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Advaita, is nirvikalpa samādhi necessary?

Discussion in 'Hinduism DIR' started by Ekanta, May 22, 2016.

  1. Ekanta

    Ekanta om sai ram

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    Is nirvikalpa samādhi necessary?

    Im an advaita follower and do meditate. In order to understand meditation better I have also studied yoga sutras with comments.
    The yoga system aims at nirvikalpa samādhi, but is it the same with advaita?
    Is there any good explanation and what is it like?
    Since I think I have found one, I will present it below.
    It seems to me that:
    • Yoga aims at nirvikalpa samādhi.
    • Advaita aims at discriminating between the real and unreal. But in order to do that, they need at least the nirvicāra-samādhi which will bring the ṛtam-bharā [truth-bearing] knowledge (prajñā).
    You are welcome to discuss it… I would like to know what you think!

    Bhagavad Gita (Gambhirananda translation in his Madhusudana Gita comment book)
    6.29 One whose mind has attained purity through Yoga, who has the vision of sameness everywhere, sees his Self existing in all things, and all things in his Self.

    Madhusudana Sarasvati comment 6.29 (Gambhirananda translation)
    …Who? … He is one whose mind (ātmā) has attained purity (yukta) through Yoga (yoga) in the form of perfection in the nirvicāra-samādhi.
    When nirvicāra is perfected, there follows purity of the internal organ, the insight gained there is called ṛtam-bharā [truth-bearing], (But this is) different from the knowledge gained through hearing (scriptural knowledge) and inference, because it relates to specific characteristics (of objects)…
    Just as the restraint of mental modifications is indeed the means for the realization of the witness, so also is the separation of the all-pervading Consciousness by distinguishing it from the insentient. Not that Yoga in particular is a necessity…
    “For the elimination of the mind” means “for becoming oblivious of its presence” as a result of separating from the Witness its limiting adjunct, the mind. There are two processes for that.
    One is nirvikalpa samādhi
    The second is the process of discrimination thus: “The thing witnessed, which is imagined on the Witness, does not exist at all, because it is unreal. But the Witness, the absolute supreme Reality, alone exists.”…
    Between these two, the first process was propounded by the followers of Hiranyagarbha [i.e. the yoga system], who hold that creation is real…
    But the followers of the Upanishads, who depend on the views of… Shankara and hold that creation is unreal, accept only the second process. For in their case, when the knowledge of the substratum becomes firm, the non-perception of the sublated mind imagined on that (substratum), and also of the things visualized by it (mind), becomes easily possible. It is for this very reason that Shankara did not expound anywhere the necessity of Yoga for the knowers of Brahman.


    A summary of the samādhis of yoga sutras (my own summary, so you can follow):
    savikalpa samādhi (with triad, known-knowledge-knower):
    • vitarka (citta reflecting known, i.e. mahābhūtas/gross elements)
      • sa-vitarka (with verbal associations):
      • nir-vitarka (without verbal associations)
    • vicāra (citta reflecting known i.e. tanmātras/subtle elements)
      • sa-vicāra (with subtle associations)
      • nir-vicāra (without subtle associations)
    • sa-ānanda (with bliss) i.e. citta reflecting knowledge, i.e. indriyas (organs)
    • sa-asmitā (with I-am-ness): citta reflecting knower i.e. puruṣa (ātman)
    nirvikalpa samādhi (no triad), i.e. no functioning citta, only puruṣa (ātman)

    Relevant verses in yoga sutras (from Trevor Leggetts book):
    1.47. From skill in nirvicāra, a clearness in the self [citta].
    1.48. In this [clearness], the knowledge [prajñā] is Truth-bearing [ṛtam-bharā].
    1.49. This knowledge is of a particular thing, unlike knowledge from authority or from inference [which both deals with universals].

    Vyasa yoga sutra comment on the above (some of it, Trevor Leggetts book):
    When the mind-sattva (buddhi) whose nature is light (prakāśa-ātmana), is freed from rajas and tamas, and has a clear steady flow, without any veiling contamination of impurity, that is the skill in nirvicāra. When this skill in nirvicāra appears, there is an inner clearness in the self (adhyātma-prasāda) of the yogin, which is a progressively clearer and brighter light of knowledge (prajñā-āloka) of the object as it really is....

    The knowledge which appears in that clearness of the mind in samādhi has the special name of Truth-bearing (ṛtam-bharā), in the literal sense that it brings truth alone, and there is no trace of erroneous knowledge in it. So it is said:
    “By scriptural authority, by inference, and by zest for meditation practice - In these three ways perfecting his knowledge (prajñā), he attains the highest yoga.” …

    Ordinary perception (loka-pratyakṣa) gives no knowledge at all of some subtle or remote or hidden thing, but we cannot assert that the latter is not demonstrable and has no existence. A particular (viśeṣa) relating to subtle elements (bhūta-sūkṣma) or to puruṣa is perceptible by samādhi-knowledge (samādhi-prajñā) alone.
     
    #1 Ekanta, May 22, 2016
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
  2. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Necessary for what? I don't understand. You mean is it part of advaita philosophy?
     
  3. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    "The second is the process of discrimination thus: “The thing witnessed, which is imagined on the Witness, does not exist at all, because it is unreal. But the Witness, the absolute supreme Reality, alone exists."

    You need that for that a calm discriminating mind is essential. Meditation gives you that.
    Rest - word salad. Academic. A lot of confusion. Like what the Buddhist philosophers did. Missing the point.
     
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  4. atanu

    atanu Member
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    It is an excellent question Ekanta. Shankara might not have recommended Yoga, which has connotation of two real identities joining, but He certainly did not downplay the role of nirvikalpa samadhi. I am citing a few lines from Vivekachudamani.

    Vivekachudamani of Shri Shankaracharya


    342. Even wise men cannot suddenly destroy egoism after it has once become strong, barring those who are perfectly calm through the Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Desires are verily the effect of innumerable births.

    352. The wise man, discriminating thus the real and the unreal, ascertaining the Truth through his illuminative insight, and realising his own Self which is Knowledge Absolute, gets rid of the obstructions and directly attains Peace.

    356. Those alone are free from the bondage of transmigration who, attaining Samadhi, have merged the objective world, the sense-organs, the mind, nay, the very ego, in the Atman, the Knowledge Absolute – and none else, who but dabble in second-hand talks.

    360. The truth of the Paramatman is extremely subtle, and cannot be reached by the gross outgoing tendency of the mind. It is only accessible to noble souls with perfectly pure minds, by means of Samadhi brought on by an extraordinary fineness of the mental state.

    365. By the Nirvikalpa Samadhi the truth of Brahman is clearly and definitely realised, but not otherwise, for then the mind, being unstable by nature, is apt to be mixed up with other perceptions.

    375. The extremely dispassionate man alone has Samadhi, and the man of Samadhi alone gets steady realisation; the man who has realised the Truth is alone free from bondage, and the free soul only experiences eternal Bliss.

    383. Fixing the purified mind in the Self, the Witness, the Knowledge Absolute, and slowly making it still, one must then realise one’s own infinite Self.
     
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  5. Ekanta

    Ekanta om sai ram

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    Just adding a litte more to the discussion. Will participate more later.
    Madhusudana writes further (same book, same 6.29 comment):

    Not that Yoga in particular is a necessity. Hence Vasistha has said:
    "O Raghava (Rama), Yoga and enlightenment are the two processes for the elimination of the mind. Yoga is indeed the restraint of modifications of the mind, (and) enlightenment is the full visualization (of Reality) (L. Y. Va., Vitahavya-upakhyana, 72)."
    "To someone Yoga is an impossibility; to someone else enlightment is in impossibility! Therefore the supreme Lord Siva spoke of the two processes (ibid. Bhusunda-upakhyana, 60)."
     
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  6. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Yes. I think, I understand this, because Shri Ramana has explained it well.

    If one does not discriminate between the real and the unreal, a yogic experience will still go waste. So, Shri Ramana teaches "Do not lose yourself in laya (sleep) in samadhi. Keep up the discrimination (vichara) of "Who Am I?""
     
  7. Ekanta

    Ekanta om sai ram

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    sapta-jñāna-bhūmikā-s or seven degrees of knowledge: (from varāha upaniṣad) Adapted with comments by Madhusudana

    3 states of the mumukṣu
    (desiring liberation): [jāgruti: waking state: sees universe as real]
    1. śubhecchā (good resolve) = desire for liberation
    2. vicāraṇā (consideration) = śravaṇa (listen) & manana (reflect)
    3. tanumānasī (fineness mind) = nididhyāsana (meditation) savikalpa-samādhi

    4 states of jñāni (knower):
    4. sattvāpatti (experience of reality) = savikalpa-samādhi “brahma-vid (vid: knower)” [svapna: dream state: sees universe as dream]
    5. asaṃsakti (non-relationship) = nirvikalpa-samādhi “brahma-vid-vara (vara: great)” [suṣupti: sleep: universe disappers: He emerges by himself]
    6. pada-artha-bhāvanī (absence of objects) = nirvikalpa-samādhi “brahma-vid-varīyān (varīyan: greater)” [suṣupti-pada: deep-sleep: …He is emerged by others]
    7. turīya (fourth). = nirvikalpa-samādhi ”brahma-vid-variṣṭha (variṣṭha: greatest)” [gāḍha-ṣupti: firm-sleep: …He doesn’t emerge]

    If we consider the above... it seems to me that 4-7 are but different states (of fineness of mind) of the jnani. (Ramana also confirms this)
    The sattvāpatti (experience of reality) is a knower of brahman, through savikalpa-samādhi. He is able to visualise brahman (real) and hence the universe will "appear as a dream" (unreal).
    The other (5-7) are different states of nirvikalpa-samādhi (due to fineness of mind).

    http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.se/2008/08/jnana-bhoomikas.html
    http://www.swamij.com/upanishad-varaha-bhumikas.htm
     
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  8. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Discrimination is 'viveka', and I have always maintained that this is the only way to understand Brahman. Dhyan, Dharana and Samadhi are like cleaning the floor before the guest comes in. :D (also what Vinayaka says many times - the Yamas and Niyamas, abstentations and observances).
     
    #8 Aupmanyav, May 23, 2016
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
  9. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Shri Ramana was a bit averse to differentiate levels of Jnanis. He notes as below:

    Because of the grades in misery and happiness, the released ones, the jivanmuktas and videhamuktas, may be spoken of as belonging to four categories – Brahmavid, Brahmavara, Brahmavariyan and Brahmavarishta. But these distinctions are from the standpoint of others who look at them; in reality, however, there are no distinctions in release gained through jnana. (The Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi p. 35).

    What distinction can remain in the released sages, when the release itself is defined as realisation of the advaita? Shri Ramana explains further:

    Question: As there is no one who does not desire to experience constant bliss what is the reason why all sages [jnanis] do not attain the state of varistha?

    Bhagavan: It is not to be attained by mere desire or effort. Karma [prarabdha] is its cause. As the ego dies along with its cause even in the fourth stage [bhoomika], what agent is there beyond that stage to desire anything or to make efforts? So long as they make efforts they will not be sages [jnanis]. Do the sacred texts [srutis] which specially mention the varistha say that the other three are unenlightened persons?

    Question: As some sacred texts say that the supreme state is that in which the sense organs and the mind are completely destroyed, how can that state be compatible with the experience of the body and the senses?

    Bhagavan: If that were so there would not be any difference between that state and the state of deep sleep. Further how can it be said to be the natural state when it exists at one time and not at another? This happens, as stated before, to some persons according to their karma [prarabdha] for some time or till death. It cannot properly be regarded as the final state. If it could it would mean that all great souls and the Lord, who were the authors of the Vedantic works [jnana granthas] and the Vedas, were unenlightened persons. If the supreme state is that in which neither the senses nor the mind exist and not the state in which they exist, how can it be the perfect state [paripurnam]? As karma alone is responsible for the activity or inactivity of the sages, great souls have declared the state of sahaja nirvikalpa [the natural state without concepts] alone to be the ultimate state.
     
    #9 atanu, May 23, 2016
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
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  10. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Shri Shankara says in Vivekachudamani:

    550. The man of realisation, bereft of the body-idea, moves amid sense-enjoyments like a man subject to transmigration, through desires engendered by the Prarabdha work. He himself, however, lives unmoved in the body, like a witness, free from mental oscillations, like the pivot of the potter’s wheel.

    552. He who, giving up all considerations of the fitness or otherwise of objects of meditation, lives as the Absolute Atman, is verily Shiva Himself, and he is the best among the knowers of Brahman.
     
  11. Ekanta

    Ekanta om sai ram

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    Yes, differences in prarabdha-karma (karma that still has to bear fruit in this life) is the cause of the differences between 4-7. The enlightenment is the same (destruction of avidya) . Thats how I understand it and how Madhusudana also explains it. Although Madhusudana adds that "because of the disturbance created by the results of actions that have started bearing fruit (prarabdha), vasana (past impressions) does not get destroyed." But again, all that are aspects of maya, and not atman...
     
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