[Advaita-l] [advaitin] What is Samadhi?

sreenivasa murthy narayana145 at yahoo.co.in
Fri Feb 2 01:47:23 EST 2024

 Dear Sri Vikram Jagannathan,
      Sri Shankara , in his commemtary to mantra 1-2-12 Of Kathopanishad        which reads as                      adhyAtmayOgAdhigamEna dEvaM                      matvA dhirO harShaSOkau jahati |,       writes thus :                 viShayEByaH pratisaMhRtya Atmani                  samAdhAnam adhyAtmayOgah ||
This one upadESa is enough and covers all the verbal explanations given by you in your posting. 

With respecyful pranams,Sreenivasa Murthy

    On Thursday, 1 February, 2024 at 09:28:57 pm IST, Vikram Jagannathan via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:  
 Namaskaram Shri Acharya ji,

Sorry, I missed responding to the explicit questions. This is not
intended to be an answer but only more of self-reflection:

1. What do you think is samadhi?
Samadhi, very broadly defining, is the continued persistence (sthiti) of
any antahkarana vritti, between vritti changes. An example given in
YogaSutraBhashyaVivarana is that even while walking there is a very brief
moment between the steps when one stands still. But this momentary
stillness is very short and thus not considered as actual stillness. Same
with the mental states and vritti changes. Samadhi thus is more applicable
to one-pointed vritti or no-vritti states.

As seen in the earlier email, one-pointed vritti on a particular object is
samadhi (samprajnata or savikalpa) too. Thus, true dhyana / upasana also is
samadhi. Similarly, in Advaita Vedanta, akhandakara vritti is a form of

Furthermore, the state of no vritti is also samadhi (asamprajnata or
nirvikalpa). In Advaita Vedanta, the state (due to lack of any other word)
that transcends even the akhandakara vritti, after the later too is
extinguished, transcends all vrittis and hence is termed as samadhi as
well. In the Upanishad language this state is termed turiya.

However, following this, when antahkarana wakes up again, due to influence
of prarabdha karma, there dawns the realization (in the antahkarana) that
the turiya is not a distinct state but is the very foundation of all other
Therefore, even though the other states may come and go, this foundation
ever persists. In the language of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi's teachings,
this realization is termed as Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

2. Is a thoughtless mind required for self-realization?
No. Thoughtless mind is not required for self-realization. On the other
hand, this thoughtless mind is the natural and automatic followup (again,
lack of any other word) of self-realization.

To explain, it is accepted in Advaita Vedanta that following akhandakara
vritti, which too is only a vritti, all vrittis, including this, gets
extinguished. Thus, in this state there are no vrittis whatsoever.

Now, just as the flow of water is called a river and in the absence of
water, there is nothing whatsoever called as a river; in the same way, flow
of thoughts (vrittis) is called as the mind (antahkarana) and in the
absence of thoughts, there is nothing called as the mind.

But it doesn't persist long under the influence of residual prarabdha karma.

3. What do you think is involved in self-realization?
My understanding has been shared in the earlier email.

4. Is akhandaakaara vrutti involves thoughtless state?
No. By definition, akhandakara vritti is a vritti as well. Since a vritti
is translated as thought, akhandakara vritti is not a thoughtless state.
However, the immediate followup of akhandakara vritti is the thoughtless

Thank you for this opportunity for more reflection.

with humble prostrations,

On Wed, Jan 31, 2024 at 11:37 PM Vikram Jagannathan <vikkyjagan at gmail.com>

> Namaskaram Shri Acharya ji,
> Definitely not a scholar, merely sharing some thoughts; hoping to receive
> guidance:
> I certainly believe that there is a far more nuanced acceptance of Yoga in
> Advaita Vedanta than mere outright rejection of all of Yoga in its
> entirety. Shri Vidyasankar ji’s chapter in the book “Yoga: The Indian
> Tradition” is an excellent reappraisal on this topic.
> Here is my current understanding:
> Vedanta sadhana of shravana, manana, nidhidhyasana of maha-vakyas, by a
> qualified seeker, leads to the formation of akhandakara vritti in the
> antahkarana. Akhandakara vritti is a type of chitta vritti wherein the
> object of the vritti is chidabasa itself. Since the chidabasa of sattvika
> antahkarana is akhanda, the corresponding vritti is akhandakara. As the
> akhandakara vritti vyapti matches the chidabasa itself, there is no need
> for an additional chidabasa vyapti (phala vyapti). At this point, the
> antahkarana directly recognizes (as vritti jnana) the true nature of
> chidabasa and consequently realizes the true nature of Chaitanya itself.
> This vritti jnana is considered as the self-knowledge (atma-jnana) or
> knowledge of oneness (Brahman-Atman-ekatvam). This knowledge is said to be
> the one that overcomes ignorance. Ignorance is misunderstanding the nature
> & qualities of chidabasa and antahkarana. The knowledge of oneness brings
> about the correct understanding of their nature & qualities, revealing the
> object chidabasa as it is. The experience in this state is the experience
> of abundance of bliss. With this correct understanding, desires are subdued
> as well, since desires are only manifested as particular vritits and with
> experience of abundance of bliss, there are no more any desires
> originating. With the lack of desires to fuel the antahkarana, this
> one-pointed akhandakara vritti itself gets extinguished, subduing the
> entire antahkarana itself. With the antahkara subdued, chidabasa itself is
> subdued and all that remains is pure Chaitanya alone. This is called
> aparokshanubhuti.
> Summarizing:
> 1. In this state akhandakara vritti, though there is a vritti in
> antahkarana, the vritti is one-pointed, pointing to the object akhanda
> chidabasa, and is called self-knowledge
> 2. This one-pointed state makes clear the object - chidabasa - as it is
> and not intermixed with functionings of antahkarana
> 3. It destroys the ignorance manifested at the antahkarana level by
> overcoming the misunderstanding or superimposition of the chidabasa &
> antahkarana
> 4. With this, the desires and desire prompted thoughts in the antahkarana
> are removed as well.
> 5. This state of self-knowledge, still a vritti jnana, automatically
> results in the extinguishing of the entire antahkara and its vrittis
> 6. In the absence of any vrittis, that state itself is called as the state
> of no-mind or as transcended the mind or as absolute chitta vritti nirodha
> (complete cessation of all chitta vrittis) or aparokshanubhuti
> Based on the definitions in Yoga Sutra, its bhashya and corresponding
> vivarana, it is seen that:
> a. The state of akhandakara vritti, knowledge of oneness, matches the
> description of samprajnata samadhi, with the object being chidabasa
> b. The state transcending the knowledge of oneness, after extinguishing
> the akhandakara vritti and antahkarana itself, matches the description of
> asamprajnata samadhi or complete chitta vritti nirodha
> c. Aligning with Swami Sankaracharya’s bhasha in BU-1.4.7, the
> self-knowledge automatically leads to chitta vritti nirodha. Thus the
> self-knowledge (atma-vijnana) is the sole / direct means (ananya sadhana)
> to chitta vritti nirodha
> Further we see the bhashya for YogaSutra-1.1 describing the samprajnata
> samadhi as “the samadhi in the on-pointed mind makes clear the object as it
> is, destroys the taints, loosens the karma-bonds, and brings the state of
> inhibition into view; it is called samprajnata.” This exactly matches the
> summary 1 - 6!
> Also, in YogaSutra-1.2, Yoga (asamprajnata samadhi) is defined as chitta
> vritti nirodha. This includes all possible means (sadhanas) on how this
> state is reached. But Advaita Vedanta sadhana says that
> vedanta-vakya-janita akhandakara vritti jnana alone, and always,
> automatically leads to this total chitta vritti nirodha state without any
> effort.
> Therefore, while the Yoga definitions of the terms ‘samadhi’ (as
> samprajnata samadhi) and ‘chitta vritti nirodha’ (as asamprajnata samadhi)
> are too broad, as it could pertain to any object, the Advaita Vedanta
> sadhana limits these same yoga terms to ‘akhandakara vritti’ and
> ‘aparokshanubhuti’ respectively.
> Open to feedback and ready to stand corrected.
> with humble prostrations,
> Vikram
> On Wed, Jan 31, 2024 at 9:24 PM 'Kuntimaddi Sadananda' via advaitin <
> advaitin at googlegroups.com> wrote:
>> PraNAms to all.
>> There is lot of confusion in the Facebook discussion groups - many coming
>> from Ramana Maharshi groups -1. Samadhi is required for Self-Realization
>> and 2) the mind needs to be eliminated to attain Samadhi for
>> self-realization (mana vinasha). Many quote from the books that have
>> question-answers sessions Ramana Maharshi had with disciples. There are
>> also many disciples of Ramana Maharshi who further endorse the above
>> statements. There are also JK groups that denounce all methods as they all
>> condition the mind.
>> Some even quote Vivekachudamani sloka 447 or something that says the mind
>> is a problem and one has to have a thoughtless mind for self-realization.
>> 1. What do you think is samadhi?
>> 2. Is a thoughtless mind required for self-realization?
>> 3. What do you think is involved in self-realization?
>> 4. Is akhandaakaara vrutti involves thoughtless state?
>> I am posing these to get input from all the scholars here.
>> Hari Om!
>> Sadananda
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