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Living the Yoga Life: Samadhi

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Samadhi is not just going into some unusual state such as cessation of breath and heartbeat (though this can occur), but it is an attainment of consciousness, of being established in the awareness of Divine Unity embracing all things. It is seeing God.

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We are used to the mistaken idea that it is the norm for holy people to flip in and out of samadhi, or an altered state mistaken for samadhi. Whatever the religion, there is a great deal of talk about those who get “overcome” or enter into exalted states against their will. This is nonsense. A master is someone who has mastered something. A master yogi is in perfect control of his body-vehicles. Everything is under his direction. He is in total command. Otherwise he is not a master but a servant of “divine moods” and other such nonsense.

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Our intention as sadhakas is to return to the Infinite, but we can make a mistake understandable in people brought up in the West. Just as we think “eternity” is time without end, when in reality it transcends time and is beyond it, in the same way we think of Infinity as being infinitely big and without boundaries because it is too large to be encompassed, when actually it is beyond large or small. Even though it encompasses everything, it does not do so in a spatial sense, but in consciousness. Many yogis worry about their progress in meditation because they do not swell out like a cosmic balloon, but instead become more and more intent inwardly, deepening their awareness. They will themselves often quote: “The kingdom of heaven is within you” (Luke 17:21), but then forget that when they sit to meditate.

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In an article entitled “Different States of Samadhi” (East-West, April, 1933), Yogananda says: “In the most advanced, or Nirvikalpa Samadhi state, the soul does not expand itself into the big Spirit, but realizes itself and Spirit as existing together.” Although it is usual for a yogi to have some experience of savikalpa samadhi, it is possible to almost right away pass to the nirvikalpa state in meditation and work within it for realization. Yogananda said that his greatest disciple, Sister Gyanamata, had gone far beyond the savikalpa samadhi state without ever experiencing it.

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Many things are claimed to be the way to liberation, and they usually are external acts or attitudes. But since the very cause of bondage is the condition of our gross and subtle bodies, our spirit-Self being ever perfect and unchangeable, only yoga provides the means to liberation. We must all become urdhvareta yogis in whose subtle energy system the pranas, the life energies, are predominately flowing upwards into the Sahasrara, the thousand petalled lotus of which the brain is the physical counterpart. Our immortal, eternal spirit abides in the Sahasrara united with God the Absolute Spirit, the finite with the Infinite. Therefore the permanent urdhvareta state leads to liberation.

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Sahaja samadhi is the established state of the advanced yogi. All yogic phenomena are normal for such a yogi and he is at home in all conditions. Everything is natural for him and causes him no doubt or confusion. Swami Sivananda was the most natural person I have seen, and some of his advanced disciples were very like him in being perfectly normal. After all, what is more normal than God Consciousness? Another living embodiment of this supernatural normality was Sri Swami Muktananda Giri, the mother of Anandamayi Ma.

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A great deal of busywork in the form of techniques are dear to the hearts of those caught in the compulsion to act. But true spiritual life is an awakening. Even more to the point, it is an establishing of the consciousness in its true home.

Next in Living the Yoga Life: Sadhana

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About to Living the Yoga Life–Perspectives on Yoga

Living the Yoga Life–Perspectives on Yoga

Living the Yoga Life–Perspectives on Yoga: Introduction

    1. Living the Yoga Life: Climbing the Ladder of Consciousness
    2. Living the Yoga Life: Sanatana Dharma, Sanatana Yoga
    3. Living the Yoga Life: The Atman/Self
    4. Living the Yoga Life: Bhakti and Jnana
    5. Living the Yoga Life: Brahman
    6. Living the Yoga Life: Ishwara
    7. Living the Yoga Life: Breath
    8. Living the Yoga Life: India and Sanatana Dharma
    9. Living the Yoga Life: The Importance of Independence
    10. Living the Yoga Life: The Intelligent Path
    11. Living the Yoga Life: The Internal Life
    12. Living the Yoga Life: Japa and Sound (Shabda)
    13. Living the Yoga Life: Japa with the Breath
    14. Living the Yoga Life: Jnana
    15. Living the Yoga Life: The Jnani
    16. Living the Yoga Life: Karma and Karma Yoga
    17. Living the Yoga Life: Kundalini
    18. Living the Yoga Life: Liberation
    19. Living the Yoga Life: It Is All Up To Us
    20. Living the Yoga Life: Madness, Divine and Worldly
    21. Living the Yoga Life: Manas (Mind) and Buddhi (Intelligence/Intellect)
    22. Living the Yoga Life: Buddhi Yoga
    23. Living the Yoga Life: True Masters (And Not)
    24. Living the Yoga Life: Maya
    25. Living the Yoga Life: Meditation
    26. Living the Yoga Life: Prana
    27. Living the Yoga Life: Raja Yoga
    28. Living the Yoga Life: Reincarnation
    29. Living the Yoga Life: Religion
    30. Living the Yoga Life: Samadhi
    31. Living the Yoga Life: Sadhana
    32. Living the Yoga Life: Dedication to Spiritual Life
    33. Living the Yoga Life: Self-realization
    34. Living the Yoga Life: Shivashakti
    35. Living the Yoga Life: Spiritual Experience
    36. Living the Yoga Life: The Spiritual Teacher
    37. Living the Yoga Life: Subtle Anatomy
    38. Living the Yoga Life: The World
    39. Living the Yoga Life: Worship
    40. Living the Yoga Life: Yoga, the Body and the World
    41. Living the Yoga Life: Dharma and Adharma
    42. Living the Yoga Life: Yoga–The Supreme Dharma
    43. Living the Yoga Life: Yoga Nidra
    44. Living the Yoga Life: The Yogi
    45. Living the Yoga Life: Some Advice to Yogis
    46. Living the Yoga Life: Qualities of a Yogi
    47. Living the Yoga Life: This and That
    48. Living the Yoga Life: Touch Not
    49. Living the Yoga Life: The Gita Speaks To The Yogi
    50. Living the Yoga Life: How It Is Done
    51. Living the Yoga Life: Use your mind
    52. Living the Yoga Life: Some things it is wise to avoid
    53. Living the Yoga Life: Things you should definitely do and have in your life
    54. Living the Yoga Life: Spiritual Reading
    55. Living the Yoga Life: Gorakhnath Speaks To The Yogi
    56. Living the Yoga Life: And A Final Word From Me
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