Is samadhi the last stage?
No. There is something beyond samadhi. There are various types of samadhi also: jada samadhi through pranayama, mudra and bandha, chetan samadhi from raja yoga, bhav samadhi from bhakti yoga where you feel unconditional immense love for your deity, God or anyone for that matter. This was experienced by Mira Bai, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, and others; there are many such names in this list. Whichever path of sadhana you will take, you will have the experiences according to that path.
All these people become kind of unconscious, and have the feeling that whatever they are doing is happening because of the motivation and inspiration of God. They even believe that if they have any sorrows, it is also the will of their deity. This feeling, bhava, manifests everywhere, be it in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, the temple, on the road, or at your job. This bhava of unconditional love for God and your deity comes in any transaction, situation and circumstance that you live.
It is said that in the state of samadhi, there is no consciousness. And also a person can be in a state of samadhi for months together.
No, it is not like that for all the types of samadhi. In sahaja samadhi they are totally conscious, the same as you are conscious and I am conscious. They can see and feel everything. They can feel sorrow, pain and happiness. They have full awareness of insult, criticism, praise or accolades. They are aware of the good and bad. They are aware of day and night. They have awareness of time and space. They have full awareness but the mind becomes still. That state is called sahaja samadhi.
So that means it has no effect on us?
It is like when you are sitting on the platform of the railway station. You see two thousand people. Are you affected by them being there? There is the witness attitude. You just witness whatever is happening and let it happen and sometimes you also push someone who is in your way.
Can you speak more on sahaja samadhi?
Kabir has said:
Aankh na mundu, kam na rundhu, tanik kasht naheen sadhoon.
I don’t have to close my eyes or ears, I don’t have to stop my desires and I don’t have to face any hardship. Wherever I live and whatever I do, my mind, chitta, is always at one place – with my deity.
This is sahaja samadhi. It is considered to be a very high state of samadhi. People who have lived in history like Buddha and Swami Vivekananda were always in the state of sahaja samadhi. To explain sahaj samadhi Tulsidas has said this verse at the end of the Ramacharitmanas (UK do 130 kha):
Kaamihi naari piaari jimi lobhihi priya jimi daama,
Timi raghunaatha nirantara laagahu mohi raama.
As a man of passion and lust always thinks of women, as a man of greed, always thinks of money.
In the same way, for me Sri Rama is my beloved and I love him and remember him incessantly.
You always think and remember only one thing; bhava samadhi is for a short span of time, and for that span of time you remember only your deity and then you are out of it and back. All types of samadhi have an end but sahaja samadhi has no end, it goes on continuously and incessantly.
Swamiji what is nirvikalpa samadhi?
Nirvikalpa samadhi comes within the samadhi of raja yoga. It is a state when there is no vikalpa, option, alterations, uncertainty, doubt, ambiguity, left. That state without vikalpa is called nirvikalpa samadhi. and the other name is nirbija samadhi. They are the same.
There are mainly three big obstacles in front of us. The first obstacle is vichara, thought, the second is vikshepa, dissipation, scattering about, and the rest you will know when you progress. As of now you just have to deal with the thoughts.
When you sit for dhyana sadhana, you experience the vikshepa coming up from within. They come like dreams, in the form of experiences. Sometimes they come in the form of a candle flame. You have to cross that also. And all those are called sa-vikalpa, with vikalpa. This is what constitutes vikshepa, distraction. After that comes the nir-vikalpa, without vikalpa, where the mind moves for a while and then remains still for a while. As you might have observed a man on his death bed makes some slight movements for a short while, in small spans of time these movements are made. These movements are a kind of agitation of mind. These agitations are the traces of the mind called vikalpa. Sankalpa and vikalpa are the two manifestations and projections of the mind. The mind has two gunas:
Sankalpo vikalpaatmakah manah.
What is mind? It is either with a sankalpa or with a vikalpa. if there is no sankalpa and no vikalpa, then there is no mind. For example: if there is no water in the ocean, how will you get waves? You will get waves from the ocean only if there is water. In the same way, when sankalpa and vikalpa are destroyed, there is no mind, then how will you get thought waves?
While there is sankalpa vikalpa cannot be destroyed. Sankalpas are of various types. The last sankalpa is the survival instinct. And it is there in everyone’s mind whether you are aware of it or not.