughts are beads; thinking is the thread. You have beads – too many, in fact, more than you need – but no inner running thread through them. That inner thread is called by Patanjali thinking – vichar. You have thoughts, but no thinking. And if this goes on and on, you will become mad. A madman is a man who has millions of thoughts and no thinking, and samprajnata samadhi is the state in which there are no thoughts, but thinking is perfect. This distinction has to be understood.

Your thoughts, in the first place, are not yours. You have gathered them. Just in a dark room, sometimes a beam of light comes from the roof and you see millions of dust particles floating in the beam. When I lookinto you, I see the same phenomenon: millions of dust particles. You call them thoughts. They are moving in you and out of you. From one head they enter another, and they go on. They have their own life.

A thought is a thing; it has its own existence. When a person dies, all his mad thoughts are released immediately and they start finding shelter somewhere or other. Immediately those who are around they enter. They are like germs: they have their own life. Even when you are alive, you go on dispersing your thoughts all around you. When you talk, then, of course, you throw your thoughts into others. But when you are silent, then also you are throwing thoughts all around. They are not yours, the first thing.

A man of positive reasoning will discard all thoughts that are not his own. They are not authentic; he has not found them through his own experience. He has accumulated from others, borrowed. They are dirty. They have been in many hands and heads. A man of thinking will not borrow. He would like to have a fresh thought of his own. And if you are positive, and if you look at the beauty, at the truth, at the goodness, at the flowers, if you become capable of seeing even in the darkest night that the morning is coming nearer, you will become capable of thinking.

Then you can create your own thoughts. And a thought that is created by you is really potential: it has a power of its own. These thoughts that you have borrowed are almost dead because they have been travelling – travelling for millions of years. Their origin is lost: they have lost all contact with their origin. They are just like dust floating all around. You catch them. Sometimes you even become aware of it, but because your awareness is such that it cannot see through things...
Sometimes you are sitting. Suddenly you become sad for no reason at all. You cannot find the reason. You look around, there is no reason; nothing there, nothing has happened. You are just the same and suddenly a sadness takes. A thought is passing; you are just in the way. It is an accident.

A thought was passing like a cloud – a sad thought released by someone. It is an accident. You are in the grip. Sometimes a thought persists. You don’t see why you go on thinking about it. It looks absurd; it seems to be of no use. But you cannot do anything. It goes on knocking at the gate. ”Think me,” it says. A thought is waiting at the door knocking. It says, ”Give space. I would like to come in.”

Each thought has its own life. It moves. And it has much power, and you are so impotent because you are so unaware, so you are moved by thoughts. Your whole life consists of such accidents. You meet people, and your whole life pattern changes. Something enters in you. Then you become possessed, and you forget where you were going. You change your direction; you follow this thought. And this is just an accident. You are like children. Patanjali says this is not thinking. This is the state of absence of thinking; this is not thinking. You are a crowd. You have not a center within you which can think. When one moves in the discipline of vitarka – right reasoning, then one becomes by and by capable of thinking. Thinking is a capacity; thoughts are not. Thoughts can be learned from others; thinking, never. Thinking you have to learn yourself.

And this is the difference between the old Indian schools of learning and the modern universities: in the modern universities you are getting thoughts; in the ancient schools of learning, wisdom schools, they were teaching thinking, not thoughts.

Thinking is a quality of your inner being. What does thinking mean? It means to retain your consciousness, to remain alert and aware, to encounter a problem. A problem is there: you face it with your total awareness. And then arises an answer – a response. This is thinking. A question is posed; you have a ready-made answer. Before even you have thought about it, the answer comes in. Somebody says, ”Is there God?” And he has not even said and you say, ”Yes.” You nod your wooden head; you say, ”Yes, there is.” Is it your thought? Have you thought about the problem right now, or you carry a ready-made answer within your memory? Somebody gave it to you – your parents, your teachers, your society.

Somebody has given it to you, and you carry it as a precious treasure, and this answer comes from that memory. A man of thinking uses his consciousness each time there is a problem. Freshly, he uses his consciousness. He encounters the problem and then arises a thought within him which is not part of memory. This is the difference. A man of thoughts is a man of memory; he has no thinking capacity. If you ask a question which is new, he will be at a loss. He cannot answer. If you ask a question which he knows the answer, he will immediately answer. This is the difference between a pundit and a man who knows; a man who can think.

Patanjali says vitarka – right reasoning, leads to reflection – vichar. Reflection – vichar, leads to bliss. This is the first glimpse, of course, and it is a glimpse. It will come and it will be lost. You cannot hold it for long. It was going to be just a glimpse as if for a moment a lightning happened and you saw all the darkness disappeared. But again the darkness is there – as if clouds disappeared and you saw the moon for a second – again clouds are there Or, on a sunny morning, near the Himalayas, for a moment you can have the glimpse of the Gourishankar – the highest peak. But then there is mist, and then there are clouds, and the peak is lost. This is satori. That’s why never try to translate satori as samadhi. Satori is a glimpse. Much has to be done after it is attained. In fact, the real work starts after the first satori, first glimpse, because then you have tasted of the infinite. Now a real authentic search starts. Before it, it was just so-so, lukewarm, because you were not really confident, certain, what you are doing, where you are going, what is happening.

Before it, it was a faith, a trust. Before it a Master was needed to show you, to bring you back again and again. But after satori has happened, now it is no more a faith. It has become a knowing. Now the trust is not an effort. Now you trust because your own experience has shown you. After the first glimpse, the real search starts. Before
it you are just going round and round. Right reasoning leads to the right reflection, right reflection leads to a state of bliss, and this state of bliss leads to a sense of pure being.

A negative mind is always egoist. That is the impure state of being. You feel ”I”, but you feel ”I” for the wrong reasons. Just watch. Ego feeds on no. Whenever you say no, ego arises. Whenever you say yes, the ego cannot arise because ego needs the fight, ego needs the challenge, ego needs to put itself against someone, something. It cannot exist alone; it needs duality. An egoist is always in search of the fight – with someone, with something, with some situation. He is always trying to find something to say no – to win over, to be victorious.

Ego is violent, and no is the subtlest violence. When you say no for ordinary things, even there ego arises. A small child says to the mother, ”Can I go out to play?” and she says ”No Nothing much was involved, but when the mother says ”No!” she feels she is someone. You go to the railway station and you ask for a ticket and the clerk simply doesn’t look at you. He goes on working even if there is no work. But he is saying, ”No! Wait!” He feels he is someone, somebody. That’s why, in offices everywhere, you will hear no. Yes is rare – very rare. An ordinary clerk can say no to anybody, whomsoever be you. He feels powerful.

No gives you a sense of power – remember this. Unless it is absolutely necessary, never say no. Even if it is absolutely necessary, say it in such an affirmative way that the ego doesn’t arise. You can say. Even no can be said in such a way that it appears like yes. You can say yes in such a way that it looks like no. It depends on the tone; it depends on the attitude; it depends on the gesture. Remember this: for seekers, it has to be remembered constantly that you have to live continuously
in the aroma of yes. That is what a man of faith is: he says yes. Even when no was needed, he says yes. He doesn’t see that there is any antagonism in life. He affirms. He says yes to his body, he says yes to his mind, he says yes to everybody, he says yes to the total existence. The ultimate flowering happens when you can say a categorical yes, with no conditions. Suddenly the ego falls; it cannot stand. It needs the props of no. The negative attitude creates the ego. The positive attitude – the ego drops, and then the being is pure.

Sanskrit has two words for ”I” – ahankar and asmita. It is difficult to translate. ahankar is the wrong sense of ”I” which comes from saying no. asmita is the right sense of ”I” which comes from saying yes. Both are ”I”. One is impure: no is the impurity. You negate, destroy. No is destructive, a very subtle destruction. Never use it. Drop it as much as you can. Whenever you are alert, don’t use it. Try to find a roundabout way. Even if you have to say it, say it in such a way that it has the appearance of yes. By and by you will become attuned, and you will feel such a purity coming to you through yes.
Then asmita: asmita is egoless ego. No feeling of ”I” against anybody. Just feeling oneself without putting against anybody. Just feeling your total loneliness, and the total loneliness, the purest of states. ”I am” – when we say ”I” is ahankar; ”am” is asmita, just the feeling of am-ness with no ”I” to it, just feeling the existence, the being Yes is beautiful, no is ugly.

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