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Who Is Nearest to Samadhi?

nearest to samadhiSutras 21 & 22 of Book One of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

21. It [samadhi] is nearest to those whose desire [for samadhi] is intensely strong.

Vyasa simply says: “They soon attain samadhi and the fruit of samadhi.”

Two interesting words are used here: samvega and asannah.

Samvega means intense ardor derived from long practice. So Patanjali is not saying that samadhi is near to those who for some reason or other have an intense desire that is just a flash in the pan. Rather, it is the ripening of the fruit of long practice, practice that has been moving the yogi closer and closer to the Goal. It is a matter of magnetism: the closer the object is to the magnet the stronger the pull toward it.

Asannah literally means “sitting near,” or near at hand, the implication being that samadhi is always present in potential form, but is “near” only to the ripened yogi who yearns deeply for union with God. It is not at all a matter of mechanical practice, or of a “super yoga” technique. It is in the will of the yogi, for that is the most divine force any of us possess.

22. A further differentiation (arises) by reason of the mild, medium and in­tense (nature of means employed).

There are three aspects to this: quality and intensity of practice, aspiration, and method. For optimum success we need the maximum amount of actual practice, the most fervent aspiration which impels us to the practice, and the maximum efficiency/effectiveness of the method(s) employed. A mixture of qualities of these three elements are a guarantee of lesser accomplishment. A wise yogi will consider this seriously and continually gauge the quality of these three aspects of his sadhana. Especially he will consider the inherent value of the method(s) employed.

Shankara says: “It is as in the world, where the prize goes to the one who runs fastest in the race.”

Previously: The Four Qualities Necessary for Samadhi
Next: Samadhi by “Giving the Life to God”: Ishwara Pranidhana

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